Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cosplay 101: Choosing a Character

COSPLAY 101: Choosing a Character

Next up in Cosplay 101: Choosing a character! Deciding which character to dress as is the first step to creating a costume! Whether you are just getting started with cosplay or you are a veteran, it can be challenging to decide which costume to work on.

I don't have a set way that I decide what costumes I want to do next, but there are a few things I consider to help me decide. You may want to start by making a list of characters that immediately come to mind, then work on narrowing it down by asking these questions. Here are some of the things I consider when choosing a character...

1. What's your current favorite series, book, show, or movie? What are your all-time favorites?
The first thing I think about it what series I want to cosplay from. This is a pretty simple question - my current obsessions are Game of Thrones and Puella Magi Madoka Magica. But don't forget those old standbys either! My list might include Sailor Moon, Watchmen, and Batgirl.

2. What character is your favorite? Which character's design is your favorite?
Sometimes, we feel a strong connection to a character and immediately want to recreate them, but sometimes, it takes a little more digging. My favorite character may have a design I am not interested in, but sometimes the best character designs are characters I don't love!

3. Would you feel comfortable in this costume? Does the character have other outfits or fanart designs?
Before I go any further, I like to assess what the character is wearing. If you love everything about the character, but you don't love booty shorts, then it may be time to look at an alternative outfit or a different character.

A-Fest 2013 - Hipster Adventure Time Girls

4. Is this costume within your skill level? Or, could you make parts of it and buy other parts? How expensive would the costume be overall? 
Next, think about whether or not you can reasonably make the costume. Would you need to work with unfamiliar materials? Is their gravity-defying hair something you could learn to mimic, or would you need to commission someone to style a wig for you?

This is the step where I usually figure out whether or not a certain cosplay is possible for me. There are some costumes I have aspirations to make, but I have to wait until I am more skilled.

5. How much time would it take to pull this costume together? Is there a deadline coming up?
These questions can help you decide when you can complete and wear the costume. Bigger projects may take some planning ahead to make sure you can finish in time. For quicker costumes, you may be able to commit a week before the convention and still get it done!

I know from personal experience that sometimes deadlines are the only way I'll work on something - so check your schedule to see what events you have and when, and plan accordingly!

6. Is anyone else cosplaying from this series?
This is the last question on the list for a reason - for me, it's usually the least important. Of course I'd love to cosplay in a group every single time, but usually, it's just me on my own! However, if a friend needs help filling out a group, or there is a big meet-up, or lots of my friends are cosplaying from the same series, that definitely influences my decision!

Whew, lots of questions! This is by no means an exhaustive list, and what matters to me may be different than what matters to you, but I hope this gives you a good place to get started.

What do you consider when choosing a character to cosplay?

Previously: What is Cosplay?
Next: Planning and Budgeting a Costume

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