Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cosplay 101: The Cosplayer's Bookshelf

Cosplay Deviants: Undressing the Art of Playing Dress Up

Since cosplay is a relatively new phenomenon that has only really taken off in the past decade or so, there are a growing number of cosplay-specific resources. These tend to fall into two main camps: visual eye candy and instructional books. Here, I've highlighted some of the visually inspiring cosplay books out there currently. I hope to do another roundup of tutorial-based books soon!

1. Cosplay in America

The classic! Cosplay in America is a coffee table book containing portraits of cosplayers from across the country. It perfectly encapsulates what conventions and cosplay felt like around 2005 - 2010. It's a different scene now, so flipping through the pages of Cosplay in America always feels nostalgic to me. If you need a dose of inspiration for your next costume or just want to reminisce about how fun conventions are, this is your pick.

The photographer/author, Ejen, did a Kickstarter for his upcoming sequel. I'm so excited for the next book! It'll include behind-the-scenes shots, too, in addition to portraits. I did an interview with Ejen last year, click here to read it.

Fun fact: The more people I meet in the cosplay scene, the more people I recognize inside the book!

2. Cosplay Composition: David Love Photography & Design

David Love Photography's images are simply stunning. This book features lots of cosplayers in well-crafted images and includes some tips on learning to photograph and edit photographs specifically for cosplay. Note that it is not an instructional book, however -- some of the Amazon reviews were pretty disappointed in that!

I'd love to pick this up to flip through whenever I'm feeling a lack of inspiration.

3. Cosplay: The Fantasy World of Role Play

This book will be released later in 2015, so it's not yet published, but from the descriptions and previews, it seems to be another photo-based book that also includes some descriptions of cosplay's origins, how the hobby expanded, and how it differs in different parts of the world. I'm excited to see a cosplay book that has a global take on the hobby!

The author, Lauren Orsini, is a cosplayer herself and writes about fandom culture, so this book seems promising. Choose this book if you want a global perspective on cosplay, a history lesson, and beautiful photographs.

4. Undressing the Art of Playing Dress Up: Cosplay Deviants

This book takes the prize for the most unique book about cosplay yet! It features models from the website Cosplay Deviants, where your favorite characters are shown fully dressed then gradually undressed. While this may not be everyone's cup of tea, I love when cosplay is expanded to other areas. Cosplay burlesque (also known as "nerdlesque") is always creative and fascinating, and I have no doubt that Cosplay Deviants is equally so!

Keep in mind that this book does contain nudity, so it may not be appropriate as a coffee table book (depending on your preferences), but it's definitely worth checking out.

I've reviewed this title in more detail -- click here to read the full review.

5. Cosplay World

This book is one of the newer books on cosplay, and it contains photos, interviews with some of the bigger, more well-known cosplayers, and a look at the costume construction process in some cases. This book appears to contain more Western-based media than some of the other cosplay books as well -- comics, video games, TV, movies, and more.

Cosplay World contains beautiful, well-organized cosplay photography, making it a new favorite for any cosplayer's bookshelf.

6. Breaking All The Rules: Cosplay and the Art of Self-Expression

Another cosplay photobook, Breaking All The Rules includes photos and interviews with over 120 cosplayers throughout America. This book is a little more text-heavy, so if you are interested in learning all about different cosplayers, why they started cosplay, and why they continue to cosplay, this is the book for you. 

This would make an excellent read for any cosplayer who loves people watching!

These are only a small selection of the books currently available about cosplay, and they all look fantastic! I'm excited to get my hands on some of these newer additions.

Do you have any books about cosplay to recommend?

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