Cosplay is a crazy craft; cosplayers all begin somewhere and the question is where? How does someone start cosplaying comfortably? Who can cosplay? What are the etiquettes behind cosplay and what does a cosplayer need to know? Can someone with an unsteady hand become a cosplayer? Can someone who has never sewn-up a hole create stunning works of art? What do you need to get started? In a series of mini-guides, I hope to quell some of these questions and more.
GeekOut Media’s Beginner’s Cosplay Guide #8: Striking A Pose
They say all good things must come to an end, so today’s the last day of our beginner’s cosplay guides. After this, you’ll have hopefully built up the confidence to apply and learn more of the necessary tools to be a cosplay extraordinaire! But in the meantime, we have one final lesson for you, which isn’t anything to do with crafting, making, tinkering, researching or otherwise. Indeed, our last lesson is actually wearing the costume.
Now, you may shake your head in disbelief at me here – I’m going to tell you about wearing something that you just made. Why on Earth would I do that? Well, there are a number of things I think are only fair you get warned about. This article is mostly a discussion piece about what considerations you need to make and how to make the most of your costume, both for you and everyone you’re showing it off to.
The Weather Talk
2018 has been an incredibly hot summer here in the UK, where we have had sunny day after sunny day. I attended AmeCon 2018 only a few weeks back (July 27th-29th inclusive), where the weather made a big impact. Some people outright changed what costumes they were wearing, the cosplay guest had to choose much lighter costumes for herself – Everyone had to outright change what they were doing thanks to the weather.
As such, if you’re going to an event to take your cosplay(s) with you, then consider the weather of the event. If it’s going to be a drastically hot day, then you will need to dress accordingly. Albeit, if you’re only going to wear your costume during a masquerade, then you can indeed get away with wearing something massive. Alternatively, you may want to look into electronics to keep you cool; I may do a bonus edition of this series on electronics at some point to discuss.
Durability and Injury
Okay, don’t worry about how ominous that header sounds, but you need to seriously consider this. Are you going to make a big sword? How about a massive shield? Could your pauldrons be very spiky? If the answer to any of these questions be “yes”, you need to consider how your props are going to survive the wear and tear of a convention environment. Foam is excellent, naturally, but you may want something tougher.
Thermoplastics are great, but for spikes, they can be really quite painful. Hey, that sword you’ve made? That can hurt. These are important things to remember as the general rule at many conventions is simple: Will it break a person or itself first? If it’s the former, it’s too tough. You should be making things that last and keep shape, but don’t hurt people – such as foams, woods and some plastics.
An example I have of this is a cosplayer I encountered who had some wings. For safety reasons, they were to not open their wings indoors. They did it anyway and it knocked into someone who was trying to pass by. They had to report to the committee who had decided they were not allowed to have those wings on any more throughout the convention. Out of respect, I will not name them, nor the convention.
Interestingly, recently, Coscraft started to sell some clay that maintains shape, but will bend if pushed into. They say that when dry, it turns into something similar to foam (impressive!) That may be a material to give a try for all of those people with spiked pauldrons? I’m going to order some to give a try and do a review of.
Striking A Pose
Our last topic in this guide then is to finally strike a pose, to make sure the photographers love you, along with all of your soon-to-be adoring fans. NOT THIS GUY. The truth of the matter is that your poses need to matter, especially if you want some super shots. I mentioned right back at the beginning of this series that cosplay is made up of two words: Costume and play. This is finally the play part of cosplay.
With your designed costume on, consider what sort of stress the costume can handle. Then consider what kind of poses the character you’ve chosen would normally take. Do they put their fingers up in a victory pose? Do they balance on one leg? Do they crouch down and crawl? Consider this, as you may want to practice these poses for yourself, to give the photographers the best action shot they can get.
Naturally, a photographer should know what lighting works. Sometimes a photographer will ask you to do something different. Don’t worry, this is because they just want to make sure they get the best possible shot of you and your costume. I have had to ask a few cosplayers in the past to change their pose, then I’d show them the picture I’ve taken. I always find the more dynamic, more different shots make for the more interesting pictures. I’d highly recommend you check out cosplay masquerades for more inspiration on the sorts of poses you could potentially do.
And now, just like all good things, this has to come to an end. Thank you very much to everyone who has read this mini-series. I’ll try to string this into a small PDF eBook at some point, so it’s always available. Hopefully it’s been a good read. Uh. Yeah. That’s it. You can go now. Or you can leave a comment below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Keep your eyes out for more cosplay content in the not-too-distant future!