Today’s edition of “Cosplay Tips” is a little different from most. It doesn’t follow a list, or a “how-to” kind of model. Instead, I’m going to give you a little tip that has worked out wonderfully for me several times–build a network of cosplayers.
Now, this network can comprise of those “professional” cosplayers, as well as your own internet friends of acquaintances that cosplay as a hobby. If you are going to include the pro cosplayers, though, you should recognize that you won’t always get an answer, and will never get unsolicited help.
“But Amanda!,” I hear you say. “Networking is so boring!” You’re right, it can be pretty dull. But it’s also a really, really valuable source of information while cosplaying. Also, Twitter and Tumblr make it ridiculously easy to build an informational and instructional structure.
I spend a good amount of time researching for my cosplay enterprises. Not only do I grab as many reference pictures as I can (which I talked about in my article on cosplay planning tips), but I spend a ridiculous amount of time researching different methods of building props, sewing techniques, fabric recommendations, and materials. Even with all the research I do, though, I wind up with questions. Sometimes that questions are so minor that I feel like I can go forward by myself. Sometimes, though, the questions make me too insecure to delve into the construction phase.
In such a case, I will pose these questions to other cosplayers. If I know that someone worked on a similar costume or use a similar technique, I will ask them directly. If I don’t know anyone, I will put out a random tweet or pose the question on Reddit (check out r/cosplayers for what I think is the friendliest community). Sometimes, just discussing varying approaches to cosplay will prompt helpful input from other cosplayers!
If I’m really stumped, I will browse though the Facebook or DeviantArt pages of the pro cosplayers to look for similar costumes. I’ve found that if I leave a comment along the lines of “What material did you use to make those bracers?” or “What pattern did you use for that bodysuit?,” I’ll frequently get an answer. Many cosplayers will even put all of this information into the description of the costumes themselves. Keep in mind, though, that many cosplayers at high levels will completely draft their own patterns–so help in that aspect may be limited.
If you’ve been around here for the last month or so, you’ll know that I have been working on my costumes for C2E2–DCU’s Enchantress and Rogue from X-Men: Evolution. I wanted to the Rogue costume, but I knew that most of the costume’s success hinged on the wig. It had to look great–specifically, the white streaks in front had to look like a natural part of the hair.
Most internet sources suggested cutting two wigs apart, and sewing them together. I wasn’t finding many examples to look at that were close to what I wanted to do–most were like this two-toned wig tutorial from WindoftheStars Cosplay (who, incidentally, is usually really nice about responding to questions on Twitter and Facebook). I tried to push the thought of the wig out of my mind while I worked on other stuff, but it kept bugging me.
And then Arda Wigs–the only place I’ll buy wigs from anymore–had a 48 hour sale. I was faced with having to decide what to do with the Rogue wig in a very short period of time. I was chatting a bit on Twitter with Mia Moore (from xo Mia) at the time, and I expressed my frustration at having to figure out what to do with the wig.
It turns out that Mia had a friend who just made a Rogue wig! She connected the two of us on Twitter, and Mindy (from The Geeky Seamstress) told me about a couple of options for making the wig. One of these was the sewing option, and I told her that I had wanted to take this approach but hadn’t found enough information to make me comfortable with it.
Mindy then sent me the perfect picture tutorial for sewing the wigs together! Here’s the link to the tutorial, created by gstqfashions. It showed the wig-sewing process in detailed and simple steps, which made it seem a lot less daunting. Of course, there were some moments of mild panic when I was cutting the wig apart and sewing it together, but they didn’t last long. I saw how to do it in the tutorial. I knew that I could do it–it wasn’t too difficult. So I was able to talk myself down and produce one of the cosplay pieces that I am the most proud of to-date!
Here is a picture of the wig! It’s only sewn together at this point–I’m going to go through and style it closer to the convention. It still looks great, though, and it will only need a little styling. I am so grateful to Mia and Mindy for their help! This process made me think about how important it is to talk with people and discuss the challenges that you’re facing with your cosplay. You’ll never know who will have the answers to those things that are bugging you. Networking in cosplay will only help