Cosplay 101: Go Geek or Go Home
My parents’ generation missed out on a lot of fun. Sure, they had costume parties and masquerade balls, but they didn’t know just how great cosplay could be. Immersing yourself in a character at Comi-Con or a sci-fi convention is a notch above throwing on some store-bought get-up and appearing on a party host’s doorstep.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of cosplay is the dedication of fans to creating rich, original costume designs from materials already in their possession. My friends and I make amazing cosplay creations from simple, conventional craft items.
Cosplay is an energizing and creative outlet that lets us replicate some truly complex costumes. These designs don’t have to be complicated, either; we still have plenty of free time to hit sci-fi conventions and play Jewel Quest online games.
Take the “Doc Ock” costume from the movie Spider-Man 2. Adam Savage of Tested.com posted a video explaining how easy it is to recreate this character’s costume, starting with a raincoat, a backpack and a dressmaker’s mannequin. A lightweight, inexpensive creation, the costume’s concept starts with an aluminum plate on a pair of aluminum back straps that go over the shoulders, supported by protective clamps that snap at the chest and the waist. Mounted to the aluminum plate are four aluminum blocks, through which Savage places armature (aluminum) wire. The wire and mattress foam help the costume look like it has segmented arms. The best part of this costume is that it’s so easy to wear.
Or how about Iron Man? “Heroes aren’t born, they’re built,” says cosplay expert Anthony Le in a video about the elements of his costume. The components include a motorized shoulder missile, gun pods that light up, upgraded flight stabilizers, powered jet streams and a motorized helmet.
If “Dr Who” is who you love, it’s easy to don a suit, converse sneakers and long jacket. What you really need to reach CosPlay nirvana? A sonic screwdriver and a TARDIS. This guy made one, I bet you could too.
The best cosplay costumes are sewn or bolted together, not simply bought. Garments you already own that can be modified to make your costume are the easiest to build from, and never underestimate the power of duct tape. The raincoat as the basis for the “Doc Ock” costume is a perfect example. You can use hats, sticks and other accessories, and then decorate them as part of the costume. And, cosplayers are encouraged to incorporate matching threads, buttons, ribbons and belts to give a beautiful look to the costume.
Cosplay no longer is in the shadows. When you Google “cosplay,” you’ll get 188 million results, and on Facebook, the top three cosplay pages have a combined total of almost 1.3 million likes. Once you commit to replicating or designing a costume and you discover how talented you really are, you’ll be hooked.
Author: Darla Gregory – Darla is a kids clothing designer and freelance writer on graphic design and trends in gaming design.
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