Cosplays, conventions, costumes! As geek guys and gals, you have no doubt seen your fair share of cosplays that range from walking out of a closet to movie set magic in different situations. This week we are breaking down how to plan out your cosplay. This is part of an ongoing series. Check out part 1 over here!
Once you have your character selected, where do you go? After choosing your character, you’ll probably be asking yourself loads of questions to help you decide specifics of the costume. These questions are really important in making the best effort to create a cosplay that you not only like wearing, but are also proud of. The next step of creating your ideal cosplay is answering these questions and then planning what you will be building from the ground up.
The biggest question that I am always asking myself is which version of a character do I want to be? Very rarely does a character stay 100% the same throughout the story arc, regardless of medium in which it is watched. For example, when I was building my Black Widow cosplay, I first decided whether I wanted to follow the comic book version or the Avengers (movie) one.
My comic book knowledge is abysmally sad, so I opted for the more fun and easy to emulate version from the movie. Once I had that decided, I watched the movie and looked up as many images as I could possibly find to make the best possible reference set I could. I briefly studied some costuming for theatre at my old school, so this was a technique I saw used pretty often by production crews to create anything.
Once I understood my ideas and was able to put what I was envisioning on paper, I began the process of deciding the materials I would use and how much they would cost. Especially with superhero costumes, it is easiest to look at how their clothing or armor moves and decide creatively how to best emulate that movement rather than material. For Black Widow, I knew her suit was made out of a specialized polymorphing fabric, which was not an option for me to build with; additionally her widow makers contain electrical currents, which most conventions would not allow. So my parts/material list looked something like this:
- Shirt: Under Armour, $40
- Pants: Under Armour, $60
- Belts (homemade)
- Patches: $15 on Etsy
- Boots: Walmart or Amazon, $20
- Makeup: whatever you want
- Holsters: (these were a more recent addition) Amazon, $30
- Widow Makers: Amazon, $20 (bandolier belt)
This is just a rough estimate of prices, and I likely could have found materials other places as well. While working on building, I went through large amounts of trial and error to see what would and would not work (like sewing a zipper onto an Under Armour shirt is a terrible plan). Being in college and having little money, I found what I could for as cheap as possible, but not skimping too much on quality. This costume has clothes that I can wear on a regular basis (like the boots and pants) as well as specialized things that are only for dressing up.
Now, once I had all the materials I wanted to work with, I made sure the base layers were finished first, so I wouldn’t be trying on all of the layers in different stages of completion. This means that I began working on this a couple months ahead of time. This cosplay was originally only going to be a Halloween costume, but then when I saw how much I liked it, I decided to use it for cosplay instead and I continually tweak and adjust pieces I’m less satisfied with, hopefully to eventually sell it or make more for others.
What are the steps you take when building a cosplay?