In every anime convention you'll go to, you will see beginner cosplayers. You can tell they're beginners because they often are the most worried about how they look. Some look great, others look awful. Ever wonder why some look great, while others look terrible?
We talked to advanced cosplayers and cosplay models to find out how people can avoid cosplay mistakes, look great, and actually enjoy con time. Here are the best general cosplay tips for beginners, intermediates, and advanced costumers.
"Most people will appreciate a valid shot at cosplay."
If you're going on major cosplay sites, it's way too easy to get intimidated by the amazing cosplays some people make. With many professional cosplayers, costumers end up helping them make those costumes. Not everyone has the money, time, or skill to create massive works of art.
Even if you just buy a hokey costume from a Halloween store, most people will still happily compliment it, add you on Facebook, and ask you what other anime conventions you're going to.
Many of the cosplayers out there said that one of the best cosplay tips for beginners they could give is to just give it a shot. Don't worry about what others think, just have fun with it.
"Don't be afraid to ask others for cosplay tips."
One of the best cosplay tips for beginners we've ever heard is about branching out. Don't be afraid to talk to others at conventions. If you see someone who made an incredible cosplay, then by all means, approach them, compliment them, and ask them how they made it.
There's no shame in asking, and you'll likely find that most cosplayers are happy to share some guidance. In fact, many people might also say that cosplay is one of the most welcoming communities you can join. If you want to learn to sew, then it'll work well for you to reach out to others who can teach you.
"Do it because you love it, not for money and fame."
Have there been famous cosplayers? Absolutely. Have there been cosplayers who have ended up making money because of their amazing costumes? Yes. However, they also tend to be into cosplay because they are passionate about the craft.
One of the best cosplay tips for beginners who want to be the next Yuffie Bunny is that it may not be a good idea. Professional cosplay is very competitive, and it is still first and foremost a community. Moreover, it's a community that takes its craft very seriously.
There's a major problem among cosplay celebs these days, primarily because there are a lot of people who just cosplay because they want to be rich, have fans, or get attention. This in turn leads to a lot of drama involving cosplayers using people, which obvious hurts feelings.
If people get the vibe that you're cosplaying characters you don't actually like, or if they feel you may only be networking with them for the potential of getting "up there in the league," they will drop you like a rock.
Overall, one should never enter cosplay with any goal other than having fun. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for failure.
"Choose your costume wisely."
If you ask costumers, one of the best cosplay tips for beginners is to choose costumes that would naturally complement their looks and build. Thankfully, the geek universe is filled with characters of every shape and size.
For example, someone who has a thin build and naturally pale skin probably would make a very realistic Pearl. Meanwhile, girls who have thicker thighs may want to choose Chun-Li. If you are a male with a facial scar, Ichi The Killer may be a good choice.
Additionally, one of the other smarter tips beginners should know is that they should choose something that is relatively easy to do using the skill set you have. Cosplays involving leotards and catsuits, for example, tend to be easy to make. All you really have to do is accessorize them to make them match your character.
Bigger, bulkier cosplays can easily get ruined in transit. So, if you have a lot of gear, make sure that it can be packed easily without too much jostling around. This is, once again, why zentai suits and similar costumes tend to be the best picks for beginners.
Larger pieces also might need to be foldable or reduced in size in order to make it work. Armor, for example, should be able to be pulled part into pieces so that it doesn't end up getting broken while you're driving to your next con.
For those who tend to worry about costumes getting wrecked in transit, this might be one of the best cosplay tips for beginners they can learn. Hopefully, they didn't have to learn it through the hard way.
"For your own sake, choose light materials."
Some of the best cosplay costumes you'll ever see will be large, massive creations involving bulky materials or thick costume material. You will praise them and envy them - until you realize that the person inside that costume is about to pass out from heat stroke.
Do not be the person who makes the mistake of wearing a bulky cosplay costume in the middle of summer. Even if it does look good, you'll hate wearing it.
"Facepaint and bodypaint don't usually look good for long."
One of the biggest mistakes many cosplayers make is choosing to do the whole "facepaint thing" as a way to improve the look of their cosplay. Most of the time, the paint they use will do nothing but clog up pores, run, or look streaky.
Want to look better? Use painted nylon stockings or a zentai suit as a base for your body, then powder your face for a lighter hue that won't run. So far, this may be one of the best cosplay tips for beginners or advance folks we've heard!
"The best way to ensure your character looks good is to make sure YOU look good."
One of the harsher cosplay tips for beginners we've heard from the pros deals with the cosplayers themselves.
One of the players explained, "You can't expect your costume to look 100 percent amazing if you aren't doing much to improve your look, either. If you've got a lot of acne or are overweight, your best bet is to work on yourself. The better you look, the better your cosplay looks."
Is it harsh? Yes, but at the same time, we have to admit it's true. A cosplay beginner who clearly takes care of themselves will probably look a lot better than the greasy-looking one who was working for hours on their costume.