Tips For Causal Cosplayers.
Some things that have helped me out.
Here are some tips in what has helped me as a cosplayer.
1. Discard the mindset that a simple cosplay is bad.
When I started cosplaying, I knew I would not be as big or elaborate as others. I feel no shame in saying this. When I first started, I did not have access to the big name props or costumes that others flaunted. It was not out of laziness, but rather a lack of design abilities. Therefore, I did what I could do in the way of cosplaying. Obtaining what I had available. Since I did not have much in the way of money or means of creating props, I used what I had. In short, these "Closet Cosplays" while not as fancy as others, did allow me to cosplay to my hearts content.
To put it simply, I started out small. I did not spend lots of money on props nor did I try so much in one go. Many people whom start out believe they need to have an elaborate cosplay in order to be noticed. If you see my Eraserhead cosplay, its not a fancy one. Yet, many people have walked up to me at cons and photographed me in that cosplay. To this day, I am proud of my Eraserhead cosplay and will continue to wear it.
2. Cosplay what you are familiar with.
Another great tip that helped me with cosplaying was I only dressed as characters I knew. Aside from Eraserhead, other cosplays I did were Ned Flanders, Dr. Stein from Soul Eater, a generic Star Trek captain, and an aged version of Link from Legend of Zelda. I also cosplayed as a Slytherin Fratboy from Harry Potter! Now that was a fun one right there!
All of which were familiar not just to those whom watched these shows or played the games, but to me as well.
Although my Link cosplay is considered a joke by many (and its on purpose believe it or not), I am at least familiar with Legend of Zelda to know who Link is and what he wears. As for Ned Flanders, he was a simple cosplay I did when I obtained a pull over sweater, salmon colored shirt, tan slacks, and a bible. (NOTE: This cosplay has been retired.) My Star Trek captain's uniform was created when I took the top half of a Star Trek the Next Generation pajama set and some black slacks. Not much of a cosplay, but it was enough to garter a few views (and photos).
In short, all of these cosplays were from shows and films I understood very well. It would have been self defeating for me to have cosplayed; say, as a character from the new Voltron series. While I am familiar with Voltron (as well its new incarnation) I know nothing much about it having not seen it. Therefore, I do not see myself cosplaying as a Voltron character any day soon.
In closing, I will stick to cosplaying what characters I know. That way, I have a better grasp of the mannerisms of said character.
3. If you cannot make props, purchase or commission them.
Please, for the love of all that is good and great, if you cannot make the props, please purchase them. I do not care if you ordered off of etsy or amazon. All I am asking for right here is if you lack the skills in elaborate prop creation, its best to let an experienced prop builder take care of it. This will save you the time, energy, and hassle of creating a prop yourself.
I cannot begin to tell you the times I purchased props from etsy. This has saved me time in more ways than one. It has helped me obtain what I needed for my cosplays.
Better still, if you have something laying around your house that could be used as a prop, by all means use it! The Bible I used for my Ned Flanders cosplay was a Bible that had been laying around my house. Since it fit well with the character of Ned Flanders, I decided on using it.
In regards to my Slytherin Fratboy cosplay, I used a red dixie cup and a simple toy wand as my props. Simple? Yes. Effective? Yes. Conveying the point and purpose of the cosplay? Absolutely!
NOTE: While unrelated, I would also like to stress if you are going to use toy guns as a prop for a cosplay, PLEASE GET THEM CHECKED OUT BEFORE GOING IN THE CONVENTION AND DO NOT POINT THEM AT ANYONE OR SECURITY OR ANY POLICE OFFICERS WHOM ARE PRESENT!
4. Learn From Others.
One of the best ways to become a better cosplayer is to learn from others. At cons, you will come across various other cosplayers whom have been cosplaying for years. Many of them will be more than happy to give you the tips that they utilize. In fact, some may even tell you how to improve your cosplay or where to obtain some good props and costumes out right!
It never hurts to ask. And it never hurts to inquire. Another thing to remember: cosplay should be about fun.
I hope these tips come in handy for all of my fellow cosplayers. Until then, have fun and enjoy the conventions!