Meeting Your Characters: Cosplay

(Video taken off Youtube obviously.)

This one might need a little more explanation and I’m only slightly aware of how to do that.  Mostly because I have no costume making skills and my one attempt was so bad that nobody knew I was in costume.  To be fair, I didn’t want to dress up due to having glasses and being self-conscious.  Also being short and chubby doesn’t help.  Enough about me here.

Cosplay is when someone makes a costume of an existing character or based on an existing character.  They wear it at a convention or for some other reason.  I’m not talking about Trick-or-Treating, which I’m sure one or two people are already thinking of.  This is on another scale and it’s simply amazing to see.  From what I can tell from talking to others, people pick characters that they have an interest in.  Maybe it’s the challenge of the costume or they connect to the character.  Either way, it does feel like it’d be an honor to be chosen for such an activity.

Why would it be an honor?  Imagine the time, patience, and creativity that goes into the costumes that you saw in the video.  Most, if not all, of those are handmade and carefully crafted.  I follow a cosplayers on Facebook and they show their process, which reminds me of how much work I put into my stories.  There’s planning, outlining, piece-by-piece creation, and even a little ‘editing’.  One can only imagine the anguish that an author goes through when having to rewrite a book.  Imagine if you’re working on a costume and have to go back.  There’s no reset button when cutting and molding materials.  Yes, I’m in awe of those that can do stuff like this.

This isn’t even mentioning when a cosplayer alters an idea for an interesting twist.  For example, I’ve seen a lot of ‘gender bending’ pictures.  This is where somebody makes a costume of a character and changes the gender.  There are times this is done for comedy and other times it’s done in all seriousness.  I see a lot of female cosplayers do this because there are more male than female characters and I guess you can only do Supergirl, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman so often.  Seriously though, these are interesting to see because it shows a great amount of creativity and, most times, respect for the original character.  I can hear a few authors grumbling about messing up their babies.  Yet, I still see this as entertaining and something to be proud of.  The cosplayer put thought into how to do this and they probably wouldn’t if you designed a boring or lackluster character.

Just like Fan Art and Fan Letters, this requires taking time and putting yourself out there, which any artist can understand.  Again, this is an area that I only have a brief idea about from talking to friends and reading stuff.  Also checking out a bunch of Youtube videos from the San Diego Comic Con.  Anybody out there a cosplayer or have a bunch of knowledge to drop on us?  What would you think if you saw someone dressed as one of your characters?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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32 Responses to Meeting Your Characters: Cosplay

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    “What would you think if you saw someone dressed as one of your characters?” Don’t know about that, but if you asked what they would think of me doing the same…Ruddy lunatic, probably… but then, you’d only have to speak to those who came to the workshops of the villagers who opened their curtains to find a gold-winged Isis wandering down the road… 😉

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  2. L.S. Engler says:

    I’m a (very) amateur cosplayer, but I’m starting to get into it much more. Since I want to start “working the cons” here in Chicago on a more professional level, though, I don’t know how much deeper I’ll get into it. Right now, I’m hoping to just get together a Paula and Ness costume from Earthbound for me and the boy for ACen next year and I’ll be happy. Cosplay is just so much fun…even when your costume is kind of mediocre like mine are, you just get these great fans so excited to see what you’ve done and spark up conversations with you. I’m a pretty shy person, but the con energy can really open you up. And it can be a lot of fun to put the costumes together, though, really, so far, the most involved thing I’ve done is dye a white wig blue for my boyfriend to dress up as Rick Sanchez.

    Man, if I went to a con and saw someone dressed as my own character, I might lose my shit. But, like, internally, because note the aforementioned shy. I would be too excited and fangirling to probably even say something to the person and have a little minor panic attack….IF I was just walking the con floor. If I was at a booth on a professional level and someone came up to me in costume, I would gush over them and feel incredibly honored and take a million pictures and probably give them a million free books. Seriously, what a great compliment! One day…one day.

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    • I’m curious how a pro cosplayer works. Do you get invited to events and paid to walk around the conventions? Or do you run a table and teach others how to do it?

      I’d definitely go for the pictures. Even if I was on the con floor.

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      • L.S. Engler says:

        I would feel so strange going up to someone and being all, “I CREATE YOU OMG,” especially since I’d likely be in costume, too, but, now that I think about it, that could also be a lot of fun, lol.

        From what I understand, yup, that’s pretty much what the professional ones do. There was a show on SyFy not long ago, “Heroes of Cosplay,” that, while not without some glaring flaws, highlighted some of the more professional, well-known cosplayers, especially Ya-Ya Han, who has made a whole career out of it, including producing little costume accoutrements like horns and wings. We saw her husband working the booth at ACen which was kind of surreal because we’d seen him on the show and had to do a double-take.

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      • I wouldn’t be in costume, so I’d approach to ask about a picture and see if they recognize me. It’d be funny to get the pic and them not know until afterwards. Might be a bit mean though.

        I follow a few on Facebook and I saw commercials for the show. Due to my total inability, I never really looked too far into it. Must be odd to see people in real life after seeing them on TV.

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      • L.S. Engler says:

        Oooh, I kind of like that idea. If they don’t recognize you, and then you post the pic on your blog or something later, lol. Yeah, kinda mean, but still…

        And, yeah, I love cons, but I turn into such a slack-jawed idiot, especially when passing by the celebrity signing booths or going by Artist Alley and recognizing people whose work I admire. Surreal truly is the best word for it….maybe Amazing as well. 🙂

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      • Guess it depends on how you play it off on the blog. I would be surprised if people don’t recognize the author though.

        I’ve only been to a handful of cons and I never interacted with cosplayers. What I mean is that I looked at them, but didn’t get pictures. Thought it would be rude since I didn’t know the ettiquette.

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      • L.S. Engler says:

        Quite a few of my favorite authors, I have no idea what they look like. It’s the indies that I know personally or the really big celebrity ones like Rowling or Martin that ever have “faces” for me…

        There are, of course, exceptions, but, yeah, if you’re dressing up for a con, you’re dressing up for a little bit of attention. It’s a badge of honor to be stopped and asked for a picture, and I’d say it’s bad etiquette to get annoyed with people wanting to take picture. You sign up for the attention the moment you put that costume on (though I totally get it because I very, very rarely take pictures myself because I don’t like bothering people, lol).

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      • Funny how cosplaying can go against some of the rules we’re brought up with like ‘no staring’, ‘no approaching strangers’, etc.

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      • L.S. Engler says:

        I think cons in general break the rules of the ordinary worlds. They’re their own little microcosms, with their own societal expectations, and that’s why they’re so endlessly fascinating to me.

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  3. I love cosplaying at conventions and seeing others cosplay too. It’s a great experience.

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  4. twixie13 says:

    I’m a bit of a casual cosplayer…I don’t get a lot of opportunity to go to conventions, so I sort of have to use Halloween as an excuse to do so. Now, if I were to see someone cosplaying one of my characters, particularly one of the main ones, I feel like I’d go through the following thought process… “Holy shit, someone read it?!” to “I wonder how they made the tail/cybernetic limbs…”.

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    • I haven’t dressed up in a long time. I tend to be the one in a graphic t-shirt in a crowd. I think my thought process would be similar, but I don’t have cybernetic attachments to wonder about. Mostly weapons, but I’m sure those are peace-tied.

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  5. I think that this would be one of the greatest forms of flattery. Who wouldn’t want someone to like a character so much that they want to design and wear a costume of them. It would be a really cool thing to see.

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  6. Just saw the Compass Key advertised on the front page of Goodkindles! Awesome!

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    • Thanks. I hope it helps. For some reason the Amazon ranking is plunging even though the book is selling. I have no idea what this means. Maybe a lot of books debuted or a lot of authors are trying to do a post-summer push. At least in the fantasy genre.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It would be cool to see Fritz, Fizzle, or Nyx walking around. 🙂

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  8. Jack Flacco says:

    I’ve seen some pretty awesome cosplay costumes online and wondered how on earth did they find the time to make such incredible designs. One of my favorite ones I’ve seen is of Tomb Raider. Not only did she have the full getup, but she also sported fake guns to go with it. It was a pretty amazing shot.

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