Life + Arts

DO IT YOURSELF: Costume veterans dish advice

A cosplay workshop hosted by UH student group Anime No Kai on Oct. 2 helped give craft enthusiasts critiques, advice and ideas for better masquerading.

‘Cosplay’ is the art of making costumes to mimic a comic, movie or anime character. To help people make convincing and eye-catching outfits, members of Anime No Kai gave tips and tricks for do-it-yourself costuming.’

Eager cosplayers-to-be brought pictures of the characters they desired to portray in order to get insight on how to best construct their costumes.

Undeclared sophomore Lauren Mohan, a cosplay critic, said the workshop was designed to help people who love anime and cosplay to learn from others with more experience.

Cosplaying can get expensive, especially when it comes to more elaborate and exotic costumes.

Getting to know experienced cosplayers can help save money in the long run. Knowledgeable cosplayers may have experience sewing or welding, or with locating hard-to-find materials.

‘If your weapon is really detailed and intricate, it’s good to make a cut-out of it beforehand,’ Mohan said.’

Light woods, plastics or cardboard can be good for this. Acrylic and spray paints can also be used to add color.

When building prop weapons, it’s best to use cheap and light materials, such as PVC pipes, which can be turned into extravagant costume weaponry. The thicker the PVC pipe being used, however, the heavier the weapon becomes.

Certain conventions have strict rules about weapon replicas, and not knowing them can lead to having expensive pieces of equipment confiscated.

A cosplayer’s face can be as important as their clothing or accessories.’ Creative writing senior and cosplay veteran Kathleen Bagley said that masqueraders can use common make-up accessories to spice up their costumes.

The illusion of having wider eyes can be created with various eyeliners and fake eyelashes. Custom contacts are stunning, too.

Running around at conventions all day can leave attendees sweaty and tired. Applying primers for lipstick, base and eyeshadow can prevent smudging and smearing.’

Gravity-defying anime-style hair can be created with products such as Got2b freeze spray.

A change in hair color, on the other hand, must be planned in advance, and will often require professional help. Wigs are an option, but Bagley said it’s important to buy wigs in person and not online.

‘ ‘It’ll come in a bag, and it’ll be all bent out of shape, and you can’t straighten it, curl it, or style it with heat, because it’s most likely a synthetic material and will melt,’ Bagley said.

Most importantly, cosplayers must be comfortable in their costumes. It’s never a good idea to wear a skin-tight leotard or a revealing bikini if it doesn’t feel right.

In addition to designing costumes, cosplayers must also remember to stay in character. If a character has a gimmick or unique accessory, invest time in recreating it to the fullest. Also observe their posture and mannerisms. Hours spent practicing in front of a mirror or friends will result in priceless photo opportunities at conventions.

With a little planning and dedication, Halloween parties and conventions such as the Texas Renaissance Festival provide great venues for people to show off their cleverness and devotion to cosplay.

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