The Ultimate Guide to COSPLAY

Chapter 1. What is Cosplay?


Cosplay is a Japanese term which simply means costume and roleplay. In other words, cosplay is like dressing up a character from anime, manga, movie, book, video game, or even a band. It is a practice of acting and portraying someone who’s a fictional character while being in costume ¾ bringing the fictional character to life.

But…….Cosplay is not just plainly costuming. It is a unique form of art, built of creativity, inclusivity, and diversity. Cosplay is the home for the creative and artists. And the people do cosplay are called cosplayers. People do this for many reasons. Love for the character, getting attention and appreciation from peers and people, to make tons of amazing friends but most specifically expressing what you love through cosplay.

Cosplay has grown over the years especially now that internet became widespread. With the help of new technologies, community acceptance, and many dedicated cosplayers, cosplay is seen to even go and grow further in the coming years because more and more people are interested in cosplay.


Cosplay phenomenon began during the 1970’s and 1980’s in Japan. The term cosplay was coined and invented by a Japanese reporter Nov Takahashi to describe what he saw at the ‘84 WorldCon event¾ people wearing costumes and stage masquerade with the biggest and brightest costumes. It is a Japanese portmanteau of the English word costume and play.

Though this sort of costumes and costume-wearing traditions became famous during the early 80’s WorldCon event in New York, it has all been established during this time. Creation of costume had been going on for decades already since science fiction convention is a traditional event. It has already begun at 1939 when Forrest J. Ackerman went to the World Science Fiction Convention dressing up as a futuristic spaceman. Since then, Ackerman was credited being the trend-setter that his decision to dress up like a spaceman  instead of wearing a typical street clothing spawned gradually many imitators as well as emulators which is carried through the years, 1940s, 50’s and 60’s.  But because media existed just a little at that time besides the literature, early costumes tend to be informal and original or simply considered as a generic design. Thus, the trend established during the 1939 WorldCon event is the one fandom tradition that should be known to the origin of hobby costuming which lasts up until today and ties us with our sewing machines.

It is then said that Americans invented cosplay but Japanese are the ones who turned cosplay into an art. Apparently, after reading Takahashi’s report in a somewhat like Japanese fanzine, fans which are Japanese began to make costumes basing to their favorite character from the anime. That’s why many fans thought that Japanese invented cosplay because it is much more careered and sophisticated in Japan.



Chapter 2. Why I Cosplay

Some people may have the misperception that cosplayers want attention. Wearing anything to make them feel accepted and important. Cosplayers are socially rejected who have struggles in finding place in the world, and tend to be desperate for friends. And cosplayers are confused and insecure about their identity that’s why they have to put on the fictional character persona. These are the most common false assumptions why cosplayers do cosplay.

Actually, cosplayers have multitude of reasons why he/she cosplay. Here are some of the common real reasons why……

  • Because cosplayers are also a fan. They love comics, video games and drawn deeply in the world of anime and manga. Sometimes, they want to live in the unrealistic world where magic exist and superheroes were real taking the sky to save the day. Letting imaginations run wild which can create incredible playgrounds. The characters’ weaknesses and strengths, their triumphs inspires cosplayers to become a better person. Placing yourself in your favorite characters’ shoes is very empowering. It makes the cosplayers world as an ordinary person colorful, vivid, and fantastical place.
  • Because cosplayers are creative in nature and wanted to learn more. Even though a cosplayer is no good at painting and sewing, he/he has always creative imaginations. And everything could be learned if you are interested and have patience. Cosplayers are realistic, and approves that there is always room for improvement. Cosplayer wanted to work out their imaginations even how hard it is.
  • Because cosplayers are social. They enjoy chatting with people with the same interests, taking pictures, and sharing ideas ¾ collaborating on costumes and learning new lessons for own craft improvement. Cosplayers also love meeting up with fellow fans from all over the world as they converge during cons. Cosplay itself serves as an effective instant icebreaker. Mutual admiration of a character gives you something in common with the people you just met or even you’ve never met. It gives cosplayer a chance to make a true and fulfilling friendship through encounters with different people while in costume.
  • Because cosplayers enjoy the attention. Every cosplayer appreciates the attention they get with their cosplay, but not in the vicious way because some try to frame it and make it their ultimate goal. It shouldn’t be the ultimate goal, but rather a beautiful windfall. It is just normal for a cosplayer to feel proud when they get attention because it was made from hard work and they feel contented that their investment was all worth it. But aiming to get a sexually charged attention shouldn’t be a motivation, it is not a good. Being a cosplayer means having a respectful and right conduct.

Aside from the common reasons, there were also personal reasons of the cosplayers. These are personal reasons that I gathered from the cosplayers I’ve asked why they do cosplay.

  • It is about expressing the things you love. It gives you a nice feeling when you devote a part of yourself to something. Cosplay is hard that requires a lot of time but that’s half the fun for every cosplayer.
  • Being in cosplay is like a badge of pride. It allows you to wear anything you want and anything that you’re interested and simply being proud of it. It can be very challenging at the same time frustrating but when you see your costume come alive, is very rewarding.
  • It boosts self-confidence. Cosplay helps every unwanted, ugly, and awkward feeling turn around. It is very effective way in helping oneself to be comfortable with the outward look, and be more emotionally confident.


Chapter 3. When and Where to Cosplay?


You can do cosplay whenever and wherever you want. You can do it all alone, with your friends, with family, or even with the people you don’t know. You can actually do it and nothing can stop you with that, but a good cosplayer is smart. Being smart means considering other people also, places, rules, and not only doing it to meet with his/her own satisfaction without thinking.

There are proper places for cosplay. There is also a right time when you should do cosplay. Cosplay can be presented in multiple places in multiple ways. Basically, the most popular way of presenting cosplay are during Anime Conventions or fan conventions.

You can do cosplay whenever you want but in the right places. I mean you can cosplay in your house anytime, but you cannot just simply go to school or to the city with a complete costume because there are standards that you have to follow and respect. Moreover, you’re costume might be dangerous or may look dangerous to others even it’s not; you might frighten children or someone who didn’t know about cosplaying. It will not be safe for you as well as to the others.

Yes I know, cosplaying is associated with pride and attention. It’s flattering when someone notices you or someone pays attention on you especially when almost all of them are saying good things about you’re costume. It is just that, put you’re hobby in the right place so you can’t encounter problems you don’t want to experience.

Here are some places you might show off your cosplay….

  • Conventions

The famous way of presenting cosplay in public. These conventions are usually dedicated to anime, manga, TV shows, comics, video games, fantasy and science fiction. Because cosplay has grown big over time, lot of places all over the world are having this event to cater the hobby of all the artists and fans. These conventions have its standards and rules to follow. This is very important. Hundreds and thousands of con-goers are participating this event. Participants are wearing their best and amazing costumes with all the props and acting because there is a competition who would be the best cosplay.

  • Halloween Party

Also a famous way of presenting cosplay in public. Like conventions, this has its rules too that should be followed. This is almost the same with the convention but it is just that this is done during Halloweens and participants are smaller than in the anime conventions. Similarly, this event has its contest for the best costume.

  • Birthday Party

Another way to show off cosplay in public but event itself is usually private. Only the invited persons are costuming. Sometimes there is contest for the best costume but really depends on the event host. This convention is simply for fun and celebration, and not a competition.

  • And other costumed events

This can be a form of fashion show, school events, pictorials, and small themed-party.


Chapter 4. Who Should I Cosplay As?


Before going in for an Anime Convention, it’s important to think wisely who you’re going to cosplay. You should think out who’s the best character fits you. You should also consider if the event requires a theme for you to blend in. You don’t want to be the center of attraction just because you don’t follow the theme.

You cannot do a cosplay just for a Convention but you can do it whenever you want it. You have the freedom to do it. It is just that, it’s more fun when you cosplay with any other cosplayers.

In cosplay, who you are cosplaying matters. But on the top of all your work and efforts, at the end of the day what matters most is that you had a good time.

So here’s what you have to know in cosplaying:

  1. Determine whom you want to cosplay. What costume you want to wear? Is it for a big event like Anime Convention or just for fun; something to wear when touring around the city? Is it your first time to cosplay? You might go with a character using a simpler and less difficult outfit. On the other hand, if you aren’t get affected with the unusual stares or possible harassment, you can go freely all out. Anyway, whatever outfit you wear will work but still, the more unique your costume is, the more chances of standing out among everyone out there.


  1. Choose a character that’s familiar to you. Don’t just choose a character with cool outfits and hair. Choose something that you know about to avoid difficulties in explaining to someone asking what’s your cosplay. It’s a big help when you have a personal connection with you character though.
  • What are the interests and talents of your character? You know, this can really help you act/play your character when in costume.
  • Do you know your character’s usual lines/ best lines? Use this to give a final touch; it’s a lot easier when you already like the character.
  • Villains, tortured, and twisted characters are also nice to cosplay. Meaning, you don’t have to like only the good characters, you’re free and entitled to do anything of them.


  1. A character who match with your personality. A shy person would pick a character that rarely shows off face or the character with full body armour, a happy-go lucky character wouldn’t suit you. If you’re the kind of a person who enjoys adventure, hyper, happy, don’t pick a villain-like character.

Your character could be from a movie, show, anime, manga, game or even a band. It could be an American, Japanese, Alien, opposite gender or an animal.


Keeping a list of characters every time you’re watching or reading something and think to yourself, “its fun cosplay them” is also essential in choosing a good character for your cosplay. I really find it helpful keeping a list of the characters I’d like to cosplay as I think of them. Most of my best cosplay experience are cosplaying characters I love, and it challenges me to do their costume as I’m learning a new skill out of doing it.


Chapter 5. Types of Cosplay: Who are you?

  1. The Crafters
  • The cosplayers who are very articulate with props.
  • Best in prop wielding and armor-making.
  • See them at cons only for few hours coz their cosplay costume pieces are heavy, big, and just great.
    1. The Bishi
  • The pretty/handsome cosplayers ("bishoujo" or "bishounen," )
  • They are those who gravitate character or character designs of handsome/beautiful/cute.
  • Have the best makeup, wigs, and contact lenses of their character creating Bishi effect perfectly.
  • During conventions, you’ll see those taking pictures most of the time just to get their perfect shot.
    1. The Fabrics
  • Best in sewing and crafts.
  • Have all the hardware in sewing with the horsepower and they all knew about how to’s of it.
  • Usually wins convention’s cosplay contests.


  1. The Theatrics
  • In cosplay, they have the epitome of “play”.
  • Not just perfect costumes nor pretty makeup to these cosplayers, they’re more about personality of their fun character.
  • Can find them on convention floors re-enacting different scenes for the passersby during conventions.


  1. The LULZ
  • Cosplayers who comes in a wide range, from inside jokes to chock and awe.
  • Crazy and creative.
  • Often see them on con floor terrorizing and entertaining other people at the con, photo bombing or livening up usually the panel room.


  1. The Crossplayers
  • Cosplayers who do cosplay as an opposite sex.


Chapter 6. How to Get Started?

Cosplaying is hard, we all knew that. And cosplaying is expensive, that’s a fact. However, it’s all worth it when you’re standing and lurking out in your wonderful attractive costume at the Anime Convention or even on streets having fun. Cosplaying is not just about acting or playing like the manga and anime character, but more on being like the character or making them alive.

Everyone is free to do cosplay; it’s fun, challenging and self-enhancing hobby. Here is how…….

Who you want to cosplay?

  • Do you want to be an opposite sex, a villain, or a protagonist? Decide and choose a character that is close to you; something that has personal response to you and that fits your personality.
  • Do you just want it for fun wearing it on street or at a convention? Decide. You can be bold with your outfit if you don’t mind possible rude comments. You’re free. Outfit can be anything, anything will work but great and awesome costumes are more interesting that usually ones who will stand out.


How to get your cosplay costume?

  • Do you want to make the costume yourself or just buy a ready-made costume online or in a local stores? How much you can go on getting your costume? Consider the time and budget you have.
  • Think wisely. You don’t want to be disgusted with your costume. Whether you buy it or make it on your own, you still have to spend money for the materials. Making your costume from the scratch and may not be a good and effective idea especially when you’re out of time. You have to consider that you still have to put makeup and get the perfect hairdo, this also takes a lot of time whether if it’s a wig or your own hair.


If you choose to make the costume yourself; how should it be and what do the things that you still need to buy for you to make it? Have a list.

  • For example, if the character you have chosen is wearing a dress and jacket; what color are they? Are they tight or lose? What kind of fabric is best for the costume?
  • The more detailed/complicated the costume is, the more difficult and more time needed. Be realistic. Consider that you can’t make it perfect in one time. Give yourself extra time for fixing eventual mistakes. You don’t want to have an unfinished costume so better to have it early.


Your costume

  • Think about the weather. Is it humid, cozy, or windy?
  • Decide which outfit you would go. Many characters have more than one costume/outfit; choose which one.
  • Have the idea about costume rules when going to a con.


Allocate extra time to practice your makeup, how to put in and take out lenses, and fixing/styling your wig. I swear, it would really take a lot of your time in order to make it just as good as you’re imagining. Be patient, and try to use and discover different techniques and products.


Put all what to be put on and look straight to the mirror. Do this when everything is well done.  What’s your look? Is it exactly like your chosen character? If the answer is no, you should try and analyze why, what’s wrong with it. Don’t be afraid to make some changes. Also, better to have a friend right beside you when doing this. Their honest opinion would really be a great help for you.

Be confident to cosplay. Practice your character’s poses especially those he/she do a lot.  Studying the way your character move, walk, and talk or everything about your character are the best way to be confident. When you can exactly imitate him/her, there’s no way for you to be tripped off with your cosplay.

Have some fun! Have fun in whatever you do, and wherever to would be. Walking around the city, at a party or at a convention, cosplay in the right way! Meaning, have fun in doing your cosplay.

Don’t forget that cosplay is for everyone, regardless of skin color, body type, weight, etc. There’s no place for racism and discrimination in cosplay. Cosplaying is simply to have fun and great time. You can be whoever, whatever you want to be.

As always, be aware of your budget. Yes, cosplaying is expensive. And no one ever said that cosplaying is cheap! Cosplaying is more of creativity, techniques and making ways. But just be practical, choose a costume that fits your budget.  You don’t have to break your long time piggy bank for you to look wonderful.

Pick a costume that you exactly can take care of. Does your closet have enough space to accommodate and store your costume? Are you sure you know how to prevent and keep your wig from tangling? Be sure to keep your costume, wigs and props in good shape, you give too much effort on them plus they’re expensive you know.


Chapter 7. Cosplay Do’s and Don't

Convention, it is where like heaven for all who loves cosplay; a place where YOU can fantastically be YOU; a place where you can see your favorite celebrities; and a place where the people won’t put rolling eyes on your weirdo tattoos or your outfit. It is where you feel HOME.

But it takes a lot of navigation for you to successfully get through a con. That is why I made this, just like any other things, cosplay has also its ruling.  I would like to share this list of do’s and don’ts, so that if anybody would like to go to a con, this would be a great help for you to have the confidence in going to a con and have an outstanding cosplay experience.


  1. Do a character that you like, relate with, and enjoy and not the character whom you hate.
  2. Do study and take time to know your character’s best lines and mannerisms. Pay attention how your character carry himself or herself.
  3. Be proud of your costume even if it is not as good as others. Don’t worry if people laugh at your costume, as long as you knew how much you spent a lot of your time, effort and money on it.
  4. Do accept constructive criticisms. Remember, there is always a room for improvement, even those cosplayers who’ve been cosplaying for a long time.
  5. Do props made from lightest material. You’ll be carrying it for a long time; you don’t want to have this burden all day.
  6. Do make sure your wig is secure especially when the character you’re cosplaying has an unusual hairstyle. You don’t want to fix it by time to time in the middle of the convention.
  7. Do have and bring at least 3 poses that expresses your character best. Try bringing the character into life. You might made someone’s good day.
  8. Do save a drama for the stage. You’ll realize it’s important.
  9. Do bring a small repair kit. In case anything goes wrong, you don’t have to panic. At least you include needles, safety pins, thread, extra button, glue gun, double-sided tape, etc. at your kit.
  10. Don’t cosplay just for the contests and win. Cosplay is not a competition; it is supposed to be a fun hobby for everyone.


  1. Don’t treat other cosplayers inferior just because their costume is not at its peak. All cosplayers are equal.


  1. Don’t think you are the best who cosplays your character. Put in mind that you are not the only one doing the same character. As I’ve told you we are all equal, no one is better than anyone else.


  1. Don’t criticize anyone just because of the quality of their costume. They might have also gave a lot of effort and worked hard and could’ve been proud of their work. But constructive criticism is okay, just be careful. Ex: “You know, maybe you want to try this technique, it may not be so fragile; that way you can wear your costume again!”


  1. Don’t overuse glue gun. It may be fabulous for some construction, but if too much, it starts to appear messy and unprofessional.


  1. Don’t be an anti-Camekos. A lot of them are not professional but don’t be afraid of them, you might do this a hobby instead. By the way, “cameko” is a cosplay photographer. Some of them will ask you different poses; pose a few that you think fit your character. Some of them ask specific poses, but you can tell them “no” if you don’t feel comfortable. Posing with friends is a lot of fun also. And smile, give this favor to everyone; this will brightens face and makes a better picture.


  1. Don’t be a loner. Cons are large places with so many things to do, so it’s better if you don’t go in by yourself. More fun if you have company who’ve gone to this before or do this with other newbies.


  1. Don’t forget to bring water, and snacks/food or else you’ll end up buying hotel and con expensive foods. Better to have snacks to last through the day and don’t skip meals. Get a decent lunch or dinner. If you don’t eat, you’ll not able to continue to enjoy the experience coz you feel weak. Water. Don’t ever forget this, your costume may be hot enough in the beginning plus the hundreds of con goers, you will really have a sauna.


  1. Don’t be eewy! Be clean and demonstrate what good hygiene is. Take shower, and put deodorant. You don’t want to have “fan funk” (the lazy congoers’ horrible smell) which can be almost deadly in the viewing rooms, game room, and dealer room. Actually there are cons which have strict policy on this; you’ll be remove from the con until you shower, if you’re not showing a good hygiene.


  1. Don’t forget to bring a camera. Believe me. You’ll regret if you don’t have this. You would like to capture and have a picture of those many great costume and you don’t want to end up slapping your own face. Video cameras are also great. And try asking for pictures with other congoers, it is actually a great move to meet new friends.


  1. Don’t get someone’s attention by shouting.0 Yes, cons are loud but they are crowded. If you’re shouting, it is just like shouting at someone next to you who doesn’t want to hear you as well.


  1. Don’t Allow friends insert in line.

Stop doing it, it’s unfair for those people who’ve been waiting like they’re supposed to. Put yourself in their shoes for example, I swear you never wanted that to happen also.


  1. Do pay attention in the dealer’s room.

Talking with your friends, taking pictures, or texting in the midst of the dealer’s room. Stop doing it because you’re holding everyone else up, dealer’s room is full of persons who’s waiting to buy stuff.


  1. Don’t try to take pictures in hallways that are full of people.

You’re being rude to people wanted to pass by you and……probably you’re not going have a good shot in situation like that. Step aside if you want to take pictures of you.

  1. Don’t share badges with friends or go without a badge.

Yes it practical and seem to be a good idea: sharing badges with friends and go to the convention for free. But…’re taking advantage of what con has to offer. Convention itself are paying for the venue or hotel and the free food that is serve. Please have a conscience! The more people who go without paying, the more costly it is to run a con and badge prices will definitely go up. However, it’s unfair to your friend if he/she will let you use his/her badge.

Chapter 8. Cosplay Props: Basic rules

Review weapon’s policy of the convention.

Each convention has different policies. In terms of house rules, and prop/weapon rules. You should check the convention website first before planning and making a weapon prop. Also, weapon are just allowed on the convention grounds, don’t bring with you your weapons when going to the mall, park, restaurant, or etc.

Mark your weapons as “fake”

In cosplay, prop weapons were made to really be like real ones. To let the people know they were fake, you should put some indication to your prop that it is somehow fake.  People do this commonly with a bright-orange tape. You should use this visibly, like for the guns, the tip of it or the handle if ever the tip is not visible.

Be respectful.

There are certain kinds of props that require level of respect. Flag is an example. If you’re costume have to be incorporated with a flag representing something, do it with full respect especially when it represents a country. Same with religious symbols also.

Be responsible.

Always put an attention to your prop, what it is doing and where it is. Meaning, do not let your prop tripped off the hallway, smack in someone’s face, and knock stuff over in the dealer’s room. Most importantly, do not ever use your prop to hit or hurt someone on purpose.

Know how to pose.

Be sure to use your prop in your pose and do not let it just sit on the side doing nothing. Your prop will give a lot of variety of picture poses. It’s really important to know what you’re doing. You don’t want to look silly either. I know, it cannot be done overnight but just put a little effort to research on how to use your prop. Plus, it will help you look more professional with your photos.




Whether it’s you’re first time in a con, or you’ve been in such events for how many years, you’re a cosplayer , or a photographer, no matter who you are, there are some do’s and don’ts that continue true and real though mainly these rules are unspoken. These rules will allow each cosplayers and photographers to have great time in such events as well as gaining respect from others and making more friends.



Chapter 9.  Cosplay Photography



  • Keep quiet.

This is so, so, so important. When you’re in a crowd of 300+ people, it’s very difficult for the organizer to make themselves heard. So don’t shout at your friend at the other end of the hall. In fact, try not to speak too much at all. Silence your phone, turn off any portable music players, and keep your voice low if you must converse. This will make the photoshoot run smoothly and quickly.

  • Stay out of the way.

Don’t block hallways, escalators, doorways, or bathrooms. Keep yourself as much against the wall as possible. Keep your belongings on your person and off the floors. Hold large props above your head so they don’t take up as much space.

  • Pay attention to your surroundings.

Listen for the instructions of the organizer, make note of who might be trying to pass through the area, don’t space out or get lost in conversation. Make note of anyone nearby carrying a prop, so that you don’t accidentally jostle and damage it. At a convention I attended last weekend I didn’t get to be in hardly any photos of the group of my character because I was at the back of a large crowd and no one was paying enough attention to let me through. Being aware of what is going on around you will make the photoshoot go so much more smoothly.

  • Listen to con staff.

If security tells you that you have too many people in an area and you’re now a safety hazard, don’t gripe about it. Just promptly and calmly disperse. Organize yourself into smaller groups for more manageable photoshoots elsewhere. Pretty much everyone has cellphones anymore so keeping in contact with other people to do rotations is not that difficult. Don’t be ’that fandom’ that makes con staff and other attendees hate you. Seriously. (You know who you are. Yeah. Stop that.)

  • Help out when and if you can.

If it looks like the organizer is having a tough time keeping everyone in line, try to calm down and quiet the people nearest you. Positive peer pressure, people! If you’re being courteous to the organizer, people around you will be, too. Organizing a photoshoot, especially a very large one, is stressful and complicated. Make life a little easier for the poor people willing to do it.

  • Follow directions.

Typically the organizer will call out a certain character name or a certain type of group. Leave your belongings either out of the way or with a friend, hide your badge somewhere on your person, and calmly make your way to where the group is posing. After a certain amount of time, the organizer will do a countdown which is the warning to photographers to get their pictures in. Once the countdown finishes, clear the area for the next group as quickly as possible without rushing. 


Jumping in and ruining a picture is not funny or cute. Just don’t do it.

  • Be polite.

Don’t be rude to other people who might be trying to use the area for photos as well. Just because you’re a bigger group doesn’t mean you have a ‘right’ to the place. If they were there first, patiently break off into smaller groups to wait in an out-of-the-way area. Don’t heckle people or be rude in any fashion. It’s not cool, it’s not funny, and it will just make people hate your entire fandom. Don’t be those people. 

Just follow the manners and common sense you’ve been learning since Kindergarten. Being polite is not that complicated. If it seems like it will be disruptive, don’t do it. Simple stuff.


For Photographers

  • Always ask- There are plenty of reasons a person may not want their picture taken at a certain time (ex: running late for a panel, need to fix something on their costume, etc). Always ask before assuming it’s okay to photograph.
  • Respect the cosplayer’s wishes- If they’re not comfortable with something–even if it’s canon to the series–respect that and don’t ask again.
  • There’s a time for everything- If a person is eating, waiting in line for something, trying to set up a panel, or are clearly busy in any other way, don’t try to get their picture. Wait until they are free, or ask if there is another time where you might get a quick photo.
  • Say “thanks!”- Pretty self-explanatory. If you get a picture of someone, be sure to thank them.
  • Credit the cosplayer- If you’re posting photos on sites where other people will see them, be sure to give credit to the person in the picture. You can do this by asking for their URL, or by using the name on their badge. If all else fails, credit them by listing the name of the character, the place the photo was taken, the year, and by asking if anyone knows who to credit for that particular cosplay.

For Cosplayers

  • Vacate the hallways- If someone asks for your picture/you want your picture taken, don’t do it in a crowded hallway where people will be needing to get through.
  • Keep it clean- In a public setting, not everyone wants to see Naruto and Sasuke making out for a photo op…as attractive as that may be. Save sexy stuff for private photoshoots.
  • Be polite- If you wish to have someone take your photo, say “please.” If you just had your photo taken by someone, say “thank you.”
  • Pose- It’s not an etiquette tip, but forgetting to pose is probably the #1 thing that ruins cosplay photos. Try copying your character’s signature pose. If they don’t have one, do something that may reflect their personality. For the love of all things anime, just do something
  • Credit the photographer- Obviously there are times–like when someone just randomly asks for your picture, takes it, and walks away–when you won’t have the information to do this. However, if you are ever asking someone to take your photo, be sure to credit them. Especially if it’s for a photoshoot. 



Chapter 10. Cosplay Makeup





Everyone needs it. Being in cosplay is like being on stage, so it doesn’t matter whether you are a guy. You simply need it. Even if it’s just a foundation and eyeliner, later on you’ll realize how important it is and be thankful when you see pictures of yourself.



Wear some makeup base. It can be a foundation or a primer of your choice. You want your makeup to stay longer plus, it will help your face control its oiliness. Not only a foundation base is important, before applying eyeshadow, better to put some eyeshadow base. In that case, your eye makeup will stay as it was, no smudging or creasing.



Balance.  Don’t put so much and overdo it. Yes, when you cosplay, you’re like being on stage, but it’s not that literal. Everyone can actually see you up close so make your makeup lighter. Bright eyeshadow can be tone down with neutrals and go easy with the blush. Remember, balance is the basic rule of makeup. If you go bold with your lips, go easy with your eyes. And if you’re wearing so much eye makeup, never ever or don’t ever…..wear a super bright lipstick. A lot of people actually don’t recognize this. But in cosplay, eyes are the most important in which you need to play with your eyes and just want to put some pastel or nude lipstick on your lips. Otherwise, you don’t want to appear tacky.



Wear false lashes and/or decent mascara. As what I’ve told you, cosplay makeup needs you to play up your eyes. Most of the anime characters have really big eyes, and you want to achieve those I know. And what will make your eyes look bigger is false lashes. Eyeliner could make your eyes look bigger too but if you’re wearing too much eye makeup, your eyes are easily get lost from your entire face. False lashes counteract this making your eyes to look bigger and anime-like. Male characters can also wear false lashes.



Wear the right shade on your skin. Seriously, you should know what your skin tone is before putting foundation. You don’t want to see yourself in the pictures looking silly though.



Put some kind of finisher or sealer. When going to con, you’ll probably be there from early morning until very late at night. And your makeup, absolutely won’t last that long, makeup is not made to last long but to beautify. Best to get a finishing spray to keep a fresh-looking face all day long. Most of finishing sprays are body paint sealer also.



Pay extra attention to your eyebrows. Cover it up. This is another important thing. You don’t want to ruin your entire look just because your eyebrows don’t match your wig. If you don’t have any idea on this, you can look it up on online tutorials; youtube have dozen effective tutorials on this.



Make a try on putting your makeup before the con. In this case, you’ll know exactly what to do to your face on the con day. Take different angled pictures of yourself and try different lighting too when trying, to be sure it would look exactly the way you want it to be. 





  • Use primer.
  • Serves as a barrier between your skin and makeup which means primer first before foundation. It is very essential to make blending a lot smoother and make makeup long lasting than foundation alone. Have a decent primer but it doesn’t have to be a fancy brands. You can actually find a primer that's around $7 at your local drugstore or on the makeup aisle of the department stores.


  • Work in layers.
  • It is also an effective way to make your makeup last longer. Apply foundation coat by coat, meaning after applying foundation once, wait for few minutes (it will serve as the first coating) and then apply another coat. You’ll see, your face will look smoother and make your makeup a little bolder. It is also applicable in putting eyeliner. Same thing, apply the eyeliner pencil first and then go over it with your gel or liquid liner. You’ll also see, smudgy look (worn-off look) no more later on, and a more even and sharper lines.


  • Use waterproof makeup.
  • A perfect way to withstand tears, sweat and water without ruining your look. I know they’re hard to erase when the day ends, but you can use makeup remover to avoid the pain from scrubbing. Proven to last a lot longer compared to the non-waterproof makeup or the typical makeup.


  • Set your makeup.
  • This can be done after your makeup was applied; brush a layer of translucent powder over your face especially the areas like forehead and nose or areas that are easily oils.  This is essential if you don’t have finishing or setting sprays though setting spray are very good particularly when wearing a full face intense makeup like Homestuck.


  • Keep your hands off.
  • Strictly, refrain from touching your face. Keep your hands off from your face if you don’t want to wear off your makeup fast and easy. Simple gestures without thinking are commonly caused to wear off makeup. Like scratching your eyes, resting chin in the hands and pressing cellphone on your cheek and chin.


  • Bring a touch-up kit.
  • Your kit must include pressed powder, concealer, oil blotting sheets, lip color, at least a powder brush and a small mirror. Perfect for quick fixes on the go. It also helps you not to travel back again to your room whenever you have small makeup misfortune.



Recommended Makeup Brands for Cosplay:

For foundation, concealer and eyeshadow


Sephora (liner and eyeshadow)

Max factor

Revlon colorstay

L’oreal true match


Shu uemura

Urban decay



Body Paint:


PAX (sealing spray)

Ben Nye (sealing spray)

Temptu Dura Pro

Mehron Paradise makeup




Chapter 11. Cosplay Costumes

The hardest part of cosplaying ¾ making the costume. Of course everybody wants their costume to be a blast. I mean who would want a stupid and ugly costume, right? No matter how simple your costume or how complex it is, the important thing is you’re happy with it and you look nice with it.

It’s actually you’re choice if you want to have a blasting costume or not. If you don’t have the skills, time, effort, interest and patience of doing your own costume, well you can just buy and purchase a ready-made (“off the rack”) costumes or have them commissioned (pay someone who has experience to make them a costume). You can buy some of them on the department stores or shop online, a lot of websites are offering so good cosplay costumes, and you can browse them up.

But if you’re actually into DIY hobbies, making costume on yourself is exciting. It’s harder, time consuming and you have to give a lot of effort but is less expensive. You can use your old clothes or something that can be found in your house to make a cosplay costume. But don’t expect that everything you need is there and won’t expense some money. There are still a lot of things to buy especially when you’re character has a lot of props.

Anyway, if you’re going to make your own costume, make sure that it is safe for you and for everyone especially when you’re attending a con. Cons have also its rules and you have to abide with it. Usually, it includes:

  • Size of props
  • Coverage of body, weapons, skates, and metal props
  • Flames and other fire hazards
  • Glitter and slipping hazards
  • Chemicals
  • Wings


Breaking your character’s appearance down is also very helpful for you to know what supplies you need and what you need to do with it. Have a reference images of your character, possibly as many angles as you can. In that case, you can see every little piece of the costume of your character, then make a list of it from top to bottom. Be specific, wig color, buttons, even the shoelaces. Itemized your list, it will help you anticipate how much money and time you need.

Deadlines such as convention date and cosplaying within a budget are just few of the challenges. Basically, you can cut down your costs by rewearing costumes and making costumes which can use the same articles of clothing, wigs, and others. It is not necessary for you to have more than one costume for the day or week, or even for year.

It is really up you if you’re going to buy or make your costume. Some are making issue about this but actually, it’s not an issue at all. Except only for competitions, if you go into a con to compete then you’re expected that your costume are made from scratch with/without a documentation of your work.  Both bought and DIY costumes are very great especially when you’re just starting in cosplaying. It is just that some are not inclined in making costume from scratch as well as having no idea about the techniques on doing it. Every cosplayer started his/her own pace somewhere, and I personally find breaking down costumes a great help of learning and knowing how they’re put together. 

You don’t have to be the world’s greatest cosplayer at day one, learning is a continuous process, and it cannot be done overnight. We are imperfect, learning new skills and techniques over time, that’s what truly an artist is. Regarding learning and developing those skills, you can find a lot of them online¾online tutorials but sometimes they’re not safe. Not only on online, you can enroll or join free workshops offered by sewing stores or have community classes for things like painting and sculpting.


Things to remember:

  1. Don’t take a project that’s impossible to finish in time. Absolutely, you don’t want to remove a part of your costume just because it’s hard and challenging. You’ll definitely missed half of the fun in cosplaying. You’ll realize, it’s fun to craft and make your own masterpiece as you learn new skills. If you can’t possibly finish your costume in time, don’t take it. You don’t want to feel frustrated after all.


  1. Shop on garage sales, thrift store, and other place you can discount. Find everything on those places, from fabrics even up to your props. You can trim those fabrics without regrets. Make this a habit every year, you’ll see you can build up a nice resource of supplies and can get something together when there’ll be a cosplay event


  1. Search other cosplayers ideas in the internet. You can find new ideas for anything that you want to learn and want to do like how to’s without simply copying their exact work.


  1. Study the character. The complete costume could possibly look beyond your skills initially at first, however, if you break it down, what really it is? A kimono, some sort of sailor skirt and headdress? Try to see every single component of the costume pertaining to what exactly it is and decide if you can do it.


Making your own cosplay costume is one of the most rewarding part of cosplay. However, if you don’t have the time or skill, you can always opt to buy. It’s normally difficult to find it at your local store. Here are some online resource that I recommend:

  1. Professional Cosplay Store: These are the best and normally most expensive. However if you can snatch a deal. The price is actually quite comparable to other options. They usually allow to enter your own measurement and they will tailor to your size and specifications. I recommend for its tailoring quality and customer service.
  2. Ebay: Ebay is where I can find the best price and variety. However, finding the right seller is the most difficult part. A lot times, they use a picture of good costume that’s actually not tailored by them. So you ordered and waited and only to find out what you get is not what you paid for. That would be a huge waste of your time and money. Unfortunately it happens a lot for someone is new to finding cosplay costumes on eBay. However, if you or your friend have already made the trials and errors and have already found a reliable sellers. Then eBay can be just as good as professional cosplay stores.
  3. Etsy: Etsy is like a mix between eBay and Professional Cosplay Stores. They provide a decent platform for reliable sellers. However their price is close to professional cosplay store price. You may hardly save by purchasing from Etsy. However, because it is a platform for a number of tailors. You will be able to shop from different groups of tailors knowing that they’re all relatively reliable versus professional tailor shops only each has one set of tailors.



Chapter 12. Cosplay Shoes and How to Make Your Own


Not because you already have an awesome costume you don’t need to have awesome cosplay shoes. Imagine when you’re wearing your costume with sneakers, isn’t it awful?


Cosplay shoes plays an important role in cosplay. What people basically wear to match up with their clothes? Shoes, right? In cosplay, people also match their clothes with shoes, but it is also considered to wear match wigs, accessories, and makeup. Cosplay is not only about your outfit, and cosplay costume includes your wigs, shoes and props. It is how you appear as a whole; completely the same as the character you choose.


Just like cosplay costume, you can choose if you’re going to buy “off the rack” cosplay shoes , have them commissioned or make your cosplay shoes on yourself. Buying “off the rack” like in the department stores as well as buying it online is expensive but easier. Pay someone with experience to commission your shoes also a lot more costly; you’re paying his/her effort + the materials needed. Commission shoes are also available online nowadays. A lot of online cosplay shops are actually offering a complete package. And making it on your own is practical, less costly but you really have to give a lot of effort.




COSPLAY: 5 Things to Know About Shoes


People’s feet come in all shapes and sizes. Designer shoes or shoes that came from companies are made to fit generic feet. Your foot is not a generic foot and you may need a customized shoes for your wide, narrow or whatever kind is your foot.

Your foot is more than just a size. Your feet may be a three-dimensional. Foot sizes came from mostly around your foot size on a flat surface. You can actually use a shoe measurement device (Brannock) to be accurate.

Poor-fitting shoes may lead to long-term damage to your feet.  Don’t wear shoes that don’t exactly fit your feet even for only few hours, it can upset the nerves, joints, or bones. Better to wear shoes that you break in or sweat into it, not just shoes you’ve just walked in. And of course, with the right insoles needed by your feet.

 Breaking in shoes does more than just soften them. The breaking in of your shoe will accommodate your foot correctly when running, walking or standing.To really break in a shoe, especially leather shoes, you need to get your sweat into the material. Your body moisture simply shapes the leather to your foot.

The right sole/insole makes all the difference. Long distances walk like people do at cons really needs to wear shoes which are made to be moved in. Shoes that are made for walking like wrestling boots, dance shoes, or running shoes are highly recommended to wear ̶ they had comfortable and good insoles. Avoid those which put extreme pressure on your toes or the balls of your feet like high heels. Insoles are available also for arch support, heel cushion, and other orthopaedic matters.




Some tips in making cosplay shoes:


How to Make Boot Cover ¾ stretchy method

Making boot covers are great technique to save money and ensure accurate, well-fitted shoes. Moreover, thigh-high and knee-high boots can be pricey when you buy it plus they are often hard to find with flat soles. This method is very effective for cosplay like Sailor Moon; those knee-high boots.

  1. Take your old boots or shoe that you want to cover and stuff it to fill out the shape. You can use random fabric pieces, filling or random clothing laying around.


  1. Cut out 2 rectangular pieces of your spandex fabric. Make sure you have enough allowance. And then start pinning, pin the fabric altogether surrounding the boots except the top. Remember, the more you pin, the more accurate and better the fit should be.


Tip: When pinning the spandex fabric, do NOT pin so tightly that the fabric stretches. Your fabric should be loose but just a bit and in its natural state because you will need all of that stretch later when putting it on. 

  1. And when you’re done pinning, draw an outline using a washable marking pen to mark where the pins are.


  1. Then after marking, cut the fabric about 1 or 2 inches away from the line. That will serve as your seam allowance.


  1. Now, you can unpin the fabric, the pieces is now the pattern for making boot cover for the other pair.


  1. You have now 4 pieces fabric, all are already cut. It’s time to sew them! If you’re going to sew them by hand, use thread that is exactly same color with your boots, in that case your seam allowance can blend and will be less noticeable (black boot and yellow fabric ̶ use black thread). If you use sewing machine, best to use zigzag kind of stitch; it will easier for the fabric to stretch in time you’ll put the covers to your boots.



Tip: Clip the corners!


  1. Lastly, flip the fabric right side out or turn face fabric out. Then carefully pull the cover over the shoe. And you’re done! For the top of the boots, you can tuck the extra fabric inside your boot (have a t least 1.5 or 2 inches seam allowance). If not, you can also sew the top of the cover to your costume, or sew anything else onto it that your costume might call for.


Tip: When you're finished, you can either cut out a hole at the bottom of the boot covers for a grip or add a shoe grip to the boot cover itself.


Non-stretchy method


Follow the first few steps in making stretchy boot cover, but for this you will use a typical fabric but be sure that it is good for making boot cover. Pin in the same way making the seams down in both front and back.

If you’re done pinning and marking, sew the fabrics altogether (along the front seam and the very bottom of the back seam) but unlike the stretchy method, leave the back seams (don’t sew the back) as you will be putting a zipper for the back seam that will serve as your opening when you flip the fabric to its front side. Alternately, you can also sew the back seam normally if you want the zipper to be located along the inside of  your leg, you just have to cut vertically where you want the zipper would be but be sure to add seam allowance.


Other info:


Chunky-looking boot


To make a chunky-looking boot, prepare padding or layer of foam and sandwich these things between the two layers of fabric (could be a fabric pattern as the inside layer, layer of foam/padding, and then the outer fabric.


Gluing fabric to shoes


For gluing fabric or pleather to shoes, have some Shoe Goop or Barge (available at shoe repair shop). It is really effective material for gluing; appear to be stinky and nasty but it holds really well.


Coloring a shoe using Sharpie


Allow yourself to have two days to finish this project, you have to let the shoes dry overnight before polishing.

First, remove gunks and clean the shoes with a polish remover.

Then, remove parts of the shoes you don’t want to color or cover them with a tape.

If you’re shoes are white and you want it to be black, cover them first with a green sharpie (completely cover the shoe). You don’t want the final color (black) to appear bluish, so get a pretty good coat on it.

Next, if you’re done with the green, cover the shoes with black. Make sure to cover it perfectly so that green will not show through.

Let it dry overnight. It will set the sharpie’s little tacky feeling and stinky smell.

Lastly, take the tape off the next day. Apply shoe polish to make it shiny and you’re done!


Painting shoes


Materials needed:

Pair of shoes

Paint (Design Master Color Tool Floral Spray/ Angelus leather Paint/ Meltonian Nu-Life Color Spray)




First, clean the shoes with a polish remover or acetone. This will help adhere the paint into your shoes.

Next, cover up the parts of the shoes that you don’t want to paint with a tape (masking tape).

Then, paint or spray your shoes with white spray. This will serve as your base (the first coating).

If you’re done with your base, cover it up with the final color. If you’re using a spray paint, always spray lightly to build up color evenly.

However, if the taped parts of the shoes are still needs to be altered, remove the tapes from it and then cover up the finished parts with a tape. It’s just an alternate method.

Remember, if the remaining parts to be altered are small, just use paint brush (probably small) on coloring it. If you’re using spray paint, spray the paint onto small container and there you will dip your brushes.

And….if you’re done with painting, let it dry for a while and then taped off all of the taped parts. You’re done! You have now fancy and new cosplay shoes.




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