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Welcome to the wonderful world of Cosplay! Here we are going to give you some dos and don'ts of Cosplay and some tips on surviving your first con (and the camekos that come with it).
And if you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will find tips given from other cosplayers!

The Dos and Don'ts:
*Do cosplay characters you relate to and/or enjoy.
*Do study the character's mannerisms-pay close attention to how the character carries himself/herself.
*Do have at least 3 different poses. This is where the studying comes in. Find poses that you feel expresses the character best.
*Do try to bring the character to life. You never know-you might make someone's day.
*Do try to have a reference image of every angle. If this isn't possible (like in the case of an artbook image), use your better judgement of the other angles. Add your own flare to the costume, but keep it as close to character as you can.
*Do accept constructive critizism. You have to realize that there is always room for improvement, even in those who have been costuming for years. Besides, some cosplayers out there
*Do have fun!
*Do save the drama for the stage. Please.
 
*Don't cosplay for the sake of entering contests and winning. Cosplay is suppose to be a fun hobby for everyone, not a competition.
*Don't treat others inferior to you just because the quality of their isn't at its peak. Cosplayers are all equal.
*Don't think you are the only one that cosplays that character or the "best" at the character. There are others that cosplay the same character, believe it or not, and no one is better than anyone else. Again, we are all equal.
*Don't criticize others because you think their costume isn't good. They might have worked hard and could have been proud of their work. Constructive criticism is okay, as long as you don't go overboard. Ex: "You know, if you try this technique that may not be so fragile. That way you can wear the costume again!"
*Don't overuse the glue gun. Yes, this fabulous invention is great in a jam or for some construction, but it does start to look messy and unprofessional if you use too much.
*Don't make a sign to carry around. These can be quite tacky and they just get in the way. Save them for your cosplay skits!

Tips to Surviving Your First Convention:
*Bring a repair kit! Make sure to include items like needles, thread, safety pins, glue gun, extra buttons, etc. That way if anything was to go wrong, God forbid, you won't have to panic.
 
*Don't be afraid of the Camekos. A "cameko" is a cosplay photographer. Most of them aren't professional, but instead do this as a hobby. Some of them ask for a few different poses, so try to think of a few that fit the character beforehand. Some specify how they want you to pose. If they do anything you don't feel comfortable with, don't be afraid to tell them "no." Posing with friends is also a lot of fun. And do everyone a favor and have at least one picture of you smiling in it. It brightens the face and overall makes a better picture. And if you don't physically smile, smile with your eyes. Put some expression in the photos or you will just look like you don't want to be there.
 
*Don't go by yourself. Cons are large places with lots of things to do. It is better to do this with someone who has gone before, or a few other newbies. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Next thing you know you will be getting lost surrounded by Storm Troopers. Not my idea of a good time... ^^;
 
*Bring snacks and/or food money, and don't forget your water. Okay. Con food and hotel food is mad expensive. Bring snacks to last through your day. Also, don't skip meals. Go get a decent lunch and dinner. If you don't eat, you will feel weak and won't be able to continue to enjoy the experience. Also bring water. Some costumes are hot enough to begin with, but adding the thousands of con goers and you have a sauna. Just be sure to eat and drink water and you will be fine (Don't be like me and learn the hard way-be smart!~Julie).
 
*Demonstrate good hygeine. This can't be stressed enough. Shower. Wear deodorant. Be CLEAN! The "fan funk" (the horrid smell of lazy congoers) can be almost deadly in the game room, dealer room, and viewing rooms. Some cons even have a policy for this, ie: if you are not showing good hygiene you will be removed from the con until you shower.
 
*Be careful of drama. Drama is inevitable in the cosplay community. If people try to start drama with you, walk away. If someone comes to you with their drama, tell them you don't want to be involved and change the subject. Drama has ruined many con weekends for our friends, so don't let this happen to you.
 
*Bring a camera and film. Trust me. If you don't have this you will regret it. There are so many great costumes out there, and when you don't have a camera you end up slapping yourself for it. I usually bring about 5 rolls of film, and use about 3. Or a few disposable cameras, or a few flash cards. Video cameras work great, too. Asking for pictures is a great way to meet new people.
 
*Asking questions isn't a bad thing. Don't be afraid to ask questions. A lot of cosplayers are willing to help if you need it. If you don't know where the best Chinese place is or you don't know the best way to make a quick repair on your costume, SOMEONE is bound to know how to deal. Cosplayers and other con-goers are also pretty good to know where the best deals are at the dealer tables or whatnot. And if you are new to anime, Japanese music, whatever, don't be afraid to ask for opinions! If you want to buy a DVD ask around. Someone will have similiar enough interest to recommend a great product for you. You never know-you might just meet your best friend this way! =^.~=

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"Always remember, a SIMPLE costume well executed, to the greatest detail, is more impressive than an elaborate costume the is done poorly."
~Sumi, Cosplayer since: 2002
Email Me!

"Cosplaying doesn't have to be expensive. When shopping for fabrics make sure to check out the clearance section. You can find plenty of good fabric for way cheaper than full price. And always get just a little bit more than you need incase you mess up."
~Shadowkitty =^_^=, Cosplayer since: 2000

"Remember, you're doing this to have FUN. If you're not having FUN, repeat until you are. If all else fails, go find another way to have FUN at a con."
~Rhi, Cosplayer since: 2002

"Be selective with the fabric you use. Don't use baroque satin for almost anything. It's thin, shiney, likes to fray and too light for about anything. It looks horrible and damages easily. Beware.

"Also make sure you line about everything you make especially with the color white. I've had issues before where I didn't know it was see through behind me and in the end it was.

"Ask for advice when needed!

"When you buy fabric make sure you buy enough in case you make an error or miscalculation. "
~Aseret Yuna , Cosplayer since: 2001
Email Me!

"MY useful tip... DON'T FEAR HEMGLUE!

"Hemglue is an extremely useful tool in creating that "video game"/"anime" look. As we all know 99.999999% of the time characters costumes don't have stiching lines in them. Well with Hemglue if you have like a decal to attach to a shirt, intead of stiching it on, you cut some strips of hemglue lay them down under the decal them simply iron and VOILA!

"Make sure to use a low heat setting and allow it to completely cool before you move the fabric or anything. Also hemglue will most likely stay up through a good wash cycle, always test first. "
~SuthrnBelleChan , Cosplayer since: 2002
Email Me!

"Dont be cheap with fabrics, find the best color and the best texture for fabric, not just either or. The fabric thats best might be more expensive, but this is an expensive hobby and theres no avoiding that, and its better in the long run. Cheap fabric might look good at first, but it'll be hell when it wont stay in place, melts under the iron, then frays like crazy. Not to say you shouldnt look for sales and stuff. ^^"
~Dewy, Cosplayer since: 2002
Email Me!

"Press each seam as soon as you've sewn it. No garment looks good without pressed seams. It's especially important if you're not a super-skilled seamstress or are sewing by hand because it'll make the stitching appear straighter and more even. The easiest way to do it is to keep an iron and board right next to your work area so you can press each area as soon as it's done."
~Inertia, Cosplayer since: 2003

© 2004, 2005 Gemini Cosplay