First time cosplaying


New Member
Hello cosplayers! I've been thinking about attending comic-con for the first time but I don't know anything about conventions, or cosplay. I mean, I've always loved the idea of going to one, but I've never been to one myself. If you guys could just let me know what I should do when cosplaying and what I should expect, please let me know. Thanks!
Cosplaying can be a lot of fun - or it can take over your life - or both :).

I would suggest starting out simple and easy without striving for dead on accuracy - just see if you like it. If you do then you can dump your life savings into costumes - or learn to craft yourself. I guess it depends on your budget, and time you have to devote to it.

I say have fun without spending a ton of money then decide.

Jedi Dade
Cosplaying can be a lot of fun - or it can take over your life - or both :).

I would suggest starting out simple and easy without striving for dead on accuracy - just see if you like it. If you do then you can dump your life savings into costumes - or learn to craft yourself. I guess it depends on your budget, and time you have to devote to it.

I say have fun without spending a ton of money then decide.

Jedi Dade
Well since you seem to know a lot, maybe you can help me a bit. I'm a huge Fallout nerd, (Tunnel Snakes RULE!!!!) and I'm thinking about dressing up as Arcade Gannon from the New Vegas game. I put in a picture of him, if that helps any. But anyways, what I was thinking was I was going to buy things such as the lab coat, pants, etc. But I think I'm going to make my own radio prop that you see on his coat. I'm also planning on making my own Followers of the Apocalypse patch and stitch it onto the lab coat. But everything else shouldn't be too hard to find, and I already have hair like his, so I'm not really worried about that. On the other hand, I am slightly worried about going to a convention. I'm not exactly sure how to get into character, and I don't know what to expect from a real cosplay convention.


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Most of the cosplayers I've encountered ran around being obnoxious, a nuisance and dangerous to the public.

Costumers on the other hand are more professional, being at an event to show off their work and even be presenters and booth bunnies for vendors.

Some important things to keep in mind. (From personal experience)

1. You will be made fun of in public so don't have a thin skin.
2. You may be attached or harassed by stupid people.
3. Make sure your kit is well assembled, sturdy and field tested before an event. (see #2)
4. Take a repair kit in case something gets damaged or falls apart.
5. Try to make the costume as comfortable and easy to put on as possible (see #3)
6. Be able to breath and see. (temp control is a bonus)
7. Have a way of easily transporting and storing your kit.
8. Follow event rules. (if in doubt about something ask)
9. Be polite with fans especially children.
10. If it's a costume that is hard to get around in make sure you have a handler to escort and assist you.
11. Make sure all the parts are accounted for and in your transport container before you leave for the event. (have a check list)
12. Where will you be suiting up? Home, Parking Lot, Somewhere in the event building.
13. Will you have to travel a distance after suiting up, say from a parking garage a block or more away, (be prepared to lug everything if so)
14. Gone are the days when you could stroll down the street or even a Con with replica weapons so consider that in your costume choice.
15. Have a way to carry needed items on you, wallet / money, phone, anything else you may require (repair kit)
16. If possible make allowances in the costume for using the restroom.
17. Make sure to have food and liquids to keep yourself going.
18. If you go with others it enhances the experience especially in a "themed" group.
19. Don't worry about accuracy, as long as it can be recognized, that's all that matters.
20. Make sure to take mundanes (street clothes) with you so you aren't stuck in the costume all day)
21. Have Fun.
Some people will act "in character" by imitating the character's voice and mannerisms. Pick a few phrases your character says and practice them in front of a mirror when you're in costume. If you've never been to a convention before, I suggest starting at a smaller convention and then moving up to bigger ones. The crowds and sensory overload can be overwhelming. And don't be afraid to approach other cosplayers to compliment their costumes or ask for a photo.
At my first Comic Con 30,000 people I didn't know buzzing in several halls intimidated the sh# out of me...literally.
The keywords here are bathroom visits.Make sure your suit can be (partially) disassembled or removed ASAP.Anything else is peanuts and/or logistics.
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Exactly do it for fun, your there to have a good time and meet like minded people. Some folks make Cosplaying a professional job. However, that doesn’t always apply because some who call themselves professional cosplayers fall short on how to be polite and courteous to fellow cosplayers. It’s not always the case but you will know who is who on how they act. Again like many have said here and I echo their words, HAVE FUN!!
I'm going to echo what many others have said in there--the important thing is having fun when it comes to cosplay. Some people forget that and get way too serious about the hobby, but if you can go with a good group of friends--or make new ones at the con--then that gives you a leg up in remembering to relax as well as keep an eye out for each other.

You can always go to your first con out of costume, only go one day, or save your cosplay for the second day if you're going for the weekend, just so you can scope things out. Yeah, a lot of people are going to be in costume, but, a lot of others aren't, so you won't stick out and if anyone gives you grief for not wearing a costume they're a snob. :p I've seen plenty of people just wear their favorite fandom shirts, and that's totally acceptable. You also don't have to be in-character--it's always fun when someone is, but I'd dare to say that most cosplayers aren't actors. ScreenFashions suggested memorizing a few lines your character says, and that's fine, but all you really need starting out is a few poses for when people ask for photos.

I haven't looked myself, but knowing the community, I'm 100% sure there's a variety of 'tutorial' and introductory videos on youtube that can walk you through the basics of attending conventions (of any geeky sort--anime, comic, gaming, etc.), tips for cosplaying, even making sure you look good in photos. It's got a wealth of videos for actually making cosplay too, so it's worth checking out for any of the aspects of your costume you're not sure how to do--besides here of course ^^

The last thing I can think of, that's only pertinent to this year, is that going to the first con when they potentially start opening back up next year seems like a bad idea. I think everyone's going to be so wound up and excited after missing a year of in-person fannish events it'll be extra overwhelming for any newcomers. So, hard as it may be, maybe wait until it seems like things have calmed down a bit. Obviously I can't predict the future, but a lot of folks already used conventions to party hard, so that doesn't seem too unlikely to me >>

In any case, hopefully between everyone here we've given you a starting point at the very least ^^
Before I start. If this is your first convention, I wouldn't recommend going in costume. But if you want to then here are some generic tips.

1) Depending on your costume, a minder or support person will be VERY helpful with things like suiting up, repairs and arranging photographs for you. I personally never go without a minder.

2) Check the weapons regulations for your convention. In my country they are really strict and it's no laughing matter if someone calls the cops coz they saw "some guy with a gun" . Also, be mindful of how you transport your weapon props and ensure they are clearly marked.

3) Prepare for kids. Be kind and friendly to them

4) Prepare for idiots. From ppl who deliberately knock on armor, to guys with ridiculous camera flashes.

5) WATER and Proper rest the night before. This is important. You don't want to pass out in your costume.

6) Depending on your costume , you may need to go earlier to find a location to suit up and change out.

7) I've rarely stayed in costume for more than 3 hours at a stretch (usually wearing armor) so keep that in mind. It's tiring, hot and uncomfortable.

8) If you're in armor, don't expect to enjoy the convention LOL. I usually walk the floors suited up ready for pictures but it will get tiring getting stopped every few steps . I then change out and walk the floor as a regular person to enjoy the convention. Or go on say Saturday, enjoy the con without a costume and suit up on Sunday.

9) TEST YOUR COSTUME. This is super important. Check and test in advance. You don't want to be walking around with a fogged up helmet or with parts falling off because the convention is the first time you've worn your suit.

10) REPAIR KIT. Duct tape, super glue and scissors are life savers.

11) DEODORANT. You'll perspire a lot. Be kind to your fellow convention goers and smell pleasant.

12) 1 last thing, it's great to be in character. But just because you're in a costume like Deadpool, being "in character" does not give you the right to be a ******* and annoy other con goers.

I really hope this helps. ENJOY!
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First off, welcome Fritsy to the wonderful world of Cosplay!

There have been several detailed thoughtful responses, you guys said pretty much everything I was going to say, but said it better than I would have.

I might offer a slightly different perspective as I didn't start Cosplaying till I was 58, I'm 63 now.

For the first couple years I only did one character, Indiana Jones' dad (as you can see in my avatar). There were several advantages to this:

1) The character is widely recognised and popular to the point of being beloved by many. Thus the response from everyone both inside a Con and in the outside world was positive. I have never been made fun of, harassed, or had any negative reaction.

2) The character has an iconic look, so my first efforts (pretty much Closet Cosplay) though simple and inexpensive were recognised by all. As I continued with the character I upgraded the costume piece by piece eventually arriving at a very nearly Screen Accurate costume. So I didn't have a large initial financial outlay.

3) The costume is pretty much ordinary clothes, meaning that I could ride Public Transportation, wander in and out of Conventions and more or less blend in with the public.

4) The costume is extremely comfortable to wear, has comfortable shoes, and involves no mask, helmet, armour, wig, prosthetics, or cumbersome props. Being in my 60s now comfort is of prime importance. At Conventions I'll be in costume for 8 hours or more and it's no problem.

5) Dr Jones Sr doesn't carry any sort of weapon. This is a huge advantage going in and out of Cons and wandering about in public.

Other points I might mention:

1) It's nice to have a useful prop at Conventions. My Dr Jones Senior outfit includes an umbrella, which has shielded me from rain in Seattle and blazing hot sun in Arizona. Besides it gives me something to do with my hands when posing for photos. Another useful prop is a cup, so I can sip water as I walk around a Con and stay hydrated, or have coffee in the morning, or beer later in the day!

2) I feel it's critical for my costume to be very sturdy, with no bits which can get knocked off or broken. As people have mentioned your costume will take a beating! Even then I have duplicates of some items in my boot bin (see below)

3) Due to me being forgetful, I put EVERYTHING connected to a particular costume in a big bin, and when I'm off to a Con the bin goes in the boot. Therefore it's impossible to forget anything.

4) About weapons, yes to what Jediguy said. You have to check every Con, they're all different. One thing I've done is make props that have no metal whatsoever and no moving parts. I now have a lightsabre, a revolver, a dagger, and a sword all of which can pass through a metal detector. The dagger and sword are one-piece foam props, the scabbard and handle one piece, with no blade at all.

5 years into cosplaying, 6 characters now, all of them comfortable to wear all day, the only makeup is colouring my beard to various extents.

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Just another tidbit, I usually either take the first or last day to not be in costume and just enjoy the Con. I am usually in either full armor or in Spidey when I go to conventions and it's a lot of photo taking with people. I am usually exhausted by the end of the day to go and do anything other than eat and relax. I also leave a lot of my weapons and backpack accessories home if Im going just because Cons are usually crowded and someone will end up walking into something and not knowing it, Ive seen several people break parts of their costumes at Cons and events just due to crowds and/or tight places and have fun.
Hello cosplayers! I've been thinking about attending comic-con for the first time but I don't know anything about conventions, or cosplay. I mean, I've always loved the idea of going to one, but I've never been to one myself. If you guys could just let me know what I should do when cosplaying and what I should expect, please let me know. Thanks!
EDIT: I just realized I should clarify first off, like the list above that Dr. Jones Sr posted wouuuuld definitely qualify as experienced advice and is awesome. I am more referencing the almost dogmatic things and pedantry.
There's no fast or hard rules for it, my advice would be to strongly disregard those hard and fast "Rules" lists others have posted and stick to the general advice. The only one I found that really holds true is pick a day to go without the costume (Especially if you're a woman) as creeps track who you are by your outfit, so I like to pick the last day to go incognito, if you will to just shop and have fun. (Which is shopping). Cosplay is kind of like a job you pick and don't get paid for, so there's going to be many moments where folks will want to take photos with you, and after a while that can be fun (Especially if you get fun people) or awful if you get really... weird, folks and sadly, we're nerds, so we don't always get the socially capable.

When making any outfit, the quick list of good advice comes down to temperature, and how long you intend to wear it. Like to use star wars characters as a quick example. Mara Jade makes for a much longer lived costume than Chewbacca due to the fact that the other one's a furnace (Though never underestimate the power of the leather pants temperature size). If you're going as that fallout character your suggested (Which, fallout's a great first choice, I totally dig it.) you get to focus on getting the parts "right" over wondering if you can wear the costume or not.

In a perfect world, I like to get started well in advance so I can see if my idea's impractical or silly in any way, like my love for being alien skin colors adds a degree of heat that I often fail to take into account when I'm making the outfit. So I test it on some normal breathable clothing and if that's too rough, I might need to rethink things.

But for going to a con, enjoy. It's a magical place that exists only for a short while, it's nice to meet up with all those who love all this crazy stuff as much as you do. Have fun!
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