Cosplay is rapidly becoming one of the most popular modes of creative expression associated with Comic-Con culture, and nowhere was it more obvious than at New York Comic-Con this year. It continues to grow more populated every year.
Newsarama reports that this year’s New York Comic-Con was the largest convention of its type in North America — dethroning San Diego’s Comic-Con International — and drew more than 151,000 attendees. With so many fans and so many cosplayers in attendance, there’s a lot that a new cosplay enthusiast could learn from this year’s convention.
Some costumes are simply incomplete without that quintessential prop, but if you’re going to be wandering the convention center for three days you’ll regret carrying around a 12-pound prop sword quicker than you might think. When building large props, always use a light material such as foam and lightweight plastics like PVC pipe. Not only are such materials lightweight and easy to carry, most conventions have strict rules concerning bringing any kind of real weapon, but a soft foam sword is usually acceptable.
A common material used to create lightweight prop weapons and armor is EVA foam. EVA stands for “Ethylene Vinyl Acetate,” and the material is a dense closed-cell foam. According to Schenz Theatrical Supply, EVA foam is oil resistant, has low water absorption and takes paint extremely well. Inexpensive and durable, EVA foam can help you make the perfect prop when size and weight matter.
Chances are, you already have much of what you need to create a perfect costume simply lying around your closet. Many common clothing items can be repurposed. If you are creating a costume that requires skin effects such as tattoos, scales or patterns, a pair of inexpensive nylon stockings can be used to make a “second skin” that is much easier to put on than a layer of body paint every single day of a convention. Simply stretch the nylon out and apply acrylic paint to create the pattern or effect you want and you’ll have a reusable prop piece that can last for many conventions.
Other common items that can be repurposed include boots, motorcycle jackets, helmets and protective sports gear. Combined with a little EVA foam, paint and hot glue, a leather jacket can be turned into a suit of armor. Take a look in your closest and see what you have that can be used to create that incredible costume you’ve always wanted.
The most important thing you can do when cosplaying is enjoy yourself and explore your creativity.
There are no real rules when it comes to creating your costume, and cosplayers often create unique characters by blending genres and designs. There’s no rule that says you can’t design a steampunk Wolverine costume or go as burlesque 1920s Sailor Scouts.
Flex your creative muscles and do something that makes you happy and ignore the inevitable nay-sayers— conventions often attract a negative crowd who might criticize your costume for being “non-canonical” or “inaccurate,” but between posing for photos and checking out the convention, you probably won’t have much time to pay attention to them.
Allow yourself to explore your ideas and remember, while a good costume can take a lot of time and effort to complete, cosplaying is about having fun.