Learning the craft of Cosplay! We are so lucky now that there are so many useful books, video tutorials, and groups that are excellent resources on how to craft Cosplay. The key is to find what is most helpful for you. Some people work best with books. I highly suggest Kamui Cosplay’s Cosplay Tutorial books. She has a wide range of books about working with EVA Foam, Worbla, and electronics for cosplay. If videos work best for you, Kamui Cosplay also does online tutorials on YouTube. Another great resource on YouTube is Evil Ted Smith when it comes to EVA Foam! Adam Savage also does great build videos on Tested with links to sites to get parts. For others, hands on teaching is best! For these types of learners, being a part of a Cosplay group is a good way to learn new things.
The greatest thing you can do is to practice, and play. The more you do something, the better you will get. Sometimes just experimenting you can come up with some amazing ways of doing things! Just watch Evil Ted Smith’s videos and you can see amazingly easy techniques to make amazing effects. One of my favorite quotes comes from Chuck Jones, “Everyone has 10,000 bad drawings in them. The best thing to do is to get them out of the way as fast as possible.”
Practice makes perfect is a saying for a reason. One of the really fun things about Cosplay is coming up with new ways to do things. Talking with Special Effects master Rob Allsopp, (designed all the armor in Dredd, Gladiator, and lots of Dr. Who props including the first Weeping Angel wings, and so much more.) He told me they don’t do vacuforming anymore. There is instead a process where they spray a two part plastic into molds. It dries in 5 minutes, then they pop it out and it’s ready to go! This is what makes it possible to create tons of armor for movies. This plastic is more durable, and flexible than the ABS or HIPS plastics that they used to use with vacuform tables. (Stormtroopers were vacuformed.) There are also now silicon rubbers that are so much better than the latex used in the 70’s – 90’s for monster masks and makeup effects. This all takes experimentation. Not to mention the ever expanding advent of 3D printer technology! Making props and other pieces is a constantly evolving process – just do a little research first and then go to town, or feel free to innovate your own way. Just always remember, Cosplay stands for Costume Play, and play should be fun!
This article is part of a continuing series by Greg Burrow. Greg is a Dragon’s Lair employee from Austin and is involved in multiple cosplay groups as well as a regular volunteer at local charities. Keep an eye out for more of his advice, tips and tricks on cosplay in future newsletter articles!