On Cosplay Competitions/Masquerades

Okie dokie kids it’s time to talk about my most/least favorite aspect of cosplay: competitions in convention masquerades/costume contests.

I’ve always been a competitive person (I am very, very, very much a Type A personality) so competing in my hobby seemed like a logical jump. I’ve been cosplaying since 2007 (just a wee 12 year old bab) and 2008 was the first year I “competed” (the first two years my groups were just “exhibition” skits, so not judged); I had to drop out of one competition in 2013 and took a gap year in 2014 before deciding to compete again in 2015. It’s 2016, I’m 22, I’ve been cosplaying for 10 years, I’ve been in six “legit” competitions, won two minor awards, and I still have no idea whether or not it’s a good idea for me to continue doing this.

I won a minor award for Sheryl Nome & Ranka Lee (my first from-scratch cosplays) in 2011 in the Novice Division, and a minor award for Princess Small Lady Serenity in the Journeyman division in 2016 – SLS Photo by Sumiko.foto Photography.


So, without further ado, tips for entering the Masquerade:

  1. Do it for the right reasons. Do NOT be like me and place your self worth as a person and a craftsman in someone else’s hands (be that judges, the audience, or the peanut gallery on social media). I’m trying to get better at this but it’s difficult for me. You should be doing this because you want to have fun, meet other people, and enjoy a little bit of friendly competition.
  2. Don’t do a skit if you/your group does not have the time to commit to practicing. I’ve made an ass of myself more times than I can care to remember (thankfully under a different pseudonym!!!) on Anime Boston’s Masquerade stage because my group wasn’t committed to practicing. If improv is your thing, check out other cosplay events like Chess or the Dating Game, or consider entering a walk-on if you still want to compete without the hassle of a skit (what I do now).
  3. Do pre-record your audio. It sounds better and makes your life easier because you only need to half-convincingly lip sync your lines. 🙂
  4. Do be on time! For everything! Meeting script deadlines for the coordinator, judging, rehearsal, check-in, etc… don’t be that guy that keeps everyone waiting, if you have an issue (like getting stuck in a security line), keeping open lines of communication is key!
  5. Don’t be a jackass backstage. Little 12 year olds (such as my past self) think that over-used memes are funny and they will use them in their skits. They’re doing their best. Eventually, they will grow up and realize in horror what terrible mistakes they’ve made in their youth, and will make better skits as adults. Making snide comments about others’ skits just makes you look like a nasty person; don’t pretend that you never once thought costume satin was a legit fabric choice…we’ve all been there.
  6. Don’t freaking cheat!! This goes without saying! The judges will know! The con will find out, your rep will be ruined irrevocably because the internet never forgets, and even if you do somehow manage to get away scot-free, your victory will be a LIE.
  7. Don’t be afraid to drop out– seriously. Me making an ass of myself three years in a row all could have been avoided if I wasn’t such a baby about quitting when I know I’m beat and when I know I’m not going to put out the best performance I possibly could. If a skit/con/deadline/life circumstances or what have you are making planning and prepping for the Masquerade more miserable than fun, you should seriously consider dropping out. THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. I know cosplayers like to procrastinate and joke about “all aboard the suffering train” but it’s not worth spending the entire con miserable (because when you inevitably lose, Sunday is that much suckier) just to do the Masquerade.
    Image credit  Meguca is suffering but Masquerades don’t have to be! 
  8. Remember: losing is not the end of everything. Losing doesn’t always mean your costume/performance sucked; it just means judges liked someone else’s better; and honestly a lot of these competitions are very tight (especially in the lower craftsmanship divisions)! Cons are limited in funds, which means not as many people that deserve awards can go home with them. Don’t take it to heart, and use it as motivation to do more complex costumes next time!



Life Update


Sorry it’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted here! I’ve been super busy working on a metric butt-ton of projects for both of my labs and things are only just starting to kinda quiet down. I have the GRE in TEN DAYS DEAR GOD and graduate school apps to work on before the December 1st deadline for PhD programs. I have a little bit of a breather between then and MPH/MSW programs but I’d like to get them all done at once. I’m also just a few steps away from publishing an article on my research on mentoring relationships in the cosplay community, and I’ve moved on to analysis for my project on women’s experiences in the table-top gaming community. Very exciting!

We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled cosplayin’ content shortly!


Costume Walkthrough: Princess Small Lady Serenity

Costume walthroughs are exactly what they sound like: me walking you through the construction process for a costume I’ve made. Today’s is on my Small Lady/Chibiusa gown! Please feel free to ask questions about this or any other projects you might be working on; I love giving cosplay advice! 😉

Photo credit: Rachel Joy for the left & my mom for the right!

BASE DRESS: is white casa satin; it’s lined with some cheap-o fabric I had lying around from when I made my senior prom dress. Woohoo for recycling! I patterned it myself. The skirt is just a super long circle skirt; I didn’t add too much to the waist of it for pleats, but I did make it 5 or so inches longer than me in stocking feet since I planned to wear this in 4.5 inch heels (I lasted all of an hour before switching to flats, lol). The overskirt is white casa chiffon, which DOES NOT MATCH the satin (WHY?! You’re both white from the same collection: WHY DON’T YOU MATCH?!), and is made in the same way as the lower skirt. The skirts I had to make in two separate half-circles which I then sewed together. There’s another seam in the back where the invisible zipper goes. I sewed the two skirts to the bodice at the same time, and then added an invisible zipper. I don’t have a serger, so I do my “cheapo serging” by doing a straight stitch to sew whatever I’m trying to sew together (i.e. two pieces of skirt) then going over it with a zig-zag stitch, and then a second straight stitch. Then I trim it and fray check the ever living bejeesus out of it. I made the mistake of not fray checking the hems of the chiffon layer for a while and paid dearly for it; I had to re-hem it in a lot of places and it looks pretty messy. I actually fray checked it in the car on the way to Katsu.

DETAILS: PrettyDeer and I decided we wanted to do manga-version details for these dresses, but with anime colors because we noticed in hall shots a lot of details of other Princess Serenitys get washed out when they’re white/silver. Originally, I planned on doing the gold donuts out of embroidery, but that didn’t work, so I tried satin stitching gold fabric, but my machine’s smallest zigzag was too wide & the foot shredded the fabric. So eventually, I cut the donuts out of the fabric using a razor, fabric glued them to a piece of white casa satin, and then cut off the excess with a razor as well. I needed a way to avoid having the outside edges fray, so I found some gold sequin trim and fabric glued it to the edges of the donuts. I hand sewed this piece to the dress. Then, the arduous process of rhinestone-ing the donut holes began. ; A ; In total, this dress has ~2,000 silver rhinestones on it and 14 hours of labor on rhinestones alone. (Fun story: after Katsu, got this dry cleaned, and asked for them to just clean the skirts, not the bodice; get it back, about 1/4 of the rhinestones are missing, and all of my hand-stitching had to be redone.) I ordered some fake white pearls in bulk and hand strung them onto a stretchy jewelry string, and then hand sewed those to the dress using clear thread. I was scared of making the string too taught, so I just made it the length of my bust & waist without stretching it, and then made the string tighter after the pearls were sewn on the dress. (Thank goodness for dress forms!) After that, I left a gap under the top row of pearls for the 3 lines of trim PrettyDeer and I picked out (sewing them flush hid the first one). I had to hand sew the trim with the rhinestones on it because there was no way to do it with the machine, but I machine stitched the other two on there, as well as the “u” shaped trim. Unfortunately, my bust is bigger than donuts + 2 rows of pearls + 4 lines of trim, so the gaps I have on there were pretty large/made my inaccuracy spidey senses tingle, so I added some rose patterned lace trim (because Chibi-Moon is the daughter of Tuxedo Mask, I figured roses would be fitting), and hand-sewed a 2mm pearl to the center of each rose because I clearly like suffering.

JEWELRY: I wasn’t sure what color pearls I should wear with this, so I borrowed some pink and white ones from my mom but pink won over, haha. I bought a pink pearl bracelet from the wonderful Starlightslk the Friday of Katsu because a white one of mine had a broken clasp. I love love love this bracelet so much!! It’s so pretty and matches the pearl necklace I borrowed from my mom and the earrings I have perfectly! I made my pink forehead crescent (Chibi-Usa technically has a Pink Moon Crystal, so I figured her crescent should be pink too!) For AB, I had more casting issues, so the gem is actually made out of hotglue and painted with pink nail polish. The older version was resin painted with body paint, lol.

For the armor sleeves: this didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to (should have made the circles /much/ smaller but: I drew the circle on paper to use as a reference, sketched out the snail shell and cut that out (two going one way for the front, and then flipped the other side for the back part of the arm), and then used the side part of the circle as a guide for sketching out the flippy bits – three of those for the edge of the front and back panels of the circle. Then I sketched out the middle parts (four pieces total, mostly straight with the v cutout in two different lengths), cut everything out of the craft foam. I glued the front and back pieces so they were touching each other on top of the middle circle, then did the snail shell for each side so that the “tail” of it faces towards the middle, then glued the flippy bits for one side of the circle down, then the middle parts for the side closest to that circle, and repeated with the other side. The front/back flippy bits should cover some of the middle parts so it took a little bit of finagling to get it. Then I heated everything up on the stovetop and formed each circle over a styrofoam ball to get it to be sticky-outy, fixed any hot glue that came loose, and then painted everything with glitter mod podge. To get it to stay up, I sewed three pieces of clear jewelry elastic (which snapped between judging and my walk-on ofc) between the front & back circles.

For my bun flower, I found a bouquet of fake flowers from Joann’s with pink tips, and just cut some of the outer petals off so it wasn’t SUPER HUGE OMG FLOWER and just stuck it into my wig.

For the wig, I bought a Chibi in Bubblegum Pink from Arda, and covered the odangos with wefts from there as well! I more or less followed HezaChan’s tutorial on how to make the odangos, but I didn’t stub my wig. The odangos just slide into the wig with bobby pins, so I can remove them and use the wig for other projects.

This was super long, but I hope you find it helpful!


Cosplay on a Budget: Makeup Starter Kit

Hokay peeps! Now that you kinda know what the heckie you’re doing with this makeup biz it’s time to put together a high quality starter kit on the cheap. I know choosing makeup can be kind of overwhelming and trying to figure out what’s worth your money can getcha feelin’ like this:

meguca is suffering.jpg

but hopefully this guide will give you a good starting place! I’ll be including “splurge” items as well if you have some extra $$$ that you’re willing to burn on a high end product, but I’ll try to keep individual items on the cheap list under $20 USD.

Before we jump into the first category of brushes, I’ll preface this by saying you need:

blending sponges of some description (beauty blenders are nice but let’s be real here, they’re just a fancy sponge and you can get a pack of 20 for like $2 at Target)
a face/powder/blush brush
a foundation brush 
eye shading brush (look for something compact with densely packed bristles)
eye shadow blending brush (fluffier)
an eye liner/pencil brush
& a lip brush

to start. Having more eye shadow brushes is useful because you don’t have to wash them between uses at a con. If you’re into cream makeups then you’ll want a stippling brush or an additional foundation brush as well. Now onto the brands!

Cheap brushes:
Eco Tools (look for gift sets, also usually has BOGO 50% off deals)
Wet n’ Wild
Real Techniques (frequently on BOGO 50% off at Ulta)
Ulta’s house brand

Cheap face primers:
Elf Mineral Primer $6
Nyx Angel Veil Skin Perfecting Primer (dupe for Hourglass’ Mineral Veil!) $16
Nyx Pore Filler $14

Expensive face primers:
Too Faced Primed and Poreless Pure Primer $30
Becca Backlight Priming Filter $40
Too Faced Hangover Rx Replenishing Face Primer $32

Cheap eyeshadow primers:
Elf Eye Primer and Liner Sealer $3
Nyx Glitter Primer $6

Expensive eye shadow primers:
Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion $20
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer $20

Cheap foundations:
Elf Flawless Finish Foundation $6
Nyx Stay Matte But Not Flat (powder, but can be used wet or dry) $10

Expensive foundations:
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup $40
Too Faced Born This Way $39
Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation $39

Cheap concealer:
Elf HD Lifting Concealer $3
Nyx Hi-Definition Photo Concealer Wands $5

Expensive concealer:
Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer $28
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Waterproof Concealer $25

Cheap blushes:
Elf Palettes are $6, singles are $3
Nyx HD Blush $7
Makeup Geek $10 for a pan; $15 for a compact
Wet n’ Wild $3
Makeup Revolution $5-15

Expensive blushes:
Too Faced Love Flush Blush $26
Urban Decay Afterglow 8 Hour Powder Blush $26
Tarte Amazonian Clay 12 Hour Blush $28
NARS Blush $30

Cheap highlighters:
Elf Shimmering Facial Whip $1
Elf Baked Blush in Pinktastic $3
Nyx Illuminator $9
Wet n’ Wild Mega Glow Highlighting Powder $4
Makeup Revolution $5-15

Expensive highlighters:
Too Faced Candlelight Glow $30
Urban Decay 8 Hour Afterglow Powder Highlighter $30
Anastasia Beverly Hills Glow Kits $40
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed $38

Cheap contouring/bronzing products:
Nyx Wonder Stick $12
Elf Bronzers Blush/Bronzer Duos are $4, Palettes are $6
Wet n’ Wild Mega Glow Contouring Palette $5
Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer $15

Expensive contouring/bronzing products:
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer $30
Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit $40

Cheap lipsticks:
Nyx (Round Case $4; Matte $6; Liquid Suede $7; Soft Matte Lip Cream $6)
Elf ($1-$8)
Colourpop ($5-$7)

Expensive lipsticks:
Too Faced La Creme $22
Urban Decay Vice $17
Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick $21

Cheap eyeliner:
ColourPop Creme Gel Liner $5
Elf Waterproof Eye Liner Pen $2

Expensive eyeliner:
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner $19 (SWEAR BY THIS)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil $20

Cheap brow products:
Nyx’s Microbrow Pencil $10 is a perfect dupe for ABH’s Brow Wiz, save your $$

Cheap mascara: 
Nyx’s Doll Eye Mascara $10
Elf Volumizing and Defining Mascara $2

Expensive mascara: 
Tarte Lights Camera Splashes $21
Urban Decay Perversion Mascara $22
Too Faced Better than Sex $12 (travel size is cheaper per ounce than full size at $23!)

Cheap setting spray:
Elf Makeup Mist and Set $4
Nyx Setting Spray in Dewy Finish or Matte Finish $8

Expensive setting spray
Urban Decay All-Nighter Makeup Setting Spray $30

Last but not least, there’s eye shadow palettes, which is where I sink most of my money. What I recommend is getting a neutrals palette and supplementing it with other pops of color in single shades or building custom palettes for specific characters. With colorful palettes, I’ll buy them if I can use them for multiple characters or if there are really unique shades that aren’t permanent for the particular brand.

Cheap eye shadow palettes:
Make your own with Make Up Geek $6 for regular shades, $10 for foiled
Elf ($1-$20) – I recommend any of the Prism Shadow Sets, and their Naked dupes
Nyx ($6-$20) – I recommend the prismatic singles, the Go-To palettes, the Avant Pop! palettes, and the Ultimate palettes
Makeup Revolution ($7-$15) – Lots of Too Faced palette dupes as well as UD Naked; more selection in the UK/on their site.

Expensive eye shadow palettes:
Urban Decay Nakeds $54; Singles are $19 for regular, $21 for moondust, and 4-pan palettes are $10, the Spectrum Palette would be a PERFECT splurge for a colorful palette; it’s $39 at Sephora right now
Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palettes $49, and these would be tied with Tarte for a splurge on a neutrals palette. 9-pan palettes like PB&J or Natural Eyes are $36
Buxom Make your own 6-pan for $40 with free case @ Ulta; or get pre-made ones for the same price
Anastasia Beverly Hills Make your own 4-pan for $40 with free case @ Ulta; palettes are usually great too! (I am loving Modern Renaissance!)
Tarte now has single shadows and while I personally have yet to try them, they’re getting A’s on Temptalia’s site so I’d say they’re pretty good! Their eye shadow palettes usually have a blush and sometimes highlighter in them, and are mostly neutrals. Sales can get them down to around $25 but they retail as high as $45.

Please keep in mind these are just my personal recommendations so what works for me may not work for you if you have a different skin color/tone/type than me. I hope you all find this helpful and look forward to seeing you create some amazing looks on the cheap!

Makeup for Cosplay: Eyes!

Hi peeps! It’s been a long while – I’ve been busy with graduation festivities at my school and wrapping up recruitment on some studies I’ve been coordinating.

So today we’re gonna talk about how to do eye makeup! I think doing eyes first makes the overall application process MUCH easier than starting out with foundation/other face products because then you don’t have to worry about fallout from eye shadow messing up your foundation and concealer. Alternatively, you can put a ton of setting powder under your eyes, do your eye makeup, and then sweep all the setting powder & eye shadow fallout away~!

For eyes, I’ll walk you through some terminology and some different types of looks. But first, a handy diagram from fahv.com:


You’ll start out by putting in contacts if you’re wearing them. Makeup is hard to get off of fingers and you don’t want that in your eyes. Next you’ll take eye shadow primer and smear that all over your lid and up to just under your eyebrows (this part of your eye is called the brow-bone).

The way I usually do my eye makeup is by taking a light (usually white, light pink, or flesh toned) eye shadow all across the brow bone area using a windshield wiper motion. I’ll also usually put this close to my tear duct/where my eye socket meets my nose to brighten up that area and make my eyes look more awake. Next, I’ll take a slightly darker color and pat that onto the lid. If I wanted a super minimalist look, I might sweep the same color into the crease and call it a day.

After that, I’ll take a color that’s a little bit darker than the lid shade and use the same sort of windshield wiper motion to put it into the crease, which is the part of your eye that does the fold-y thing. I have deep-set, semi-hooded eyes so unless I’m raising my eyebrows, you usually can’t see my actual crease, so I extend this a bit beyond where my natural crease is. You can also use another color as a “transition color” if the contrast between your crease shade and highlight is really strong; sweep that between them to make it less intense. Next, I’ll take a shade that’s lighter than the lid shade, and pat that onto the center of the eye – this makes them seem more awake and draws attention to the eyes. Finally, I’ll take the darkest shade I’m using and put that into the outer “V” of my eye. BAM, SMOKEY EYE. If you really wanna make it smokey, you can also blend this outer v shade along your lower lash line. If you want a fun/colorful look, you can blend a bright color on the lower lash line. Blend as you go and at the end to avoid having your eyeballs look like a color-by-numbers.

Using all browns, taupes, whites, and light pinks can give you a natural look like what I have for my Tutu cosplay or you can use this with “crazy” colors like I did for my bisexual flag inspired pride look. Using darker browns, grays, purples, and blacks will give you a “vampier” or more sexy look. Smokey eyes don’t have to be all dark – you can use light shades to get the same effect. Play around with stuff and see what you like!


Another type of look is called a halo eye; which involves 3-4 shades – one you’ll use for your browbone, another for the crease, and then you’ll use the same shade on both the inner and outer v, and the final shade goes in the center, like this look from paulina_alaiev on makeup geek’s website:


A “cut crease” look like this one from allure.com is where the line between the lid and crease shade is very sharp and not blended (youtube this – cut creases are a pain in the buns for hooded eye folks and I’m not gonna put myself through the frustration):


There’s a bunch of other ways to do eyeshadow but these are the ones that seem popular now! Other eye shadow tips: if you want bright colors to really pop, use Nyx’s (or another brand) eye shadow sticks in white as a base; if you want duochrome or glittery shades to pop, use a black eyeshadow stick on over your primer. Wetting a brush with finishing spray and then using eyeshadow can also make them appear more intense. Once you finish doing your eyeliner, wipe away any excess with a makeup wipe and you’ll be good to get going on the rest of your face.

Next we’ll talk about eyeliner – there’s a bunch of different styles but the ones you’ll use most frequently are “basic” (i.e. just follow your upper lash line with the stick, try not to make it too thick) or a cat-eye (same deal but gets thicker towards the outside edge of your eye and ends with a flick). Markers/pens probably give you the most control and are the easiest to work with. “Tight lining” is when you apply eyeliner to the “water line” of your upper eye (you use cream eyeliner for this). This makes your eyeliner appear more uniform. Most people use brown or black for eyeliner, but sky’s the limit, you do you. Lining your bottom water line with white will make your eyes appear larger, more awake, kawaii/animu; black will make your eyes appear more narrow and sexier.

Mascara: just do it. It makes your lashes look really good! Primers exist for them as do waterproofing top coats for trips to Colossal Con! Using vertical strokes with the wand on bottom lashes makes it easier to get to them. If you have issues with length, dusting setting powder on your lashes between coats can help. You can also apply false lashes to give you some extra volume and length.

For brows, you can either use a pencil (like Nyx’s Microbrow or ABH’s Brow Wiz) or powder, or pomade/gel. If your character has natural colored hair that matches yours, just fill them in with the product of your choice. If your character has a crazy hair color like pink, you can do a couple of things if your brow hair doesn’t match: fill them in with a light brown powder color (this draws less attention to them), or you can follow this tutorial by my friend Lara.

After you’ve finished the rest of your face (stay tuned!), you’ll finish off with a setting spray to keep everything locked in place. I hope you find this helpful!

Cosplay 101: How to Survive an Anime Con

Hi peeps,

Sorry I’ve been away, I caught a nasty cold because apparently my immune system thinks that it deserves a nice vacation (this is my 6th cold/flu of the season, go me!) and fever brain is surprisingly not conducive to writing.

Anywho, since con season is upon us, we’re gonna be talking about how to survive a con!

I’ve been cosplaying for 10 years and have 20+ cons under my belt, so I’ve learned a quite a bit (mostly through my own mistakes, lol) about how to survive (and even have fun!) at one of these! Enjoy!

Surviving a con starts before the con, which sounds nuts, but I promise it’s worth it.

Before the con:

  • Finish your costumes, make sure all stray threads are cut, hems and seams do not have holes, etc. Try to do this a week before so you’re not staying up all night the night before.
  • Wear all costumes around your house for a few hours to make sure they don’t tear or hang funny. If they do, you can fix it while you still have a sewing machine accessible. Also, figure out how long it takes you to get ready!
    gif cred to tumblr user einfe
  • Compile a packing list for components of your costumes and check them off as you add them to your suitcase. Small accessories go in ziplocks so they don’t get lost.
  • Pack a repair kit for yourself and for your costumes, which should include: scissors, thread in colors for all of your costumes (or just transparent thread, which is a beautiful thing), needles, hot glue + gun, super glue, stain pen, wig caps, bobby pins, duct tape, fashion tape, safety pins, fabric glue, fabric tape, Velcro, snaps, extra buttons, hairspray, clear nail polish (helps stop runs in tights, also emergency fray check), and gel shoe inserts. If you don’t need them, someone else will.
  • Pack personal items like shampoo & bodywash, any medications you take, & most importantly: pepto bismol (eating junk food all weekend does not do nice things for the digestive system), over the counter cold medicine, & a painkiller of your choice.
  • Bring food and drinks with you – I usually bring granola bars, apples, bananas, oranges, water bottles, bread & pb&j, instant oatmeal, ramen, chips, and crackers with me. Saves you money & time!
  • Practice poses in a full length mirror if you have one, or in front of a trusted friend. Come up with three stock poses so you do not become a one-pose pony at the con.
    gif cred to tumblr user nintenqos
  • 5-2-1 RULE: Five hours of sleep (the sleepyti.me app is great for figuring out when to set alarms to be the most awake), two solid real food meals (at least!), & one SHOWER every day – everyone hates con funk.

The night of the con:

  • Secure your hotel room and keys. Designate a spot for badges & room keys to go immediately. Do not clutter this spot. Don’t put your room key with your phone because it’ll mess up the chip.
  • Go get your badges (you did pre-register, right?)
  • Commence unpacking! Put all of your wigs in one place, keep your costumes in another. Put everything back neatly when you are done for the day or switch costumes. It makes it much easier to find other costume pieces and to check out when Sunday rolls around.
  • Set an alarm for the time of the first event you want to go to minus however long it takes you to get ready + 30 min to 1 hr to get into the con. If I want to be in the con at 8:00AM, it takes me around 2 hours to get ready, so I need to set an alarm for 5:30AM to be on time. If you’re planning on going down with friends, choose the slowest friends’ getting ready time as your marker.

The day of the con:

  • Homestucks/people with body paint: For the love of all that is holy, please seal your body paint. If it rubs off on someone, they will not be happy. E.L.F sells setting spray for under $6: USE IT.
  • Make sure you’re wearing all of your costume pieces before you leave your room and grab any items you want autographed if you’re headed to a guest panel.
  • Also be sure you have your badge, room key, ID (esp. if you wanna go to 18+ panels!), a small snack (you will lose track of time and you do need to eat), cash, credit cards, camera, 3DS, makeup for touchups, and cell phone.
    People with parts that are annoying once per month: carry some spare stuff w/ you just in case; even if you don’t use it, someone else might need it.
  • Most cons have a cosplay repair station now so you don’t need to carry your repair kit with you.
  • Eat, and stay hydrated!
  • Con drama is bound to happen; just try to roll with the punches and try not to get too upset and at least remain civil for the remainder of the con if it’s a fight with someone in your room, even if the other person’s not. Don’t stoop to their level; it just makes you look bad.
    gif cred to tumblr user hairstylesbeauty
  • Remember that painkiller? Take it before you go to bed & first thing the next morning so your head, back, and feet won’t hurt in the morning. If your hotel has a jaccuzzi, I highly recommend visiting it when you’re done for the day. If you feel a cold coming on, take some over the counter cold medicine. (Be sure not to take both a painkiller and cold medicine with painkillers built in!)
  • If any part of your costume becomes painful, change into a different (read: more comfortable) one or into normal clothes for a bit. This goes double for peeps who are binding!
  • For popular events, line up an hour before it’s scheduled to start to guarantee yourself a spot. Lines are also a great place to make new friends!
  • Save the bulk of your shopping for Sunday before you leave. This way you’re not lugging merchandise around the con or over-crowding your hotel room. Most dealers have massive sales on Sunday, so you’ll wind up getting a better deal and you can just carry everything out to your car. If something’s limited edition or will sell out fast, snag it when you see it though. Also – double check amazon before you buy!
    ominous misaka
    gif cred to tumblr user ominous-mikasa
  • ASK for pictures and hugs. If someone says no, back off and MOVE ON.
    • Move to the side of the hall for people asking for hall shots so you’re not blocking traffic
  • THINK BEFORE YOU ACT. Use the grandma rule; if you wouldn’t want your grandma to see or hear it, then it’s probably not a good idea to do it.Last but certainly not least: HAVE FUN!!! This is the most important part!


Cosplay 101: How to get help

Learning how to get help in the cosplay community is one of the most important skills you can learn! Before you bug a cosplay senpai with a question that they’ve probably already answered in their FAQ, try these things first:

First, you have a ton of online resources that I didn’t when I started out. Everyone and their mom is making tutorials now, and you only need google to find them! Search terms: “X character Y item Z series tutorial” will usually get you some results. Also, most tutorials can be applied to other costumes; even if a tutorial is “how to style a wig for Axel from Kingdom Hearts” you can apply learning how to make a widows’ peak and spikes to other wigs/characters who aren’t Axel. Familiarizing yourself with some basic sewing terminology can be really helpful for googling tutorials on how to do that thing. On that note, don’t be afraid to look at non-cosplay-specific tutorials either; there are a LOT of sewing tutorials that can be used for cosplay even though they weren’t written by/for cosplayers. Cosplay-specific forums are also really helpful (read: cosplay.com, ACP, & even your local cons’ “cosplay” subforum)!

Most cosplayers will do detailed write-ups of how they made their costumes on their social media/cosplay-specific accounts like cospix or ACParadise so looking through those or FAQs of their blog/pages can be helpful. (This is especially useful for finding out what wigs/lenses cosplayers use for specific characters!)

If you’ve exhausted both of those resources or are struggling to figure out a step in a cosplayer’s tutorial, then send senpai a message asking for help and maybe they’ll notice you.


Something along the lines of: “Hey, I’m trying to make an X character costume, I really like the way yours looks, and I read through your tutorial/write-up, but I’m struggling with Y piece; do you have any tips for how to make this work properly or do you know what I’m doing wrong?” If you show them that you’ve made an effort to solve the problem on your own, it’ll a) make it a lot easier for them to help you and b) make them a lot more willing to do so.

A lot of your senpais get a metric butt-ton of messages (and a lot of repeats!) every day, and they don’t have time to answer all of them– so don’t lose heart if you don’t get a response. Check their replies to see if they’ve answered a question similar to yours. If they haven’t, then try asking someone with less status/prestige within the community (read: not Yaya Han). Also: shamless plug for my own line of work, but if you can find a person that’s local to you and/or responds when you ask them questions, nominate them to become your mentor! Mentors are amazeballs and I’ll do a writeup about how to recruit one soon.

Another thing to remember is that it can get irritating for cosplay senpais when people don’t bother to check their FAQ or do a simple google search before asking them a question that they’ve already answered or that someone else has already taken the time to go into detail with. USE YOUR GOOGLE-FU. Their time is valuable and the most important thing to remember is that you are not entitled to it simply because you’re a fan. Not naming names, but one of my senpais recently stopped taking questions entirely because people were giving her too much of an attitude– which essentially robs everyone else of a valuable resource. Not cool. Mind your manners.

Time is money, and most of us have other jobs/school/volunteer work/hobbies outside of cosplay. Not everyone’s willing or able to make a tutorial for everything they produce and it’s not fair to them to expect them to as this could easily double the amount of time that it takes to finish costumes, not to mention putting more stress on them to create more content.

Would it be nice if everyone made tutorials for everything? Sure. But sometimes, you just gotta figure things out by yourself.