Devin (Houston, TX) - Vash the Stampede
Cosplaying to me is dressing up as a favorite or likeable character from any genre. The key to cosplaying is having fun and knowing a moderate amount about the character your playing. You don't need to overload yourself with quotes, it tends to get quiet nerdish. I say this because the last Con I attended, ugghhh I don't think I require to memorize a pointless like 45 word long made up name the character used to throw someone off. Also, if you must, you shouldn't like do half a costume, if your character requires you to have special colored hair, dye yours or get a wig. If your character requires you to have green skin, than use face paint. Me I took the extra step in my costume, I dyed my hair for the first time just to cosplay my favorite character.
I chose Vash because I enjoyed the characters reactions, antics, emotions, and overall his style. Just a very likeable character from a really good series. I did work on some parts of the costume, but overall the coat was bought from Ebay. I had it tailored and modified to fit my favorite designs to the character's actual coat.
The character also has some type of leather straps around the lower half of his left arm, so I proceeded to gather some material to match a dark colored like leather.....hehe....I bought like furniture fabric like leather. Made straps, and then wrapped it around my arm with some socks to give cushion and breathing room.
The character actually has like full and half fingerless like gloves, but I had some riding gloves lying around, fingerless, but for the time would make due for the costume and wouldn't make me have to spend anymore money then I wanted to at the time.
Particularly the biggest hurdle was the boots.........I could not find anything in local stores that could possibly match his boots. So I opted for some metal plated goth boots from an online store called Rivethead to fill in that part of the costume because I was short on time. Those also cost a pretty penny and probably more than my coat.
One thing in particular that I noticed is that his coat has some type of leather like jumpsuit underneath which also had knee pads and shoulder guards. The closest thing I could find on a small budget was some mongoose skateboard pads, but I forgot to paint them...lol
Vash cannot be Vash without his big gun! So I searched online, searched, searched, and searched and could find nothing that could be imported over seas...........So I went searching for something here in USA.......I did find a Nerf gun (Maverick)that modeled the size and handle design of his gun. It was only $9, such a big save. So I took it apart, modded a few parts to make it a little less like a kiddy thing, then grabbed some enamel paints....don't ask why....and finely painted each detail on the gun. Think I gave it like 2 coats.
Crystal (Washington) & Ryan (Arizona) Faye Valentine & Spike Spiegel (Cowboy Bebop)
Short answer: I liked her character... Faye Valentine initially caught my attention because I *love* Cowboy Bebop; It's still one of my favorite animes to this day. I saw Faye as a strong-willed (if not bullheaded), sassy gal who is a bit of a thrillseeker and puts up a tough exterior despite having a vulnerable aspect about herself that is more closely guarded. I suppose I identified with that on some levels and she quickly became endeared to me. She's fun to watch and I figured she would be just as fun to strut around as, which she totally is!
The construction process was pretty straight forward. I drafted a basic pattern for her outfit, picked out a fabric that looked the part and sewed it up. Once I had the basic shape done it was only a matter of modifying the costume for a better fit. I placed the suspenders and sewed them into place after the shorts and top were completed and finally crafted the triangle buttons out of foam, coat them in plastidip, and spray painted them the appropriate color. I ended up attaching them to the costume with velcro so I could remove them allowing me to wash the costume after conventions. Hooray for hygiene!
During Anime Expo one year, I was walking from my hotel room to the convention center and found myself being followed by a saxophone player that was absolutely nailing "Tank!", which is the intro theme to Cowboy Bebop. He provided me with theme music all the way to the convention center, which was *awesome*. I never really expected to have a saxophonist accessorize my Faye with his musical styling and loved every second of it. I've also had several people drag their cosplaying friends over to me to be collected as bounty. Usually it ends up being Vash the Stampede and, you know, I've yet to see the sixty billion double dollars for that catch!
Cosplay naturally worked its way into my life. It was bound to happen. I've been a gamer geek all my life and have always enjoyed making my own costumes so for Halloween one year I made myself a Kitty Nakajima (Bust A Groove) costume. It was really bad! Like, REALLY bad. But you've gotta start somewhere I suppose. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and sort of cobbled it together on an old and busted sewing machine I picked up at a garage sale for $20, but despite all that I was really happy that I got to be Kitty-N for Halloween that year. Come to think of it I also made my friend a Kuronekosama (Trigun) costume that same year. Being high school students we were on a budget so we put it together out of FELT of all things. It must have been so uncomfortable for her to wear it (sorry, Roxanne)! For our senior trip the summer we graduated, some friends and I asked our parents to send us to Anime Expo so off we went. That's when cosplay really kicked in for me I suppose. FFX-2 was coming out that year so I made a Rikku costume to go alongside my pal's Yuna. I've been loving attending conventions in cosplay ever since.
Cosplay allows one to celebrate the things they love with people cut from the same cloth (couldn't help myself with that one) while expanding upon their artistic endeavors. It pushes me to think abstractly as how to best accomplish the task at hand in order to bring into physical manifestation something previously intangible. I've found myself in hardware stores many times looking for things that I can use *totally* outside of its intended purpose and love that costuming pushes my boundaries of perception in that way.Cosplay also provides the opportunity to meet people that might otherwise remain outside of your proximity; I can't tell you how many friends I have and hold dear that would never have come into my life if not for cosplay. I think about how different my life would be if cosplay wasn't a part of it just by virtue of the ripple effect alone and it's crazy (but I suppose you could say the same of any single aspect of one's life). When you get down to it, cosplay is about people being people (or catboys, or tentacle monsters, or furries) and coming together to share their enthusiasm for another's art that inspires them, in turn, to create.
My girlfriend at the time brought me to my first con, AniZona in 2005. She cosplayed Final Fantasy X Rikku and I was wearing partial Vash accessories and my Matrix Reloaded Neo jacket. It was so much fun that for my second con, AX 2005, I wanted to make sure I was in actual costume. I have been Spike ever since (8 years now) and occasionally getting to Cosplay other characters, like Mugen (Samurai Champloo) and Resident Evil/Biohazard characters (Billy Coen, Chris Redfield).
Originally I was going to cosplay Vash the Stampede for Anime Expo 2005 @ Anaheim Convention Center. Running out of time I decided to Cosplay Spike Spiegel on a whim while watching Cowboy Bebop, the jacket being much easier to make than Vash's jacket. I still haven't cosplayed Vash.
The more the years pass and the older the anime gets, the reactions get more interesting. I have gone whole shows without any reaction and other ones where people are very enthusiastic about my cosplay. I get creepers, like one girl admitting wanting a life-sized doll of me. I also get appreciative fans of the anime or character, like a hotel lobby full of Japanese guests at AX 2006, every single one of them shaking my hand and then gathering to take pictures. I have been told I'm the worst by some and the living incarnation of the character by others. I have cosplayed a few characters but Spike is by far the most fun and recognizable.
Jessica & Jordan (Altadena, CA) - Cammy & Dhalsim (Street Fighter)
Well, at the time, Super Street Fighter 4 was coming out and we were getting hyped for that. We had planned for several of our friends to do certain characters, based on who looked alike, but in the end, Jordan and I were the only ones that worked on it. Cammy was my first cosplay.
I didn't have the skills yet to construct the costume as good as I hoped. The gauntlets were literally cardboard, bottle caps, and duct tape paper mached together and then spray painted. The bodysuit was pre made and we drew lines with a black sharpie. I've made an alternate Cammy cosplay since then and those gauntlets we constructed with craft foam, covered in guesso, sanded, and painted red. Results were much better and didn't leave big bruises on my wrists from being soo heavy!
I'm sure everyone says this, but I'm fascinated with bringing cartoon characters to life. When a person's face lights up when they see you, and they share the same love for that character, it's amazing. It's really fun and challenging to create costumes.
I am cosplaying Dhalsim from the Street Fighter series. Being a big Street Fighter fan, I’ve grown up playing the games, and Dhalsim has always been one of my favorites. With his stretchy limbs and fire breathing abilities, he has always been one of the more interesting characters to me. Because he and I share a few looks in common, my small and thin size, and tan skin, I thought it would be a great idea to cosplay him!
Making the outfit was not difficult at all, I assumed it would be much harder to put together because I had no idea how I would do a few of the props, such as the skull necklace and the bracelets, but things fell together nicely. Since I started putting together the costume around Halloween of 2009, I easily found some skulls that matched the look I needed at Party City, and for a good price. The bracelets were simply dog toys I painted silver!
People freaked out when they saw me, and it caught me by surprise the entire time! No one had seen a Dhalsim cosplayer before. There are a few in the world, but not many people dare to do it. There was even one kid who ran up and hugged me whenever he saw me at the con, which would scare me quite often because he would run up out of nowhere and surprise me. People shouting at me from all over, asking me to do Dhalsim’s victory dance or shout “Yoga Flame!” or “Yoga Fire!” It was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed making people happy during the con.
I started in 2006, and to be honest, I had never even heard of cosplay before that. A group of friends in High School would tell me all these awesome stories they had at Anime Expo, back when it was in Anaheim mind you, but that got me interested. I have always had a flair for the dramatic, and I thought this would be a fun and new experience. To pretend to be someone or something else for a weekend seemed exciting! It’s been a blast ever since!
Cosplay means a lot to me. I’ve made so many new friends because of it, doors have opened for me and it gives me the option to be creative and flashy. This hobby is by far the most productive one I have ever had, and then being able to put on your hard work and walk around in it and have people recognize you, and maybe even compliment you on your work, it feels great!
Alina (Austin, TX) - Crysta (Fern Gully)
Starlight Honey & Breathlessaire (Virginia) - Dee Dee & Dexter (Dexter's Laboratory)
We grew up watching Dexter and Dee Dee on Dextors Laboratory and really wanted to create fun and easy costumes we could really be silly in ! Not much process for these really both costumes were completed in about a day, after that we just had order wigs a pair of glasses some purple latex gloves and dye and old pair of pointe shoes.
We had such an exciting and welcoming experience in these costumes, Just walking past people and seeing faces light up as people recognized who we were dressed up as. You could really see peoplse nostalgic looks and it made it all worth it. Plus who doesn't want to have an excuse to press all of the buttons !
We have both been sewing most of our lives and Cosplay seems like a fun step to take in the growth process of becoming a costumer. Cosplay has provided such a wonderful creative outlet and a great and safe way to really express yourself along with your likes.
Ashmia (Florida) - Hatsune Miku (Vocaloid)
I found out about cosplay in 2007 searching up Halloween costumes and noticed some pictures of people dressed up as Naruto characters. I took a sewing class my senior year in high school and I didn't start cosplaying until 2009 at Megacon. To me, cosplaying is a way to express myself through something that I enjoy. Throughout my 4 years in this hobby, I have learned so much and progressed my skills in sewing. So far I've made 35 cosplays. Cosplaying has also introduced me to many people around the country, many of them are my friends outside the con scene. I love everything about this hobby and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon!
First I find as many photos to use as references. Then I decided how I would tackle the cosplay, whag would be easy and what would take me the longest to finish. Since I didn't have much time to make this cosplay cause I had a week to finish it before I wore it to the con, I decided to modify a men's dress shirt and bought a black skirt and added the blue to the bottom
With this cosplay, I've gotten plenty of compliments. When someone comes up to me they would say how they liked the idea that I colored my eyebrows in. It gives it an added bonus to the cosplay.
Ronald & Phyllis (Chicago) - Mario & Princess Peach
Phyllis and I got started because of our daughter Amanda. She started cosplay and we were helping her with her costumes, it seemed such fun so we started too. First me and my son John as Mario and Luigi then we talked Phyllis into making her own costume as she was already making costumes.
We chose ACen because it is close to our home and it is on the weekend of our wedding anniversary. We celebrate both. Mario and Luigi were easy for us guys, coveralls red and green shirts work shoes. I made the hats from old baseball caps and material. My rotating tail was hand made using an electric motor from a science supply store. Phyllis's dress was made from a pattern she altered from scratch. Amanda got to help mom this time,it was great fun for whole family with mom cosplaying with us. The main reaction we get is"Look, Mario and Peach! Cute ! I wish my mom and dad would cosplay too ! "
Christine (Bloomington, IN) - Red Medic (Team Fortress 2)
I’m cosplaying the RED Medic from Team Fortress 2. I picked him because he’s the character I most often main and I have the most in common with him out of all the playable team members (and thought he had the neatest weapons!) Some friends have also joked that I have a big bent German schnozz, I don’t deny it.
Actually this is my first time cosplaying! I got into it because I have many friends who are regular cosplayers and I’d heard good things from them on the subject so I wanted a piece of the action myself. Up until then all I’ve done are Halloween and theme costumes – I was so enthusiastic about getting my costume JUST right, which was slowly starting to become too much effort for such little payoff.
Scavenging for all the pieces to put it together was about a yearlong process – I had decided to dress as the Medic for Halloween of ‘08 and spent until July of ‘09 finding new things for it and trying to improve on it in any way I could. Some things I had to go to Wal*Mart for, other things warranted a trip to the nearest army/navy surplus store. The gloves I had to order online, I stumbled upon my glasses at an antique shop…
I had a BUNCH of help getting everything to fall together from outside sources – my father (who is better at woodworking than I) made the frame for my medipack, the ubersaw was commissioned (by another Medic cosplayer who also happens to have a very helpful medigun tutorial on his Cosplay.com page) and my coat was done by a friend far more talented at sewing than I am. The patches were probably the only thing I made myself, and evidently, I can’t sew very well, hahaha. For my next con I plan to get them professionally done.
Scott (Chapel Hill, NC) - Cloud Strife (Final Fantasy VII)
Ever since the first time I played Final Fantasy VII and saw the opening sequence where Cloud jumps off the top of the train I've been obsessed. The further I played through the game the more I loved the character. I’m a total cloud fan boy !
I've been making costumes and props for years so I pretty much knew what I was getting into. I think the hardest parts of this costume were the wig and sword. Before this, I had made a few swords, but never 6ft tall and a foot wide, that process was pretty interesting for me.
Wig - The base wig was a blond “punky” style wig I ordered from Cosworx. First, I trimmed the back and then started spiking it. I used Got2b glued spiking gel, Got2b glued freeze spray and a razor to shape the spikes. About 20 hours and a couple tubes and cans of hair product later I was finished.
Clothing - The shirt is a ribbed turtleneck I bought and cut the sleeves off of. The pants I made out of a cotton/polyester blend. The boots are an old pair of combat boots I had laying around, I spray painted those brown and added silver lases to look more like zippers. By the way, spray painting treated leather is not fun at all.
Belt & Armor - The belt and straps are made of craft foam with brown vinyl glued to the outside. The decorative piece on the front of the belt is made from a thick piece of craft foam sprayed painted silver. The bracer and bracelet are made from craft foam and a thin styrene. The knobs on the bracer are made from a round wooden dowel rod. I had to cut, sand and seal all of them. I think I did 14 of them, that was extremely time consuming. The shoulder armor was my favorite part of this build besides the buster sword. It was made from a PVC elbow (90 degree bend) I cut and shaped it with a dremel (a prop makers best friend !) The bolts are hollow plastic, I found them in the bathroom sink section of a hardware store. These worked out perfectly because theyre light and they look great. The corroded section was done with a dremel. First a rough sanding wheel and then an etching bit for details.
Since it is made of plastic I used a black Krylon fusion paint first because Im not too fond of plastic primers. After 2 coats of that I sanded it to make it smooth for the next coats of paint. Then, I gave it 2 coats of regular Krylon chrome spray paint. Then I sprayed it with one coat of a metalizing buffer (gunmetal gray), it is usually used for models. When that dried I buffed it, which gave it a nice metallic finish. To make it a little more shiny I dusted it with the chrome paint and then a high gloss clear coat to seal everything.
Sword - I made the sword out of a styrene shell, a spray insulation foam and a PVC skeleton. First I took my Cloud action figure and measured the sword to the figure. Since Im 5′8″(the same height as Cloud according to the FF-VII:Crisis Core booklet) it was easy to scale it up to 1:1. I decided to go with a hollow shell and a foam core because its durable and pretty light. The sword only weighs about 10lbs or so. The skeleton is shaped like a ladder because I needed the foam to expand around the PVC and hold it inside of the shell. This also let me cut the 2 holes into the blade for the materia slots. The hand guard section is just a foam board box glued into place with decorative upholstery nails for the “rivets”. The corroded areas and paint were done exactly like the shoulder armor.
I've always loved dressing up, every chance I got. I would run around my house in some kind of costume, either a Halloween costume or one that I threw together from random stuff I had lying around the house just for fun. So when I got older and found out people dressed up like their favorite characters and gathered at convention centers I was instantly hooked. My first anime costume was Nickolas D. Wolfwood from trigun. I used a black suit that I never wore, added a couple crosses to the cuffs, got a white button up shirt with a slightly longer collar and some dark sunglasses lol. I never actually debuted the costume, I just wore it around the house. A few years later I went to my first anime con and fell in love with it. Ive been completely addicted ever since.
Ali, Becki, Clayce (Plano, TX) - Silent Hill Nurses
I got interested in cosplaying when I went to my very first convention: Anime Fest 2004. I had no idea what cosplaying was until I went, and it really excited me to see people dressed up as their favorite characters, and I knew I wanted to do that at some point as well. I’m still a cosplay n00b, though..The nurse costume was only my 2nd cosplay, but now that I have the money and determination..I’ll be cosplaying more often.
The outfit my friends and I decided to pick out are “nurse monsters” from the Konami video game “Silent Hill”. I grew up on this game because my dad was an avid player. Many years later, I started becoming interested in it again. So, I introduced it to some of my friends. Our obsession grew, we recruited a few other friends, and spent an ENTIRE summer working on these costumes. We chose the nurses mainly because they’re one of our favorite SH monsters.
All I can say is I’m so glad my friends and I didn’t procrastinate like we usually do. We started the summer before A-Fest…and it took us ALL summer. Everything (except for the shoes and weapons—which we simply altered) was made from scratch. The girls and I (there were originally 5 of us, only 3 of us got to go to A-Fest) decided to have a series of sleep-overs where all we did was work on those costumes! We started with the masks—which we did out of paper mache—then we commissioned one of my other friends to sew our nurse-frocks. We bought a couple of weapons for each of us to carry around as well—but we got them from Party City so they were pretty cheap and sad looking. SO, I sanded them down and painted them to look a little more realistic. We then made the nurse hats, bloodied everything up, and that was it! Doesn’t sound like a lot…but the process took forever!
TwiliteSea (New Jersey) - Harley Quinn (Batman)
I actually made this on a whim, and it seems I do my best work on whims! The costume is constructed out of 4-way stretch lycra, which really is the best stuff to use for form-fitting bodysuits, and super-hero costumes in general. It also came in super handy for this costume because of the hood/mask thingy; just slips right over my head with ease! I don't use official patterns so everything I did as I went along and with some trial and error. The gloves I made my own pattern for so I can nail the pointy-fingers that all of Bruce Timm's women seem to have. Same goes for the shoes. The diamonds were first painted on, but I hand-sewed red diamonds on because the paint didn't look very nice.
The hardest part of this costume was getting the back of the costume to line up, while having a zipper thrown in there. The mallet, one of the few props I've made, is made entirely out of the cardboard box the fabric came in! It's a lotta fun to bonk people on the head ;) I'm STUNNED the costume came out as well as it did, especially the hood. Easily my favorite costume.
Oh I freak people out all the time when I do Harley's voice. If you knew me, you'd know I LOVE doing voice mimicry and when I wear this costume, her voice just comes out naturally! People always ask me, "Where's Mistah J?" and I respond (in character), "Oh Mistah J's on vacay!". Commence the fanboy/girl squeals. But I love it. It just means they love this character as much as I do!
I always loved dressing up as characters and acting stuff out on my own, so I was gonna end up in all this eventually haha. My first "costume" was awful and sadly, there is evidence of it, haha. My first "big" con was Otakon 2004 and from then on, I was hooked on the hobby. My first few costumes were all handsewn - learned from my grandma - and the first time I sewed something via machine was for Katsucon 2005.
What does cosplay mean to me...(geeze why do I feel like this is a pagent question?) Cosplay to me, plain and simple, is just a dorky little hobby where people play dress up. Whether they choose to do it for fun or to be famous is totally their choice, but for me, I do it for fun. I could really care less about the "proper" construction of my costume or whatever; so long as I'm having a good time and I'm not having wardrobe malfunctions, I'm hap-pay. :D I still feel like a 4-year old wrapping rainbow construction-paper strips around my limbs and thinking I'm Sillywhim !
J Ryoga (San Francisco,CA) - Sora (Kingdom Hearts)