I think in a funny way, I’ve always wanted to make a Raven cosplay, ever since I first saw her on Cartoon Network’s Teen Titans back in the early 2000’s. I used to have this navy blue blanket when I was younger and I used to pretend it was her cloak; so I guess this was a project long time in the making! While I was in college, I had to put my cosplay hobby aside since I had so little time and space to make costumes. So for my entire final year, I was itching to start a costume project when I got out. I thought she would be the perfect character to bring with me to San Diego Comic Con.
I first discovered cosplay when I was in middle school. I really liked cartoons and anime and stumbled upon cosplays of my favorite characters on sites and forums. I never really grew out of playing dress up so I was happy to see people made costumes year round to post online and bring to conventions. I started out by just using things I already had in my closet. The first cosplay I wore to a convention was stuff just pulled out from my closet and repurposed things I had around the house. Even though it wasn’t the best, people at the convention were still very nice and encouraging! And seeing all the great costumes made me want to keep going and get better and better.
I think my favorite thing about wearing Raven is the variety of interaction I get when I wear her, from both kids and adults. But the kids are the best! I kinda forgot that since “Teen Titans Go!” came out, a lot of kids know the character so I got quite a few hugs from fans. I was walking around the convention hall and trying to navigate the crowd when a family of three little girls and their father walked past. I was busy looking around when I just hear this chorus of “Raven!!” from below me and these little girls beaming up at me with wide eyes. They were so cute! We took a few pictures together and they were all hiding under my cloak and hugging my legs, striking poses. It was so sweet and honestly made my whole day.
The project was really fun to make and I ended up learning a few new skills by doing it. I wanted a fabric with a slight color shift to give the cloak a really magical look, so I used a two toned navy taffeta and sewed it into a fitted half circle cloak. I tried resin casting for the first time to make all the gems and broaches. I mixed some resin, resin dyes, and fine glitter to make the gems, then backed them with foil and placed them in gold curtain grommets with a worbla backing to hold them in place for my belt. The gems on my hands a secured to my suit and gloves with two strong magnet clasps. I also fitted my grey gloves with some cute purple press on nails so they look more hand-like. Much better than getting paint everywhere.
Cosplay has improved my life by motivating me to try new things and encouraged me to learn new skills. With every project I find myself learning something new. Sewing, sculpting, silkscreening, resin casting, photography…the list goes on. I started out knowing pretty much nothing about crafting, and suddenly I have so many new tricks on my belt! It really taught me to appreciate all the work people put into their costumes. It’s a lot of hours of hard work and problem solving, a lot of thinking outside of the box.