Photo : Bryan Humphrey 

Photo : Bryan Humphrey 

I started cosplaying when I was 25 and now I'm 31 and still doing it. I only feel my age when I'm around people much younger me and only at particular cons that attract a younger crowd. I tend to cosplay characters around my age, and do mostly game costumes. I think what changed for me is my mentality of what I want out of cosplay for myself.

When I first started, I was more focused on making multiple costumes for one con and I've still only worn many of these costumes once. I'd get discouraged when I didn't have the experience and attention at a con that I thought I should get considering the work I did on each costume (sad yet true). I'd get caught up in what others did to the point I felt like I had to compete with that in a way. Now that I'm a little older, cosplay is more about the experience of making something that doesn't exist with my own hands, bringing that character to life. Learning new craftsmanship skills and techniques and just making something I'm really proud of regardless of whether anyone else appreciates it or not (not going to lie, the kudos from others does make me happy but not what drives me anymore). I just want to make cool costumes now, and I try to avoid a lot of the drama that has made its way into the community. I also want to share my knowledge with others wanting to make their own costumes, because it's a lot of fun and regardless of your skill level, I think everyone should try making their own costume at least once.

I'm cosplaying Leliana from Dragon Age : Inquisition. The chain mail took almost 5 months to complete, and the whole costume took almost a year to finish. I did win Best Craftsmanship in the Video Game Costume Contest, though, and in the end the struggle was worth it!

Catherine Herold

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