5 Anatomies to Good Cosplay (& Results!)

See, for the past years for being into the hobby and with a now critical mindset, there are discoveries and knowledge acquired each and every time. I do enjoy observing and learning, especially with a hobby that I fancy a lot. So when I started to take down notes by looking and studying other people’s cosplays (thank you, internet!) and with interactions with fellow hobbyists and fans, this list came to be. Ta-da~

Not exactly a sequel of my previous article: Cosplay in the PH – Then and Now. More like this here’s a tip-slash-help post for beginners and those who want to do better via deeper understanding of the hobby. So, yeah, I hope this helps you!

5 Anatomies to Good Cosplay (& Results!)

1. Forgo the Self and Stop Making the Character Look and Behave Like You – quite the common problem within the community: some cosplayers do not act their characters and simply wear the attire only. It is important that when you get on that costume, forgo your signature smile, poses and behaviors and get on being someone else. Enough with the pouty-duck lips, rock-on/v-victory hands or the shy-type poses! Much is noticeable that a lot do not act the part probably because their character’s personality is in contrast to theirs. Practice, boys and girls. You chose the character you cosplay – whether you share personalities or not – so study them and BECOME them. It will only be for a day, yeah? So do it right!

In addition to #1: not only you need to look and act the part, it is a must to choose quality materials to achieve favorable results. Be it for the clothes or for the props, choosing the cheapest kind of stuff on the market won’t really bear you good results. Props handling too! Learn it. Learn it good.

2. Make Up – it is evident that everyone who wants to cosplay need to achieve the 2D look.. which we can’t so we are sticking with accuracy instead (we are three dimensional creatures after all). Imagine our faces, once applied appropriate foundation and marks now concealed, becomes flat like a new paper sheet and is up to us to render what is needed to look similar to the character. Like redrawing. reshaping and recoloring your brows, eyes and lips, jaws and more. Wigs and Contact Lenses are under this bullet too. If we want good cosplay, good make up technique must be practiced as well.

3. Camera and Equipment – we can’t deny that some cameras have features and lenses that are much better than regular ones. So to get the best out of your cosplay (which you worked really hard for!), try try try to use the right gears and settings OR find someone knowledgeable to be behind the lens. It’s a tandem between you – the cosplayer – and the photographer to share creative judgements and opinion when shooting your character. Editing and photoshopping the face and body, color and contrast, value and exposure and others, all are under here: whether people do it or do not, it all roots down to achieving accuracy.

4. Backgrounds and Venues – while you – the cosplayer – are the subject of the photo, the photograph won’t look good at all if you are not placed at the appropriate setting. So while you plan and study your character, add to your list the best background and elements that would support your character well. Indoor shoots/studio would provide you controlled settings of flat colored backgrounds — which are popularly used to illustrations and artwork so play creatively there. Outdoor shoots using available light are out of your means to control them but does not mean could only make chaotic results. Use the rising or setting sun, the gray colors of metropolitan buildings, empty lots or roads, the greeneries, the tranquil blue sea or parks and shades, your home or school or favorite cafe — you the cosplayer and the photographer could work on many artistic ways using the outdoors. Also, too much clutter and unnecessary elements around your environment might not be good so only include what is appropriate and acceptable for the character and overall image.


5. Less Shadows – especially on the face. As with all illustrations and artworks being rendered and produced, it is noticeable that there are less to no shadow on the face. The cosplayer strives to be as accurate as his/her favorite 2D character so posing for the camera and finding the right light source would be of great help to achieve good photographic results. Take initiative and step towards the light. After all, it is imperative to show the face — a well-lit face.

I bet there are a lot more to include on the list but I do think that these here are the very basic of good outputs which are creatively directed and thought-out. Nothing beats good planned projects and executing them well, don’t you agree?

So, did I miss out anything? What do you think makes a cosplay good? Share it with us!


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