Cosplayers get ready for convention season


Shane Leone (left) and Coby Bousman (right) pose in their cosplays as Darth Nihilus and a jedi from Star Wars at Sacanime Summer 2015. Photo by K. Nicholson

As convention season approaches, cosplayers such as myself rise from their ashes of sewing, blood, sweat, tears and hot glue burns with paint marks on their arms and bandages all over their sewing needle stricken fingers. These are the cosplayers, and, boy, do they have talent.

Cosplay is a hobby of costume making from TV shows, comics, and more popularly, Anime.  that includes talent, hard work and an unnameable amount of creativity. It includes sewing, sculpting and media of all sorts. Not all of them are in art class, but they’re all artists anyway.

Locally, conventions such as Sacanime in Sacramento and Fanime in San Jose are regularly attended by cosplayers. Smaller ones such as Sac-Con are attended by some cosplayers as well.

Cosplay is limitless in abilities such as sewing, painting, construction and electrical wiring. Anime, comics, webcomics, TV shows and more are what you can find that has been or can be cosplayed. So much effort is put into cosplay, for example, Kailey Johnson, sewed an entire ball gown for the character Sapphire from Steven Universe. She also took the time to sew two wigs together to create a giant, lovely and fluffy wig that suits the character perfectly.

“I had two wig heads; one with the base wig and one with the wig I was deconstructing for the wefts. I would rip the stitches on my base wig. Then I would whip stitch the weft onto the wig.” Johnson said.

Sewing isn’t everything, however. It’s not even half of it, though it’s a handy skill when cosplaying. I myself have created wings about twice my size and a dog’s head for the character Bec Noir from Homestuck. The wings were made with materials that seem random separately but fit together to create a huge masterpiece that unfurls at the tug of a string. PVC pipe, a cutting board, fishing line, two flag pole holders and stack after stack of craft foam are just a few things I used to make them.

The knowledge of power tools and proper measurements is handy as well when making props such as a wooden trident I made and this light-up sword as well. Tools of all kinds are used, drills, dremels, hammers and more. My father soon bought me my own tool box for Christmas after those wings were created.

Conventions however, are a whole different ballgame. The hot, sticky, uncomfortable fabric sticking to a cosplayer during summer never limits the smiles and joy they bring to others with their amazing costumes. Wearing that thin, bodysuit and cat helmet as Celty Sturluson during winter time as they freeze when they walk anywhere outside? Not a problem, because of just how great they look. Rain or shine, they put their makeup on, pack an umbrella, and suffer with a smile most times with satisfaction in their hearts that they did their best.

Messy hotel rooms crammed with the max amount of people is the norm at conventions. For example, the upcoming convention Fanime, I’ll be in a hotel room with four people with two beds. Not too bad, however we all need to live there for about two days.

Johnson suggested we have a designated place to put badges, being the problem solver she is and we decided a command hook would be best. Problem solving, yet another skill needed to be a cosplayer.

Being a cosplayer is not just a nerd in a costume walking around and hating life because of how terrible you feel because you haven’t eaten in two hours and you haven’t drank water at all in the past ten hours, it’s bringing smiles to others faces, watching the small child pet the dog head that you made and making new, life-long friends.