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Fandom Culture

Check out our guide for library resources on different types of fandom culture, and upcoming lectures and events on fandom.

Cosplay

Cosplay at Anime Los Angeles 2020ALA Cosplay Fire Emblem

Cosplay is a fun performative part of fandom culture, where you take on the role and personality of a specific character from a TV show, movie, book, anime, manga, and anything else from popular culture. Depending on your level of skill, you might go as far as to completely recreate the character's outfit, hair, and accessories or you can make something casual. Cosplay could be a serious take on a character or a more satiric take on them. It is all about how you relate to the character and bring them out to the real world.

Getting Started in Cosplay

Character art of two characters in "my wife is the student council president"When it comes to getting started in cosplay, the first thing you need to consider is what are you going to cosplay as? If you need reference photos and character art, a good place to start is Google Images or a Fandom page (formerly Wikia). The reference photos  & official art will give you a realistic expectation of what people expect with the character and will provide a good starting expectation on how easy or how difficult the project is.

Here are some good Cosplay 101 websites to get you used to things

Cosplay normally consists of three main parts

  • Wig
  • Outfit
  • Accessories

When it comes to wigs, there are three major sites to get wigs, Epic Cosplay Wigs, Arda, and Esty. Then you have to consider the styling of the wig. Depending on your character, you might need to combine wigs. A necessary part of wigs is wig caps, so find a cap your size that fits comfortably.

When it comes to an outfit, you have three choices.

  • Buy a premade cosplay
  • Commission a cosplayer to make an outfit
  • Make it yourself

You have to consider your personal skill relative to the outfit you want to cosplay. Making an outfit from scratch is also time-consuming, but very rewarding. There are also some in-between, where you can buy a premade cosplay, and then tailor it to fit your body.

Accessories are also an important part of cosplay, you either buy the accessories or make them. It is dependent on your skill level.

Becoming the Character

Congratulations on getting a cosplay done, now the fun part begins, learning your character.

There are many ways to learn about your character, read about them on Wikipedia, TV Tropes, Fandom, a focused fansite, official site, or go back to the source material. Learning about your character is a great way to develop poses and see how they interact with their world. It helps the cosplayer figure out if they really want to immerse themselves as the character or just cosplay more passively.

Getting Photographed

The easiest way to get photographed as a cosplayer is to attend an anime, comic, or sci-fi convention. We have a list of local and state conventions for cosplayers attending Cal Poly Pomona. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic most, if not all those conventions are postponed until further notice and/or running virtual events.

Another way to getting photographed is to know a cosplay photographer. You can ask around and find quality photographers in your area. Depending on their level of skill, they do free shoots if they are starting off, and more established photographers charge quite a bit. If you are lucky enough to do a free shoot, at least treat the photographer for lunch or dinner for taking their time to photograph you.