We asked Valeriecosplays to help us find the best ways to grow and start with your cosplay. Valerie is a 23-year-old cosplayer who started as a small cosplayer three years ago and developed to be one of the largest Dutch cosplayers with over 40.000 followers on Instagram. Cosplays which you could know her from are her Harley Quinn and her Villain Deku. In this article, you could find tips to begin with cosplaying.
Beginning with cosplay.
‘’ No one is born with a full skillset and no opportunities come out of thin air’’ Explains Valerie when we asked her what the best way to start cosplaying is. Therefore, her most important tip is to be proactive with your cosplays. You could do this by watching tutorials on YouTube or look for inspiration on Google to make you cosplay even more unique. However, the most important is to just start practising with it. You will come nowhere with solely understanding the theory. You need to practise to become better.
Nevertheless, before you start with the actual cosplay the most important is to pick a character that you connect with. When you acquired this character then the first step is already achieved. After that, the real work can begin. The most essential step is then to just start. Where you want to start is up to yourself and where you feel comfortable with. This could even be with clothing that you already own. This is a way to already begin with cosplaying, when you still feel anxious to go all out. For instance, Valerie told us that unconsciously she did this already when she was in high school. She then chooses an outfit inspired from a certain character.
When you found a character, you connect with then it is important to see what you want to achieve with it. This goal should not have to be achieved at once. Begin where you feel comfortable and then every year you could find a section of the cosplay you could improve on. Valerie gave an example of her cosplay where she did this, namely her Harley Quinn. She mentioned that the cosplay looked very different when she began from now. Every time she focused on a different aspect she could improve. For instance, over the years she improved and changed her make-up for this character to perfect it.
Furthermore, according to Valerie, it is also crucial to ask other cosplayers for tips and tricks. She adds on this by saying that you do not have to know the cosplayer. You could just ask via Instagram or on HDCC something you like to know. Ask a question about how they handle certain aspects, talk with them, and most important be interested in the other. Asking each other for help is according to her important to grow or start with a cosplay.
Confidence for cosplay
‘’Fake it until you make it’’ Stated Valerie when we asked her how cosplayers could get enough confidence to start cosplaying. She told us that she started the same way. It is might be difficult, but it is the only way to do it. Focus your energy on positive things of yourself and look forward to that cosplay will make you more confident. It is a way to be yourself and to love yourself.
Meeting new people
According to Valerie one of the greatest things about cosplay is that she met so many people through it. She explained by saying: ‘’ When you want to have a conversation with someone on the street, it will be hard to initiate the conversation because you do not know if you click with that person. However, when you see someone at HDCC wearing a cosplay of a character that you like. Than at least you know that you have the same interests.’’
Furthermore, Valerie as well elaborates on this by saying that HDCC is a place to be enthusiastic and get over the fear of initiating a conversation. To make this easier she gave the tip that the best way to do this is by going with one or two friends to HDCC. This so that you are at least not completely alone. When you see someone with a cosplay you like or you like the character they cosplay, then just walk up to that person. Compliment that cosplayer because everyone likes that. Start the conversation, listen, and learn from each other. HDCC is a place where you could make friends so easily when you try.
How can I grow on social media?
Like mentioned before, you should walk up to a cosplayer when you would like feedback on something. Additionally, other things which could be important for growing on social media is making aesthetically pleasing pictures. To do this you could contact a photographer if he would like to shoot together. Are you not feeling comfortable with that, yet? Then start small and ask your friends to take pictures of you. It is then important that you tell to your friends clearly what kind of photo’s you want and find inspiration before the shoot. This way you could still make great pictures without a photographer.
Another great way to make better pictures is by using a ring light. She explains that a ring light is a game changer for selfies: ‘’ All pictures look more professional’’. Valerie adds to this by saying that this should not have to be expensive. There are many sites such as Amazon where you could purchase a ring light for a low cost. Lastly, she told us that for beginning cosplayers it could help to use good hashtags.
Lastly, she addresses that the most important part is that you have a great time. She elaborates on this by saying: ‘’ Followers are just a number and cosplay is a lot more than that’’. She continues by explaining that cosplay can make you feel free and that you could be as creative as you want. It is a way to make fun new friends and be completely yourself. For that reason, you should cosplay for yourself and for no one else.
Photographer Harley Quinn photo: @dazzlephotographyart
Photographer Bakugou and Diane: @fishycosplayphotography
Photographer villain Deku: @Coy_photographic