My Cosplay Experience
Comic Con 2016

George talks about his run up to Comic Con 2016. 

By George

For those of you who read My Comic Con Experience, you may remember that I got into the hobby of cosplay (creating and wearing outfits of characters from movies, video games, etc). In more recent months, I can only say that hobby has grown. In the run up to MCM London in May, a friend of mine approached me with the idea to cosplay as a group of characters from the animated web- series RWBY. But the twist was that we would be going as male versions of female characters. I selected the character of Yang Xiao Long and got to work!

The cosplay itself was a challenge for me as it was the first outfit of this scale I would have to create entirely by myself. Most of my previous cosplays have comprised of regular clothing, or only required a little effort to create a prop or clothing piece by myself or with help from others. I was really excited to try to create a more complicated project entirely on my own. The great thing about doing a gender-reversed cosplay was that it not only allowed me to enjoy being one of my favourite characters, but it allowed a certain creative freedom to the costume design. Rather than having to replicate the character exactly, I was able to interpret and change features of the costume in a fun and creative way.

This was my first task; the design stage. With the character in mind, I looked into the character's outfit and how I could either make or acquire the outfit myself. One of the harder parts to pin down was the hair. As Yang has long, vibrant yellow hair, I knew I had to get myself a shorter but equally yellow wig. At first, I was unsure where to get one from but thankfully some cosplay enthusiast friends of mine were able to point me in the direction of an online cosplay store that sold the perfect wig.

I ended up sourcing the clothes of the outfit from several different places. The brown trousers and boots were clothes I owned already, which is an option you should never overlook when it comes to cosplay. Always check what's in your own wardrobe first before adding to it! For a couple of items, I had to look online. An example of this is the emblem emblazoned T-shirt, for which I had to make a custom order from a shirt printing website. My saviour for the majority of the cosplay was charity shops. I purchased the leather jacket in The East End Thrift Store in east London, as well as several scrap shirts and an orange scarf. I would recommend this place to anyone based in London and looking to get into cosplay because you can get so many second hand clothes for such a cheap price!

As with all cosplay, there were several parts where I had to customise and create aspects of the costume. For example, I had to heavily alter the jacket to have short sleeves and a distinctive outline. I'm not very skilled with a needle and thread, so I found it easiest to cut the sleeves off and secure the ends with gaffer tape which turned out really well. Then I simply drew the outline details on with a couple of gold Sharpie pens. Not only did this turn out great, but I got lucky with the scrap pieces from the sleeves. I managed to convert the remains of the leather sleeves into leather stripes that hang from the belt to mimic the skirt that Yang wears.

The most complicated part to Yang's cosplay is the gauntlets, which are essentially bright yellow shotgun powered boxing gloves. Not only did I have to make them durable but also wearable and comfortable. I researched a few tutorials from people who made the gauntlets themselves and planned out my own construction. Thankfully, I've always found myself skilled at calculating and measuring designs, so I soon had the plans to build my own gauntlets. I had to purchase quite a few items for the build, such as EVA foam, a heat gun, a glue gun and different spray paints. Over time,

I carefully cut, moulded and glued the foam pieces together. Then I sprayed the gauntlets with several coats of grey primer paint, which allowed the coats of yellow paint to stick more easily. I then sealed all of the paint with a mixture of PVA glue and water to help prevent the paint from wearing off. For the shotgun shells and the gun muzzles, I cut wooden dowel rod to be the correct shapes and painted then accordingly. Finally, I stuck all the painted pieces together, drew on the final details and added straps to each gauntlet so they would fit more securely to my arms.

At long last, my Yang cosplay was completed! I have to admit that I'm very pleased with the results, as I didn't imagine the final cosplay looking quite as good as it does. I consider myself a rather inexperienced cosplayer so I would hope that for anyone who is reading this and feels the same, this will encourage you to try bigger and better things in the wonderful world of cosplay!  



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