Creating Cosplay Goals, and Sticking with Them
So, You've watched your anime, played your games, and you wanna cosplay from 800 different series, with 200 different costumes. Same. But, you still have 3, 8, sometimes even an insurmountable number of cosplays/plans that you haven't finished yet. You need to be organized, but you can't help but add to your lists. Hopefully, this will be a game changer in actually finishing your cosplays in a timely manner and keep you on track for your next cosplay.
CHOOSING YOUR COSPLAY: First, you gotta choose the cosplay you want to finish. It's always best to focus on one at a time, but if one can get overwhelming, making a second one to break up the frustration from the first is alright as well. Once you've chosen that first costume, you need to break down the parts. Does it need shoes? Shirt, pants, jacket, accessories, contacts, wig, etc? Make a list, breaking down what items you need. Create a reasonable budget based on the list.
ARE YOU MAKING OR BUYING?: If you are buying your cosplay, you need to find a vendor. Are you commissioning it from an artist or are you buying it from a Chinese vendor? Once you answer these questions, you can start shopping. Most of the time, it is cheaper to go with a Chinese vendor, but you also have to remember that because it's coming from China, it may take up to 3 months, just to ship. It also may look cheap, since you usually get what you pay for. So while it may be a really nice deal, you may not look how you expect to once you get it. If you commission your cosplay from an artist, it may take longer, be more expensive, but you are usually paying for that quality that you want to look once you receive your order. Plus, if you cosplay needs a wig, you will have to shell out more to different vendors in order to get your completed look.
If you make your cosplay, you'll have to shop around for the supplies. Amazon is great for finding just about everything you need, but may come out a little more expensive (depending on what you already have.) Making sure to watch out for when fabric sales happen at your local craft store is essential. Sign up for those mailing lists, people, that 60% off coupon can be a life-saver. When looking for wigs, also remember to watch out for sales and whether the item is on back order. That can delay your plans, so you may have to find alternatives. Although I'm not a sponsor for Arda, and I do love them so much, they do have a tendency to sell out of their wigs faster than they can get them in. Alternatives like EpicCosplayWigs are pretty cool, while your last resort should probably be Amazon or Ebay (Although some friends have gotten really lucky with their wig purchases in the recent past.)
STAYING ON BUDGET: Say you only have $200 to spend right now, but the supplies cost $350. What do you do? Buy it all and go into debt? Not at all. If you are commissioning your piece, most artists are willing to do a payment plan in order to get your costume, but also feeding the artist. Specifically for me, I won't do payment plans unless the order is over $150, and require half up front to pay for the supplies. Some artists may break it down further, but it is on a case by case happenstance. If it isn't something you can afford at the moment, don't fret. Save your money up or change your cosplans to fit your budget. It's better to be able to eat for the next two weeks than it is to look good for a couple of hours.
If you are making your cosplay, you can take the list of pieces you made and break it down further. For example, my Kurama cosplay (currently working on) has a wig, contacts, makeup, under shirt, pants, shoes, belt, and over shirt. I bought the wig last month while ordering my Chompette wig so that I could get free shipping and use my 10% off coupon. I saved like, 8 dollars, and was able to buy a wig head and barber sheers to cut my wigs more professionally. Basically, I got the head and sheers for free, and got free shipping as well. Due to my many cosplays, I have about 15 pairs of contacts. I personally don't have an optometrist I can go to, as I don't have insurance and to be told I don't need contacts to see (I have really good vision despite having an astigmatism, which is apparently uncommon.) That being said, you should go to the eye doctor and get a prescription, especially if you need contacts and won't have glasses to go with the character that you can see out of. I usually go through Uniqso, and will try to get an affiliate code so that you can save money off your orders. For Kurama, I need green contacts, which I bought for my Jinx cosplay and take tremendous care of.
For the rest of the cosplay, I needed a white cotton for the undershirt and pants, and navy cotton, yellow cotton, and pink bias tape for the over shirt. Luckily, I caught all this on sale, so the costume itself cost me about $35. I'm reusing a pair of shoes I bought for my Sailor Sailor Uranus, I'll just have to bleach the shoes to get the gunk from the river out of it. The wig was $40, so in total, this cosplay cost me around $75, which isn't too bad. Once I get to the sewing part, I'll break it down even further.
MAKING YOUR DEADLINES: For me, most of my cosplays have a one month deadline. Some are earlier in the month than others, so they'll be worked on in the months before. For example, next month is my Slayer Jinx build. I'm super excited for that, but I also have to make a mini gun, rocket launcher, bombs, boots, socks, knee pads, shorts, belt, shirt, jacket, necklace, gloves, fake tattoo, and that wig @.@. For this, I'll have to set specific dates I need pieces done by. Most of the pieces, I can get done during the same day, as long as I pace myself. Understanding your limits of time and patience is key to making sure you aren't rushing, but also aren't making your builds sloppy. You work full time, you have maybe 10 build days, or just a few hours here or there. Make the most of it. If need be, get a friend over to help keep you on track. I know I need that sometimes, as I am really bad about staying on track. (I may have ADHD, but am not diagnosed.) I have a calendar in my work area that I write on to show what I will work on that day and possibly the day after. Remember to write down when you need to take breaks, shower, and remember to hydrate. The more you procrastinate, the more you'll be stressed out in the end.
How I make sure to keep my deadlines is to follow a flow chart. I always start either at the feet or the head (depending on if I have to make the shoes or not) and will purchase the wig, then the fabric, to make sure I'm actually cosplaying this character. Make sure you are 100% positive you want to cosplay the character before purchasing anything for that outfit. You don't want to buy a wig then change your mind and suddenly you have 30 wigs in your closet that you need to get rid of since you never finished the cosplay. A cluttered workspace is a cluttered mind. I also keep my wig out on the stand and head to stare at me until I get it done. Currently, Kurama is staring and although it's already done being styled, I have to finish the rest. Setting clear dates you want pieces done by keep you from getting too stressed out. By Saturday, February 16th, I will have Kurama's pants and undershirt done. I want to have the over shirt and belt done by the following weekend, so that by the 28th, I can do the photoshoot and get ready to have prints.
I believe in you and know you can do this. I know you have the strength to get your cosplans turned into cos-realities and I cannot wait to see your finished pieces! Hopefully this has given you a fresh perspective and zest for your next cosplay and if you feel so inclined, show me! I love seeing people work on their cosplays, and I love to help out where I can. You are also free to rent my time (I do free 15 minute sections, or $15 per hour, where I help you find specific fabrics, contacts, wigs, and more!) You can find the options in the "Book Now" tab on the home bar of the site. Happy cosplaying!