1)for me, i worked in theater for a year or two before i got into cosplay. At first i only knew some makeup stuff but slowly i have expanded by watching various videos and reading tutorials.
2)for armor and as a beginner you want to work with craft foam/eva foam. There are a ton of tutorials out there, esp under the tutorial thread but im going to link one that I like. http://entropyhouse.com/penwiper/cos...helmsdeep.html
this is just a basic start. for those specific costumes, Id post in the prop thread for some help!