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Unread 08-31-2010, 12:05 AM   #1
SillyChibi
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Creating your own Cosplay Characters

I've always thought this would be an interesting thing to do. I'm not sure if it would still be called Cosplaying rather than Costume Making, but I still think this is the appropriate place to talk about it! Has anyone ever made up their own character, and then Cosplayed as them? If so, how did you come up with the character, and what made you want to bring him/her to life? It seems as if a Cosplay Costume would mean even more to me if it were completely created by me! I want to meet all of the Cosplay.com designers, and I would love to hear your stories!

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Unread 08-31-2010, 07:53 AM   #2
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That ain't cosplay.

Cosplay is costuming as a preexisting character as an expression of fandom towards said character. If you make up something original, it's costuming.

As you get older, if you stick with this hobby long enough, you may find that you have way more fun costuming then you ever did cosplaying because it's more personal for you.

But no. Not cosplay.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 09:04 AM   #3
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It may not be 'cosplay' in the strictest sense of the word, but it has a section on these forums, right alongside historical costuming.

Most of the original stuff I do is just that - historical, or historically inspired i.e. steampunk or fantasy. My mother is a passionate historical costumer so I started out with that long before I began cosplaying, and I wear a lot of eccentric and vaguely historically inspired things (Most of which I make myself) on a day to day basis, so I get a lot of practice in and I spend a lot of time looking at pictures and patterns of historical clothes. A lot of my original designs start with a shape or detail from a historical period, and that inspires me to combine it with other elements I particularly like - sometimes spanning centuries and several continents - to create something new. They tend to be large, detailed, many layered, and singularly impractical.

I also do quite a bit of derivative designing - where I start with a character I love, and use them in some way as an influence on a new outfit. This runs the full gauntlet from just alternative outfits (Something a character WOULD wear, but never did) to gender swapped (Fem!Hetalia characters mostly) or historically shifted versions (There was talk of a steampunk K-On at one point...) to completely new outfits only vaguely inspired by a character or series (I keep meaning to start a Tudor gown inspired by Saber from Fate/Stay Night, and I'm halfway through an evening dress very LOOSELY based on the Pandora Hearts mythos).

Basically, I'm a really unoriginal original designer. I steal a lot of the bits and pieces that make up my designs from other places
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Unread 08-31-2010, 09:24 AM   #4
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Cosplay has never had a certified definition in English. The dictionary is silent on this one. The terms squashed together to make it would seem to imply that original characters are cosplay... as long as you're ~ PLAYing in a COStume.

(generic maids, nurses, chinese dresses, school swimsuits, witch hats, cat ears, panda outfits and giant peen-suits are all still called "cosplay" in Japan)
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Unread 08-31-2010, 09:37 AM   #5
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You're talking about and original character, there is a forum for that here, and yes it IS cosplay. Cosplay means costume role-play people, not "preexisting character costume play"

http://www.cosplay.com/forumdisplay.php?f=186
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Unread 08-31-2010, 09:39 AM   #6
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can you "play" with a "costume" without putting it on. or can you wear a "costume" and not "play" around. what are words but labels, do what you want just dont break the law.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 11:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiratsukai View Post
Cosplay has never had a certified definition in English. The dictionary is silent on this one. The terms squashed together to make it would seem to imply that original characters are cosplay... as long as you're ~ PLAYing in a COStume.

(generic maids, nurses, chinese dresses, school swimsuits, witch hats, cat ears, panda outfits and giant peen-suits are all still called "cosplay" in Japan)

I feel this same way. I always known Cosplay and being "Costume play", playing in a coustume. So I see original Cosplay being cosplay... If you do a Fary your in a fairy cosume and so on.. i'm even advetuly planing on Cosplay charectors form my own manga. Its my creation but i'll be still bringing a charector to life.

A Coustume is just something that you nermably don't wear as well. Acsuly to be more tenical a Coustume is everything. you dressing up in closthing a friend of your is wearing that is diffent form your style is a costume.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 12:42 PM   #8
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*groan*

Let's not bring up the whole "that's not cosplay" thing again, please? It's so tired, no one really give a hoot, and there's no need to bring it up in every third thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post
Basically, I'm a really unoriginal original designer. I steal a lot of the bits and pieces that make up my designs from other places
Same here. I've always had a hard time doing exact recreations. I always find myself going "No, this would look soooo much better if this part looked more like this!" lol
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Unread 08-31-2010, 02:40 PM   #9
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Whatever.

But keep in mind, keep going down that road, and eventually wearing a hat will be cosplay.

It's that kind of attitude that's going to kill a lot of the magic of this hobby a few years down the line.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha_helix View Post
*groan*

Let's not bring up the whole "that's not cosplay" thing again, please? It's so tired, no one really give a hoot, and there's no need to bring it up in every third thread.

...

Same here. I've always had a hard time doing exact recreations. I always find myself going "No, this would look soooo much better if this part looked more like this!" lol
Quite.

My mother is a die hard recreationist - late Victorian is her pet era, and she used to take old fashion plates out of 1880's and 1890's magazines and try to remake the dresses exactly as is, down to hairstyles and jewellery. It was fabulous but it took soooooo long and sometimes I really thought it wasn't worth it for the dresses she chose.

I think she had a minor heart attack the first time I walked downstairs in one of my own creations (Which was, if I remember correctly, the one that was halfway in between Qin Dynasty China, medieval Holland and the roaring 1920's. The last part was sort of an accident. I didn't have time to make a bonnet but I had a cloche hat and pearls just lying around, and my apron wouldn't stay up on it's own but I had a dress with an old beaded yoke in the right colours...)
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Last edited by Brsis : 08-31-2010 at 02:50 PM.
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Unread 08-31-2010, 03:44 PM   #11
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Count me in as another who refuses to restrict "cosplay" to strict character recreation, while relegating everything else to mere "costuming".

No, I don't think that merely wearing a hat will count as cosplay anytime soon. Whether it's an original character or recreation, cosplay tends to take more thought and work.

I'm working on one now for a con- Transamerica Pyramid of San Francisco, yes- the famous skyscraper. But I'm doing it in a heavily anthropomorphized manner- a living incarnation, or "building dryad" as somebody online once commented. I'm actually going to dress the character in very chinese looking robes, which when you think about it are quite fitting, given how the asian community has shaped San Francisco, and that Chinatown is literally a stone's throw from San Francisco's financial district. Why robes? One, I hate the suit-as-prison-uniform look, and if I'm cosplaying a skyscraper-spirit, wouldn't such a being want to stand out instead of blend in? So flowing robes it is. If anyone asks, my skyscraper can say he shops for clothes in Chinatown
I'm also planning to install lights in the headdress, and make use of fiber-optic hair ornaments to simulate skyscraper night-lighting (or bio-luminescence).

I would be rather insulted if after all that thought and effort, somebody told me that my outfit wasn't cosplay, however the person next to me wearing the halloween sexy nurse costume-in-a-bag was allowed to call themselves a cosplayer, because they were saying "I'm nurse Joy from Pokemon!", even though their outfit looked only marginally like hers.

I would sooner see a room full of creative, well thought out and executed original character cosplays, than a sea of people wearing costume-in-a-bags and claiming they have more right to be called cosplayers because said costume-in-a-bags marginally resemble established characters that somebody else made up.

PS- Anyone else think it would be fun to get a group together and cosplay as San Francisco? I wonder what a Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, or Cable car-spirit would look like? Just don't carry an authentic bell around as a prop- 20 lbs of solid bronze, yikes!
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Unread 08-31-2010, 03:51 PM   #12
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Yep, it can still be an aspect of "cosplay" because the term is ridiculously broad. I've done original design projects myself before (both for costumes and for daily wear) mixed in with projects that are the more traditional "real" character recreations. It's all good.
And we even have a whole sub-forum for Original Designs here. ^_-
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Unread 08-31-2010, 10:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SillyChibi View Post
Has anyone ever made up their own character, and then Cosplayed as them? If so, how did you come up with the character, and what made you want to bring him/her to life? It seems as if a Cosplay Costume would mean even more to me if it were completely created by me! I want to meet all of the Cosplay.com designers, and I would love to hear your stories!
I'm considering cosplaying (crossplaying, technically) as a character I created when I was a teen simply because I really liked that character and if my abilities as a writer were better I think I could have done neat things with him. At the very least I could create his clothes...

I'm not sure how I originally created him...Looking back he was probably a hodge podge based on Narnia, Robin Hood, and "The Knight of the Golden Plain" with a little privateer thrown in. He was sort of a pirate type, except he was on land. So in his own country he was considered a good guy and upstanding citizen, but he would sneak in and steal things from the country they were at war with XD (See, I told you my storytelling skills were lacking. And I was about thirteen when I cooked this up). I drew up clothes for him back when I was making all this up...Wish I could find them.

Looking back, he was basically my idealized male self. I think cosplaying him would mean more to me than cosplaying someone else's character, since he sort of is me in ways that other characters can't be, no matter how much of myself I see in them.

Another one I would consider was a female knight character I made up. She has even less substance than the male, but I also drew designs for her clothes. Might be fun to figure out a way to make wearable chainmail...

You may have offiically inspired me *shakes hands*
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Unread 08-31-2010, 10:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post
It may not be 'cosplay' in the strictest sense of the word, but it has a section on these forums, right alongside historical costuming.

Most of the original stuff I do is just that - historical, or historically inspired i.e. steampunk or fantasy. My mother is a passionate historical costumer so I started out with that long before I began cosplaying, and I wear a lot of eccentric and vaguely historically inspired things (Most of which I make myself) on a day to day basis, so I get a lot of practice in and I spend a lot of time looking at pictures and patterns of historical clothes. A lot of my original designs start with a shape or detail from a historical period, and that inspires me to combine it with other elements I particularly like - sometimes spanning centuries and several continents - to create something new. They tend to be large, detailed, many layered, and singularly impractical.
I could have written parts of that,lol! I love ethnic and historical dress, particularly asian.
I not only incorporate those elements into clothes I like to wear, but into my own character designs. You see, in addition to costuming, I'm also an artist and writer, and alot of my stuff takes place in a parallel universe, where Animistic beings walk the earth along with humans- the aforementioned skyscraper-dryads, among others. When creating characters, one aspect- a very vital one- is appearance. I use a similar approach to you when designing my character's outfits, borrowing from many times and places to create a certain look and feel. Hell, the costumers for Star Wars did the same thing, so we're not alone. Everyone borrows from everyone else, really.

To give an example of my thought and creative process, let's have a look at an NYC skyscraper, 55 Water street.
You can see the actual tower here:
www.55water.com
And here he is, personified:
http://yfrog.com/5t55waterjd6j

If you look closely, not only are the building's facade details reproduced on the character's head, but look at the trim of his coat. Also, note the main facade colours- cream and black, and how they are the dominant colours of the costume.

As for the design of the robes, See my above comments about suit as prison uniform- skyscrapers are designed to stand out, and an asian-influenced robe creates quite a point-counterpoint effect when viewed next to somebody in a western suit. As for practicality, I'm sure that a skyscraper might well wonder why his tenants insisted on dressing alike, and wearing wool suits in summer heat. Robes by contrast can be made very light, and are looser for air flow. That and they look hella cool

Some people (especially anime fans) might look at that costume and notice the kimono-like neckline to the exclusion of all else. But a friend of mine who knows nothing of anime ignored that altogether, instead focusing on his string of amber prayer beads. Even those are inspired by the actual building- while under construction, 55 Water was known as some variation on "SunRay", in honour of a major tenant-to-be. But when they backed out, the name went with them. However, it's still a part of the building's history, and is alluded to by those amber beads- symbolic of the sun. Were I to cosplay this particular building, I might cap it all off with a peregrine falcon plushie, after all, the actual building has a pair in residence Heck, I've got the stocky build to pull it off- that is one beefy skyscraper!

I know I'm not the only one out there who puts this level of thought into her creations and characters- you can see why I am saddened by the belief that only "other people's" characters count as cosplay, and a person's own creations are somehow not valid, or not allowed to claim the mantle of "cosplay".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post
I also do quite a bit of derivative designing - where I start with a character I love, and use them in some way as an influence on a new outfit. This runs the full gauntlet from just alternative outfits (Something a character WOULD wear, but never did) to gender swapped (Fem!Hetalia characters mostly) or historically shifted versions (There was talk of a steampunk K-On at one point...) to completely new outfits only vaguely inspired by a character or series (I keep meaning to start a Tudor gown inspired by Saber from Fate/Stay Night, and I'm halfway through an evening dress very LOOSELY based on the Pandora Hearts mythos).
I've got a sketch of Jedi master Shaak Ti based on that idea. I found out the hard way that her movie outfit, while cool looking, is rather impractical for action. So I have a concept sketch of a modified version of the costume, which would be used for action, while leaving her screen accurate dress for formal and diplomatic functions.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Brsis View Post
Basically, I'm a really unoriginal original designer. I steal a lot of the bits and pieces that make up my designs from other places
I think we're all guilty of that to some extent. Artists have been borrowing from each other for centuries, that's not going to stop because of 21st century political correctness.
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Unread 09-10-2010, 03:21 PM   #15
Harra Arial
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Well, most definitions I've heard define Cosplay as "Costume Roleplay" or just "Costume Play", so it could technically be considered Cosplay. Now, will a lot of elitists agree with you? Probably not.

If you feel like appeasing the elitists, then you could just call it Costuming like I do, but it's really your decision. It's no skin off of my back (although it might be where a few elitists are concerned.)
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