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Unread 04-18-2011, 10:50 AM   #1
ten_again
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When is a cosplay original?

Might be a stupid question, but when is a cosplay considered an original design?

Is it an original design when you create a character in an existing fictional world, like putting on an Imperial uniform from Star Wars but not going as one of the characters from the movie?

Or is it considered original if you wear something that is totally unrelated to anything else, which makes me wonder how that would still be cosplay?

Sorry if some people might find this annoying or if it has already been asked a million times before. I'm just very curious.

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Unread 04-18-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten_again View Post
Or is it considered original if you wear something that is totally unrelated to anything else, which makes me wonder how that would still be cosplay?
I lean more toward "It's original if you designed it yourself without references from an existing world/show/fandom. Non-canon characters from say, Hogwarts or Star Wars or various other huge universes may be original characters, but since the costumes are modeled after existing designs, they're more of an "inspired by" than original.

And technically, "cosplay" is costume play, so I don't see why original costumes would be exempt from the term. We're still playing in costumes, are we not?

This is just my opinion, though. I feel like there's so much elitism and snobbery in the cosplay hobby... people saying "Steampunk isn't cosplay" or "American characters aren't cosplay," or "Cosplay isn't cosplay unless you make it yourself." We're all playing in costumes. Original cosplay is just as legitimate as 100+ Yokos.
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Unread 04-18-2011, 11:58 AM   #3
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An original cosplay is when you own the rights to the character your dressing as. It's the character you've created in the world you've made. It is you and you alone who have shaped and molded and birthed life into this, that is original.

Naruto's long lost whore girlfriend with cat ears and a rainbow unicorn mane, is not.
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Unread 04-18-2011, 01:52 PM   #4
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I think there's a difference between an original character and an original costume. For me, an original costume would just be something where you didn't reproduce an existing reference image (so a historic costume might not be original, if it's reproduced from a single source like a painting, and I wouldn't consider a Hogwarts uniform original either, but both of those examples could easily be original characters). Costuming from books, where there's no visual reference, would be the other way around, original costumes but not original characters. And not all costumes have to be of characters, look at renfaires I mean, there's nothing wrong with just dressing up ... that's just my way of looking at it though.
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Unread 04-18-2011, 09:14 PM   #5
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I just uploaded an original named Katastrophia. Inspired by whay I thought high level Dark elves in D&D wold look like. Not W.O.W. related, but you would think.

Whipping things out of your ass is a good sign of an original, hell it's 50% of my costumes now.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 09:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
I lean more toward "It's original if you designed it yourself without references from an existing world/show/fandom. Non-canon characters from say, Hogwarts or Star Wars or various other huge universes may be original characters, but since the costumes are modeled after existing designs, they're more of an "inspired by" than original.
OK, thank you, that gives me more of an idea. I am still sort of new to this cosplay thing and am trying to figure things out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
And technically, "cosplay" is costume play, so I don't see why original costumes would be exempt from the term. We're still playing in costumes, are we not?

I'm sorry, I didn't mean it like that...

I was just wondering when something is considered cosplaying and when it is just dressing differently for a change...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
This is just my opinion, though. I feel like there's so much elitism and snobbery in the cosplay hobby... people saying "Steampunk isn't cosplay" or "American characters aren't cosplay," or "Cosplay isn't cosplay unless you make it yourself." We're all playing in costumes. Original cosplay is just as legitimate as 100+ Yokos.
Well, I do suppose there is a lot of that elitism going on, which kind of keeps surprising me. After all, with a hobby like this that promotes personal freedom and liberty in the way you express yourself, like crossplay, you wouldn't expect that kind of behaviour...


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Originally Posted by Lithium Flower View Post
An original cosplay is when you own the rights to the character your dressing as. It's the character you've created in the world you've made. It is you and you alone who have shaped and molded and birthed life into this, that is original.
That is quite a helpfull defenition.

Thank you.

I'm still a little foggy on when it starts to be considered cosplaying and when it is only just yourself putting on different clothes though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lithium Flower;3896094Naruto's long lost whore girlfriend with [URL="http://windfalcon.deviantart.com/art/Mary-Sue-How-to-Tell-5470853?q=boost%3Apopular%20mary%20sue&qo=2"
cat ears and a rainbow unicorn mane[/url], is not.
I see, so whore girlfriends with cat ears are out...

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Originally Posted by E. Hyde View Post
I think there's a difference between an original character and an original costume. For me, an original costume would just be something where you didn't reproduce an existing reference image (so a historic costume might not be original, if it's reproduced from a single source like a painting, and I wouldn't consider a Hogwarts uniform original either, but both of those examples could easily be original characters). Costuming from books, where there's no visual reference, would be the other way around, original costumes but not original characters. And not all costumes have to be of characters, look at renfaires I mean, there's nothing wrong with just dressing up ... that's just my way of looking at it though.
Thank you, also a very refreshing viewpoint.

And I agree, there is nothing wrong with dressing up.

Back in the nineties, my friends and I would all dress up as our characters and play the Star Wars roleplaying game by West End. So would those have been original costumes in your opinion?

My Hober Mallow character for instance (And yes, I know, the name is not original, I stole that from the Foundation by Isaac Asimov, but george Lucas did the same thing), is me dressing in the way that I think my Star Wars character would. Now would that be original, or wouldn't it be because Lithium Flower sais it's not original because I didn't create the world he is from?

Love your Twi'lek by the way!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
I just uploaded an original named Katastrophia. Inspired by whay I thought high level Dark elves in D&D wold look like. Not W.O.W. related, but you would think.
So if I would dress up the way my AD&D character looks, that would be original?

By the way, I love that creation you are wearing in your avatar. Is that an original?
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Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
Whipping things out of your ass is a good sign of an original, hell it's 50% of my costumes now.
I misread that part first...

Little mixup between whipping and whiping...

But basically original to you means as long as you have added a personal touch? Or am I being a lttle too easy now?

Last edited by ten_again : 04-19-2011 at 09:26 AM.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 09:22 AM   #7
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Accidental double post.

Last edited by ten_again : 04-19-2011 at 09:22 AM. Reason: Accidental double post
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Unread 04-19-2011, 11:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten_again View Post
I'm still a little foggy on when it starts to be considered cosplaying and when it is only just yourself putting on different clothes though.

Back in the nineties, my friends and I would all dress up as our characters and play the Star Wars roleplaying game by West End. So would those have been original costumes in your opinion?

My Hober Mallow character for instance (And yes, I know, the name is not original, I stole that from the Foundation by Isaac Asimov, but george Lucas did the same thing), is me dressing in the way that I think my Star Wars character would. Now would that be original, or wouldn't it be because Lithium Flower sais it's not original because I didn't create the world he is from?
There's actually a name for roleplay + cosplay combined. It's LARP, or "Live Action Role Play." Of course, it usually implies that you are acting out what your characters are doing, and not just dressing like them, but that's a little closer to what you're asking about. Your Hober Mallow would be an "original character" but not an "original cosplay." I know it's confusing, but "original character" or OC is used by the roleplaying and fan fiction circles to describe a character who exists in someone else's universe. Hogwarts students, miscellaneous Jedi, Sith, smugglers, etc from the Star Wars universe, player characters from MMOs or tabletop roleplaying games... those are all "original characters." An original costume would be you dressing as a character you created in a world that is your own and no one else's. Historical characters (unless you're referencing a particular person/painting etc), most Steampunk, Cyberpunk, or Dieselpunk characters - these would all fall into the "original cosplay" category. The exception would be if you were making a "steampunk version of Princess Leia" which wouldn't be original because it is based on an existing character.

Sorry for running my mouth about elitism. ^^;; I see that you're just looking for information and not implying that people who make original cosplays aren't cosplayers.

And as for book characters, I wouldn't call those "original cosplay," because you're still using references even if they aren't visual. I'm planning a cosplay of Lirael from Garth Nix's Abhorsen series and am using the textual descriptions of armor and clothing to recreate the costume.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 12:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ten_again View Post
Accidental double post.
wow, accidental double post on THAT? that would be HUGE!

I'll follow up at least.

Someone said inspired by. I get "inspired by" as if you were making a character to be from a certain series, for the series, of the series, as if you wrote a fanfic and wanted to include a character for it ....and that character (ie, a Naruto character, not official, but something you wanted related to it) that character is inspired by.

You can have inspirations, I don't understand why people have to say they made a final fantasy character, or that naruto character. It's closer to "inspired by" than original(if you use the series title) yet not an official character (made up to shadow the series from personal fandom of THAT series).

Original means you take different aspects from diffrent things, or completely new altogether with no affiliation or multiple coincidences with other characters.
Example: My first original, with my love of cat beings,tough chicks,fancy makeup, being from cold Vermont(they still have a foot of snow NOW), my house was painted the same colors as the character's color scheme, and a recent feline pass away after 21 yrs back then.

Example 2: My most recent, there ARE NO PICS of those old characters in D&D, thats why RPG's were so hot recently, they were given visual appeal via video games when old times it was all in the mind(then warhammer came out ^.^) . Someone had to be the one to be inventive and innovative and say, yeah I've heard about old medeval/ Viking/pagan tales and gods, lets make a character out of that. I play a lot of Magic tG game too, I may have been inspired by the black color,

I see original costumes made of closet crap, and thats fine. But they DO stuff with it, adding layers, strips, belts, bolts, a hat and colored wig and woops, they made a character.
Share it.

You don't have to have a huge background story to tell, it'll bore others. For me, a nice fiction background helps me fine tune projects enough to be noticable, I just don't bug people with the whys, you don't need to. It's not like theres a written draft, just talking with friends and all can get you goin with ideas in your head. Like I said, I'm still planning an actual outfit for the new character, and it seems to have a good enough reception that I could put rags on it and it might look good....actualy....bloody hell I think I'll do that.

That help you at all?
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Unread 04-19-2011, 12:05 PM   #10
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Yeah, I think I might revise my definition a little bit ... I do think that, with book costumes, you can take credit for the design (we say the costumes in the LotR films were designed by Ngila Dickson, not by JRR Tolkien, for example) but perhaps not quite to the point of calling it an original costume.
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Unread 04-20-2011, 11:33 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
There's actually a name for roleplay + cosplay combined. It's LARP, or "Live Action Role Play." .
I am actually aware of LARP and used to be a very active LARPer in the nineties. It was great fun at the time, but as I went on I ended up creating more and more historically correct costumes, until I ended up being a historical re-enactor after all.
Here’s a picture of me in my LARP Samurai outfit…



Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
Of course, it usually implies that you are acting out what your characters are doing, and not just dressing like them, but that's a little closer to what you're asking about.
I made that difference as well. In LARP it was latex swords all the way (Yeah, baby!), but for the Star Wars sessions we would simply be doing table top roleplay, but dressed up as our characters. It sort of helped establish the ‘feel’ of the characters. I tried to create a Star Wars LARP several times, but figuring out rules for blasters just didn’t work.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
Your Hober Mallow would be an "original character" but not an "original cosplay." I know it's confusing, but "original character" or OC is used by the roleplaying and fan fiction circles to describe a character who exists in someone else's universe. Hogwarts students, miscellaneous Jedi, Sith, smugglers, etc from the Star Wars universe, player characters from MMOs or tabletop roleplaying games... those are all "original characters." An original costume would be you dressing as a character you created in a world that is your own and no one else's.
Thank you, that makes the difference clear to me.
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Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
Historical characters (unless you're referencing a particular person/painting etc), most Steampunk, Cyberpunk, or Dieselpunk characters - these would all fall into the "original cosplay" category. The exception would be if you were making a "steampunk version of Princess Leia" which wouldn't be original because it is based on an existing character.
So basically my old LARP costumes and my re-enactment costumes would be original?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
Sorry for running my mouth about elitism. ^^;; I see that you're just looking for information and not implying that people who make original cosplays aren't cosplayers.
That’s allright, I nloticed how touchy people can get around here.

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Originally Posted by mylilpazuzu View Post
And as for book characters, I wouldn't call those "original cosplay," because you're still using references even if they aren't visual. I'm planning a cosplay of Lirael from Garth Nix's Abhorsen series and am using the textual descriptions of armor and clothing to recreate the costume.
Well, using the definition you mentioned above, I guess that would indeed not be ‘original’.

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Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
wow, accidental double post on THAT? that would be HUGE!

I'll follow up at least.
I’m just not completely sure how to use the software here, I guess…

Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
Someone said inspired by. I get "inspired by" as if you were making a character to be from a certain series, for the series, of the series, as if you wrote a fanfic and wanted to include a character for it ....and that character (ie, a Naruto character, not official, but something you wanted related to it) that character is inspired by.
So we’re back to the long lost girlfriend with cat ears?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
You can have inspirations, I don't understand why people have to say they made a final fantasy character, or that naruto character. It's closer to "inspired by" than original(if you use the series title) yet not an official character (made up to shadow the series from personal fandom of THAT series).
Well, I guess Hober Mallow was inspired by my great fandom for the Star wars series then, and the roleplaying game in particular.
The good thing about some sci fi shows is that they show a limited part of a much larger universe, allowing creative fans to make up their own part of it. At least that is how I see it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
Original means you take different aspects from diffrent things, or completely new altogether with no affiliation or multiple coincidences with other characters.
Example: My first original, with my love of cat beings,tough chicks,fancy makeup, being from cold Vermont(they still have a foot of snow NOW), my house was painted the same colors as the character's color scheme, and a recent feline pass away after 21 yrs back then.
Wow. Talk about dedication.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
Example 2: My most recent, there ARE NO PICS of those old characters in D&D, thats why RPG's were so hot recently, they were given visual appeal via video games when old times it was all in the mind(then warhammer came out ^.^) . Someone had to be the one to be inventive and innovative and say, yeah I've heard about old medeval/ Viking/pagan tales and gods, lets make a character out of that. I play a lot of Magic tG game too, I may have been inspired by the black color,
Loved Warhammer. Loved AD&D when it was still proper AD&D. I think it’s back to D&D now…
And that’s quite funny, because back in the days I used to play a lot of Magic the Gathering as well. Back then I believe it was the Beta version. I used to have a LARP character that I had based on a Green mage, and instead of a spellbook, I had all my spells written onto Magic cards, and used to walk around reading them off the cards.

Yes, I know I’m a geek…


Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
I see original costumes made of closet crap, and thats fine. But they DO stuff with it, adding layers, strips, belts, bolts, a hat and colored wig and woops, they made a character.
Share it.
Yes! That is what I love doing as well!


Quote:
Originally Posted by sephygoth View Post
You don't have to have a huge background story to tell, it'll bore others. For me, a nice fiction background helps me fine tune projects enough to be noticable, I just don't bug people with the whys, you don't need to. It's not like theres a written draft, just talking with friends and all can get you goin with ideas in your head. Like I said, I'm still planning an actual outfit for the new character, and it seems to have a good enough reception that I could put rags on it and it might look good....actualy....bloody hell I think I'll do that.
That help you at all?
Yes it does. I do know that I guess I can sometimes come up with too much background crap, but I would usually keep that to myself anyway. For instance, if I were to have a coat on a sci fi character, I would probably come up with a reason for every pocket in the coat (Yes, that was made in that way so it could fit three hydrospanners!), but that again is stuff that would help me rationalize why it looked like that. Not stuff you would want to bore others with. Unless you know they happen to be fond of hydrospanners…
Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Hyde View Post
Yeah, I think I might revise my definition a little bit ... I do think that, with book costumes, you can take credit for the design (we say the costumes in the LotR films were designed by Ngila Dickson, not by JRR Tolkien, for example) but perhaps not quite to the point of calling it an original costume.
I have to agree with you on that one, but it really also depends on how intricate the description in the book was. For instance if it just said he wore a cloak, then you can make an original design out of it I guess.
But if it sais that he wore a grey cloak that came down to his knees, whith an attached hood and closed by a cloakpin in the shape of an oakleaf, it would be something different altogether…
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