For beginning cosplayers, try to choose characters whom you can relate to—personality-wise or appearance-wise. Studying the character’s mannerisms and/or speaking voice will also help you to “get in character.” Try not to get TOO in-character as other people may find this annoying—it’s always good to keep a good balance of yourself and of the character role you are assuming.
If the cosplay requires a change in appearance, such as dyeing one’s hair or wearing a wig, determine which choice you will be comfortable with if you choose to wear the cosplay to a convention.
Creating or putting together a cosplay takes a lot of time and dedication!! It’s always a great idea to print out various reference photos to determine the various materials that you will use in constructing the cosplay. A helpful idea is to draw arrows to each article of clothing or prop you see in the photo and write down what fabrics or objects you will need. Depending on how sturdy & durable you need the costume to be, there are many helpful tutorials and guides online on how to use foam, plastics, wood, textiles, or whatever items you will be working with in making your costume. Research your fabrics!! If the costume requires “shiny” fabric, then “shiny” fabric should be used. If the costume requires more a more “solid” textile, do not use any other sort of fabric unless you are absolutely SURE that you can make the fabric “work” to your costume needs.
In preparation for an anime convention, consider the amount of time you need to put everything together (3-6 months in advance would be good, depending on the intricacy of your costume). DO NOT try to “slap everything together” in the last week or two! Another important point to consider is your budget—how much are you willing to spend on your costume? Again, do not feel discouraged because a certain cosplay may look “too expensive” or “too complicated” to make—simply do a little online research or ask other cosplayers what they would suggest, you’ll be very surprised with what you can come up with on a budget!
If you’re attending a convention and are going to be in cosplay for more than 4 hours, bringing an extra set of comfortable (and possibly “matching”) footwear with you is a good idea. Be sure to take periodic rests and/or sit down every so often—standing/walking for prolonged periods of time may cause back aches.
As a cosplayer, people will want to take pictures of or with you! Try to have photographs done in a location away from other convention attendees and convention traffic in general. Taking photos in the middle of a crowd of people make for unsightly photos and possible photo-bombing! If you do not feel comfortable having your photo taken—whether by yourself or with someone else, give a clear, but polite verbal refusal. Do not automatically assume that it is alright to touch younger children who want a photo with you even if they request to “hold your hand” or have you place your hand on their shoulder—wait for the parent or guardian’s permission to do so.
For cosplayers who are yielding props or large-sized prop weapons—be aware of how it is being handled and be careful of whom it may come into contact with (whether knowingly or unknowingly). If a convention attendee asks permission to physically touch or handle your prop/weapon, it is up to you whether you feel comfortable enough to allow that person to do so. If you have to take a break and sit somewhere, keep your prop as close to you as possible and in a position where it will not become a hazard to other people.
Constructing a cosplay doesn’t need to be a one-man show—ask, ask, ASK for help when you need it! Don’t be afraid to ask a fabric-store sales associate what fabrics would be best to work with when sewing your costume. If you have friends who are talented in prop-making, enlist their help and offer to return the favor at a later date. If you have friends who are into cosplay as well, another great idea is to come together and have a (or several) “work-on-cosplay” session(s)—this way, everyone can throw around ideas and offer each other help in building up costumes. It’s also a fun way to bond with other cosplayers