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Some of Australia's top cosplayers share their costume tips
Cosplay is one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world. And no wonder - there's something pretty appealing about dressing up as your favourite movie, game or comic book character. Everyone wants to be a hero sometimes, right? Or an alien, witch, assassin or elf.
Here, five keen cosplayers tell us how they got into the dress-up game and what they love about it. Plus a few tips on costume-making, make-up and how to get started.
Jason Eastman, aka Fifty Face Jayce, Sydney
What was your first costume?
Ezio Auditore from Assassin's Creed II that I got online for $80. It was really scrappy and had the hood held together with hidden clothes pegs! I felt so awkward wearing it on the train, but as soon as I got to the convention I felt fantastic, as people recognised the character.
Can you tell us about making your own props?
I make them for myself and for other people, and it's been a great outlet to explore my creativity. I've made all kinds of strange pieces, including giant grenade gauntlets and a massive sword that was 175cm long.
How do you put your costumes together?
I make most of them, but don't hesitate to buy outfits and upgrade them with little additions. I often use EVA foam, which is what most gym floor mats are made of. With that and some contact adhesive, and some cutting and sanding, you can make anything from a suit of armour to a giant space blaster.
What advice would you give to anyone starting out in cosplay?
Find people who fuel your creative passion - I'm part of a cosplay club, and the other people in it make me happy and inspire me to make more and more cosplays.
Emily Jane, aka Emjaine Cosplay, Melbourne
What is cosplay?
It comes from two words - costume and role play. For me, and a lot of people, we don't invest a whole lot of time acting out our characters. When I put on a costume, I still feel like me, but just look a little cooler!
How was your first cosplay convention?
I had no idea what to expect, so you can imagine my surprise when my favourite video characters were standing next to me in line for lunch. The costumes were breathtaking - armour that looked as if it had been through a thousand battles and ballgowns so big they took up a hallway.
I've made three for Rey from Star Wars and don't plan to stop yet!
Got any make-up tips for us?
Forget about face paints you see in dollar stores - you have to do a lot of research on higher quality products. When you paint yourself a different colour, you're basically making your face a blank canvas, and can't go out looking like that! You have to learn the basics of contouring, and be able to draw bold eyebrows and lips. Don't forget to set your make-up with powder or you'll be rubbing make-up off onto every person you touch.
Bella Murray, aka The Artful Dodger, Brisbane
How did you feel at your first convention?
I had no idea people dressed up like that. It was so cool - a bunch of misfits flying the freak flag high. I thought, 'These are my people.'
How do you choose your characters?
They're normally people with qualities I aspire to. For instance, Wonder Woman is graceful and elegant and dignified, but a total badass who fights for the people she loves. Sometimes, though, it's just about nostalgia - I did the fairy Crysta from FernGully because I loved the movie when I was young.
Tell us about being a weapon maker.
I'm really attracted to blades and swords - some girls are more into the softer stuff. One weapon I'm most proud of is a mace I made for Hawkgirl - I ran LEDs through the inside so it looked as if there were lightning bolts coming out of it.
What are some easy ways to modify a piece?
A really good paint job will work wonders on a crappy toy. If, for instance, you want a futuristic-looking gun, buy a toy one, spray paint it white, and then start painting over that. Find some decent YouTube tutorials to help you.
Paige Fergus, aka Canary of Melbourne, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
How did you get into cosplay?
I went to a midnight screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 with my friends. They always joked that my personality was similar to Lucius Malfoy's and that I even looked like him with my platinum blonde hair and scowl, so I embraced that.
Who are your favourite characters?
Maleficent and Black Canary. I go for characters that have a few flaws and a bit of sass.
Is it hard to stay in character?
People don't expect you to - it's mostly for photos or for putting on a spectacle for the kids. I love amping up the villainy when cosplaying Maleficent - it always makes the kids smile, except for the couple who have cried (sorry, mums and dads).
Best advice for first-time cosplayers?
Do it for you. Don't let five minutes of fame get to your head. There's no such thing as a bad cosplay. Speak kindly to people, especially kids, as you might be an adult in a costume, but to them, you are the character. Oh, and watch your language!
Tasharni Brown, aka Twerkin Gherkin, Brisbane
What was your first costume?
Misa Amane from Death Note. I got everything from my mum's closet for it. When I was putting it all on, I couldn't decide whether to wear red or black lipstick, so I used both! I thought it was so clever at the time. Since then, I've made more than 70 costumes.
Do you always start from scratch?
Before I learnt to sew, I bought costumes and modified some of them. Now, once I've decided on a costume, I try to find a pattern for it, or one similar, or make my own. I'm not very good at that, but luckily there are cosplay-specific patterns these days.
What's a character that means a lot to you?
When I first got into cosplaying, I was in my awkward teen years - a little shy and weird. Harley Quinn was who I wanted to be - bubbly, loud and not caring what anyone thought. I used the costume almost as a mask.
What would you say to someone who's planning to get into cosplay?
Love the character you're dressing as. If you'd rather buy a costume than make it, that's fine. Research the character and costume before you start. Cosplay is a hobby - make sure you have fun with it!