Geek Culture’s Guide To Cosplaying At A Convention For The First Time: Part Two

So you have followed our previous guide and have figured out which cosplay you wish to do and for which convention. If everything has gone according to plan, your costume and prop should also be on its way over. So what’s next? Well, you will still need to get your contact lenses to make sure your eyes are the same colour as the character you are cosplaying.

Then you will need to make sure that you have the make up you need, a very important step as it is not just the costume and wig that transforms a person into the character they are cosplaying, but the makeup as well.

Advertisement ▼

Then lastly, for part two anyway, will be a short guide on how to find friends to cosplay with. It might sound intimidating but having a group of friends to support and cosplay with you in this hobby will really make your cosplaying journey a much more fun one.

Do note that this article is not meant to police the way you wish to cosplay. It simply serves as a guide for those who are interested in cosplaying but do not know where or how to start. If you do not wish to follow this article then, by all means, go ahead! After all, the point of cosplaying is to have fun.

Moving on, here are a few more steps to get you ready for your first ever cosplay convention.

Step 5: Getting the contact lenses

This will be a relatively easy step if you already wear contact lenses. It’s a simple matter of figuring out which pair you wish to get and making sure your contact lenses arrive before the convention.

However, if wearing, and purchasing contact lenses, is an entirely new experience for you then listen closely. We highly recommend you visit an optical store to purchase your first pair of lenses, and have them to explain to you how to put the lens on as your eyes are not a body part you want to be messing around with. From there try putting on the contact lenses to get a feel for how to put on, and remove, the lenses. Don’t worry if you find yourself taking a really long time, it will get better with practice.

After that, it’s time to decide which coloured lens you want to purchase for your cosplay. There are several different brands selling coloured lenses, from ifairy, to LDK which all have differently designed coloured contact lenses. The look and feel of your cosplay can often vary just based on the lenses you are wearing.

For example, coloured contact with an obvious black rim will look more ‘anime’-ish while one without will be suitable for those hoping to achieve a more ‘natural’ look, which is often sought after when cosplaying from a series like Final Fantasy or Dead or Alive.

Though it is always easier and faster to purchase your lenses in person, if you are unable to find the specific colour or design you wish to purchase, there are several online shops you can go to such as Ducky Lens, iFairy, and Pinky Paradise. Just be sure to double check that you are getting the correct degree for your contact lenses before making your purchase.

Step 6: Getting the makeup

An extremely important step when trying to pull off a good cosplay is getting the makeup right. The key to being able to do your makeup well is to practice, practice, and practice. Though of course, you will need the tools before you can even start and luckily for you there is an abundance of makeup today. A simple trip to the drug store should solve most of your makeup needs, if you can afford a little more there is also Sephora and Korean beauty stores like Etude House and Innisfree.

The basic makeup you will need is a foundation, eye shadow, eyeliner, lipstick and a contour stick. Fake eyelashes will also be useful if you are cosplaying as a female character. A glue stick is also a good makeup necessity to have if you wish to block out your eyebrows, a technique often used in theatre. This gives you a blank canvas to draw your own eyebrows, as more often than not, your natural eyebrows will often look nothing like the eyebrows of characters with really angry-looking eyebrows such as Katsuki Bakugou from My Hero Academia.

Unless you have naturally downturned eyebrows, you will need to block out your eyebrows if you wish to achieve Katsuki Bakugou’s angry looking eyebrows.

There is a myriad of makeup brands out there and we recommend you experiment around to see which best suits your skin as well as your wallet. For your easy reference, some of the brands we recommend are Colourpop, Tarte, Urban Decay, Maybelline, and Too Faced. So if you’re not sure where to start, you can head to your nearest Sephora or drug store to have a look at these brands mentioned.

After you have acquired your makeup, it’s time to get practising. No one is perfect with makeup on their first try, and it is cliche but practice really makes perfect when learning how to put on makeup, especially cosplay makeup which is oftentimes much thicker than normal makeup. A simple YouTube or Google search should give you makeup tutorials to start you off, plus there are numerous Facebook posts with makeup techniques or tutorials floating around for you to refer to. You can also follow Facebook pages or Youtube channels that specialise in cosplay makeup such as Cosplay Queen on YouTube.

Cosplay Queen, a YouTube channel that uploads videos on cosplay makeup tutorials. Notice the blue, downwards slanting eyebrows, this is achievable if you block off your eyebrows first.

Step 7: Finding a Cospartner or Cosgroup

Once you have put together your whole costume, a step you can consider taking is to find friends to cosplay with. Of course, you can go for that convention by yourself but in the future, if you wish to find a potential friend or Cospartner (a portmanteau of ‘cosplay’ and ‘partner’) to go to conventions with, then this might be of help.

A first step, if you’re still studying, is to approach the Japanese interest groups in your school. More often than not there will at least be a handful of cosplayers there to befriend, and if not there will definitely be people who are interested in anime and manga, just make friends and let them know that you’re planning to cosplay a certain character and ask if they’re interested in joining,

Japanese interest groups in schools are a good way to find friends who share the same interest as you in anime, manga, and cosplaying. Photo credit: Temasek Polytechnic Japanese Cultural Group.

Another way to find friends to cosplay with is to join ‘Recruitment’ pages on Facebook. They are essentially Facebook groups with cosplayers that will frequently post a request looking for team members to fill up slots in their cosplay team or duo.

Lastly, if you have already cosplayed to a convention, you can use that opportunity to make friends. Approach other cosplayers that you see cosplaying from the same series as you and strike up a conversation. A common interest is usually a good conversation starter. From there you can maybe exchange social media handles and start getting to know them more.

Congratulations for making it this far! If we have not scared you away with the number of things to do yet then you should be pretty much ready for your very first convention.

All that’s left is to put your costume altogether and head off for the convention, which will be touched on in the third and final part of this guide so stay tuned for that!  

If there’s any way we can improve this guide, please let us know!

Feature Image: Mon Cosplay at Singapore’s Sakura Matsuri 2019. Photo Credit: @kryxtalise.nef on Instagram