Level Up on Comic Con Cosplay: How to Perfect Your Plan

Beautiful blond elf with a dagger in his hand in the magic forest. Fantasy. Anime style.

What began in 1970 as a “mini con” to raise money for a larger convention has turned into an international phenomenon that beckons comic fans across the globe to converge in San Diego for a unified celebration of geekdom. San Diego Comic Con is just around the corner this year and for hardcore cosplay fanatics, each year presents a new challenge: How do I do it bigger and better than last year? For the committed geeks willing to take their cosplay to the next level here are a few costume makeup tricks, accessory ideas and tips for tricking out your vehicle to help you stand out among the millions at the Con this year.

Go Pro with Make-up

A trade trick known to Hollywood make-up artists and Kim Kardashian wannabes alike, the make-up technique of contouring should be the first weapon in your costuming arsenal. Contouring is fairly simple but don’t try it for the first time right before your debut at the Con. It takes practice, but there are endless tutorials on YouTube to help you learn how to accentuate and change the frame of your face to look more like certain characters, even those of the opposite sex, if you plan to crossplay.

Secondly, it’s all about the eyes. Don’t fear the colored contact. Especially if you are tackling a Naruto character, you will need the contacts to sell it. Find a handy Naruto character eye chart for reference. Also, eyebrows have to be on fleek. Have a pic of your cosplay character handy while applying the liner and shadow. The color of your eyebrows is imperative, too. Go two shades darker than your wig color. And speaking of wigs, for the love of Ben Kenobi, do not buy a cheap Halloween store one. Your scalp will thank you for dishing out a few extra bones for a quality piece that doesn’t shift and itch.

Accentuate Accessories

Whether you crafted your own battle axe or bought one from a costume store (cheater!), adding weathering elements to it will make it look more realistic and worn. For a dirty residue, rub instant tea or coffee on your weaponry.

Or, want it shiny? Who doesn’t? If your axe has more of a likeness to the Overlord character Cocytus’ artificial intelligence perfection, you can buy and mix your own super epoxy resin to coat the blade. Just remember to tape the edges first to prevent dripping, and then remove the tape after the epoxy stabilizes but before it steps completely, approximately two and a half hours.

Incorporate a Vehicle

If you are dedicated completely to your cosplay and really want to complete the illusion while drawing attention from the crowd, trick out a vehicle. The Denver Comic Con 2012 saw the arrival of a fan-made ghostmobile from Ghostbusters, which caused a big stir. You could have a Manga-themed airbrush done on your own car (looks best on white paint jobs).

Or, go big or go home. Modify a vehicle for specific authenticity purposes. Show up to the Con as Alice from Resident Evil in a Racoon City Police Department car and the crowd goes wild! Though it is important to find the right make and model of vehicle for accomplishing your desired goal. For RCPD, something close to a Ford Crown Victoria would be ideal.

Keep in mind, though the Con is all about celebrating comics, video games, manga, superheroes, villains, and so, so much more, and it’s a convergence of alternate realities and realms into one moment in time in a single reality, it’s also about bringing out the best alter ego in each of us, and reveling in the magic and fantasy that means the world to all those there. Let’s do it up right.

Guest article by: Jayme Cook is a writer, English and Communications professor, zombie fanatic, maniacal reader, and Oxford comma enthusiast living in Phoenix.

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