Cosplay can also be seen as a way of life for some people and for some it is only seen as a hobby.
Now when I talk about way of life, I mean there is alot more to a cosplayer then just wearing an amazing costume and showing it off at a convention. Some cosplayers like models take part in many photoshoots, they join many online portfolio websites showing off their work, networking with photographers and maybe make up artists so they can get high quality shots of their costumes. Then they submit their photos to cosplay magazines eg Cosmode, CosplayGen and NeoMagazine which I seen many fabulous photos of Irish cosplayers.
In Japan and some Asian countries they are actually cosplay agencies like a modelling agency where cosplayers be part of and if they are chosen they get paid in cosplay at events like Tokyo Anime Fair and computer game events, how sweet would that be. :p Also I just recently discovered a Japanese website where cosplayers join to get exposure in manga comics then photos, which I think is a wonderful idea and also manga artists can get ideas of cosplayers and cosplayers can get artistic photo ideas of fan art images. So you can also see that cosplayers don't just network with photographers and elements of the modelling culture but also network with manga and comic book artists too.
Cosplayers spend lots of their time and money, learning skills such as make up art and dress making, armour making. I have to say that they is a lovely networking culture of cosplayers on the internet where we get together, share tutorials on make up, wig styling and costume making. Some of these well known cossplayers like Ya ya Han and Vamp Beauty share their skills and take part in cosplay panels in many conventions around the world. With cosplay everyone just gets along no matter on the culture, language of the person. We all share the one thing. We are all dreamers and creative.
I leave here an image of Ona from the anime Genshiken as she really portrays the way of life cosplay is, to her it is a big hobby and very important to her. In the series, she takes part in all of the cosplay events, does shoots and goes to cosplay gatherings. I always kinda saw Ona as me in animation as she is part of an anime club and is very big into cosplay, I was in an anime club and I am big into cosplay.
Also in some countries where they are many cosplayers they meet up and share ideas and maybe just meet up and socialise over a drink or coffee, like you would at a Lolita fashion meet up. Oh that is something I must mention in this blog, as I dress lolita, many people get confused saying that lolita is cosplay when it is not. I will go more into this in another post. Also they are cosplay gatherings where friends take part in photoshoots and share, exchange photos of their cosplays and they put these photos up on the internet showing them off to the world.
Just add also, you don't have to be a cosplayer to be involved in this culture. There are many people who appreciate cosplay and go to conventions taking photos of cosplayers and following a certain cosplayer on the internet. Like a theatre play, you can be involved in cosplay even if you don't act in front of the camera or wear the costume, you can be the photographer, a costume maker who make costumes for cosplayers on a professional or non professional basis, designers, make up artists and prop makers or just an ordinary guy who appreciates it.
Cosplay really involves so much and that is what makes it fascinating. There are groups in America and where cosplay is really big, have a collection of these people who collaborate and do proper photoshoots and fan made movies, which I will go into more detail when taking about Cosplay and film.
When I started cosplaying in 2006 I only saw cosplay as a little fun hobby and I treated it like fancy dress. Over time I got more into it and being part of Eirtakon the anime and manga convention I am part of, cosplay became a big part of my life. It was this year that I made the decision I was going to convert my life to cosplay and I know people will laugh at it and think it is silly but it is my passion, I see cosplay as a performing art, I am performing to people and so much money goes into it my cosplays, I am only impressing myself nobody else. I am going to keep doing what makes me happy, I feel I was born to cosplay and act, I even someday hope to make a career out of cosplay one way or another. Like people have the passion and drive to become a voice actor or comic/manga artist I have the passion and drive to become a cosplayer artist.
So that is it for now, I could really go on forever but I wouldn't want to tire you out and I think I went on long enough. :p My next posts will be;
Types of Cosplayers
Mixing up cosplay and fashion.
How I do I get into cosplay?
Cosplay portfolio websites.
Cosplay events in Ireland.
How to deal with negative attention and deal with internet drama.
Can I make money out of being a cosplayer?
I will be also doing posts on skincare, make up and later on, on costume making. :) These are all from my own experiences. I hope you found this entry helpful and easy to understand. :) Also I will always be up for your opinions and thoughts.