This year I threw myself back into the world of cosplay, but was determined to keep it fun and not slide back into commission work. I knew if I did that, I’d just be back to spending all my time stressing over other people’s costumes with no time to enjoy it myself. So I practiced saying “No” a lot, and instead turned to creating cosplay tutorials so people could use those to create their own costumes and looks. Overall, I created over 30 new cosplay looks this year, which may be the most I’ve ever done!
Cosplay on My Own Terms
I learned a few things this year as I worked my way through costumes I had stashed away and never had a chance to wear until now. I truly enjoy the process of dressing up and creating the entire look, and then preserving it with photos. However, I don’t always enjoy the process of actually wearing it for longer than an hour, as many costume are uncomfortable. So I started shifting my end goal to making photos rather than wearing the costume out. That really opened up a world of options that couldn’t be done if I had to actually wear the whole costume at a convention.
I also realized that I don’t entirely enjoy doing a booth and vending, as I don’t really have anything to sell anymore besides my children’s book about comic con. And book sales at a con are pretty slow and not really worth the time and effort it takes for me to set aside 2 or 3 days for an event. I found myself buying random things to sell at the table just to make the time worth it. And in the end my profits were still not enough to justify spending the whole weekend behind a table. So while I’m not saying “never again,” I am saying I’m making the Cosplay Guest thing a rare occurrence.
A New Creative Focus
As I’ve moved from creating full costumes and more into creating cosplay photos, my focus has shifted to more elaborate hair and make-up. I really enjoy the chance to unleash my creativity, and create total transformations. I’ve learned more about make-up techniques, like the cut crease and contouring, this year than I have in a long time. It’s certainly upped my cosplay game to be able to do more than just a smokey eye. It’s also led to me being an affiliate and brand ambassador for several make-up and wig companies, which I really enjoy!
I also have been learning a lot about lighting and taking my own photos. I have a ring light and recently added soft boxes to my lighting set-up. I use a remote to snap the photos. Every single photo posted here is one I took myself. I love the instant gratification of doing your own shoot. No more dragging all my stuff to a studio, then spending hours shooting, only to end up with a few decent photos afterwards. Now I get so many photos I can’t even post them all!
Blending Cosplay and Blogging
The best thing to come out of this is that I have managed to blend blogging with my cosplay, and have booked a lot of brand work from my Instagram page @SewGeekMama. I’ve done pics as Velma and Superman for glasses companies, unboxed the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle merch as April O’Neil, and did a shopping spree at Goodwill to come up with looks to promote the Addams Family movie and game. I’ve also done costume looks for jewelry companies, alcohol brands, custom tumblers, and more. And I had fun doing all of them! I didn’t want to turn cosplay into a job again, but this doesn’t really seem like work, because I get to do what I want and I’m the one who gets to dress up now instead of a customer.
I hope to keep things going strong in 2022, and remember to keep it fun. I know it’s easy to get stressed when I agree to too many things, so I’m still practicing the fine art of saying no. After seeing all the pics I did this year, I’m planning on making a calendar next year a new goal. Of course, that may give me a reason to make a rare convention booth appearance! We shall see….. 🙂
~~~~~~~~~~~ *** ~~~~~~~~~~~
About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.