Cosplayer and cosplay judge Amanda Haas aka Jedimanda talks to Game Rant about the importance of wigs, magnetic hacks, and other costume advice.
Amanda Haas, also known by her cosplay pseudonym Jedimanda, is a seasoned dressmaker with a wealth of cosplay experience and ideas to share. His book, Creative cosplay, is currently available as part of Humble Bundle’s Return of the Cosplay Book Bundle. The pack is available until July 22 and is packed with references, guides, and templates. Sewing, wigs, and costume design are Haas’ passion, as is empowering other cosplayers in their efforts to become their favorite characters.
Game Rant spoke to Haas about his book and received some inside information that can help novice cosplayers achieve better results, even on a tight budget. A graduate of Fine Arts from the University of Louisville and professionally sewing for nearly a decade, Haas has entered and judged a number of costume contests. With a body of work spanning Marvel, Star Wars, and period costumes, her advice can be applied to almost any costume, regardless of genre or source.
A good wig works wonders
The number one tip Haas shared for cosplayers working on a budget is to prioritize a quality hairpiece. Skimping on fabrics and accessories is ultimately a better way to cut costs than opting for cheap (and unrealistic) wigs.
“I tend to spend more money on a super wig than buying super expensive fabric. You can make cheaper fabric work more for you than a cheaper wig, in my opinion.”
This is a valuable insight, especially for newbie cosplayers, as trying to make a costume within a certain budget range can be a fun challenge, especially when cosplayers can experiment with materials of different types. A good wig is a must, however. While cheaper fabrics can convey a character’s “interest”, even if the colors and textures are not accurate on screen, a bad wig will break up the immersion and be potentially uncomfortable.
Styling wigs can be tricky, but it’s worth it as they can have a transformative effect on cosplayers. By focusing on one prop that is literally a natural extension of the character, everything else will look more cohesive and authentic as a result.
To stay together
Holding props, armor plates, capes, and even weapons in place can be a major challenge, especially when cosplaying at a competitive level. While there are plenty of ways cosplayers can keep things where they should be, Haas has a simple yet useful solution.
“Magnets! I wish I had worked with magnets much earlier in my career. I put magnets in my underwear to keep capes from falling off. I even put magnets in my wigs to keep my crowns from falling off. . “
Eye hooks can be bulky or require help securing if placed in hard to reach areas. Pins often look amateurish, while zippers and buttons risk adding elements to a costume that will hamper its accuracy, according to Haas. On the flip side, strong magnets can be worn under other levels of clothing, easily padded for comfort and better hold even heavy accessories in place.
It is important to be careful when working with magnets, because the high quality rare earth magnets can easily crush fingers or pinch skin if the cosplayer is not careful when connecting. Haas also mentioned that she broke magnets due to their surprisingly powerful force of attraction. It is also important to keep magnets away from credit cards, cell phones, and other technology that could be damaged by magnetic fields.
Knowing is half the battle (the other half is sewing)
A common challenge faced by new cosplayers is deciding what material to use for a costume – especially if there isn’t a complete model to work from. There is no escape from homework in the pursuit of accuracy. According to Haas, the key to conquering difficult models is “a lot of research.” Concept art from the movie, sculpted characters, and cinematic-quality costumes are good places to start. However, not everyone has the same access to these resources.
If cosplayers get stuck on a difficult build, Haas recommends contacting other cosplayers. Even someone with her experience benefits from collaborating with her peers, and she will often ask her audience on Discord or Instagram for advice on what material to use or how to approach specific issues. Perhaps more importantly, Haas finds collaboration a good motivator. Knowing that other people care about his constructions and the feeling of support that comes from interactions with the community helps him to carry out stimulating projects.
Creative cosplay is now available in the Humble Bundle’s Return of the Cosplay Book, which will be available until July 22.
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Source: Humble Bundle
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