There are many reasons why you might want to cosplay an original character (OC) of your own creation. Maybe it’s your character from a tabletop RPG or a story you’ve written that you want to pay homage to. Maybe you found the coolest piece of material and it inspired a unique design that doesn’t fit any existing character. Or maybe you just want to challenge yourself to come up with a design from your own imagination. Whatever the reason, building a cosplay for an original character is a challenge all its own and might require a slightly different process than cosplaying a character that’s already established in media. In this post, we’ll give you our top tips for making and original character cosplay that you can be proud to show off to your friends and fellow creators.
Tips for Cosplaying Your Original Character
- Get to know your character first. When you start completely from scratch with an original character, you may not have much background to draw inspiration from. In this case, it’s important to sit down and get to know your character on paper before you start to design the clothes, armor, or weapons they might wear and carry. The personality, backstory, and profession of your OC will likely have a large influence on what their attire would look like. Are they a battle-worn warrior, a daring adventurer, or a mysterious spellcaster? All of these details will help you determine what sort of style you’ll be working with. If you already know your OC well, we still recommend making yourself a list of their main characteristics and background information to help you focus on making the most appropriate cosplay designs.
- Play to your strengths. At the same time, we would suggest using this cosplay as an opportunity to show off what you do best in the cosplay workshop. Of course, if you want to try out a new skill on this build, go for it! But one way to look at cosplaying an OC is the opportunity to showcase your best work for a character that has no set boundaries or expectations to stick to. If you love building armor, then creating an armored OC can be the perfect excuse to make the armor you’ve always wanted to build. At the same time, if you’re best at sewing, creating a ballgown or jumpsuit that’s tailored to your skills and tastes can be a fun way to show off those skills.
- Collect or create relevant reference materials. When cosplaying an established character, collecting reference images is one of the best ways to ensure your cosplay is as accurate as possible. So what do you do when there is no official art for your OC? You have a few choices to help guide your design process. One option would be to collect reference images of characters with similar types of armor or clothing to what you want to create. Even if it’s just a jumping off point, these images can help you get a better idea of how this build will work. However, if you’re so inclined, you can also create sketches or digital artwork to help you visualize what your OC’s outfit will look like. A great tip from Alana Owlet is to find a blank character model to draw your designs over top if you’re not confident drawing the pose of your character. You can print these blank models from online or even buy a sketchbook that comes with ready-made models for you to sketch on.
- Be flexible. Finally, perhaps the most beautiful part of cosplaying an original character is the freedom to create whatever you want. While part of the fun of cosplaying existing characters is recreating the details of their clothing as accurately as possible, this is a very limiting part of the craft as well. With an OC, however, you can change your design as much as you want because it’s coming from your own imagination. There are no boundaries to what you can add to your build, even after you’ve already started building it. If you have a great idea, don’t hesitate to change your original plans to make it happen.
Cosplay Your OC With Pride
If you poke around the internet, you might find differing opinions on the value of cosplaying an original character. The debate usually centers around the recognition you can get at a convention or online when no one else knows who your character is. While this may be something to consider, if you feel the inspiration to cosplay an OC, we say that you should grab the opportunity and go for it! Just because your character might be unfamiliar to others, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a cosplay that’s impressive and well-made.
And besides, how many times have you seen as cosplay at a con and had no idea who the character was, even if they already existed in an anime, video game, or comic? It’s just as easy to appreciate the time, effort, and artistry that went into building that cosplay even if you’re not familiar with the character. We don’t think there’s any reason not to cosplay your OC if you feel inspired to; it might just give you the chance to talk about your beloved character with people who might come to love them as much as you do.