Cosplaying at Atlanta's Dragon Con


2013-08-25 22.01.49

Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff
Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff

Cosplaying, or costume playing, is the act of dressing up like a fictional character, usually from a movie or videogame, and acting like them. Cosplay is a big part of fan conventions, especially at conventions such as Metrocon, Anime Weekend Atlanta (AWA), and Dragon Con.

Two Mercer University students, Libby McCormick and David Ellis both plan to attend Dragon Con this year, and both will be cosplaying. McCormick will be dressing as the character Willow, and Ellis will be dressing as the character Wilson, both of which are from the hit indie videogame “Don’t Starve.” They are also dressing up as Aku, from the TV show “Samurai Jack.”

The primary difference between cosplaying and regular costuming is that cosplaying involves not just dressing like the character, but also acting like them, and usually involves a more intricate costume. “Just someone who you want to be, and then you look like them and you become them,” said McCormick, referring to how they choose which characters to cosplay as.

Both McCormick and Ellis have experience with conventions and cosplaying in the past. For McCormick, she got into cosplaying after working at a renaissance festival. Ellis decided to start cosplaying after he went to AWA and saw everyone else there dressed up.

The primary motivation for cosplaying is for fans to have fun dressing and acting as their favorite characters, regardless of how the costume turns out. “I think some people just like the challenge of being like ‘I’m going to make that,’” said McCormick.

According to both McCormick and Ellis, part of the fun of conventions is recognizing a character you like in the crowd. “Even if nobody else recognizes you, two people will, you will make their day and that’s the best feeling in the world,” said McCormick.

In regards to the challenges that come with making a costume, Ellis said, “Don’t be disheartened if it comes out terribly, just take what you learned and try again.” McCormick also made it clear that is okay for someone to buy their own costume and that sometimes, it is better to buy higher quality materials.

“First step is crying,” said McCormick, jokingly referring to the process of making your own costume. When asked how he began the process of making a costume, Ellis said, “I sit there with a sketchbook.”

Many fans will make their own costumes for conventions. “You use what materials will work,” said Ellis, who also advised fans to use materials that were already available to them before buying more. Some materials used in costumes include cloth, plastic, and even things such as PVC pipe when a fan is making a more elaborate costumes.

Even when costumes do not turn out as planned, they can still be an enjoyable experience. “I will have the ultimate respect for anybody who goes out in costume no matter if they buy it or they make it,” said McCormick. “Even if the costume is subpar from whatever angle you want to look at it, just their ability and willingness to go out in any way and their desire to go out in a costume they made, that’s brilliant,” said Ellis.

Both Ellis and McCormick stressed that cosplaying and conventions are really about having fun above all else. Dragon Con will take place from Aug. 30 to Sept 2.