I often get this question on why do I cosplay or what makes me want to cosplay.
Since young at the age of 4 when my mother first introduced me to the world of anime - with Sailormoon being my very first anime . Back then my mother was a big fan of Hong Kong TV Drama series so she rent video tapes quite often , it turned out that they have Sailormoon in Cantonese Dub . ( which was how I picked up Cantonese as well ! )
Bout the age of 7 , I started reading manga like Chibi Maruko Chan , Detective Conan and Sailormoon. It was all in Bahasa Malaysia. I recalled visiting the book shop feeling excited for new releases as a child.
I was into games like Pokemon back then. I have an older brother who loves gaming very much and I enjoyed watching him play. GameBoy was my first console because I wanted to play Pokemon Yellow.
I grew up being surrounded by anime , manga and games. Before I discovered cosplay , I enjoyed drawing very much. I have a Deviantart account where I share all my pencil sketches. I wasn't good in Digital Art so my artworks were mostly Traditional Media. I was part of the editorial board for my school magazine too.
In 2003 , I first discovered cosplay.
It was through a local magazine named Gempak. I remembered reading articles about cosplay in Japan featuring Arisa Mizuhara and Kipi. It was featuring an event in Kuala Lumpur , " Comic Fiesta ".
I got really interested about cosplay . For me it's another way of showing love for your favorite characters besides drawing. Back then , it's difficult to get resources for cosplay. I don't know where to get wigs or costumes. I wished that I know how to make costumes.
In 2005 , I did my first cosplay. It was a cosplay of Lambo , 10 years later version from Katekyo Hitman Reborn. I was super into that series back then and my cosplay was just a random wig and a white shirt where I use Microsoft Paint to get the cow print pattern. No photoshoot or photographer , it was just me and my compact camera and my bedroom.
For years I've been hoping to be able to attend Comic Fiesta in Kuala Lumpur but my hometown , Sabah was too far away. I wished hard for my hometown to have a cosplay related event and finally in 2007 my wish came true.
HobbyCon was the first ACG ( Anime , Comics and Games ) event in Sabah. It was my first time attending an event as a cosplayer. I wore my Matsumoto Rangiku cosplay , the wig and prop wasn't accurate and I don't have much make up on my face too but it was really fun !
Costumes were really expensive back then. I wanted to cosplay many characters but I don't know where to buy costumes. Tailors were pretty pricey too and it was difficult for me to tell them what I wanted as anime/manga characters had funny designs. I don't have much money to go for tailor made costumes as well because I was just a high school student.
I admired people who can make their own costumes. I don't know how to sew and I had Home Economics subject in school where we learnt about sewing but I wasn't into it back then. I was like " Gosh this is so difficult and boring ! "
When I first started cosplaying , I look up to a few cosplayers as my inspiration. Yaya Han was one of my favourite cosplayer , with her amazing craftsmanship in her costumes. I enjoyed looking at her website where she describes how she made each and every one of her costumes.
Pinky Luxun from Indonesia is one of my inspiration too. I chanced upon her blog when I was searching for cosplay make-up. It happens that she had a tutorial on how do make up and I was in awe with her costumes and how she blogs about her cosplay with her cosplay partner , Orochi.
I was thinking how could one be so talented ? They can make beautiful costumes and their cosplays are filled with confidence. I hope that I too , can make costumes like them one day.
I was clueless on how to get started. But I was lucky enough to have my friend's mother who I call her " Aunty " to teach me how to sew and draft patterns. I only had a short ,one month course with her but it's already enough to get me started and going.
She taught me how to use a sewing machine. My first sewing machine and I'm using it till now , it's a SINGER 8280 . It was the cheapest model that I could afford but also the best I ever have.
She taught me how to make patterns for costumes too. I was working on Tifa Lockhart and Sheryl Nome at that time , she taught me step by step on how to draft the patterns and sewing till completion. I think these costumes took me about 3 months to complete.
It wasn't easy to learn how to sew. I remembered how many times I almost gave up because the sewing machine went haywire , or the costume doesn't fit well. Can't even remember how much I raged or maybe even cry lol.
In Hobbycon 2008 , I first wore the costumes that I handmade. The feeling was different , the feeling of accomplishment ~ of course I was afraid that the costume will fall apart because I wasn't skillful. Strangely , I felt that I'm really happy that I managed to achieve my goal , which is to make my own costumes. It was tiring and I didn't have enough sleep due to rushing the costumes but I was happy and proud of my costumes. It wasn't perfect but I'm glad that I made it.
That's how I started my costume-making journey.
The first step is always difficult to take . Even more difficult to keep going and stay motivated. From 2008 on wards , I started making my own costumes. Everything was self taught through books and the internet.
It's amazing how the internet have all these amazing tutorials and when I was stuck I could always just " ask " the internet for solutions. I wasn't good in making patterns . In case if you are wondering what's a pattern , it's like a 2D drawing of the costume where you need to draft it with your measurements. To be honest , I'm not good in maths or calculation related stuff so I didn't enjoy that part of sewing very much back then.
The paper pattern is very important because if it's wrong then it would affect the outcome of the costume. I spent most time in drafting , to get all the measurements right . As I made more costumes , I get to learn more about drafting too. Every costume has a different pattern , but it's all modified from the same basic pattern.
As I practice my sewing more , the faster my sewing speed is. Back in 2008 , it took me months to make one costume . Today , if I'm motivated enough I can finish a costume in 4-5 days.
After being self taught for 4 years , in 2011 I enrolled into a fashion design college. Making cosplay costumes made me realize that I enjoy sewing and making things very much. It's something that I don't mind doing everyday.
Fashion College is very different from cosplay. It wasn't a " How to make Cosplay Costume " school but it's more to learning about design and how to make your designs into reality. I enjoyed learning things that I didn't know. Simple things like how to sew a button properly and ironing open the seams. It's something simple but makes a big difference to your work.
Fashion College also taught me about time management and discipline. As a fashion design student , we have lots of assignments and the workload were crazy. I learnt how to manage my time wisely , being able to do my assignments not for the sake of just passing up but with quality as well.
Many people have the misconception that fashion design = can make cosplay costumes.
It wasn't true. We focus mostly on design and drawing , very little on actual sewing. I was glad that having cosplay as my hobby , I get to practice sewing all the time.
One does not need to enroll into fashion design course to learn how to make costumes. Many people who make their costumes are self taught too or maybe taking short sewing courses.
Nowadays it's even easier to learn sewing because there are so many books even specifically on cosplay making in bookstores , they have ready made patterns for sale too. It wasn't like back in 2008 where information was limited.
When people ask me , " YingTze how do you choose the characters that you cosplay ? "
The answer is I only cosplay characters that I really like or those I have great interest in. Reason being , costume making takes a lot of time and money if you have a taste for quality fabrics and trimmings. Why would I make something that I'm not even passionate about ?
I like beautiful costume designs too. Especially those with potential where I can play with different types of fabric and materials with. One of the reason that I love making costumes is that the costumes that I made are uniquely mine.
I think self-made costumes fits better too.
Till now I'm still learning about costume making and sewing. Every costume has different pattern and sewing technique. It's something that keeps me interested and motivated , I like to learn new things.
Before getting to know about cosplay , I don't know how to sew / cut and style a wig or even put on make up. After cosplaying for almost 10 years , I'm still learning. There are still many things that I don't know and costumes that I couldn't figure out how to make. It's intriguing for me : picking up new skills along the way.
That's how I fell in love with Costume Making.
That's how I fell in love with Costume Making.
Through cosplay , I met precious friends in my life. Friends who are supportive of my cosplay journey.
I believe in The Secret.
Good thoughts will bring more good things to your life. Being grateful for even the most tiny little thing .
I am very thankful for my photographer friends too , for being with me all these years working alongside me. Without them , I wouldn't have pictures for all the great memories and of all the costumes that I made.
I have many characters that I want to cosplay but of course I only have two hands. I think being a Gemini , being indecisive is one of my trait hehe. But once I've decided on a cosplay project , I would be able to see it through till completion.
Nowadays we have so many anime / manga / games that I don't know where to start. But I would love to cosplay some of my favorite childhood series one day.
Thanks to cosplay , I am able to travel to conventions around South East Asia as cosplay guest and judge for cosplay competitions. I am very grateful to be given a chance to travel which I enjoy lots and cosplay at the same time.
Much love to all the lovely people to likes my cosplay and my costume works. All your support gave me the opportunity to travel around and experiencing different conventions / events . Best of all ? Meeting all of you !
It's also exactly why I decided to be more active in my blog again. All the good memories that I have in different countries and conventions , I absolutely enjoy taking photos so I thought why don't I share my experiences with you here ?
Every event / country have different cultures and I'm always ready to experience new things ! So far I've traveled to Singapore , Vietnam , Philippines and Indonesia for cosplay events. I attend local events back in Malaysia too. I feel truly blessed for all these opportunities.
Thats all about my cosplay story !
I hope that this will answer some of your questions about me and my cosplay.
Thank you very much for your support.