Work hard, ‘cosplay’ harder
By SARA YEE
In the early morning of Dec 23, 2013, I find myself standing in front of the four-foot-long mirror in my bedroom as I hurriedly threw on my clothes and packed the remainder for the rest of the day – to be donned when I arrive.
Travelling to my destination, I tell my father about how this is something I had never expected I would end up doing – cosplaying.
What I now know about cosplay came mainly through what I learnt from friends in university and college, those who were already practitioners in the field.
When I first saw the pictures and notes posted on Facebook; gathering of friends, arms akimbo, all smiles, I thought how wonderful!
Then the opportunity presented itself in the form of an invitation. My dear friend (you know who you are), sells me a costume, once hers.
I wore it to a cosplay convention – and that was the turning point of my life.
Going through the experience of cosplaying was something that changed me; I learnt that one would need a lot of hard work and dedication to perfect the craft.
After much research, I began producing my own costumes – a craft which I am still working on very hard until today.
Certainly, I had never touched a sewing machine before. Now I’m working towards getting one and learning how to make my own clothes.
My parents feel that this is an interesting pursuit. They are supportive of me and that matters a lot.
With my father’s help, I have learnt how to handle a Dremel (a hand-held rotary tool that American cosplayers seem to swear by) to cut and craft props.
I also spent several days in my grandfather’s backyard trying to spray-paint a wooden stick and several other items without choking on the fumes.
Stepping into the realm
As with all things, one has to start from the ground up and with my journey into the cosplay realm, I have had to learn the basics of the craft.
With every completed project, I am moving closer to my goal. But setbacks always occur during a journey and in my case it was a fear and reluctance of going near a sewing machine because I was paralysed by insecurities and this device was strange to me.
Fear holds one back but once you realise that there is nothing to fear, you can push forward.
When I push harder I learn that that extra bit of effort usually pays off. When one pushes on despite obstacles, it becomes worth it.
Oftentimes, even with a project that is enjoyable, I have seen people give up when they hit roadblocks, and not want to push forward.
I have these roadblocks too and many a time the urge to give up is strong. But I battle these obstacles and keep moving forward, one step at a time.
You, dear reader, can do the same; if you are currently stuck in a situation that seems insurmountable, take a step back, break it down into smaller pieces and deal with each small piece at time. Better to pick up pebbles than trying to move a whole mountain.
Pushing past the fog
Whenever the journey seems tough, just remember that you will eventually reach the end of the tunnel and perhaps the most important thing to know is that you are not alone. Do not be afraid to ask for help; it is something that will be immensely beneficial to you.
If you can, ask for constructive criticism. Perhaps this will give you an insight into the solution for your roadblock. You may have missed a particular area.
A second opinion could be helpful too. As my granduncle pointed out, I could make a glowing jewel out of a clear bottle with coloured water instead of using silicone, which prevented much light from shining through anyway.
This is because the coloured water was less dense than the silicone, hence more light can pass through it.
Learning from experience
Cosplay, as I have learnt, requires hard work and dedication. With my journey into this new realm, I believe that there is still much for me to discover. Learning is a never-ending process.
As Isaac Asimov, the great pioneer of sci-fi fiction once said in an interview:
“People think of education as something they can finish. And what’s more, when they finish, it’s a rite of passage. You’re finished with school. You’re no more a child and therefore anything that reminds you of school – reading books, having ideas, asking questions – that’s kid’s stuff.”
There is no “rite” that one has to pass when it comes to learning – cosplay included. You keep the process going. There are no checkpoints in the game of learning, you just keep going.
You get to save as and when you need but there will always be quests for you to complete and the best part is that you get to choose which ones you want to do.
Asimov goes on to say, with regards to life and learning, “what a great tragedy to pass through and get nothing out of it.”
It is true, doing something, however small and getting something out of it is better than doing nothing at all.
As with just about any other subject, you should always learn, get better, teach others and learn more. Of course, the most important thing, as with all things you do, is to have fun.
So go forth, work hard and cos-play harder!
When Sara first told her father she wanted to cosplay, he predicted that her first character would be blue-haired. When the day finally rolled around, she wore – you guessed it – a blue wig. To find out about the many fantastic characters she has played since then, write to her at email@example.com. For more Starting Young articles, click here.
Lay Hsuan was part of the content curation team for Leaderonomics.com, playing the role of a content gatekeeper as well as ensuring the integrity of stories that came in. She was an occasional writer for the team and was previously the caretaker for Leaderonomics social media channels. She is still happiest when you leave comments on the website, or subscribe to Leader’s Digest, or share Leaderonomics content on social media.