I didn’t post every step of my Impa cosplay creation process, but the costume is 100 percent done! I wore it at GenCon, which took place last weekend, and received a pretty good response – lots of people took pictures and gave shouts outs.
This was my first cosplay, and now that it’s done, I want to review the work I did to hopefully learn. With that in mind, here’s my postmortem:
I made many of the armor pieces too large, so they either prevented me from bending my limbs or felt clunky. However, I liked how the armor looked overall.
I quickly realized why the developers of Hyrule Warriors animated Impa the way they did. As soon as I put on the costume, I started moving differently to compensate for my extra mass. The transformation definitely helped me get into character.
The armor also made me feel powerful. I felt great in that cosplay, even if it wasn’t perfect. Wearing the entire ensemble reminded me why I love Impa as a character and wanted to cosplay as her in the first place.
If I were to make the armor over again, I’m not sure whether I’d still use foam or try thermoplastics. It turned out that I needed the armor to bend, so If I chose the latter, I would definitely had to make the pieces smaller. And the waist piece: There’s no way I could have used a stiff material!
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I realized too late that the jumpsuit should have been two pieces: a top and pants. Not because that’s how the character has it, but because going to the bathroom was a pain. Fortunately, taking off all the armor and slipping out of the jumpsuit wasn’t as bad as I feared, but it certainly was inconvenient.
Lesson learned: Sacrifice accuracy for convenience!
Extras: Hair, Makeup, Ears
I loved all the material I ended up using for hair, makeup and ears. I got latex elf ears that stuck great with just some spirit gum. I barely noticed them throughout the day!
I didn’t want to wear a wig because in other cosplays I’ve seen of Impa, I always thought the wig didn’t look right. Something about a pony tail – wigs just show off a fake hairline. So I used hair chalk instead. Obviously, it didn’t turn my hair snow white, but it did a good enough job and I was happy with the look.
As for makeup, I used both red eye shadow and my Ben Nye kit.
(Fun note about the photoshoot with CMWeissMedia: Chris chose the area because he thought it looked like the Hyule palace courtyard!)
The Cosplay Experience
Perhaps the most startling part of cosplaying is the con experience. I wore my Marceline outfit Thursday when there were fewer people, but passersby shouted “Hey Marceline” or asked for photos. I’m glad I started with that because I was more prepared Saturday when I wore my big costume: Impa.
Additionally, I realized that cosplay critique is totally different from analyzing other artistic mediums. You can critique a painting without ever seeing the creator. But with cosplay, the artist is part of the overall image. Their hair, makeup and postures help create the picture. So you’re analyzing this work of art that includes the artist themselves.
I think that fact leads a lot of people to feel bad about making artistic judgement. My friend and I were chatting about certain cosplay choices we didn’t like, but that’s not a reflection on the individual in the costume, it’s a critique of the ensemble. It’s important to analyze others’ cosplays, as it helps you identify the angles you’ll take and choices you’ll make in designing a costume. So my advice: Don’t feel bad about picking out things you dislike, as long it’s to help you grow artistically.
Finally, there are just so many details I put into this costume that only I really notice. But those details are what made the outfit feel real to me. Without them, it would have just been another costume. The details made me feel like Impa.
I hope to add some of these pictures to my portfolio soon, so be on the lookout!