How I Plan My Cosplay

Hey beautiful people,

I’ve been MIA for a few weeks because I’m pushing out a dress last minute. So while I’m on hiatus from working on my Link cosplay, I figured I’d share some of my organizing and planning secrets (clearly, I’m procrastinating).

Anyone who knows me is aware how much I LOVE organizing – I enjoy making order out of chaos, what can I say? With that in mind, here’s how I plan my cosplays:

Gather Reference Images

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I always start my cosplay planning by loading up on reference images, whether they’re screenshots from the game or show, or pieces of fan art.

My preferred storage spot for references is Pinterest. I have a “Cosplay” board where I pin images for current or future projects. Sometimes I even pin costumes by other cosplayers that I find inspiring.

Keeping all of the images in Pinterest is efficient for a few reasons: 1) Because it’s online, I can access the pictures anywhere and on any device that gets internet. 2) Pinterest pins link back to the site where I originally found the image – so if there was a tutorial or more pictures with that original image, I have a direct link  to the information.

You can see from the screenshot of my Cosplay board that I’m pretty entrenched in Link images right now, which is good, considering the version I’m doing is from a game that hasn’t released yet.

Generate a To-Do List

Once I have all the references I need, I take inventory of everything I have to do. You can organize this list in any number of ways – just find a system that works for you.

Cosplanner

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I use the Cosplanner app on my phone because it’s robust and provides a lot of information and capabilities. From organizing by “make” or “purchase” to seeing how far along I am and how much time I have left, it’s clear and easy to use.

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The app also allows you to upload reference images, indicate how much money you’ve spent and take notes by item. I think my favorite screen is the “Summary,” which lays out all of your data in a quick one-pager.  Basically, the app lets you keep all of the information you need in one spot. So if you don’t like having your images, notes and timelines in separate places, this is the system for you.

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The only think I don’t like about the app is that it’s only on phones and tablets. I’m not a huge fan of typing in my phone, so I wish I could use my computer. However, it’s still the best method I have for laying out everything I need to do and seeing how much time I have in which to do it.

Calendar 

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Google Calendar is perpetually open on my computer because I use it for work. Google also just added a task manager to the calendar, allowing you to insert check-off-able items alongside events.

I decided to give it a go. The manager is still pretty bare. You can make lists (I named mine “Sewing”), color code tasks and set due dates, and that’s about it.

The plus side is that I can use this on the computer – yay, typing with a keyboard! I also like that I’ll get alerts on my phone and can plan out when items are due.

Last night I went through my Cosplanner to-do list and organized every item in the calendar by when I typically work on stuff. For instance, I usually sew on Sundays, so I wrote down every task I would do each Sunday for the next three or so months. That told me I will finish my cosplay by GenCon 2016 as long as I stick to my schedule.

Good Ole Paper

If you prefer tangible organizers, then a paper one is just as good. I like working with my hands (which is why I sew), and a book-style planner lets me do that. I can add sticky notes, highlight items and generally keep things in one place. Also, my paper planner fits in most of my purses.

Organizing Tips

As you can see, there are so many methods for getting your cosplay organized. What works for me may not be the best method for you. However, it’s important that you actually do plan your cosplay – both the making and the wearing part. Staying organized ensures you remain within your budget and finish the work on time.

Here are some tips:

Know Your Information-Intake Preferences

I’m a visual and kinesthetic learner, so I prefer to organize information in a way that’s pleasing to the eye. Color coding has always helped me. I also like to keep the pages I’m looking at as clutter-free as possible. I use consistent formatting and labels.

If you’re visual, try making a template for your planning that you can follow. Design a color-coding index. Basically, create visual cues that will keep you on track.

Not visual? Figure out what your information-intake preferences are and use them to your advantage.

Spending Time Now Saves Time Later

Part of my job is organizing, and all of the people I’ve managed have heard me preach on my organization philosophy: Spending time to organize now will save you time later.

While putting together notes and timelines for your cosplay may cost you a day of sewing or crafting, it’ll ensure you stay on schedule and prevent you from forgetting things or messing things up.

Really, it’s about efficiency.

Set Goals

Organizing your cosplay allows you to set goals. For instance, when I finish sewing Link’s tunic, I’ll have accomplished a goal.

Checking things off the to-do list feels good, and inspires you to keep up the momentum. Build achievements into your timeline to give yourself a scientifically proven dose of good feels.

Prioritize
Sometimes, you just can’t fit everything in. I had Link’s cloak on my to-do list until I decided to add another cosplay to my GenCon due date. I can’t both finish the cloak and make that second cosplay. Because the cloak isn’t really necessary, I decided to cut it from my list in favor of using that time (and money) elsewhere.

Give each of your tasks a priority so you know what really needs your time and what can wait or be cut if necessary.

Hope this long list of organizers and tips helped you out. Let me know how you plan your cosplay – maybe you’ll teach me a thing or two!

And, if you’re jonesing for some updates on my sewing or sneak peaks at my next cosplays, find me on Twitter and Instagram.

Good luck and have fun!

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