Cosplay has become a global phenomenon with millions of enthusiasts around the world dressing up as their favorite characters from anime, manga, video games, comics, and movies. Cosplay is not only a form of self-expression but also an art that requires creativity, craftsmanship, and dedication. Some people even manage to turn it into their full-time careers! If you’re wondering about how to become a professional cosplayer, continue reading because we’ve got you covered.
The Evolution of Cosplay
When most people think of cosplay, they think of costumes. And while the costumes are definitely a big part of it, there’s so much more to cosplay than just that. Cosplay is about putting on a performance. It’s about embodying a character and bringing them to life. This takes a lot of time and dedication to pull off at a high level.
That’s why for a lot of people, Cosplay has become more than just a hobby. It has turned out to be a multi-faceted skillset that can branch off into various full-time and lucrative careers. Marketing, for example, has turned to cosplayers to represent their brands and give life to the characters from their respective intellectual properties. Professional cosplayers often market and endorse games, TV shows, movies, and the like.
When it comes to pop culture, cosplayers have become an integral part of marketing both niche and popular brands.
Why Become a Professional Cosplayer
When asking about how to become a cosplayer, it is also important to explore the reasons to become one in the first place. Becoming a professional cosplayer means turning your passion for cosplay into a career that can earn you money, fame, and recognition. Professional cosplayers may make appearances at events, conventions, and parties and create content for social media, websites, and other platforms. They may also sell merchandise, offer workshops, and collaborate with other cosplayers, artists, and brands. Professional cosplayers can showcase their creativity, talent, and personality to a wider audience and inspire and entertain others.
How to Become a Professional Cosplayer
When exploring how to become a professional cosplayer there are several steps that come to mind. Becoming a professional cosplayer isn’t easy, but with hard work, dedication, and the right strategies, it’s definitely possible.
Define Your Goals and Vision
Before you begin working on how to become a professional cosplayer, it’s important to define your goals and vision. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of cosplays do you enjoy making and wearing?
- What kind of characters do you want to portray and why?
- What kind of audience or market do you want to target?
- What kind of skills or services can you offer as a cosplayer?
By answering these questions, you can clarify your purpose and direction as a professional cosplayer, and align your efforts accordingly.
Practice Your Craft
Being a cosplayer is a lot of work. Not only do you have to be creative and skilled at making or finding costumes, but you also have to be able to put on a good show. It is important to practice and hone your craft in order to attract bigger clients and get higher pay. Here are some ways for you to improve your craft as a cosplayer.
Learn from Tutorials and Resources
Learn from tutorials, guides, and resources online or offline. You can find plenty of cosplay tutorials on YouTube, blogs, forums, or books. Look for tutorials that match your skill level, budget, and interests, and try to apply the techniques to your own cosplays.
Attend Workshops and Classes
Attend workshops, classes, or conventions that offer cosplay-related classes or panels. You can learn from experienced cosplayers, prop makers, seamstresses, or makeup artists, and network with other cosplayers. Look for classes that cover the areas you want to improve, such as sewing, wig styling, makeup, or posing.
Experiment and Innovate
Experiment and innovate with your cosplays. Try new materials, techniques, or concepts, and push your boundaries. You can also collaborate with other cosplayers or artists to create unique cosplays, or participate in themed photo shoots or videos.
Building Your Brand
To market yourself as a professional cosplayer, you must create a strong brand and image representing your values, personality, and skills. Here are some steps to do that:
Choose Your Cosplay Name and Persona
Choose a cosplay name and persona that reflect your style and character. Your name should be easy to remember, spell, and search for, and your persona should be consistent and authentic. You can also create a backstory or profile for your character to add depth and interest.
Design Your Logo and Graphics
Design a logo and graphics that match your brand and persona. Your logo should be simple, recognizable, and scalable, and your graphics should be consistent and appealing. You can use software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, or Canva to create your designs, or hire a graphic designer if needed.
Build Your Social Media Presence
Build your social media presence on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok. Use your cosplay name and persona as your handle and profile, and post regularly about your cosplays, progress, events, or insights. Use hashtags, tagging, and networking to expand your reach and engagement as well as to help you better interact with your followers and fans.
Build Your Cosplay Portfolio
Once you’ve developed your cosplay skills, it’s time to start building your portfolio. Your portfolio is a collection of your best cosplay work that showcases your skills and creativity to potential clients and collaborators.
Some tips for building a strong cosplay portfolio include:
- Choose your best work: Select only your best cosplay creations to include in your portfolio. Quality is more important than quantity.
- Show your range: Try to include a variety of cosplay styles and characters in your portfolio to demonstrate your versatility as a cosplayer.
- Get high-quality photos: Invest in high-quality photography to showcase your costumes and props in the best possible light.
- Create a website or online portfolio: Build a website or online portfolio where you can showcase your work and make it easy for potential clients and collaborators to find you.
Earning From Cosplay
Now that you’ve worked on your craft and are well on your way to becoming a professional cosplayer, it’s time to take a look at the different ways to earn from cosplaying.
How to Become a Cosplay Model
Professional cosplay models sell their services as cosplayers to different brands. They typically have a large following on social media and are known for their high-quality cosplay costumes and photos. They leverage the strength of their popularity and following to get marketing deals with different pop culture brands.
Professional cosplay models often collaborate with photographers, companies, and other cosplayers to create stunning visual content that showcases their skills and creativity.
They may also make appearances at conventions or events to meet fans and showcase their work. In addition to their cosplay skills, professional cosplay models are also skilled at marketing themselves and building their personal brand. They often earn from both social media sponsorships and paid appearances.
Social Media Sponsorships
Social media sponsorship is one of the most common ways to earn money from cosplay. Many cosplay influencers have a large following on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. These influencers can make money by promoting products or services to their followers. Companies that are interested in reaching a specific audience can sponsor a cosplayer to promote their product on social media.
Cosplayers can also earn money by making paid appearances at events. Many events, such as comic cons and anime conventions, invite cosplayers to attend and participate in cosplay competitions. Cosplayers can charge a fee for appearing and participating in these events. Some brands may even engage with cosplayers to represent them in these events. They’ll often commission costumes bundled with attendance and performances during conventions, promotional campaigns, and even digital advertisements.
Other Ways of Monetizing Your Cosplay
Selling Cosplay Merchandise
Cosplayers can also earn money by creating and selling their own merchandise. This can include costumes, prints, accessories, and other cosplay-related items. Many cosplayers sell their merchandise online platforms such as Gank.
Directly Monetize your Content
Speaking of Gank, another way to earn from cosplay is by directly monetizing your content. Cosplayers can use Gank to create a community of supporters willing to pay for exclusive content or access to behind-the-scenes material. You can earn from your content through donations, memberships, pay-per-views, and even an online store.
Experienced cosplayers can also earn money by teaching workshops or giving presentations. Many cosplayers offer workshops on topics like costume-making, prop-making, and makeup techniques. These workshops can be held in person or online.
Cosplayers can also earn money by renting out their costumes. Many people are interested in cosplay, but they may not have the skills or resources to create their own costumes. Cosplayers can rent out their costumes to these individuals for a fee.
These are just some of the ways to earn money from cosplay. With dedication, hard work, and a passion for the art, anyone can turn their love for cosplay into a successful career.
Conclusion: Being a professional cosplayer is a real thing.
Cosplay is a fun and rewarding hobby that can also be turned into a successful career. By choosing the right cosplay, creating high-quality cosplay, networking, and building your brand, anyone can turn their love for cosplay into a profitable career. Remember to stay passionate, creative, and dedicated, and you can achieve success as a professional cosplayer.
How much do cosplayers make?
A professional cosplayer’s salary can vary greatly depending on their experience level, popularity, and the types of opportunities they pursue. Some may earn a few hundred dollars per month from sponsorships and collaborations. In contrast, others can earn thousands of dollars per month from merchandise sales, convention appearances, and other revenue streams.
How do I get started as a professional cosplayer?
To get started as a professional cosplayer, building your skills and online presence is important. Start by creating high-quality cosplay costumes and posting photos on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Engage with your followers and network with other cosplayers and industry professionals. You can also consider attending conventions and entering cosplay contests to gain more exposure and experience.
What skills do I need to become a professional cosplayer?
To become a professional cosplayer, you’ll need to have strong costume-making skills and the ability to create captivating photos and videos. You’ll also need to be able to market yourself effectively and build your personal brand. Other important skills include networking, communication, and time management.
What are some common revenue streams for professional cosplayers?
Some common revenue streams for professional cosplayers include merchandise sales (such as prints, posters, and cosplay accessories), sponsorships and collaborations with companies, convention appearances, and crowdfunding campaigns. Some may earn income from Gank membership subscriptions, affiliate marketing, or YouTube ad revenue.
Is it possible to make a full-time career out of cosplay?
Yes, it is possible to make a full-time career out of cosplay, but it requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Many professional cosplayers have multiple revenue streams and may supplement their income with other work, such as costume-making or photography. To succeed as a full-time cosplayer, you’ll need to manage your time effectively, build strong relationships with sponsors and clients, and continuously improve your skills and brand.