How did you start cosplaying?
That's all on my friend Beth. She told me she was going to New York Comic Con in 2014 and that I should go too... and let her make me a costume to go with their Game of Thrones group. So I agreed, and I got hooked immediately.
How do you choose what character to cosplay?
I have more ideas than time/energy/money/space, so I try to strike a balance between what I think I'm able to make, how long I think it will take me to make it, and how comfortable it will be.
How did you learn how to do all this stuff?
On the fly, and as I need to learn it. For the most part, I jump into things and realize shortly after I start that I have no idea what I'm doing. It's a bad method. I don't recommend it. I also get a lot of advice/help from my husband, from Beth, the internet, and library books.
Have you won any cosplay contests?
Yes and no. I have, but so far, only in things that Beth and Chris have made. The Game of Thrones group won best group at TWCC in October 2014, and the Iron Man scale dress won 2nd amateur female at Baltimore Comic-Con in September 2015 (I made the lights and helped with some of the scales but it was primarily a Beth work). So I make an excellent model for Beth's work, but I hope to win with something I've made someday.
How do you handle time management with your cosplay?
I'm a list-maker. I break down each character into manageable tasks (each thing I need to buy/order, and tasks that take an hour, an evening, or a day off) and make a list of all those. I keep track of how many tasks need to be done and how many days until I need to be done, and motivate myself with that.
How do you handle budget with your cosplay?
Pretty badly, to be entirely honest. I've had success with a couple methods of saving/budgeting. Shop at thrift stores; if you screw up dyeing/sewing/editing something from a thrift store, you're out $5 instead of $50. Use coupons; JoAnn Fabrics has text coupons and I get those all the time. Ask for gift cards for holidays, then spend them wisely throughout the year. Reuse pieces, especially the more expensive materials, whenever you can. Consider budget when choosing your character; for example, if you don't want to buy a new wig, pick a character with hair like yours (or like a wig you already have, or that you can easily dye/cut yours to look like). I'm learning to do a lot more research before buying things, so I know I'm only buying what I need/will use and that I'm getting a good price on everything. All these little things add up pretty quickly.