Jobs 101: Cosplay Artist
If you fancy a unique and exhilarating job, you may want to consider a cosplay artist!
As Elizabeth Seah spoke about her experience working as a cosplay artist, I was impressed with her passion and professionalism towards a seemingly flamboyant hobby.
Elizabeth, 31, owns Haruhouse, an online store that sells Japanese subculture fashion and custom tailors cosplay costumes.
WHO: Elizabeth Seah, 31
OCCUPATION: Cosplay Artist at HaruHouse
STUDIED: ‘O’ levels from Presbyterian High
Tell us more about yourself.
I’m someone who is unafraid to try new things, even if it differs from convention. I like to seize the day and try as many things as possible before I get old.
What exactly is cosplay?
There is more to cosplay than simply wearing a wig. Cosplay artists will study into physical characteristics, body language and persona of the character. You don’t simply wear a wig; you have to trim it to fit your face.
Generally, artists try to cosplay as accurately as possible, without indecent exposure. This is important especially when cosplaying in public.
There are many different types of cosplayers. Some join for fun, others cosplay professionally. Cosplay artists join collaborations between teenage magazines for gaming events or animation conventions, and earn revenue from there.Cosplay artists also perform, give workshops on cosplay, host events, sign autographs and sometimes, are involved in films. Some cosplay artists even become judges at competitions.
Describe a typical day at work.
Some cosplayers have colourful hair; so if you see them at work, their black hair may actually be a wig! For HaruHouse, we get orders for clothes or costumes worldwide.
If it’s a local order, we will try to meet the person for measurements. For international customers, we ask them to go to nearby tailors or give an accurate website for their costume sizes.
Cosplay puts us into the world of animation that is full of trust, friendship and camaraderie, away from the backstabbing to climb the corporate ladder.But we’re realistic; we remember to come out of that world.
What about dislikes?
The stares. Some dismiss you as crazy, without appreciating the artistic elements. People equate Japanese fashion to cosplay; the two are very different.
Also, it’s too hot to cosplay here! Cosplayers may have to wear double layers, don heavy wigs and weapons in sweltering Singapore.
Being professional. I once cosplayed Chun Li from Streetfighters. Some photographers would bend very low to capture pictures. You cannot continue posing because you want to protect yourself, and you cannot attack them because it compromises professionalism. So, we have to avoid them tactfully.You must respect the character you’re portraying. For example, my character today is a diva songstress. I cannot be shaking my legs at McDonalds!
I think, the sense of achievement after completing a costume or a successful cosplay. The day when we put everything on is very rewarding despite having glue stuck or needles poking your hands for months.It’s the same as how people work on corporate proposals for months and get judged by their boss at one go. Here, we get judged, get photographed and receive feedback.
But it’s fun, especially when preparation is done with friends; you bond and accomplish so much more!
What is your advice for youths aspiring to do the same?
Cosplay is not about attention grabbing or simply wearing a wig. You embody the knowledge and ideals of the character.
Be realistic. Do not cosplay a character that is wholly different from your body type.
Educational requirements: No requirement.
Qualities needed: Patient, passionate, responsible and creative.
Working hours: Flexible hours; 6 hours a day.
Salary range: Salary is irregular, but on average $3,000-4,000.
Career prospects/advancements/specialisations: Depending on the popularity of the cosplay artist, one may become a judge at cosplay competitions.