Cosplay & Fursuiting Tip: An Easy Way to Reduce Cost: Keep & Maintain an Inventory

If you haven’t figured it out yet, #cosplaying & #fursuiting can each be expensive hobbies to have. The more accurate, ornate or complicated a #costume, #cosplay or #fursuit becomes, in general, the more #expensive it becomes. Then, multiply that by the number of #costumes, #cosplays & #fursuits one has, as well as unfinished projects, money is simply flying out the door.

Naturally, when have multiple costumes, cosplays or fursuits, you’re likely going to have leftover materials. If you also have unfinished projects, then you’ll have unused materials for those as well.

All of those materials (both used and unused) cost money.

Unless you were able to get some of those materials for free, then all of the materials that you have (both used and unused) represent money that you’ve spent. What’s worse is if you inadvertently purchase some type of material or items that you already have, but had forgotten about.

Buying materials that you forgot you have not only wastes your money, it may prevent you from being able to complete a project or from making it as elaborate as you had originally planned.
Further, buying more materials that you don’t need means you’ll need more storage space for items that you may never get around to using.

Cosplayers, costumers & fursuiters aren’t necessarily known for having a lot of money or a lot of living space. Thus, finding ways to reduce costs is going to be personally beneficial in multiple ways.

So how can you reduce the likelihood of buying something you already have?

Businesses already have a method for doing this: they keep and maintain an inventory.

Anyone can make the mistake of buying something that they don’t need because they already have it and the best way to prevent that is to track the items that you already have. The key term here is track: to track means to actively know how much of a particular item that you have and where it is. In other words, is the item part of a costume, is it part of or slated for a work in progress, or is it simply something that you have in stock and not currently using.

To start an inventory of what you have, we recommend the following steps:

  1. Setup 3 main lists and name them “Completed Items”, “Works In Progress” and “Raw Materials”.
    • “Completed Items” are any completed costumes, cosplays or fursuits that you have.
    • “Works In Progress” are any incomplete costumes, cosplays or fursuits that you are working on.
    • “Raw Materials” are any unused items that you have that aren’t slated for any particular “Works In Progress”.
  2. For each “Completed Item” and “Work In Progress”, create a sublist of the individual items that are part of that completed item or work in progress. (For a “Work In Progress”, you can have 2 separate sublists: items already used and items that you haven’t used yet.)
  3. For “Raw Materials”, simply list all of the unused items that you have that may be left-overs or for any “Works In Progress” that you may have abandoned.

If you want to track how much money you have spent, you can include the cost of each  item regardless of which of the 3 main lists it’s in. (You don’t need receipts to do this. You can always include what you think you spent on a particular item if you don’t remember.)

If you decide to repurpose specific items that are part of an existing “Completed Item” or an “Work In Progress” for another “Work In Progress”, then you can do that right in the inventory.

Just remember: the only way that the inventory will be of value to you is if you are accurate about what you have and you update it as things change.

If you don’t keep it up-to-date, then it really won’t serve its intended purpose well.

There are various apps that can let you setup lists with sublists or tasks with sublists. You could also use an online spreadsheet.

If you store your inventory in the cloud, then you can access it anywhere.

One final thought on keeping an inventory:

Sure, while this sounds like it might be a lot of work or time to setup and maintain an inventory, just remember:

This is about you and your money.

It won’t affect anyone else if you have an inventory system, but it can potentially save you money.

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What are the Differences between Cosplayers & Fursuiters?

While #cosplayers and #fursuiters both share a love of wearing #costumes, there are some distinct differences between the two groups. Technically, #fursuiting can be regarded as a type of #cosplay, but the differences tend to cause many to view them as being almost independent of each other.

The Fandoms that Inspire Cosplayers Versus the Furry Fandom

What motivates cosplayers to create and wear their costumes are the myriad intellectual properties (or IP’s) that are typically part of one of the following genres: science fiction, fantasy, superhero, horror, etc. Each IP is a unique and self-contained universe that includes a specific set of characters created by the IP owner(s), and each character (or type of character) will typically have one, or several, costumes associated with it.

In contrast to each of the IP-based fandoms, the furry fandom is comprised of individuals who are drawn to anthropomorphic animal characters that aren’t generally owned or part of any particular IP. “Anthropomorphic” refers to the association of human characteristics and behaviors to an animal. A typical anthropomorphic character is bipedal (as opposed to quadrupedal, which is typically how most vertebrate animals move & walk), has paw-like hands that include opposable thumbs like humans, etc. While not an aspect of anthropomorphism, furry fandom characters often (but not always) have a cartoonish (or “toony”) appearance: oversized heads, oversized eyes, oversized mouths, oversized hands, oversized feet, colors not typically found in nature, highly defined borders between colors, etc.

Predominant Costume Type Differences (Canon Versus Custom)

As the previous section suggests, while cosplayers typically reproduce an existing canon character that originated from within a particular IP, fursuiters typically create their own unique characters based solely upon their own designs. Thus, nearly all fursuits are custom furry costumes. (In designing a fursuit, a furry may be inspired by the works of other fursuiters and possibly furry characters from some IP’s, but the designs are generally regarded as being the unique design of the furry in an effort to embody his or her so-called “fursona”. A fursuit may also be designed based upon, or incorporating aspects of, someone else’s copyrighted unique anthropomorphic species with their permission. There are a few copyrighted unique species types within the furry fandom that require obtaining permission before someone can create a character based upon that copyrighted species.)

Now, while it’s both common and widely accepted for cosplayers to create customized versions of existing IP characters, it is both uncommon and not widely accepted for someone to create a modified version of someone else’s fursuit. The reason for this is due to the very personal nature of a “fursona” within the furry fandom. Any furry (a member of the furry fandom) can create his or her own fursona, which is a furry’s personal identify within the furry fandom that is based upon his or her own personally designed anthropomorphic character. Thus, to create a slightly modified version of someone else’s fursuit is akin to hijacking their personal fursona.

Character Recognizability Differences

Because various IP’s and their characters are often widely known by both the fandoms and general public at large, the costumes from those IP’s that cosplayers wear are typically widely recognized by many people. Conversely, because the fursuits that fursuiters wear are often of their own personal designs, they aren’t typically widely known outside of the furry fandom. Thus, a fursuit character that may be popular within the furry fandom itself won’t be widely recognized by the public at large. The general public will know that it’s a costume (and possibly that it’s a fursuit associated with the furry fandom), but not the character itself.

The Fur

Naturally, we can’t have a discussion about differences between cosplayers and fursuiters without mentioning the fur itself. This is because only a small fraction of characters from various IP’s that cosplayers like to cosplay are furry, so not many cosplayers wear furry costumes associated with those characters; and, when they do wear them, they are not wearing them as part of the furry fandom, but as part of their celebration of the IP that the furry character originated from.

Some furry IP characters that aren’t uncommon for cosplayers to wear as costumes (but only as a small percentage of the entire cosplay community at large) for include the following:

  • Chewbacca (from “Star Wars”)
  • A Wampa (from “Star Wars”)
  • An Ewok (from “Star Wars”)
  • Rocket the Raccoon (from Marvel Comics’ “Guardians of the Galaxy”)

But none of these furry costumes (or possible derivatives) are common within the furry fandom.

Various Cultural Differences

There are a number of cultural differences between cosplayers and fursuiters.

  • As we mentioned above, there is a large cultural difference between what motivates people to cosplay versus was motivates people to fursuit. Also, there is a significant difference in how the fursuit is very likely a representation of the wearer’s own personal fursona that he or she created, not the reproduction of an existing character from an IP.
  • Fursuiters have developed a jargon specific to their fursuits that isn’t used by cosplayers.
  • Obviously, the understanding of how to work with faux fur isn’t as widely well known among cosplayers as it is among fursuiters.
  • Fursuiters tend to attend furry conventions and might attend a comic or anime convention, but cosplayers don’t generally attend furry conventions (at least not in non-fursuit costumes) as they’re more focused on the comic and anime conventions that are better suited to the cosplays & characters.
  • Dancing in costume is very common among fursuiters and furry conventions typically have dance competitions for costumed attendees. Dance competitions are not part of comic or anime conventions, so dancing while in costume isn’t part of the cosplay community at large as it is within the fursuiting community.

Costume Cost Differences

In terms of having a complete costume made by someone for yourself, on average, a typical cosplay costume is probably going to be less costly than a fursuit. The creation of a fursuit (at a minimum) requires a head, handpaws and footpaws; and the head is often one of the most expensive items because of the amount of time required to sculpt the foam into an appropriate shape before applying the various types of fur to it.

A complete full fursuit (meaning that it fully covers the wearer), at a minimum, will likely cost at least $3000. The cost can very quickly go up from there depending upon the species type, how realistic it looks, how complex the patterns are, if electronics are used, whether the mouth can move, etc. The most expensive fursuits have sold for more than $10,000. The most expensive one that we know of sold last year for $17,000. We don’t know of any cosplay that comes close to that in terms of cost.

Many cosplay costumes cost well below $1000, such as Spider-Man, Doctor Who, Deadpool, a variety of Star Wars characters, a variety of Star Trek characters, etc. The high-quality faux-fur that is recommended for fursuits is rather expensive and the construction of a complete fursuit can require many yards of faux fur fabric.

References

Realistic Fursuits Versus Toony Fursuits

If you’re considering wearing a #fursuit and you are debating whether you would prefer a realistic fursuit over a toony fursuit, there are some very important differences between these two styles of fursuits that you’ll want to take into consideration.

In an earlier post that we blogged several months ago regarding the different types of fursuits, we discussed how the various types of fursuits can impact their overall cost and logistics. We also touched on realistic fursuits in that post, but we did not provide a thorough comparison between them and the most popular style of fursuit: toony fursuits.

Main Differences

First, we can’t give a complete breakdown of how realistic fursuits are different from toony ones, but we’ll cover the main differences.

Now, as the saying goes about a picture being worth a thousand words, let’s start with a photo that shows 2 toony fursuits (on the left) and 2 realistic fursuits in the middle & right portions of the picture below.

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Toony fursuits on the left, realistic fursuits in the middle and on the left.

We can summarize the overall differences with the following statements:

A toony fursuit typically has exaggerated and larger-than-life features often intended to increase the character’s overall perceived cuteness and cuddliness.

A realistic fursuit is designed to be as true-to-life as possible in order to create a realistic depiction on an actual (or mythological) animal species, but in an anthropomorphic form.

So here are the primary visual differences, which also impact the comfort (and cost) of the fursuit.

  • Coloring:
    • Toony fursuits:
      • Use of colors that are not natural on actual animals.
      • Lack of variances in fur shading & tinting, making the colors appear flat and uniform with sudden transitions from one color to another.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • Predominantly use colors that are found in nature and specific to the animal that the fursuit is depicting.
      • Variances in shading, tinting and markings as would be found on an actual animal.
  • Head Size:
    • Toony Fursuits:
      • Heads are typically oversized, which increases their “cute and cuddly” factor.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • Heads are typically sized proportionally to the animal being depicted in relation to the overall size of the costume. This means that the head of a  realistic fursuit is typically smaller than a head of a toony fursuit.
  • Eyes:
    • Toony Fursuits:
      • As with the head size, the eyes are typically oversized as compared with an actual animal.
      • Pupils are large making it easier for the wearer to see, as well as increasing the “cute and cuddliness” of the fursuit.
      • The eyes look like the bottoms of cups so that they’re set back slightly to give the impression that the fursuiter is always looking in viewer’s direction.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • The eyes are proportional to the head size and to the animal being depicted. This means that they’re smaller than eyes on a toony fursuit.
      • Pupils are much smaller than on toony fursuits. While this makes the eyes more realistic, they also reduce the wearer’s ability to see as compared with toony fursuits.
      • The eyes are typically made of glass (or have a glassy appearance). In some cases, the wearer cannot see through the fursuit’s eyes and must look instead through concealed tear-duct openings. Again, this greatly limits the wearer’s ability to see while in costume.
  • Noses:
    • Toony Fursuits:
      • Noses on toony fursuit heads are usually larger than what an actual animal would have.
      • Noses are often just pieces of fabric sewn onto the end of the muzzle.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • Noses are sized proportionally to the animal being depicted.
      • Noses are usually formed from a molded piece that resembles the nose of the animal species being depicted.
  • Ears:
    • Toony Fursuits:
      • Ears can be sized and shaped in any way that the fursuiter wants them to appear. Often, they are oversized as compared to a realistic animal.
      • They’re often designed to be very floppy, which adds to the character’s “cuteness and cuddliness”.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • Ears are designed to match those of the animal species being depicted. This means that they won’t be oversized.
      • The ears won’t be floppy like on a toony fursuit unless the animal species being depicted has floppy ears.
  • Mouths:
    • Toony Fursuits:
      • Typically designed with no visible teeth and a large fixed tongue in partially open position giving a happy and cute appearance. (Some toony fursuit heads do have mouths that can open and close as the wearer speaks.) They may also have teeth, but teeth aren’t required and my detract from the adorableness of the toony fursuit character.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • Typically designed to match the appearance of the animal species being depicted, which means they often include a full set of teeth and more realistic appearing tongue. (Mouths don’t necessarily have to be able to open and close.) Teeth aren’t cheap and they have to be consistent with the species being depicted.
  • Handpaws & Footpaws:
    • Toony Fursuits:
      • Toony handpaws & footpaws both are typically going to be proportionally larger than if they were on a more realistic fursuit. This increases cuteness and allows for oversized pads on the palms and fingers for the handpaws, which typically increases the suit’s overall cuteness. Toony handpaws and/or footpaws may also be a different color from the fursuit arms & legs to make them stand out. As is typical of toony fursuits, the change in color will be a clean break, whereas on a realistic fursuit, color changes are often blended to look realistic. Handpaws and footpaws are typically the same color on toony fursuits.
    • Realistic Fursuits:
      • Realistic handpaws and footpaws will appear proportionally correct in size to the fursuit wearer and the species being depicted. The handpaws will still be anthropomorphized, but they’ll blend in with the rest of the fursuit to ensure that they look as realistic as possible. Footpaws will also blend in as if they are part of the anthropomorphized animal being depicted. Handpaws and footpaws will also likely have realistic looking claws.

Cost Differences

If it isn’t obvious from the above descriptions, realistic fursuits are typically much more expensive than toony fursuits. The much increased attention to details, combined with the more realistic coloring and appearances makes them far more difficult and time-consuming for fursuit makers to create, and to ensure that they are as accurate as possible.

In a video posted by Stormi the Folf about a month ago, he talks about realistic fursuits. In the video, he mentions one realistic leopard fursuit that sold for $17,000, of which, $8000 was for the fake fur (NFT fur) alone. NFT fur has 4-way stretchability, which greatly adds to the cost of the fur. The reason 4-way stretch fur was used was to ensure as tight a fit as possible to help ensure the most realistic appearance possible.

Public Response Differences

In the above video from Stormi the Folf, he says that toony fursuits are more likely to get hugs from members of the general public than realistic fursuits. The reason for this very simply is that toony fursuits are often meant to be cute and adorable, while the animal realism of a realistic fursuit may turn some members of the general public away. (Please refer to our post about how some members of the general public are frightened and intimidated by masks.)

References

Canon vs. Custom Costumes

It’s probably safe to say that there are probably more #cosplayers & #costumers wearing canon #costumes than custom costumes. But, what is means by canon versus custom costumes?

Canon Costumes

A canon costume is any cosplay or costume that precisely recreates an outfit worn by a character at a specific point of time within a story.

Modifications or variations are not permissible if the costume is intended to be canon.

This would include, for example, the recreation of all of the garments, head gear, footwear, armor and props worn and used by that character during a specific point in a story.

Bear in mind that it’s not uncommon for a single character to wear different attire at different points of a story’s timeline. Consequently, each of the different sets of attire worn by a particular character is, by itself, a distinct canon costume.

Canon Costume Examples: Leia from “Star Wars”

Let’s consider the various outfits worn by Princess (or General) Leia (as played by the late Carrie Fisher) in the 5 “Star Wars” movies in which she appeared, not including “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

1. In “Star War IV: A New Hope”, Leia primarily wears a silky white full-length gown with a silver belt and white boots. Her hair is iconically braided and rolled up on the sides of her head. But, in the final ceremony scene, she wears a more formal gown that has a lower neckline, a necklace and silver shoes.

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2. In “Star War V: The Empire Strikes Back”, Leia wears several more distinct outfits at different points within the movie’s timeline:

  • On Hoth, Leia wears a wintery white jump suit and jacket.
  • On Cloud City, she wears a brown gown with a long beige sweater. Her still-braided hair is worn more loosely than wrapped around the back of her head.
  • Her outfit changes again towards the end of the movie to a gown very similar to the one that she wore in “A New Hope”. Her hairstyle is also different.image1

Thus, in one movie, she’s wearing at least 3 different costumes.

3. In “Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi”, Leia wears multiple outfits again, more than in either “A New Hope” or “Empire Strikes Back”.

  • In Leia’s opening appearance, she is disguised as a bounty hunter named Bosch.
  • Shortly thereafter, she is briefly enslaved by Jabba the Hutt, who forces her to wear the infamous “metal” bikini slave outfit.
  • After returning to a Rebel Alliance ship, she initially wears a lightly colored military-style outfit.
  • Then, as part of a group of guerrilla fighters on Endor, she dons green camouflaged outfit that includes a helmet & poncho.
  • She later wears a more relaxed beige outfit while talking with Luke before the movie’s final battle.
  • She then returns to her military style camouflage outfit as seen earlier for the battle.
  • At the end of the movie, she returns to wearing the more relaxed beige outfit.

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4. In “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens”, an older General Leia wears 2 different outfits: a vested military-style pant suit and a formal blue gown. The hairstyles with each outfit are also different.

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5. In “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi”, General Leia wears 3 different outfits:

  • First, an elegant gown with a jacket.
  • Then, a hospital gown.
  • Lastly, her elegant gown with a heavier jacket.

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So, if a cosplayer wants to cosplay Princess (or General) Leia, there are no less than 15 different costume choices from which to select from.

Now, if a cosplayer wants to do a variant of one of costumes worn by Princess or General Leia, that variant would no longer be a canon costume.

Custom Costumes

A custom costume is any cosplay or costume that is not a precise recreation of an outfit worn by an existing character of a particular story.

That being said, here’s a list of several different types of custom costumes.

A Customized Canon Character

When a cosplayer wants to cosplay a specific canon character from a franchise, but wants to alter the costume’s appearance while still being that character, it’s a custom costume. For this type of custom costume, the identify of the original canon character has to remain intact. Modifications that are common for this type of custom costume include the following:

  • Use of different colors that aren’t part of the original canon costume.
  • Colors from the canon costume applied differently than on the original canon costume.
  • Other variations in garments, makeup, hairstyles; etc. that don’t detract from the character’s identity.
The challenge for any cosplayer wearing this type of custom costume is to ensure that the customizations aren’t so severe that the identity of the original canon character is lost, which would reduce the visual impact of this type of custom costume.

Some examples are shown below, each of which is a variant of the iconic “Star Wars” character Darth Vader.

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A Customized Character Based upon a Canon Character Design

Some cosplayers enjoy creating new, custom characters based on existing canon characters. In this situation, the goal is a custom costume that bears some resemblance to the original canon character that inspired it, but is sufficiently different to be viewed as a unique character on its own. Modifications that are common in this type of custom costume include the following:

  • Use of different colors that aren’t part of the original canon costume.
  • Use of unique insignias or sigils not present on the original canon costume.
  • Other variations in garments, makeup, hairstyles; etc. that don’t completely eliminate the connection between the custom costume and the canon one that inspired it.

A common type of this type of custom costume are the myriad cosplayers who create custom Mandalorian merc costumes that are all based on the original canon characters of Boba Fett and Jango Fett from the “Star Wars” franchise. It’s also common for Halo cosplayers who create their own unique Spartan and ODST characters.

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Hybrids of Two or More Canon Costumes

Another interesting type of custom costume is a hybrid that combines two or more canon characters or a known brand with a canon character. To create a hybrid, a cosplayer typically does some of the following designs and applications:

  • Select one of the canon characters to be the primary base of the hybrid.
  • Apply the characteristics (such as colors, logos, sigils, etc.) of the other canon character(s) or brand with the base character.

Hybrids usually don’t incorporate colors or other things that are not part of the original character costumes (or brands) being combined as that would likely detract from the overall appearance of the resulting hybrid.

The most successful hybrid costumes are ones in which:

  • The identities of the original characters (or brands) remain completely recognizable in the combined form.
  • The combination of the original characters (or brands) is seamless.
  • The original characters (or brands) originate from different franchises.

Several examples of hybrid costumes are shown below.

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A Uniquely Designed Costume Inspired by a Generic Form

Some cosplayers like to create costumes and the characters that they represent after being inspired by a particular generic form. The form could be anything, but typically has multiple examples that share a common form, but are also unique unto themselves.

While this may sound similar to the creation of a custom character based upon an existing canon character, it is, but what makes this different is that the generic form isn’t specific to any one particular canon character. Instead, generic form is the basis for a  collection of similarly designed characters that aren’t necessarily from the same story or franchise.

The best example of this is fursuiters. Fursuiters are inspired by the generic form of anthropomorphic animal characters that have been used in multiple animated movies for different stories and by multiple franchises. When a fursuiter creates a character, the fursuiter typically follows the overall generic form for an anthropomorphic animal character, but the fursuiter has the freedom to base the character on any animal species, combination of multiple species, or create an entirely new fictitious species. The fursuiter also has complete freedom to use any combination of colors and patterns as part of the character’s overall appearance. Thus, each fursuit is uniquely created, but was inspired by the same generic form.

The fursuit parade from this year’s Antrocon is best example of this type of uniquely designed set of costumes.

Completely Original Costume Creations

The final type of custom costume that we’ll mention (and there are probably others) are completely original custom creations that are purely unique designs not based upon any particular form, existing characters or franchises.

Here, the cosplayer is free to do virtually anything since there are very few limitations on what the cosplayer can do.

A prime example of a completely unique costume costume is something that we shared a long time ago: a costume inspired by con-crud:

con-crud-cosplay

One cosplayer who specializes in original custom designs is TwoHorndedCreations. He features a number of his original creations on his YouTube channel.

 

 

His creations are both beautiful and bizarre, but entirely original.

So What Is the Difference between Canon & Custom Costumes?

Simple: cosplayers who like to wear canon characters want to recreate an existing character while cosplayers who prefer to wear custom costumes want to be entirely unique within themselves even when their costumes are inspired by something else.

References

Fursuiting: How to Put on a Quadsuit

As we posted in a previous post about types of #fursuits, #quadsuits are rare. Not only do they cost a lot more than a typical plantigrade fursuit, they’re more difficult to wear and move around in. We wouldn’t recommend them for anyone with known back problems.

Two fursuiters (Rossy kitty and Maravilla Angel Dragon) who own quadsuits demonstrate how they get into the suits in separate YouTube videos, which we have shared below.

 

References