3-1. Collecting Reference Images

The first step to planning a costume is to collect your reference images. These are the basis for your design and you will refer to them constantly throughout the project.

Reference images will usually be shots from the manga, comic, tv series, or anime that the character is from.

Types of reference images that you want to collect:

  • Full body shot (front)
  • Full body shot (back)
  • Full body shot (side)
  • Shot with shoes
  • Shots of any props from a variety of angles
  • Close-up shots for detailed pieces (costume or prop)

You may also want to collect reference images for textures or materials to use as inspiration. For example:

  • Images of different types and colors of fabric
  • Pictures of cosplayers who have made this costume before, where you like the approach they took
  • Images of different approaches to wigs and props

Case Study: Emeraude (manga celestial version) from Magic Knight Rayearth

I wanted to go with the celestial version from the manga art books, so I used images from the art book and manga as my reference that I based the design off of:



I wasn’t sure exactly what color and textures I wanted to go with.  I looked at what other cosplayers had done, how Emeraude was pictured in other media, and then looked at other sources of inspiration:


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