Have you ever played twenty questions? When you are ‘it’, before you begin answering questions, you must choose a category which you secret word belongs in: plant, animal, or mineral. I will use this language to explain abstract cosplay.

In biology class, a plant in any living thing that has square shaped plant cells. It is any living thing that is not an animal, like a tree or a salad. An animal is any living thing that has round animal cells. Animals include bacteria, bears, and humans. A mineral is not a living thing. In the game twenty questions, mineral is the word for everything else like the moon or a tea pot.


Now that we have that out of the way, I feel the need to get something else out of the way. This article is full of my opinions on cosplay as strong and weak art. I am going to critique and criticize things that a lot of people like to do. But, I am not some meanie who has a problem with people doing things that I consider aesthetically weak. Cosplay is for fun and cosplay is for everyone, who approach things differently from each other. The conceptual artist in me, though, has a lot of opinions about cosplay as an art form.


According to an expressive drawing class I took, abstraction is when something is changed from its original form to look new. Things become larger, smaller, more left, right, and blue than they originally were. Cosplay becomes abstracted when the artist expresses a character who is shaped profoundly different from the his or her body. This usually happens when an artist cosplays a mineral, plant, or non-humanoid animal. For now on, I am using the word ‘animal’ to describe something not humanoid, and including imaginary creatures like Pokémon.

When cosplaying something non-humanoid, abstractions have to happen in order to make the costume wearable. Togepi is an egg-shaped Pokemon who is shaped very differently from the human form.

The cosplayer has to make choices when designing their costume. The artist can dress in a way that concretely represents what they see infront of them, or may adjust the form of the costume to fit their body.

I like when some form of abstraction happened because it shows how the artist thought out of the box when designing a costume.

Alison Rushing

At most literal, you can wear a mascot costume of your Pokemon. It is an impressive feat and brings the character to life, but Togepi is not five feet tall in the show, so how about making a puppet and dressing as a Pokemon trainer?

Cubone and his trainer impressed me on several different levels when I first saw this picture. I love the concept and everything is made so well!

Then, there is the blend between the human form and form of the animal or mineral. For the sake of example, here are some different levels of abstraction with a Togepi cosplay:

http://www.costume-works.com/baby-togepi-pokemon.htmlhttp://www.cosplay.com/costume/249222/ https://www.acparadise.com/acp/display.php?c=16025

http://mysticlotus.deviantart.com/art/Togepi-Cosplay-160207710 https://ohicosplay.tumblr.com/post/139400790192/cosplayblog-submission-weekend-togepi

Things get funny when you add inanimate objects to the mix.

http://andy593.deviantart.com/art/Dragon-Con-2012-Tetris-cosplay-325153389http://www.otakuhouse.com/cosplay-idol/europe-finalists-2011/iain-clark/https://daniskyecosplay.tumblr.com/post/144161406594/i-really-wish-i-had-more-reasons-to-wear-this

In conclusion, I love the design work of abstract cosplay as much as I love character accuracy. Although I prefer abstraction when it comes to animals and minerals, cosplay is fun and a lot of people have fun playing character accurate animals and minerals. Have fun cosplaying!

Posted by:Alison Rushing

Alison Rushing is a journalism and art student at the University of Memphis. Rushing also works at a puppeteer throughout the year.

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