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MJ's Ultimate Cosplay Challenge


Stitcher's Apprentice by Johann Bodin

The Scene

So, enter “mtg cosplay”, and you see this on DeviantArt. GM recently had this great article on the Magic of cosplay. And, of course, there’s Christine Sprankle, the most visible MTG ambassador in the cosplay community. There’s also Liliana specialist Laura Diemer. There are a ton of great Magic cosplays out there: Jace and Lili, Avacyn by Lyz Brickley, Chandra from Punished Props.

This video from Blizzcon is a cosplay highlight reel that brings Blizzardy costumes to life. A ton of great costumes weren’t in the video but are worthy of leering at in the gallery. If you get nothing out of this article but a few minutes of ogling cosplay, I’m happy. Sure, there’s controversy about high-profile contests and sponsorships, but I’m just stoked that hobbyist fantasy costuming is receiving widespread love. I got laughed at and weird-looked every Halloween for years—now enthusiasts are going pro and being featured as something to emulate!

A few weeks ago, my grandmother died (if you want the fuller story, you can read it on my blog). On an anxiety-ridden escapist whim, I picked up a copy of Cosplay USA while on a family grocery outing. Lo and behold, there was Miss Sprankle on the back page:

The mag was a great distraction during death’s day and reminded me intensely of all the costumes my mother and I had made together when I was young. I hadn’t realized I’d been “cosplaying” for so long: Robin Hood in elementary, Jenny from Bucky O’Hare in middle school, Kitana and Poison Ivy in high school . . . It also reminded me that my mother denies her own creative expression in order to take care of others’ needs. It also reminded me of how my grandmother was the type who said, “Screw it,” and just did what she wanted to do, silly or not.

Jenny as depicted in the cartoon version of Bucky O’Hare

MTG Cosplay Challenge

Summary: Use cosplay as a cathartic vehicle to get over grandma and kick-start Mom’s “retirement” with a tangible project that taps into all her underused creativity that’s been atrophying for four-plus decades. I’m going to make Mom to help me build a killer Magic cosplay.

Where do you come in? Well, I hope you’ll be there along the way to offer input and come along on the fantastic voyage.

I’m not going to pretend to know more than I do—I’m a serious cosplay newb, but I’m the fastest of learners. And I’ll be learning about resources and techniques along the way, step by step, as you’re reading about it. I don’t know how many installments it’ll take or ultimately how long—but we’ll get there. My goal? Excellence.

Dallexis “Queen of Fire” cosplay on DeviantArt

I don’t know if we’ll raise MTG’s profile in cosplay or if I’ll ever achieve the upper echelon of notoriety where I can sell my pics for $15 a pop (not sure the mom in me approves of that anyway, haha!); hell, I don’t even know if the costume will fit right if the secretary spread keeps happening now that I don’t bartend and never workout . . . 

Okay, that’s where the Theros Fitness Makeover comes in—but that’s another article!

Fatestitcher by E. M. Gist


  • Identify the right costume
  • Build costume
  • Professionally photograph results

Today’s Action Item: Nominate MTG Costumes

With the exception of Travis Woo’s “would like to see goat token” and Reuben Bresler’s Urza suggestion, most nominations have been grand.

  • I want to do something that hasn’t been seen before for this inaugural serious effort.
  • Let’s put something out there that’s mind-blowing even if you don’t know MTG (in other words, it’s standalone spectacular, even without context).
  • That said, let’s do something that is iconic or flavorfully representative of what MTG is. If you had to visually embody Magic in one card image, what would it be?
  • I’m okay with cross-dressing (or making femme version) or putting on the furry, if it comes to that.
  • Think about techniques you’d like to learn about—body paint, armoring, prosthetics, and the lik.

Ideas in the Pool


This gives us a great chance to think about what Magic really looks like. Is the game visually identifiable, unique, and exciting? Do we have cues that tag something, saying, “Hey! That’s Magic—sweet!”? It’s challenging because much of the game is abstract, and we move from plane to plane every year. Still, we have some great icons. Lately, I’ve been focused on writing, but I really need an art outlet right now. I look forward to sharing this creative learning experience with you.

We’ll dissect and vote on costume options in a couple weeks.

Till next time, may Magic be your prosthetic imagination. I’m shipping my grief in favor of goats. See ya next week.






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