(Daily Herald) For fans like Melody Willis, cosplay is more than dressing up as a favorite movie, book or video game character.“It’s not really only a hobby; it’s an art,” said Willis, who attended this year’s FanX Salt Lake Comic Convention dressed as Shoto Todoroki from the manga series “My Hero Academia. Last week’s FanX brought together thousands of costumed fans, some dressed up as a hobby, others as a profession.

One panel at the 2018 convention titled “How to Be a Professional Cosplayer” discussed the ins and outs of doing cosplay for a living, from creating a website to filing taxes.“In 2016, I did 36 cons and events,” professional cosplayer Cara Nicole said at the panel. “I’m not even kidding. When we say this is your life, this is your life.”“You go home, you make costumes. When you’re done making costumes, it’s time to leave for a show. When you go home, you reorder prints and you start working on your next costume,” fellow panelist and professional cosplayer Brit Bliss said in succession. “You don’t turn it off.”

But despite the hard work of cosplaying full time, “you love every minute of it,” Nicole said. “After all the tears and blood have been shed, there is a full costume that just appears out of the midst,” Bliss said. Bliss said what makes professional cosplaying worth it for her is interacting with fans.

“We get the benefit of interacting with you guys and our community grows because of you guys,” Bliss said at the panel. “I’m Bob Ross today. I’ve been sitting at the booth painting, and I’m having a good time with it. It’s so much fun. So it’s being able to have fun with you guys about everything, and it’s about building things that you guys like, too.”(…)


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