There are two ways to do a cosplay. One is to try and be exactly like the character in question and the other is to take a character and do something new with it. This post will be focused on the latter.
Lady Saika and I have done a lot of cosplaying together (her more than me). Usually, we don’t do the same cosplay twice (to the chagrin of our wallets). We’ve always tried to look exactly like our characters. And after a while, there is only so much joy you get from being the exact character, not to mention running out of awesome characters to be. Doing a creative cosplay allows you to flex different mental muscles.
For example, Ladies Saika, Nakura, and I just did a ponies-as-people cosplay at Otakon. It was fairly basic as creative cosplay goes, but we had fun nonetheless. Genderbending (as has been discussed in other places in this blog) is also a part of the creative cosplay.
Creative cosplaying requires you (in a sense) to put yourself in the character’s shoes and requires you ask yourself really tough questions. “Would Pinkie Pie be fashionable or would she just look like a pink mess?” And for a genderbent cosplay, “Would the 9th Doctor wear a black denim skirt or black skinny jeans?”
However, the real fun comes in trying to think out of the box. For example, I’m in the process of convincing Lady Saika that a drag queen Naruto group would be awesome. Because it would be. Just imagine Guy Sensei in a green, sequined jumpsuit with a really deep V-neck. As long as you think out the idea completely, then you can do it. No cosplay ever ends well if it is a half-assed attempt.
Now, I bet you’re wondering whether or not people are going to think a drag queen Naruto group too strange, even by con standards. First off, as Lady Saika wrote in her crossplaying post, a good costume is a good costume and people will love it regardless. Second, there is nothing too strange for conventions.
And that’s about it. If you can come up with an idea and then put a costume together that reflects that idea, then you are all set!