Build Up To Your Tools


The Tools You Use Do Not Make You Any Better At Your Craft

Have you ever met someone interested in cosplay who has a bunch of fancy tools and materials—probably hundreds of dollars’ worth—but never seems to use them?

The problem there isn’t one of passion. It’s of pressure.

It’s an issue of thinking you can consume to gain skills. That having amazing tools makes amazing artists. It frames anything created as having to justify the dollars spent. It can cause intense perfectionism. So much so you might never even pick up the thing you bought.

To be clear, if you’ve already found yourself fallen into such a situation, I don’t blame you. Considering the last few decades of advertising, it’s not a surprising perspective to have. But it’s also the wrong perspective and one that will utterly derail someone’s progression.

But here’s the truth, finally. What someone needs is practice. They need to learn to do what they do with almost no resources. I’m a writer—and I started with paper and then a crappy laptop that ran slow with a bad keyboard. I moved up to a mechanical keyboard only when I kept ruining other models by wearing away letters.

It may not seem like it, but having ridiculously good tools, unlimited time, and no outside pressure is a terrible way to develop a skill.  

And if your goal with cosplay is to get better at cosplay, then don’t start with EVA foam, rotary tools, and special glue. Start with a sewing machine and some random fabric. Find tutorials online and do small, easier, cheaper, simpler projects, and enjoy having done something. You’ll build confidence in your intrinsic skill set as a crafter, maker, and builder by tackling tiny problems in different contexts until you get a deep-rooted sense of your craft.

Eventually, you will need tools. That’s not the issue. But tools, in any artistic medium, are problem solvers, not launch pads. The right ones can amplify skills you’ve already earned. You have to be able to judge the tool’s output from a place of knowledge.

Any other way is simply impatience.