A few years can make all the difference between ordinary and spectacular cosplay.

Like any artistic pursuit, the art of cosplay takes time and practice to perfect. Not only do you have to learn how to sew costumes and become familiar with the way that different materials move on the body, you also have to be aware of various effects that can be achieved through certain poses and lighting setups.

Nobody starts out with a perfect look the first time, and to prove that point, cosplayers around the world are currently sharing photos of their own personal improvements over the years, with the trending hashtag #cosplayevolution.

The growing collection of photos online show that some cosplayers prefer to try their hand at different characters…

From awkward shapeless potato to less awkward pink Princess, this is a little collage of one cosplay in every 5 years since I started to cosplay back in 2005 to now, 2017. We all start from zero experience. I'm happy to see the evolution here :') 2005: Lust, Fullmetal Alchemist (my first cosplay!) 2010: Hibari Kyoya, Reborn! Photographer: Melissa Andrade 2015: Impa, Hyrule Warriors. Photographer: @callingfromtheforest 2017: Princess Peach, Super Mario series. Photographer: @callingfromtheforest #cosplay #cosplaylifetime #cosplaycollage #collage #impacosplay #princesspeachcosplay #reborn #hyrulewarriors #fullmetalalchemist #lustcosplay #firstcosplay #evolution #cosplayevolution #uglypotato #awkwardcollage #braziliancosplayer #reisuzuki #reisuzukicosplay

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Cosplay evolution time! My Demon Hunter costume from Fancon 2015 vs My two newest and most intricate costumes of 2017. I couldn't even use a sewing machine back then, I didn't know what priming was, I used hot glue for everything and my wig was the wrong style and color. The weapon looked ghastly, I could go on but the point is that progress is a long journey. I can't count how many times I was so demotivated by various aspects of cosplay to an extent that I didn't want to do it at all anymore.I always somehow found my motivation again and that's so important. It can be extremely challenging but If you're having fun you always find a way to make it work<3 My lack of motivation to craft recently made me think why I started doing all this in the first place. I have grown so much both socially and creatively. I have made some amazing friends and learned some very useful skills and the best part of it all is that there is so much more to learn! I am nowhere near where I want to be but every costume is an improvement.<3 #cosplay #cosplayevolution

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While others attempt to improve the look of one particular character close to their heart.

Some people’s images show their love for cosplay has been going strong for decades.

For this Game of Thrones fan, just two years made all the difference to her Daenerys Targaryen cosplay. In her first photo, she bears a vague resemblance to the character, while in the second shot, it’s clear that she’s perfected not only the costume but the hairstyle, pose and props as well.

Evolucion de cosplay de un personaje. 2014 vs 2016. #cosplayevolution #daeneryscosplay

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A lot of cosplayers have shown a huge improvement in their costumes, creating a newfound confidence that shines through in the photos.

I think i became younger. #cosplaycomparison #cosplayevolution #cosplay #aikonwinnipeg #sakurakinomoto

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Here, the Joker inspires everyone to reach for their goals with his before-and-after transformation!

The hashtag is actually prompting a lot of cosplayers to reflect on their evolution on a deeper level, taking stock of the progress they’ve made not only looks-wise, but personally and mentally too.

The #Cosplay #Glowup is real! 😱😱😱 I don’t usually post super personal stuff online, but I wanted to take a minute and talk about what being a #Cosplayer has meant to be these past few years! 💕💕💕 I’ve always loved dressing up and playing pretend (hence, why I went to school for Acting) and so finding a community where it is not only accepted but ENCOURAGED as an adult to chase your cartoon passions with reckless abandon meant the world to me! ✨✨✨ Before cosplay, I didn’t really feel comfortable in my own skin. Isn’t it weird how pretending to be other people can make YOU feel better too? Cosplay also brought SO many amazing people into my life in ways I can’t even begin to describe.💗💗💗 And we all start somewhere! My #2008 photo is from an all-nighter we pulled to make #SailorMoon costumes from scratch and they look garbage but how proud are we?? 😂😂😂And here I am, almost 10 years later, practicing my art, expressing my passions, and feeling at home in such an amazing community.😍😍😍 Cosplay isn’t about fame, or followers, or popularity – and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in all of that isn’t it? Cosplay is #ART; and it’s how I express myself each and every time I dress up. ❤️✨ Thank you all for supporting me and my lil corner of the artistic internet — you inspire me to continue to create more and more!! I LOVE YOU GUYS!! Don’t ever stop expression your passions as big and as loud as you can. No one can stop you chasing your dreams!! ✨💕🎀🌙🎀💕✨ #CaleighCosplay #growup #nowandthen #sidebyside #princessserenity #sailormooncosplay #sailormooncrystal #sailorsenshi #90s #90skid #miccostumes #cosplayer #cosplaygirl #geekgirl #cosplayersofinstagram #cosplaysky #girlboss #cosplayyourway #cosplayglowup #cosplaymeme

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Not only is the growing collection a beautiful example of various characters and styles that can be achieved through cosplay, it’s also an inspiring lesson that if at first you don’t succeed, you should try again and again. Even if you’re relegated to nothing but low-cost budget cosplay!

Featured image: Instagram/galacticat