Cosplay Feature: Zatanna Zatara

It is time for another one of my cosplay features!  This time my goal was to bring Zatanna – DC’s most mischievous magician – to life.


Adam Hughes' Zatanna

This is one of those costumes that should have been easy in its execution – however it turned out to be much more complicated than I ever could have dreamed. Why does that always happen? In the end no one would realize how much work I put into the costume – which I guess means that I did a fairly decent job on it.

Because Zatanna is drawn a million different ways I decided to make her outfit a bit of my own design. I played around with the fishnets to make them more interesting and added thigh-high boots instead of her usual pumps.

The black wig came first – and since I have an affinity for curly wigs with bangs I went with that look. The tie/vest/shirt combo was difficult to decide on. Originally I had a short-sleeved white blouse with a black vest. After some thought I changed it up to a real tuxedo shirt, which needed to be cut and altered. Since Zatanna essentially wears only her skivvies for bottoms it looked a bit odd to tuck in the extra shirt fabric. I cut and sewed the shirt and fitted it with darts in the back to make it more feminine. I think I made it a bit too tight at times because it puckered in a few photos…oh-well.


Adam Hughes' Zatanna

After getting set with the shirt I moved on to the tie and vest combo. I threw the black vest out the window and went hunting for a white one. Again, it was obscenely difficult to find a vest like I had in mind in a female size. I started my hunt during prom season – so vests and bowties in general were hard to find. Eventually after searching 15+ stores I came across one at Express. Unfortunately, it cost an arm and a leg. In the end I don’t mind because it is a nice enough quality to wear with dress pants when not cosplaying. The bowtie I had to special order since they were out of stock (prom season again) and for the same reason white gloves were scarce. I eventually tracked them down at a costume store we later used as a location for our photoshoot. I found an appropriate hat there as well and added a satin ribbon around it with some hot glue.

Having already found fishnets from Hot Topic and boots (via craigslist), my last major element was the jacket. I had a few suit coats, but the goal was to find a good jacket with tails. Again – they were ridiculously hard to find. Eventually I found one small enough for me to wear at a wedding parlor. Still – as it was made for a man – it was a bit boxy and needed an unbelievable amount of altering. I had to consult my mom for that since she is a sewing expert. In the end I think we took seven plus inches off of the shoulders, waist and even tails to make everything fit better. Now it fits like a glove.

I finished off the look with a white satin-ribbon rose on my lapel and added a cummerbund to hide any extra shirt fabric showing. Add a magic wand into the mix and I was done!

The shoot was with one of my favorite photographers ever – Scott Miron. As an uber-geek himself we always have a great time. He is the one that found our shoot location, which was absolutely perfect for our theme. Above the previously-mentioned costume shop was a magicians theater. It had the whole deal – velvet curtains, large chests filled with props – even a cut-the-woman-in-half set-up. We could not have found a better place to shoot. They even let us use props as we needed them – cards, skulls, flowers and an assortment of other tricks.

I also had a fantastic makeup artist I have used many times before – Masha Chebotayeva. She did a great job vamping me up for the shoot. I used her makeup and my reference photos to try and make my expressions a bit more impish and playful – like Zatanna herself. This explains why I have a bit of a smirk going on in most of my shots.


Eric Basulda's Zatanna

We started off shooting with the full ensemble and eventually switched to some costume variants. My only complaint with the costume is that because it is made of so many components it was difficult to keep everything in place. In most of the photos my bowtie is crooked or my cummerbund shifted.

After shooting my Catwoman costume with Scott – we decided to try and create another Adam Hughes comic cover for Zatanna. We shot one of his more famous images of her levitating a skull on a self-promo poster. We tried a few more of his Zatanna images and for those I removed my white-shirt and fishnets. I also used one of Eric Basalda’s (E.Bas) Zatanna pictures as inspiration for a few shots.

I am super excited with the end results. Scott spent an admirable amount of time spicing up some of our more ambitious photos by adding special effects. The guy knows what he is doing – they turned out fantastic. I edited the remaining photos (all the ones without his watermark), which in the end needed very little work; it pays off to have a fantastic makeup artist and photographer!

So there it is – I hope you guys like how they turned out!  For one reason or another my Zatanna costume has become pretty popular on Deviant Art, and several talented artists have used it as inspiration for their own Zatanna sketches! Check out those in the gallery as well!

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22 thoughts on “Cosplay Feature: Zatanna Zatara

  1. I always loved this character!
    You really brought her to life
    This Cosplay is simply amazing!

    Thank you for working so hard to create such amazing Cosplay!

  2. Good work! Thank you very much! I always wanted to write in my blog something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog? Of course, I will add backlink?

  3. Hi Maegan, congratulations for your work and your talent !

    I’ma big fan of Zatanna, a beautiful and very aesthetic character . ” You Rocks”

    cheers from france :)


  4. Hey Meagan, where did you get your nice tuxedo jacket. I have been trying to find one that is more fitted for a lady. :)

  5. @April: I actually picked it up at a thrift shop and took it in nearly six inches on each side. Unfortunately, starting with a jacket for men may be the only option!

  6. I want to go as zatanna for halloween, but I’m starting my search super early. I want to know where I could get some good costume briefs like you have. Where’d you get yours? or do you know anywhere that i can get them? When I refer to other cosplay pictures, they all seem to have a shell of some sort, and i assumed it couldn’t be regular brief panties lol. Any ideas? Thank you!

    Btw you look fantastic

  7. They there! I actually used a one-piece swimsuit! That way it’s not going to move, and it’s modist enough to move around in. :)

  8. Hi! This is one of the most amazing costumes I’ve found :)

    I have a question; I want to cosplay Zatanna, and since I don’t have much shops for the appropriate clothing in my town, I’d pretty much much be browsing online stores. (To the UK)

    I’m sure the shirt/swimsuit would be easy enough to find, I don’t know about the bow tie, but what could I do about the jacket with tails? I don’t know where I could find one that fits, and I don’t know anyone who sews so I want it relatively simple to alter, I have a small frame.

    Thanks, probably the loveliest Zatanna out there :3

  9. Hey Nissa!

    I had to find and modify a men’s suit jacket for my frame! I found mine in a local consignment store, but I’d look on Ebay if you can’t find one! That’s where I default looking if I can’t sort out something locally. 😛

    Thank you for the kind words!

  10. Hi this is so amazing! Excellent job. I noticed you said you had to modify a men’s coat. Where did you find the pattern or the how to? Thank you and again amazing job.

  11. Hello Mequela! I didn’t have a pattern, I just took in the coat along the seams a bit to make it fit a bit better. :)

    Sorry I can’t be of more help!

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