So, you’re making a character! Cool! Does that character wear clothes? Well, unless you’re A) Writing about animals, B) Writing a porno) or B) Some other reason, your characters are more than likely gonna wear clothes. This makes you a fashion designer! FANCY! So, what should your character wear?
Here’s the deal, Lucile. Imma put down some steps. And while I’m no super expert, these are some things that have made clothing design fun and challenging for me! This is Part 1: HISTORICAL FASHION!
1. Who is Your Character? Sometimes, and I’ve been guilty of this, too, I’ve decided on my character’s clothing long before I even have a personality formed. People look over and say, “Who are you drawing?” and I might say, “A Lolita.” Now, that’s not good! Anyone who knows about the Lolita fashion knows that each girl wears Lolita completely differently than the next. So to think of a character as their clothing is to think of an egg by its shell. We don’t even really care about the shell, we care about the yummy stuff inside! So first, think of your character as a person. Not simply a “punk,” or a “goth” or any number of fashions. Now. Instead of “What will ____ wear, it turns into what will “Anon” wear? (I’m using Anon as a fill in, so I don’t have to write “your character” umpteen times.)
2. Where is Your Character? Where are they? When are they? If you’ve done the first step, then this should be easy to answer. Anon might be in, say, 1820s Britain. Alrighty. Cool beans. What did they do? Where were they in the world? Are they warm? Cold? A princess? A Pauper? Now comes the SUPER FUN PART OH BOY.
3. Research. FOREVER. Now, as a bibliophile, this makes me giddy, because it means I get to go roll in my books. That’s right, books! The internet is useful for many, many things. But you can google all day and not find something you pick up one book and find. (Believe me, I’ve done it!)
There’s not much I can say to do except use every resource- books, internet, everything. Hoard images like a squirrel hoards nuts. Keep folders just for each fashion piece. Don’t forget accessories like shoes, hats, bags, and other items.
Here’s some cool places to find references!
Dover: http://store.doverpublications.com/ Dover books are not only accurate, made from fashion plates of the time, they’re also very affordable! These are absolutely great to have around. Also, some come with CDs so you can have the books right on your computer, too! Any era, any time.
4. Silhouette Now that you’ve done some research, there might be a few items that stick out to you. See if you can figure out why that is. It’s probably because you like the silhouette! A gown may seem interesting because of lots of frills and fobs, but a stronger silhouette will work out every time!
Draw your character naked! Or, at least in their underwear. You might want to save this drawing for later for the underwear test. Often character designers will draw their cast lined up in underoos, to be sure that they’re still recognisable, even without clothing to differentiate them. Example of an Underwear test by the delightful Yuko of the AMAZING Johnny Wander comic. (Over here!)
See how they’re still extremely different, even without their clothes? Now, try out different silhouettes on this character. Remember paper dolls? It’s like that. Here’s some I did, for my girl Nayana.
Whee! When you decide on one, try the same test you did with their body shape, and black them out to be sure the silhouette is strong. NOW…
5. Drawing Garments! Clothes are, essentially, weird shapes in cloth sewn into different shapes. To draw clothing, it’s important to understand how garments are put together. For convenience’s sake, animators and cartoonists will often leave out a number of seams in their designs. Some seams can make a drawing have simply too many lines and too busy. However, a few seams can really make a garment believable and pop. Even a heavily fantasy garment needs some stability, or the reader will spend too long pondering how your character’s top is staying up rather than the issue at hand.
Look at your own clothes for examples! Pants have seams on the inside and outside of your legs, pockets, flies, zips, buttons, and seams! These are a great place to start.
Different fabrics move different ways. A velvet, for example, is heavy and drags, and would hang entirely differently than a cotton, which is far lighter. A Chiffon is light and airy, and drifts far more than a starched twill would. A good way to familiarise yourself with fabrics is to invade a fabric store and just start groping the bolts. (If people look at you funny, tell them I sent you.) When you look at a costume, think: What might this be made of, how would it lie? Does it wrinkle? Does it stretch? Does it fold? Is it a thick fabric for winter or a light fabric for summer?
Now, there are plenty of tutorials online for drawing folds, so I won’t get into that. Here’s a link to a good one, though!
So, in conclusion.
RESEARCH EVERYTHING FOREVER.
NOW. PART TWO, CONTEMPORARY AND FUTURISTIC FASHION. OH BOY!
What if your comic is set in the present day? They aren’t going to wear corsetry and spats. It’s all too easy to retreat to t-shirts and jeans, and the oft-seen “manga sundress.”
It’s okay. We’ve all drawn it. But it doesn’t really let us know anything about the character.
The awesome thing about contemporary fashion is that it is literally limitless! While I adore historical fashion, the truth is, it can be limiting since it has already happened. Contemporary fashion has no bounds!
However, when some artists think of “fashion”, they might think of this…
But that’s not true at all! And as Tumblrites, I’m sure you know that fashion can be fun and awesome to play with! You probably already have sources for where you might snag fashion inspiration for your characters.
Now! As manga folks, I’d like to say we’re fairly well-versed on street fashion. Here’s just a handful of examples.
Awesome, yeah? I threw Lolita, fairy key and several things in there. Is it awesome? Yeah. But if ALL of your characters wear it, it starts to overshadow what’s really important: Your characters! Instead of seeing “Susan,” “Sarah,” and “Samantha” (IDEK on those names), you see “A Lolita,” “A goth”, and “a morigirl”. I know for a fact I’ve been supremely guilty of this myself. Having a character in a fashion subculture can be great!
Consider the cast of Paradise Kiss:
As a fashion-related series, each character has a very unique sense of fashion. BUT, there’s also characters with more mainstreamed fashion, which allows the unusual fashions to stick out!
So, where do you get normal fashions, then? Observe all sorts of sources! Watch people, check out catalogs. For me, I always snatch free catalogs at shops in the mall. This will fill your world with contemporary fashion! But… That’s kind of boring.
So, now what? Welcome, friends, TO COUTURE AND READY TO WEAR.
Couture by John Galliano for Dior. (Damnit, Uncle John, please just keep your mouth shut and design gorgeous clothes forever.)
Here’s usually how fashion filters. Couture > RTW > Boutique > High Street
Couture is to fashion as concept cars are to road cars. Would anyone wear these walking down the street other than Lady Gaga? Probably not. But someone will be inspired by whole or part of a couture garment, and pluck a bit to use in their ready to wear collection, which would then be produced for a boutique, which would then end up walking down the high street. Neat, huh? Sometimes, it’s happened in reverse, too. A couture artist might see a street fashion kid, and incorporate it into couture, and the whole thing cycles all over! It’s really fun to play spot-the-trend.
Couture is a great source of inspiration for fantasy garments, as they push the envelope for what can be achieved with fabric in the real world.
This is Anna Sui, one of the many RTW Designers. While it’s a bit outlandish, the right character could carry this right off. No matter your genre, something on the runway is bound to make you squeal like a bird with a french fry.
Pic very related.
So, what does this mean for your character? These are pretty and all, but so what? Well! Consider your character as having a giant closet, filled with all the clothes in the world. This can only expand their world!
As always, keep silhouettes in mind, and how they would function for your characters. Fashion should be a fun way to outfit your character, not their entire personality!
So where to find these awesome things?
There are dozens of incredible tumblrs that detail this exactly! A great way to keep up with runway shows as they happen is Style.com, under fashion shows.
So, we’ve explored Historical and Contemporary fashion, now for a sticky subject. Subculture fashions. Now, I’m a Lolita, a Morigirl, and dabble in fairy kei. These fashions are incredibly tempting to slip into our characters’ stories and personality, because they’re fascinating and eye-catching.
HOWEVER… Danger, Will Robinson.
Tackling a fashion subculture is inviting that culture to critique and pick at your costumes. Which can be great, because they often offer really great feedback! However, what does this mean?
DO. YOUR. RESEARCH. Tackle this as if it were a delicate cultural reference. In effect, you are submursing your character into that world, and the things they wear dictate how much they are aware of that world. There is an enormous difference between these two things.
See a pretty distinct difference? It’s a cheapening of what you’re looking at. Consider when you design your characters, that somewhere, there’s someone who dresses like this every day!
Often if you introduce yourself and say you’re doing research, these groups are really friendly and want their culture to be displayed well!Just like your characters are people beyond their clothes, these folks are the same way.
If you want to take inspiration by the style without completely ripping it, there are ways to do that, too. What is drawing you to the subculture? It’s probably one of two things: The silhouette, or the color scheme!
Here’s two pieces inspired by the goth subculture.
The one on the left is an Alexander McQueen piece, and the right is a costume, but you get the idea. And two based on kimono…
Yeah. So what’s going on here? The more aesthetically pleasing pieces were made with respect to the original garments, and in particular, revamped them in such a way that they became their own garment instead of a costume!
Of course, character design rules still apply, but consider these the next time you consider tackling a subculture style. It might be more fun to reinvent it a bit and make your own style!
We just moved into our new place, helped our friends move, graduated, and now are looking for/doing our respective jobs. Sorry we’ve been absent for a little while, but I’m excited to say that pinklikeme has written a fantastic tutorial for us! This girl is amazing at all things FASHION and wrote her experiences out in a fun and informative way!
So be on the lookout! I’m about to post something you won’t wanna miss!
Oh man I’m psyched I found this blog! I recently self published (a very small run but still!) my own manga/ yaoi comic for the Mocca comic convention in NYC. My plan is to keep the comic going as a web comic and maybe print again in the future depending on how it goes!
Hey followers! I want to apologize for being kind of slow here. I’m getting into my final week here at SCAD, moving to a new apartment and graduating all in the same week…yikes! Anyway, it might be a little slow for the next week or so, but I wanted to post an informative blog to keep you guys going. Now, Sofi and I kind of passed this off to each other while working on our respective projects, so sorry if it’s a little all over the place.
I hope you all enjoyed the features I posted up on our Tumblr. Oh, and for everyone who was having trouble submitting work on our DeviantART group, it should be fixed now! So please join~! We only have a couple pieces right now, so please show us your work!
Anyway, tonight Anna and I attended a workshop taught by professor Mia Goodwin on the importance of character design. Although the lecture was mostly aimed towards game design, the subjects she covered relate to all forms of character design, be it for games, manga, cartoons—anything!
Professor Mia stressed three big factors in creating a successful character— Simplicity, memorability, and of course, the “fun factor.”
Using this character, she described to us what makes her successful.
I’m an art student myself and I’ve also had dreams of having a comic published but it seems like schools in general don’t approve of any kind of asian influenced art when you yourself aren’t well… asian. I’ve grown used to having people at school look at my work and really enjoy my coloring skills but not much of anything else. I always get that question, ‘Is this how you’re gonna draw for the rest of your life?’ I always have people look down on me because of what I choose to draw. I always have teachers making snide remarks that are usually directed at people that draw manga styled. So to see a project like this makes me happy that there are others that want their chance at their dreams. I support you guys all the way and I hope to be a part of this. I’ve had a story that I’ve been working on for a few years so I’ll post more of that in time to come. Don’t give up!
Don’t you give up either! A wise man once said to me: talent and art is only ten percent. What matters is your story! So shouldn’t that mean that it doesn’t really matter whether you draw like Naoko Takeuchi or Rob Liefeld, as long as you can tell your story effectively!
(well okay, don’t aspire to draw like Rob Liefeld, and you probably shouldn’t be drawing like Naoko Takeuchi if your story is about Space Marines…)
I will say this: do listen to your professors. 99% of the time, they do know what they’re talking about. You will have professors who have issues with the manga style and you will have professors that will tell you to be more versatile. The ones that tell you to develop another style ARE just trying to help you, and there’s nothing wrong with branching out a bit. People with multiple styles are very marketable! This doesn’t mean you have to stop drawing manga.
You also have to understand that there are a lot of people who come into art school who learned to draw from anime and manga and don’t understand the basics of anatomy. That’s another tip for everyone out there is to learn to draw a human from life before you get too far into drawing manga! This can only help you improve in ways you can’t even imagine, so when you get into drawing your story, you’ll be able to draw a face the way it makes sense—….Oh, I’m sorry I totally got off onto a tangent there. But it is important information that everyone following Manga International should consider! And unfortunately, manga kids in art school have a bad rep for learning their anatomy from CLAMP…
As for you, keep at it and don’t get discouraged! Take advice from your professors but don’t let anyone tell you you can’t. And I’d love to see your work if you ever feel like submitting. As always, thanks for your support~!
Hello, My name is Samantha Gorel and I am an aspiring manga writer and illustrator. I am still very young and inexperienced, but I wanted to help support your amazing and inspiring efforts to help English speakers a name in the American manga industry. Below are links to the first two pages of my first personal manga, which I have been discouraged to finish because of the publishing industry. Thank you very much for trying to help with this very daunting problem, I completely support your efforts, and look forward to your achievements.
Hey guys! I want to thank everyone for sharing their art and stories with us. We’ve been getting a lot of submissions from DeviantART that are really great! I just wanted to let everyone know that we’re also working on a DeviantART group for submissions, and if you’d like critique, we’d be happy to do it there! I don’t know about critiquing someone on tumblr where everyone can see it, because some people might feel vulnerable about that…What do you guys think?
Between the two of us, we have 8 years and $300,000 invested in art school so we will be able to help you out with whatever you wish to improve on to the best of our ability!
Sofia is more in charge of the DA group, but if you’d like to contact either of us,
Have a long-running scifi comic about a crazy boy and his alien cohorts as he tries to set his head straight.
I’m one of those comic artists who will probably never be published, because I can’t afford to quit my day job (teaching) and so have very little time to work on the comic in spite of pages now taking upwards of 14 hours to complete. Plus, y’know. Colour. And fuzzy aliens. And long-running story. American publishers are afraid of all of these things anymore. It’s just kind of a bummer, y’know, to spend hours inking a cityscape and then colouring everything to give it its own flare and emotion and know that you’re doomed to no publication because that’s just the way the industry is going.
Some of the biggest influences on me were uh…Sam Kieth (an american artist), Evangelion and an old manga that came out in the 90s in the US called Parasyte (the style has been called “blocky and stiff” but the story really hooked me).
Hello! First off I’d like to say what I think your doing is great and I’d like to help in anyway! >w< I’m kindof battling with myself at the moment to decide on a new style because I really hate my style now lol orz so I’ll just tell you two stories I’ve had for a while.
They’re both magical girls, and I was inspired by Pretty Cure mainly I think. Anyways the first is set a bit into the future and it’s stars a girl who is practically miserable with her life. But since she’s been little shes had the ability of astral projection. She frequently uses this ability to go anywhere and do anything. Well, in the future there are many advances with the technology such as robots, and even fake body limbs controlled by computers. The worst thing imaginable happens: a genius hacker hacks the central computer system and the hacker could basically hack into whatever he wanted. Everyone is in panic as he deletes money, controls robots and people with anything mechanical in them for that matter and shuts basically the government down. The government has a special wing of association for this matter and they know a way to stop it. They’ve bulit and enitrely fake robotic body that someone needs to control. They are unable to actually remotely control it so they seek out someone who can and they find the girl. The main character must inhabit the body to destroy the rampant machines and find the master hacker.
my second story is (I think im calling it) Death by Death. A girl (lol I have no idea about names yet xD) wakes up in a random forest one day. She walks around and later remembers that she was killed. With nothing left to look forward to as her family is no where to be found, she seeks the help of another girl who is a grim reaper. THe main character decides to work for this association in exchange for slowly recieving information about her death and what happens afterwards. She much collect souls and fight other grim reapers along the way. Once she has collected 100 souls she will move on.
They’re both…incomplete for the most part xD I was just wondering if they sounded remotely interesting ovo” I’m working on the characters and stuff but yeah… please give some nice critique oAo
I want to post again about this fabulous site. First of all, this dynamic piece as the header of MangaMagazine.net is by fellow tumblrite quirkilicious.
GIVE THESE GUYS YOUR BUSINESS! This site has been up for a while and they share a lot of the same ideas with us. Their artists are all completely pro with fantastic stories. Just go and read some of their stuff, because it’s all great, and just by visiting you’re supporting their team and their cause. Buy a book or ten, I’m sure they’d appreciate it and you’ll definitely be getting a quality product.
Just a quick question re: fan art. I do lots of OCs for other people, which do not belong to any publishers. What do they count as? (like this http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=2299090), or this (http://www.paperdemon.com/art/user/6095/home), which contain some publisher fan arts and some originals, and some other people's OCs. XD
As a general rule, as long as you have permission from the creator of the OC, it’s okay! But as far as submitting single pieces to us, we’d like to avoid copyrighted characters as much as possible.
hey droogs, what if comics are called "manga style" my americans but not by the japanese? my old jp coworkers told me my stuff was very american, but all my american co-workers say the opposite. i dunno where i fall but i'd love a chance to get my work out there.
The thing about manga is, and one of the things we are trying to get out there is that not all manga looks the same. On the contrary, who could possibly look at Pita Ten and Slam Dunk and say they look even remotely the same? What really matters when it comes to manga is the storytelling style— having a linear storyline and pacing that can be appealing to a wide range of audiences. Of course, there are tons of different genres within manga itself! Believe me, we’re not going to reject anyone just because they draw muscly dudes or small eyes. To begin with, we are trying to break the stereotype! I’d love to see your stuff.
Don’t bother trying to make it look “Japanese” or “American.” Just make it your own.
Just wanted to bring your attention to http://www.mangamagazine.net, MM is a company that sponsors manga artists in hopes of promoting a similar ”revival” of the genre online. I thought maybe you’d be interested since we share coinciding goals :]
I’m the author and artist of SIN, one of the early titles on the site.
I’ve stumbled upon your Manga International initiative via Twitter, and I think it is amazing you and your friend are doing this and honestly it is LONG overdue. I’m not internet-famous or anything, but I am bubbling with ideas, so if you’re interested in my work I would be honored to be a part of an inspiring project like yours! :)
Hi Anna and Sofia!
I think you both are awesome for this undertaking. I teach classes in drawing manga, comics and illustration, and I would love to help you in your goal to encourage manga artists with their original projects. I look forward to seeing all the awesome work on this blog!
Hi! Thanks so much for your support, wow! Like I said, I’m so happy to be getting all this positive attention, and we can always use help from professionals to get our heads in the game. I’ll be posting extra contact information on this page soon in case you would like to speak with me further. In the meantime, please let your students know about us and other places such as mangamagazine.net.
I’d love to see your or any of your students’ work!
Totally going to follow this blog! One of my goals is to hopefully publish my own manga too, so I hope I get the motivation to do so and submit here! I wish the best of luck to this blog and hope it sticks around! :D
Thanks for your support! I hope to see some stuff from you in the future! Once we get our plans hammered out and get our website up, we are planning to have a set of “regular” artists who post every week, and lots of “guest” artists who might not have the time (aka current college students!) to do pages every week, but want to get some practice before going all-out on their stories. We encourage you to get some stuff together that we can feature it in the future!
Wow, thank you so much, every one of you. Please, PLEASE submit your art and we’d be happy to post it and promote you. We are working on a business plan right now, and we will keep everyone updated with the stuff we’re working on.
Right now, we are waiting on some professional advice from industry folks that we are lucky enough to have contacts with. With the pace things are going at, we are planning to have a book out and be selling it at conventions and online within the year.
I’m going to post a short comic of my own and some more stuff from close friends, but feel free to ask any questions you may have and submit, submit, submit!!
Also in the meantime, START SUPPORTING OEL ARTISTS!! WE LOVE THEM!!