Posts tagged fashion
Posts tagged fashion
HELLO FRIENDS, AND WELCOME.
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 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.
If you’re here, obviously you see Tumblr as a great reference! Tumblr is also great because often it links back to the source so you can find more information!
For Historical Fashion, I recommend:
But there are bunches out there!
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!
And now, Part 2, contemporary fashion!
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.
HAVE FUN, FASHION IS YOUR FRIEND!
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!