What ad­vice can you give me for paint­ing the cloth­ing of a re­gal Star Wars fig­ure?

Ray Hick­man, US

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Sara replies

In the Star Wars uni­verse, fig­ures from roy­alty of­ten wear rich, el­e­gant clothes. They have el­e­ments that are both fu­tur­is­tic and bizarre, and have the char­ac­ter­is­tics of his­tor­i­cal cloth­ing.

I take in­spi­ra­tion from Greek and Ro­man tu­nics for the skirt, and me­dieval cloth­ing for the dress. For the head­piece and gold in­serts I look to the queens of an­cient Egypt. I lay down flat colours with a Hard brush and add ba­sic light and shad­ows with the same brush. To make the fab­ric of the skirt look shiny and soft I can either use a Soft brush with­out any tex­ture, or the Smudge tool.

The skirt cre­ates folds that fol­low the body shape and the tu­nic casts its re­flected colour on it, so I pick the red colour with the Eye­drop­per tool, I set my brush’s Opac­ity to 50 per cent and add some shades of red to the skirt. The tu­nic and the man­tle will re­main more rigid and fold only on the waist, shoul­der and floor. Fi­nally, I paint gold me­tal on the head­dress, san­dals and in­serts in the tu­nic us­ing a Hard brush.

I note where the fab­ric of the cloth­ing meets the ground: at this point the folds will be es­sen­tial even if I choose to paint a very stiff-look­ing fab­ric. I draw the anatomy of my char­ac­ters un­der their cloth­ing. This en­ables me to ad­just the fab­ric and folds on the body.

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