Ques­tion

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

My char­ac­ter’s torn cloak looks too new and un­re­al­is­tic. Can you help?

Gem Rolles, US

An­swer

Mélanie replies

There are sev­eral op­tions to make a cloak look old and torn. For the colours, the tones must be de­sat­u­rated. Fur­ther­more, the cloak isn’t new so the fab­ric needs to look worn and weath­ered.

To give the fab­ric a sense of age, I add some torn ar­eas all over the cloak, es­pe­cially on the bot­tom and the edges where it’s in con­tact with the ground. I also add some threads to ac­cen­tu­ate the wear ef­fect, and some patches to give the im­pres­sion that the cloak has been mended sev­eral times by its owner.

I want to con­vey the im­pres­sion that the cloak is made of rich fab­rics, so I add some golden pat­terns around the hood. I don’t over­work them or cover the whole cloak in them, though. I need it to suit my char­ac­ter’s de­sign, so I sug­gest that the cloak be­longed to a noble fam­ily. In­deed, the sto­ry­telling el­e­ment of the cloak is im­por­tant. It’s a part of my char­ac­ter’s his­tory and so the clothes will help me to bring the story into the il­lus­tra­tion. I imag­ine that she’s a des­ti­tute or­phan, whose only con­nec­tion to her fam­ily is the old cloak that she’s al­ways seen wear­ing.

I al­ways spend more time on the im­por­tant area of my com­po­si­tion. Here it’s her face and the hood, so I in­crease the light here and add vi­brant colours.

Add what­ever de­tails are nec­es­sary to en­hance the sto­ry­telling el­e­ment of a com­po­si­tion. They can tell a lot about the char­ac­ter’s back­ground.

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