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