Question How should I approach a character costume brief?
Ernest Summers, Canada
Answer Belinda replies
Dependant on the media that it’s for, the costume design approach can be very similar to character design in the games industry, or to fashion design when used in films. However, every project should start with a good understanding of the brief and the story in which the costume and character are set.
In this quick demonstration, I’ve given myself the brief of designing the costume of a female Arctic mage and from there, I start researching the cultures of the indigenous people who live in the Arctic circle, such as the Inuit and Yupik. Getting an idea of the culture in which a character exists gives me more visual cues to integrate into my designs, such as the kind of materials they use and their roles in society.
Instead of silhouettes, I begin with line sketches over a posed mannequin, to rough out the flow and weights of the material. And because I’m inspired by the Arctic Tundra, I borrow colours from these landscapes to influence my design. Hopefully, the final result reflects the earthly hues of an icy world bereft of trees, but rich in tough flora.
I paint a mage costume inspired by the cultures of the Arctic circle and the contrasting browns and blues of the tundra landscape. Putting a costume in context can help to sell the design, so I paint a quick tundra-like background with colours sympathetic to the clothing.