Ques­tion How should I ap­proach a char­ac­ter cos­tume brief?

Ernest Sum­mers, Canada

ImagineFX - - Imaginenation Artist Q&a -

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.

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