It's been a couple of months since posting, but I ended up doing a lot of commission work that I was unable to share. I'm making it a point to do extra work for sharing recently, and have found it makes me even more productive! I am going to share some of the fashion sketches I began doing after checking out "Fashion. The Definitive History of Costume and Style." While looking through it I began doing sketches on armours, dresses, even hats. The hats are my favourite, so I will share those. These may become something more, but for now, I like them as is.
I am posting something a little bit different than usual. I have been on a committee for planning this year's student/alumni show at my alma mater. Our show date is about two months away, and I have had very little drive to do my own garments and I recently realised why.
I hadn't sewn in three years (while in Japan). I hadn't designed with the intent to make said garment in three years. And most notably, my personal style has changed vastly from four years ago to now -- what I want to wear and design is much different than what I wore and designed while in my early 20s. Part of me thinks the audience will want to see the garments and costumes they have come to expect of me, while the other half is just confused and uninterested in designing in that way. Artists have a style, but they should not be expected to never change -- so I am making some compromises.
The vest below is something I began designing immediately upon returning to the states, but had not touched in months. I use a 3D patterning method called draping, where the lines are tacked onto the body double and pattern pieces are made by placing materials against the mannequin. This 3D thought helps for my comic costume designs as well.
Working on the vest below put me in a fashion mood. I flipped through some magazines and old sketches; watched music videos; and checked out my material stockpile. I sketched down elements of clothes I like (tall collars, asymmetry, etc) in preparation for designing.
Design and sew enough garments for 2-5 models in 2 months
Combine previous style elements into current aesthetics
Use materials already owned or repurpose
I am still in preliminary designs. I will share the sketches of those later, but probably not any more garment images. As for illustration, I am restructuring the update schedule of my comic since its home host shut down (inkblazers.com) and it has moved to tapastic.com (which has a very different layout).
PS -- the fantasy armours I posted about earlier are in the gallery now!
On September 26th, my comic turned three years old. It was launched in 2011 on that date, though under a different name. The first half year for Spidersilk was tumultuous due to the steep learning curve of using a tablet (as well as other issues). I renamed it and doubled efforts on updating after half a year. I threw myself into networking and advertising as well. It built slowly, and after it became featured on Inkblazers.com things have been gliding along. It picks up on average 30 new readers a month and ranks in the top half of all featured comics on inkblazers quite consistently. The comic must come first, above other projects (as fun as they are!) and I have been spending much time on it.
For the third anniversary I initially thought I could get the copy ready for print, and that is still in the works, but I haven't completed the necessary work for that yet.
So ... I decided to do a promotional event, for whatever I can manage at my moment. I am reading "Console Wars" and it makes me want to aggressively market something, anything -- good thing I have a comic! It made me think for quite some time on what I could do with what I had, and what was going to be the most beneficial for the comic. So, I basically asked fans to share the comic, and add why they liked it. Simple, takes little time, is fairly easy for me to track entries, and will give me a really good idea from otherwise silent fans what it is about Spidersilk that is interesting, unique, and catches attention to better help me promote it in the future. (Tumblr post details)
A week ago I began drawing this to put up as a thank you to readers. Clothes-swapping is always good, though I don't know what the heck Prentice (far right) is doing. He is either not a very good fashion model or an exceptional one. I can't really tell!
Here are the promised (per the previous post) mage hats on the unimpressed Morrigan (of Dragon Age).
I sat down to design mage hats and was stumped. There are already a lot of colorful hoods in Dragon Age, with about half of them being a bit too goofy for me to want to wear.... So I decided to throw caution to the wind and went colorful and flamboyant to see what would happen. I often practice in extremes before I settle when working with something new.
First I attempted some speed painting for Morrigan. I don't quite have the hang of it yet, but I am now enjoying it.
Then it came to actually making the hats. I drew silhouettes first, then layered colors on top of that. As for the designs themselves, I began to think what is it that makes a mage hat a mage hat. A simple cowl or hood would probably look best for a game character, but in terms of practiced actual magic, items hold meaning, embody certain gods and goddesses or their traits (ie protection, war, archery). I thought about items people have worn in the past, sewn into clothes, to avert the evil eye, call luck, etc. Colors are also associated with certain traits, magical or not -- red with passion, aggression, etc for instance. I chose bright colors. For decoration, I decided natural items were best: antlers, pearls, feathers, gems, etc. Particular patterns, visible in the far right mage hat, might evoke some sort of magic or ritual casting.
The hats are still undergoing critiques on my social media. It seems like favor is swinging between one and two.
The first hat was done on thinking about the "Green Man," the god of the hunt, present in much of Celtic paganism. He is often depicted as wearing green and with antlers of some sort. The second was a lot simpler -- it was based on an owl. The cowl was initially a rich purple as I'd decided on bright colors, but it made the overall hat look a bit like the Shredder (TMNT). Finally the orange one quite literally has a hat brim, and was based on some of the Jaffa helmets from Stargate SG-1 (Horus guards, I believe, with the bird sort of appearance), though it's not too evident it seems.
I was struck with inexplicable inspiration in a bank parking lot the other day – mage hats. Mage hats would be my next design challenge.
I like the games that I do these challenges for, and I mostly like the appearances of characters and the world. It's more for the challenge of designing for a world I had nothing to do with.
Why mage hats? I think the mage hats have become a bit of a running joke with not only the fans, but the Dragon Age team as well. I remember listening to a podcast where some of the creators joked about making the hats better for DA2 since they had apparently received a lot of comments on the hat designs!
I started with research. I typed in “Dragon Age” and “mage hats” and was instantly rewarded with results like “Are there any mage hats that don’t look like total crap?” with entire forums devoted to how people get around the mage hats – some posters said that their mages always ended up in plate to avoid the hats, while others suggested using a very specific hat to be found from the circle or to use studded light helmets ... or nothing. The seriousness and outright helpful attitudes with which this concern was addressed was entertaining and in a weird way heart-warming. Such intense passion for helping other players’ mages not look silly! These hats are serious business.
Below is an image I found on tumblr, but the original poster seems to have deleted the initial post. However, it's still being reblogged. It has over a thousand notes on it!
So what is it about the mage hats? Though I do think they improved a lot in Dragon Age 2 (well ... mostly), fans are still having a bit of a field day. I think part of it is that mages are traditionally seen with the witch hat or some kind of hood. The concept artists apparently decided against that and have been explored other options.
So it'll be fun. Like the these designs, I will try to avoid, for the most part, the often-seen wizard, witch, mage, or magic hats. I suspect I'll find it is rather difficult, but that is the point!
Step one will be the same as with the Fenris armors design challenge. I’ll draw several items, then release them on my social media for voting and critique. After that I’ll take the winning designs and ideate some more designs.
I leave you with this not-very-impressed Morrigan, from Dragon Age: Origins, wearing the Apprentice cowl. (Source: dragonage wikia)
Now that all the moving from country to country thing is settled, I've had time to get back into a schedule. Spidersilk is updating three times a week and commissions have opened!
Below is a commission for six costumes for a D&D character by northernvehemence. The character is a bard who raps, and the world is a bit steampunk. I was pretty excited by this one! Very fun to do.
I've also been able to do a fair amount of personal illustrations. My recent one is a romantic fantasy image. I really wanted to do this one because I don't find the pose all that romantic yet I have seen it in a lot of places! I have this thing about drawing cliche poses -- in fantasy, pin-ups, whatever. Otherwise my "couple" illustrations are a bit weird, and they are always doing something like reading or eating for some reason.
Anyway, here's the sketch. The final version will appear in the illustration section of my portfolio.
Since this image was fairly successful (even with this pose!) with its flat coloring and dusty palette, I might try out something similar for the elusive Dragon Age fan art I keep trying to do. My Dragon Age II is somewhere over the ocean on a boat being shipped from Japan to home, but I could always make up a new Hawke. I have about six of them anyway!
I love designing characters and have made many over my decade of making webcomics. I have put a lot of effort into my world-building of Spidersilk. It occurred to me some months ago that though I'd considered many things about the cultures,I hadn't really decided on the clothing worn in different cultures throughout the world of Spidersilk. While it may never come into play in the comic, I thought it was a wonderful exercise and I can incorporate elements of this into the wardrobes of the characters of this culture.
My aim: To create the costumes for the Saaliet'ssan
I wanted to consider the people who made the clothes, including what technologies they might've had. With a degree in Fashion Design, it's a bit easier and I cut out a lot of research ... just some quick check-ups!
First I looked up clothes online from many cultures, from Russia to Inuit to Celtic to ... well, you get the idea. I absorbed the colors and looked up more images of the ones that struck me so I could see the common elements or themes carried throughout the different pieces of clothing. It was a bit much, but soon I was brimming with inspiration.
Then I decided to just draw. The first attempt was a mess because I hadn't focused enough. It was eclectic and did not seem practical for the climate, so I narrowed the focus and tried again.
While I liked this a lot, I didn't feel it was a fit. I reflected on what I'd done right so that I could improve on the next attempt. I narrowed my focus and took inspiration from a few key sources.