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Character outfits

HippieVan at 12:00AM, Oct. 23, 2015

Since comic characters usually aren't too concerned with Halloween costumes, let's talk about how you dress your characters normally!

A character's outfit can convey the character's personality as well as the world they live in, and even their occupation in some cases. As a bare minimum, you don't want your character's clothes to distract the reader because they seem bizarre or out of place - unless your character is also bizarre or out of place, à la Culture Shock.

For my new comic, I've taken to saving pictures of nice outfits I see online, as well as noting neat clothes that I see on the bus or on campus. (The other day I saw a woman dressed all in pink, with pink hair, and somehow it didn't look at all tacky, just out there in the coolest way. That character will definitely be making an appearance in my comic one way or another.) Later I mesh my favourite elements together and change around colours and accessories. I find that the hardest part is keeping my character's personality in mind as I dress her, rather than dressing her as myself with an unlimited clothing budget. Dee is quite adventurous and active, so I've had to question whether she would realistically wear skirts very often - even if she would look super cute in them.

Another option is to go the Jughead route, and keep your character dressed in the same thing all the time. This technique works really well for humour comics, especially when you want to keep the art simple and the characters easily recognizable.

I'm always especially intrigued by how the creators of historical comics like The Light Eater go about researching their characters' clothing. If you've ever illustrated a history-based comic, please chime in!

So for all of you comic creators, how do you go about dressing your characters? Do you notice what the characters wear in other people's comics, or are there any that have really stood out to you?


From Niccea:
"The last presentations will be released on Saturday, October 24th. Also, we are going to be trying something brand new. The Best Presenter Award! The link will be released on the Saturday for everyone to vote for their favourite presenter. Votes as well as extras will be accepted until Halloween. The awards will be fully wrapped up on November 1st.

Have a comic milestone, a community project or some comic-related news that you'd like to see here? Do you have original art for our newspost image database? Send it to me via PQ or at hippievannews(at), or leave a comment below!



dedasaur at 7:15PM, Oct. 29, 2015

I love costume design. I did it for a living a while back, for theater. The Pirate balthasar and The Flower and the Nose are both set in specific eras. Interestingly enough I chose the XVII century for The Pirate Balthasar because it is my least favorite. Eventually when the "sisters" showed up I started having fun with crazy fashion and they went extremely Mediterranean/Greek fusion. Of course Circe is still my favorite one to work on, she has two fancy tailors so I have to make their work look special hahaha

VinoMas at 1:01PM, Oct. 25, 2015

I love this picture. Fashion is a huge part of my comics but I sometimes struggle with giving everyone their own distinct wardrobe, and instead it's more like VinoMas designs and wardrobes the comics. lol.

bravo1102 at 7:02AM, Oct. 25, 2015

I may be alone here is having to maintain an actual physical wardrobe. Testing outfits when you actually have to dress the figures can be a pain. And I have to deal with real malfunctions not planned ones. I wish I had a reasonable doll tailor on call but one can't have everything. As for normal clothes from recent past, look at vintage catalogs. For the 1980's an old L.L. Bean or J.C. Penny catalog would be perfect.

Zimeta at 7:53AM, Oct. 24, 2015

Both my comics have taken place in the past. May the Rain Come takes places in a '40s setting, and Jupiter takes place in an alternate '80s. Mostly what I do to get the outfits I need is watch movies from the era. Otherwise it can be difficult to find lay person outfits on google. All that comes up on there is the glitz and glam.

HippieVan at 11:08AM, Oct. 23, 2015

@usedbooks: "Someone who would have a fashion sense if he had an income" sounds like me, haha!

HippieVan at 11:07AM, Oct. 23, 2015

@KimLuster: good catch, Saturday is definitely the 24th! I will fix that.

HippieVan at 11:07AM, Oct. 23, 2015

@ozone: Pinky TA is definitely one of the comics I had in mind while writing this newspost! Your characters' outfits always look like they have a lot of thought behind them.

usedbooks at 7:31AM, Oct. 23, 2015

I can't really design clothes, simply for my lack of artistic prowess, but theoretically, I do use them as a big part of characterization. Characters' clothes reflect the character or help me (and readers?) visualize the internal traits. Yuki dresses only in pink and exposes skin whenever possible, a confidence-brimming (plus-sized) girly powerhouse. Kaida is the opposite. She is physically dainty and elegant, and covers that the best she can with loose androgynous clothes. She never wants to appear feminine. Valentine is a predator. He uses potential weapons as accessories and always wears body armor (because he's a coward, preys on the weak and runs from the strong). Tristan's wardrobe is what I call Goodwill-chic. Mostly hand-me-down button-ups. He's someone who would have a fashion sense if he had an income.

KimLuster at 6:19AM, Oct. 23, 2015

This is one area I utterly fail at.... Fashion sense, interesting clothes... I have one direction to go - UP!! Badly...!! And I plan on doing just that... Awesome topic!! And way nice idea about Best Presenter! But did you mean last presentations will be October 24th (you have Oct 22nd)?

bravo1102 at 4:37AM, Oct. 23, 2015

I so want to do a World War II comic. I had a blast doing the real life uniforms in the two Lite Bites comics I did.

ozoneocean at 12:53AM, Oct. 23, 2015

Currently I'm dressing all the members of Pinky's engineering squad. They're all in uniform... But I still wanted variation because it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo boring to draw people in the same gear, it's like drawing the same person over and over again. So I gave them jackets, vests, untucked shirts, hats, no hats etc. They're all dressed in the "cavalry" version of the uniform in Pinky's world, the cold weather version: The hot weather version was only a teeny bit different: They wear tank tops, and their trousers have button-on belt loops. They'd also be made of a much lighter fabric (cotton as opposed to wool for the others) but you can't readily show that in a comic that easily.

ozoneocean at 12:42AM, Oct. 23, 2015

Great topic! Pinky TA shifts between my painstakingly designed military outfits and various 1920s civilian styles. Over the years I've drawn and painted Pinky TA I've amassed gigabytes of reference pics... of REAL 1920s outfits worn by real people, not just modern actors (those are good when they're GOOD though), or those awful costume shop outfits. It drove my interest into actually collecting clothes so I have many antique outfits, and old military gear too as well as a made up version of Pinky's outfit (can be seen on my Pinky model on my profile). Because I'm a crazy person... I only collect the male outfits though because most of the fun is to be able to wear them. Anyway, it's REALLY interesting to know just how differently clothing was made and worn back then and that certainly influences my comic. It's so different in many subtle and hidden ways that you'd never realise. I also have a lot of deliberate anachronisms all other the place as well.

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