Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Character Design- Clothing



If you watch cartoons, you have probably noticed that the characters often wear the same thing over and over. This is for a couple reasons. It helps keep them consistent for one thing. Wouldn’t you hate to be the group of animators who have just spent WEEKS on a scene only to find that your main character magically changed outfits halfway through?

Clothing can also tell you a lot about who a character is, or how they feel.  Superhero’s actually do undergo a costume change occasionally, often marked not just by new artists drawing their own take on it, but a dramatic change in their stories.  Superboy in Young Justice for example starts his life out in white, but quickly changes to something black and brooding when Superman rejects him. How would that story and character feel different if he’d kept his original colors? Or tried to copy Superman’s blue costume?

GiGi, my insecure pile of amorphic goo, wears something long sleeved and warm when in her human-ish form. She’s shy and insecure, and what she chooses to wear tells us that.

Monica’s clothing in Ghost and Girl is another good example of hinting at her feelings, but it also has a plot aspect to it too. She wears an oversized coat that envelopes her and she holds her backpack protectively close so she has everything she needs right at hand. This hints that despite her bravery against those ‘spooky’ ghosts, she really is unsure of herself at times, and might be carrying around am important secret.

So, the activity for today: Take a character of yours and change their outfit. Put them in something opposite of what they generally like to wear, put them in a few things that are ridiculous in their situation, or let them switch clothes with their best friend. Maybe switch outfits with the villain or antagonist! Not only is it fun to play around with, but you might find that your villain kind of likes superhero capes. Or you might find that the boy wearing his coat to the beach does so because he’s cursed and always feels cold. It’s fun to put your characters in new places and situations. Experiment with it and see how it feels to you. You might find something you like better, or you might realize why the way they look and the things they wear are so important to them and the story you’re telling.

Also, if you want a good comic to read for free, check out Monica's story On Webtoons.

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