Monday, June 13, 2011

Talking about clothes, like a girl.

Before I got into comics, I'd wanted to be a costumer and love fashion history. I find it's as much fun to research, sew and wear these dresses as it is to draw them.

The research bit is something that I've noticed gets ignored in a lot of comics- the way this kind of clothing changes the shape of the wearer. These clothes were heavy, structured, and involved layers of undergarments (bustles, corsets, farthingales) that dramatically altered the human form.

Like, in this panel here from Fables,  Cinderella is wearing what looks like a corset, full skirt and petticoat, but everything just kind of hangs off of her. Why can you see the outline of her butt through two layers of skirts? While I really enjoyed the comic and admire Shawn McManus' art, these off details pulled me out of the story.

Anyway, both of the comics projects I'm currently working, though completely unrelated to each other, are set around the 1870's, so I'm getting to do lots of costume research and draw bustles, top hats and cravats!

Bustle sketch2

This first is a character sketch for a Retrofit Comics story. Retrofit is the brainchild of Box Brown, inspired by the subscription model of mainstream comics, using 16 amazing indie comics artists (more info coming soon) and I was really honored that he asked me to be a part of it.

When I first got the assignment, I was totally excited about it and quickly came up with an idea.  When it came time to start working, I totally froze and had to call some friends for help. Betsey Swardlick came to the rescue, and agreed to write a yet-unnamed highwayman story. This is gonna be so fun to draw!

Bustle sketch1

The other project I'm working on is a 6-page adaptation of Age of Innocence for the Seven Stories Press Graphic Canon anthologies. Costuming plays an important part in this story, the clothing being as restrictive as 1870's New York society.

Lots of comics to draw to keep me busy all summer!

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