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May 20, 2011
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Character Creation – Clothing
So, your character has a body, a life and a personality. The thing is, they're still naked! Well, this should solve their problem.

Basics
Before we decide on their clothes, we need to figure out what they actually do for a living. This is important because, apart from their personality, this will decide the type of clothing your character will wear. For example, a princess will wear a lot of fine dresses and have a lot of jewellery whereas a peasant will have patched up clothes and little to no jewellery. A business man will wear a suit to work whereas a person working on a construction site will wear jeans, steel toed boots, a shirt, a high vis. vest and a hard hat.

Basically, position in society and career will determine what your character usually wears.

How Personality Fits In
Appearance is influenced by your personality, not the other way around. For example, an outgoing person will more likely reveal more skin than a shy person. A shy person will probably also wear baggy clothes and not want to show off their figure as much as a confident person.

Note: Pale skinned people will also tend to cover up more than a darker skinned person to prevent sunburn.

Research
I always find that, when it comes to clothes, there is always a lot of research involved. There are many, many, many different types of clothing around the world. Say you are looking for Police uniforms; look for as many pictures as you can at different angles and research until you can research no more. I usually stop after everything starts looking the same. With the internet now available to most of the population there is no excuse for not doing the research. Remember to always cross reference the information, everywhere you look, information will be slightly different. The information that shows up most often is usually right.

Note: If you happen to be writing fanfiction, make sure you look at the kinds of clothes that the canon characters wear, just so they fit into that universe.

Choosing Your Clothes
Dressing your character is one of the best parts of creating them because you get to choose what they wear. Of course, it should be realistic and it should fit with their personality. The career you have chosen for them is also important. So, what do you want to choose? They could be dressed in a country's traditional dress (e.g. kimono, dirndl, cheongsam, sari, etc), they could be trying to fit into some kind of sub-culture (e.g. Goth, steam punk, Lolita, etc), it could be historical dress (e.g. Victorian, Edwardian, 1920's, medieval, etc), some kind of uniform (police, army, air force, navy, school, etc) or it could be as simple as a t-shirt and pants.

There are loads of different materials too. Armour would be made out of a strong metal, like steel. A more primitive culture might make armour out of bone and animal skin, however, but it will never be as effective as metal for protection against weapons. For normal, everyday clothes, materials like wool, cotton, nylon, silk, leather, etc. could be used. Still, make sure it fits with your character and your setting. (Some people don't like materials like wool; it can be irritating to their skin. Your character could be one of these kinds of people.)

To make your character stand out a little bit, they could have embellishments such as lace or buttons on their clothes. Remember to not overdo it. If you have to draw your character all the time, less detail would be better.

A character for the fantasy genre is usually dressed in medieval type clothing. They could, however, be dressed in something modern. The only place where clothing can't vary is historical fiction. If you are creating a character to be placed in a specific era, their clothes need to match the time and place.

Jewellery
There are lots of different types of jewellery. Again, giving your character only a few items would be better. Also, jewellery doesn't have to be special or magical in any kind of way, it can just be decoration. It isn't something that is needed; a lot of people don't wear jewellery.

Jewellery can be made out of many different things, most commonly gold and silver with precious gems like rubies, emeralds and diamonds. Copper can be used, but it will almost certainly turn whatever part of the body they are resting on green (if you've ever worn a cheap, copper ring for a long time, you'll know what I mean).

Piercings are a common form of jewellery. Ears are commonly pierced, but so are many other parts of the body. The navel, tongue, eyebrows, nose, and more can be pierced. Remember, in modern times, these are acceptable for anyone to have, but they wouldn't have been in civilised cultures in the past. If you have a tribal character then it would be fine to have piercings on the face, it probably wouldn't be unusual – but research is still important, make sure you do it.

Conclusion
So, your character is finally dressed. There are probably a few things to figure out though. If they are going to have skills, they shouldn't have too many different ones. If they are going to have magical abilities, then there is still more to come. I hope this was helpful.
This isn't as long as some of my other tutorials but I hope it helps a bit.

I don't know if I'll write a turtorial about talents and skills, if I do, it will probably be within the tips about magical powers.
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:iconmagicanimal13:
magicanimal13 Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2014
how would I describe clothing in a fantasy setting since a new design in a new land?
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:iconshade-arts:
Shade-Arts Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Hmm... I'm not quite sure what you're asking.

When I describe clothing, I tend to write what they are, like, one of my characters wears a salwar kameez with a dupatta, so that's what I call it in story when she or someone who knows what it is is telling the story that chapter, if it's a chapter with a character telling the story who doesn't know what those items of clothing are called, they simplify it into something they do know, so the dupatta is just called a scarf in those chapters.

So, maybe break the clothes down into parts and describe them simply while still getting to get the general idea of what they're wearing across? Does that help any?
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:iconmagicanimal13:
magicanimal13 Featured By Owner Oct 14, 2014
Yes, thanks because I'm writing a novel and the clothing description is kind of hard to explain with out trying to confuse them to much.
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:iconspacy-stacy:
spacy-stacy Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist
"Note: Pale skinned people will also tend to cover up more than a darker skinned person to prevent sunburn."
Friendly reminder to all the writers out there that, while fair skin often burns easily, you can get sunburnt no matter how dark your skin is.

"Remember, in modern times, [piercings] are acceptable for anyone to have, but they wouldn't have been in civilised cultures in the past."
Not necessarily true; a modern lawyer with a nose piercing is probably going to get unpleasant comments about it, not even mentioning people who can't wear piercings or dangling jewelry/hair for safety reasons. For an upper-class Indian woman in the 1700's, though, a nose piercing is pretty much on the same level as ear piercings--fashionable and refined.  In Europe in centuries past, many sailors had their ears pierced.  This goes back to "Before we decide on their clothes, we need to figure out what they actually do for a living," under Basics, and all the parts about research.

Just, what I'd like to add.
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:iconshade-arts:
Shade-Arts Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to incorporate them into the update when I get around to it (because it really needs one ^^; they all do)
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:iconsamanthamanga:
SamanthaManga Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This was really helpful. I hadn't thought about how their job and environment could affect the way they dress before I read this, thanks so much 
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:iconshade-arts:
Shade-Arts Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are very welcome! I'm glad it helped! :heart:
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:iconsparky-sumi:
Sparky-Sumi Featured By Owner May 4, 2013
I've been trying to figure out what my characters should wear for a while now, and I think this might help/
Thanks! =)
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:iconshade-arts:
Shade-Arts Featured By Owner May 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You're very welcome! I'm glad I could help :)
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