FZDSCHOOL EPISODE 52 - Visual Library
How to build up your visual library. Please watch in HD.
A rundown on what a visual library is, why it’s useful, and how to develop one.
So my historical costuming resources list from 2011 was less than a page long- I’m not saying that I’ve learned a lot in the past three years, but this list is now sitting pretty at a solid nine pages. Whew. And people wonder why I want to redo this damn series.
This list is by no means an exhaustive one- it’s a list of (primarily western) historical fashion resources, both online and offline, that is limited to what I know, own, or use! It’s a work in progress, and I’m definitely hoping to expand on it as my knowledge base grows. First things first, how about a little:
ADVICE FOR RESEARCHING HISTORICAL FASHION
- Read, and read about more than just costuming. Allowing yourself to understand the cultural and historical context surrounding the clothing of a particular region/period can be invaluable in sussing out good costume design. Looking at pictures is all well and good, but reading about societal pressures, about construction techniques, daily routines, local symbolism, whatever else will really help you understand the rhyme and reason behind costuming from any given context.
- Expand your costume vocabulary. When you’re delving into a new topic, costuming or otherwise, picking up new terminology is essential to proper understanding and furthering your research. Write down or take note of terms as you come across them- google them, look up synonyms, and use those words as a jumping off point for more research. What’s a wire rebato? How does it differ from a supportasse? Inquiring minds want to know.
- Double-check your sources. Especially on the internet, and double especially on tumblr. I love it, but it’s ground zero for rapidly spreading misinformation. Books are usually your safest bet, but also take into account their date of publication, who’s writing them- an author’s biases can severely mangle their original source material.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Do everything you can to find out information on your own, but feel free to reach out to people with more specialized areas of knowledge for help! Be considerate about it- the people you’re asking are busy as well- but a specific line of questioning that proves you’re passionate and that you respect their subject matter expertise can work wonders.
Okay, onto the links!
It’s impossible to overstate the importance of getting off the internet and looking into books! God bless the internet, but books are (generally, this isn’t a rule) better-researched and better-sourced. Bibliographies also mean each individual books can be a jumping off point for further research, which is always a fantastic thing.
Remember- owning books is awesome and you should absolutely assemble your own library of resources, but LIBRARIES. Libraries. You’ll be surprised to find what books are available to you at your local library.
GENERAL / SURVEYS
- British Costume from Earliest Times to 1820
Fine book with lots of first hand sources, but be wary of the photography in the book- reproduction costumes and thus somewhat less reliable. Though hilarious.
- Corsets and Crinolines
Norah Waugh’s invaluable survey of corsetry and corset patterns- used the world ‘round by modern corsetieres.
- Costume in Detail: Women’s Dress 1730-1930
Elaborate line drawings/diagrams of extant period garments! A fantastic survey.
- Cut of Men’s Clothes
PDF available online! Patterns for men’s period garments.
- Cut of Women’s Clothes
Patterns for women’s period garments.
- Greenwood Encyclopedia of Clothing Through World History
This is a library find, unless you have a pretty three hundred bucks lying around- a great, general resource.
- A History of Costume
A lot of good text and info, to be taken with a grain of salt. Be wary of any reconstructions and or “supposed” patterns that aren’t directly based on extant garments or firsthand accounts.
- Fashion (Taschen 25th Anniversary)
A survey of the Kyoto Costume Institute’s fashion collection- broad but beautiful. On every fashion student’s bookcase.
- Fashion: The Definitive History of Costume and Style
Great overview of fashion history from the Smithsonian and DK publishing.
- The History of Costume: From the Ancient Mesopotamians Through the Twentieth Century
Broad costume survey, second edition.
- What People Wore: 1,800 Illustrations from Ancient Times to the Early Twentieth Century
this is one of those “I am putting this here because I used it a ton when I was younger” but man, mixed bag. Really cool survey to browse through, but also work that is a copy-of-a-copy-of-a-copy in most instances and thus not necessarily trustworthy as a resource.
- What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society
A collection of Racinet and Hottentoth’s costume plates from the 19th century. A beautiful survey but, since these are later illustrations, to be taken with a grain of salt.
Patterns fo Fashion books
Detailed, hand-drawn diagrams of historical fashion, inside and out. Pretty amazing stuff.
- Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women, C.1560-1620
- Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1660-1860
- Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses & Their Construction C. 1860-1940
- Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of Linen Shirts, Smocks, Neckwear, Headwear and Accessories for Men and Women C. 1540-1660
Fashion in Detail books
Not what you want if you’re looking for photos of entire costumes- note the “in detail” bit up there. Just a beautiful series, and great reference for all the little things you might miss otherwise. The V&A has an amazing fashion collection, and it’s great to see them share it with the world.
- Nineteenth Century Fashion in Detail
- Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail
- Underwear: Fashion in Detail
- World Dress: Fashion in Detail
The one non-western entry in the series.
- Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915
LACMA’s response to the V&A’s series mentioned above, also an invaluable resource for historical fashion detail.
Those are questions I have no confident answers for unfortunately. In my case, usually I just Do. If what I do has bitten me in the ass, I don’t know it yet. So uh. /gulp Here’s some rambling on the subject:
The sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating fact is that the industry is really small and everybody has worked with everybody. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of double checking everything you intend to put out there, even if you’re using a pseudonym, because it’s The Internet Where Nothing Is Forgotten. Before I post something I try to make sure I’ve expressed what I want to say as clearly as I possibly can, as constructively as I can, and as conscious of the audience as I can be. I also think a little bit about how I’d feel hearing my own statements read back to me. I’d be a little embarrassed by default, but if I’d be super embarrassed or even nitpick myself if I were in a different frame of mind then that post needs a tune-up.
The constructive part is pretty crucial. I don’t believe its necessary to never voice an opinion about anything (though some people choose that as the safest and simplest route) but the internet is already full of people who have nothing to say but IT SUXXX. I don’t think anybody would come after you with pitchforks for an offhand reply to a friend’s status on Facebook saying “lol binfinite” but I mean, we’ve all gone to middle school. You learn how to feel out when or with whom its okay to make certain comments.
It also helps to be extremely conscious of your current standing. If you’re employed somewhere major and are making critiques of other games under your own name, there are entire forums waiting to use such a thing as evidence of SHOTS FIRED. So… a pseudonym or handle is recommended. One specific to those types of opinions, preferably, and at a distance from your regular handle. Then there’s the chance it explodes into A Blog and you feel bad when life gets in the way of you posting on it but ah heh *cough*
As for HR people coming after the entire history of your presence on the internet, I’m not completely sure that’s a regular occurrence in the games industry? I wish I had more solid answers for you. Generally people hire people they know, and given that everyone knows everyone, I can’t imagine a scenario when they’d have to do major sleuthing. The scary way of looking at that is if you’ve been such an enormous butt on the internet that they won’t hire you because of it, they already know (but frankly I’ve seen some people do some slimy things and continue to be employed. ‘be more skilled than you are a douche’ was the takeaway from that) So um x_x sorry I can’t be more help than that.
I’m just not sure about the lower half…feels a little samey after a bit…the upper parts I’m pretty happy with though.
Any input you have I’d appreciate…
Sorry I couldn’t really find much to say. Been busy :X
The thing that I’d like to see ironed out most is the skirt and where it comes from/how it stays up. Hopefully that makes sense.
Albrecht Dürer, design for tournament helmets in three elevations, Turnierhelme, around 1500 | Musée du Louvre, Département des Arts graphiques, Paris/Courtesy Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg.
Dürer was a gifted artist and an aspiring business man as well, his hometown Nuremberg the place to be, a rich, cultural metropolis at that time. These helmets must have been height of fashion in the arena.
That’s certainly another possibility. To further explain my decisionmaking, I felt dissuaded from using woven materials because those have to be produced and would therefore require she enter a society to get them. I got a ‘completely cut off from society’ impression from the brief so I wanted everything to be made from materials she could acquire through hunting, though it’s possible she returns to get resources like metal tools and fabrics, in which case finer, woven material would make more sense to me. Unless you are suggesting a more chiton-like arrangement of skins, which would be rrraaaather cool. It’s up to Ludmila :D
I found your blog today and I’m truly amazed by your tips in making designs, so I thought about asking for some help with Arhlis’ design, because I can’t be satisfied with her.
She is a blood mage from the Dragon Age universe and was raised in the woods, so she doesn’t really care about “civilized” things like looking pretty and covering skin. I wanted her to have some kind of wild look, but at the same time have protection for fights (in wich I failed, as you can see). Being weak, she can’t stand to use armour and I couldn’t think of a way to make her look protected without losing her wild mage look.
I hope the image is not too bad (my tablet broke, so I couldn’t do it digitally :/) and I’m looking forward for your tips!
Phew, I found some free time. There you go! Hopefully there’s something helpful in there :)
Pay the most attention to the writing — the redesign is one of many possible solutions and certainly one I whipped up quickly.
AKA, I Really Like Gen V Art
Good stuff, I just want to add that the human designs in Gen V are by Yusuke Ohmura, not Ken Sugimori, which is why the style is pretty different.
Good to know, thank you! He certainly made a big difference.