Now that I have a general gist of the pose and layout I want from my thumbnail sketches, I move on to creating the fashions for Lady of July. Thinking on the romantic origins of Tanabata and Qixi, I found myself drawn to the graceful flow of ancient Chinese Hanfu dresses. This style of clothing creates a fantastical element with its highly decorative representations in historical fantasy movies and costumery. I also knew from the beginning I wanted to incorporate the star themes in the wish talismans of Tanabata.
The Hanfu style also shares many characteristics with Japanese kimono, which helped me to push Lady of July’s fashion into a more fantastical realm, as I don’t want her to represent any specific period or culture. Using my trusty croquis sketchbook, I worked up a couple of variations in gray marker.
In doing these variations, I wanted an outfit that would flow with her figure and also be light and airy, which makes the gauzy sleeves of the outfit on the left more fitting.
The 2nd variation on the right explored a more layered, regal feel utilizing more of the talismans in the design. I like this look quite a lot, though it feels too heavy and restrictive for this free flying Lady!
If you look closely in the trim and sashes, I went with the decorative theme of shooting stars, again in homage to the Star festival and her kinship with the sky. I’ve also worked in her Larkspur birth flower as a decorative element in the print of her skirt and sleeves.
In the end, I suspect I’ll be utilizing an outfit which relies mainly on elements of the design on the left, but with the star talismans and pale hair of the design on the right.
I realized in laying in basic values with the greys that I liked the idea of her hair being an unearthly white, as the final figure will be against a night sky. This would help the figure stand out from the sky, as well as give her a supernatural presence as if she is the embodiment of a star.
I realize the further I go along with this series, the more fantastical these Ladies are becoming. Not necessarily a bad thing!
Which outfits do you like? What do you think of the fantastical direction I might be going with this one? Let me know in comments! Next up, I’ll be working on the composition and window designs. Stay tuned!
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