Monday, December 24, 2007

The process, Part One

I began my trek as a virtual designer nearly two years ago. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it's not that long, but I can look at my first works and my present works and just be amazed.
There are a few things that have helped me along the way. On the technical side, hands down other designers blogs and the SL forums have helped the most.
I am working on a new line of clothes, and I thought.. time to give back.
So here you are, the first part of a series of blogs while I make something. I'm hoping an insight into the design process will help whoever may read this create more.

My first steps in the design process is to draw it out. Pencil and paper. I prefer charcoal pencils because they smudge nicely. Most of the time I sit down on the couch, and just draw. I watch TV, see what people are wearing, and pay attention. I can't stress that enough.
Ask yourself some questions:
1. What are the main colors I see?
2. Are there a lot of layers?
3. Is there an Era of fashion (ie 30's 40's 80's) that seems to stand out?
4. What sort of lines are there?
- Lines - In fashion, if you look at an outfit you can see the silhouette or "lines" of an outfit. Is it really angular? Soft? Flowing? rigid? sharp?
5. What sort of fabrics? Light? heavy? rough? soft?

Then on to the drawing itself. Normally I draw 4-5 separate things before picking one thing to focus on and work from. My drawings and designs evolve. I start with a doodle, then go on and take pieces of that doodle and move forward. Pick out the pieces you like, throw away the rest. Keep adding and taking away. This process doesn't stop when you stop drawing, it's all the way through.

Drawing One - For some reason I always lean toward drawing gowns first. I guess it comes from when I was a kid and drew princess gowns. Yes, I was that little girl. I sketched this out after watching an old 40's movie. I liked the angles of it. The strong lines, the hardness of the shape and silhouette and the thought of using really soft feminine fabrics for it.

Drawing Two - I liked the lines, but I thought it was maybe too much. I softened it up here, added in softer accessories. The contrast of what I wanted as feathers over the breast and eventually leather for the rest of the top would have covered it. It's a definite possibility for the future, but I wanted to keep going.

Drawing Three - I wanted to focus more on the actual lines, and maybe detail. I started on this, and realized halfway through it was a corset. Corsets to me are just.. overdone. I still kept the same lines, the cutting and stitching, or patching fabric over at least one side of the chest. Rough next to soft, and sharp angles.

Drawing Four - The more I looked at the rough vs soft, I thought I'd go to the other extreme from my second drawing. I wanted something really harsh. The strips of leather, some fishnet, maybe some sheer fabric to cover the holes, sharp evident stitching and cut up lines. Then below it.. a nice, knit soft khaki straight leg pant. It's like Tim Burton meets a Stepford Wife.

Drawing Five - It's always best to focus on one piece first, usually the hardest then the second piece (ie the pants) so I went straight for the shirt. I cleaned up the lines, added more shading and slightly more detail. I changed the structure a little, and I have a feeling I'll have to change it more soon. A shirt may look fine flat, but when put on a body it changes. You have to change your design to cover SL flaws, or stretching.

So there you have it.
Next will be creating the "template" for the design. It'll get technical there, so I hope I can do it justice.
Lastly, just a few words of advice:
Don't stop drawing. The more you draw, the better you are. Look at my sketches.. I suck at it. But, It's leaps and bounds from drawing stick figures, right?
Don't be afraid of drawing either. So your shirt comes out and it looks horrible. Oh well, you wasted 10L on an upload. The important thing is that you did it. It may sound corny, but it's true. 90% of people in SL wouldn't even try.
and my #1 piece of advice -
It won't happen overnight.

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