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Saturday, June 17, 2017

Shortcuts to Superhero Costumes

Just rehashing this from by Deviantart blog. I once pondered on why superheroes are usually wearing spandex, that if you remove the lines, they’ll appear naked. Then I realized, something I should have realized long ago: it’s how the artists are trained to draw it anyway.

Yeah, he's naked until you draw lines and color him

As we artists are familiar with, instruction books and even art schools teach us to master the idealized human figure, with all its muscles and skin. Clothing tends to be an advanced thing to draw; for example, look at some artists who draw suits on men as if they were wearing fitted t-shirts with a suit drawn on it. Terrible, isn’t it?

But I’ve realized, that’s how superheroes are drawn. Draw the naked human figure, then draw lines on it, color it, and voila, the costume. They just cover the crotch, put shoes on the feet, and sometimes a mask on the face. It's actually a shortcut, so it’s tempting to say it's a lazy way of doing things; but on the other hand, there are also deadlines and the amount of work in making a comic. Not to mention limited printing technology in the old days, no computers.

But I believe artists should really move to the next level. This why I like drawing armored heroes or heroes with much more detail on the costume. You do start with the idealized body, but you actually draw more clothes and details over it. You put a lot more thought and effort, and so it doesn’t seem like a lazy job. The design of armor or a buffed up costume takes a life of its own. This especially applies to Japanese tokusatsu-style armor, the aesthetics of which I really love (Not the sentai though, they just wear tights with helmets). My favorites include Magna Ryugunou, Kamen Rider Kabuto, Accel Trial, Agito Burning, Kiva Emperor, Janperson and Jiban. Oh, and add the latest Amazons rider designs. These show a lot of apparent effort put into them that paid off.  

Well, not all lines and paint make a successful costume. hehe

The controversial Milo Manara rendition of Spider Woman, which cosplayers replicated with just body-paint

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