Hou! This is one of the regular person in the fanon.... Literally regular... like a random member who joined and write an OC page ^^; Although I might be lying. But which one is the lie?.. Ok, I'll stop playing around. Some people know me as an artist. Not a singular artist to be exact.
So after hearing certain rumor about how the OCs in this fanon are designed, I decide to explore around to see it for myself. Turns out I get the gist that the rumor are being true.
Rather than having me ended up ranting like Hitler, I will just instead try to helping you out in designing your OC.
To preface. First, my guide is based on my experience on designing a character. So it might be amateurish. Second, this guide is completely optional and isn't really much important for your OC acceptance. Lastly, this guide isn't about helping you describing your OC in a well-written literature or teaching you how to draw your OC. But its more like helping you imagining how your OC looked like in a more interesting look.
You don't want your OC looks boring (in appearance), do you? You do want them to look awesome, unique, badass, fabulous, meaningful, one of a kind or exotic, don't you? Well, its all on your imagination. But the problem is, how far do you imagining things?
Now let me help you to expand your field of imagination. First you must......
STEP 1 - Define your character physical appearance
Try to answer by imagining how are the character physic looked like? are they tall, lean, muscular?
Are they faunus or human? If faunus, what are their species and what trait do they have?
How tall are they?
What are their skin color?
What are their eye color? does the eye identity have extra feature such as having white pupil?
What are their hair color? What are their hairstyle? If you couldn't describe them, there are a list of hairstyle here. Does the base hairstyle has extra feature such as ahoge, long bangs, hair that looks like an object or mixture of them?
Do they have a scar? In which part of body the scar is? specify how the scar shaped like?
Do they have physic disability?
Do they have mustache? Beard? any facial hair?
Do they have any other special feature?
Got the gist of how your OC appearance looked like? Then lets move on to......
STEP 2 - Selecting your base fashion
What is the base culture/background/motif of your OC? is she/he based on Italian culture? French culture? Tribal people? Russian? An engineer? A medieval knight? futuristic themed? or mystical themed?
Now let me tell you why Alien visit our planet from time to time. They come here to study our fashion. Our fashion was discovered by the pre-historic caveman and later re-discovered by an Ancient Aztec shaman by the name of Oliver Clothesoff. The sole reason why Alien wanted to study our fashion was because they are jealous of our varied fabulousness. Comparing to the human, Alien fashion was always been a jumpsuit spandex. A plain jumpsuit spandex that they had to take their entire clothes off whenever they want to defecate in the toilet.
There are a lot of type of fashion beside our everyday casual clothing. Lets take your imagination go around the world, shall we?
First, there are vast number of culture in this world and each of them have different fashion in clothing which makes them individually diverging each other. Example, Japan fashion are known for their Kimono, o-yoroi, etc. European fashion are known for their medieval knights, noble attire, etc. Arabian has their thobe fashion. India has their sarees. Then Mongolian has their pointy fur hat and many more.
Alongside culture, each person has their own background in which affecting their way of fashion. Such as engineers tends to wear a techy outfit, adventurer tends to wear a hiking outfit, and poor people wouldn't wear a fancy outfit since they couldn't afford them.
Lastly, there is such thing as motif in designing a fashion. It can come from either existing or nonexisting objects. It can be anything! Frog, fish, eagle, tree, fairy, pumpkin, fruit, train, car and many more. A fashion with eagle motif will make the clothing somewhat resembles an eagle, fashion with fairy motif will make the clothing somewhat resembles a fairy. I must warn you that I'm NOT talking about a fashion like this. I'm talking about something what Crystal /Tianee/Grizel had in their fashion. Crystal has a motif of a fairy, Tianee has a reindeer motif, and Grizel has a swan motif. However, pulling this off will took some amount of creativity. I will provide you a tips about how to pull this off on later section.
Also, you can combine either of culture, background, or motif as your theme. Such as having your OC having European adventurer fashion with an eagle motif in their design or perhaps combining Mexican culture with Chinese.
Sometimes one would overlooked some usual thing that actually potential for a base fashion. Such as one of your own traditional cultural activities. Sometimes you may found that some type of people in your country are still carrying their culture for the reason to keep them alive and known. And of course these people may also wearing attires that divergent from what you're wearing everyday. You can take those as a base fashion as well. Because if you do, it will help us who aren't from your country to know your culture even more.
So....... once again, what would be your OC base theme? I suggest doing a research at your selected theme and reckon how the base fashion looked like. (Plus material if you can)
Have you decide your base fashion yet? If yes then lets........
STEP 3 - Decorate your base fashion
This is the part where you use your imagination and tweak the base fashion into something new.
Before we begin, have this mindset : "I want my OC design different than other! I want to design something that haven't exist!". Think of a design that you think anyone wouldn't come up with.
Make sure your design not to be way too plain. Because plain design is something that anyone can easily come up with. Especially if they are common clothes. Anyone who design plain fashion has higher chance to accidentally copied another plain fashion. Besides, we're designing fashion for RWBY OC where character alludes to mythology/fairy tale character. Give them some resemblance to their fairy tale/mythology base. Try to give the design some fantasy attachment as if we're not in real world. Break the boundary in your imagination that limits you from seeing something new. Make your imagination travel even further to discover new things.
Remember that we're the human that the Aliens trying to study. We're more fabulous and sexy than their plain jumpsuit spandex. Make them jealous even more. Show them the power that turns Oliver Clothesoff into Oliver Clotheson.
There are tons of ways to decorate your base fashion. Some of them are :
- Decorate the base clothes with an ornate or simple decoration,
- Give the base clothes some unartistic/unelegant extra feature. (If the character has fitting background)
- Adding accessories such as necklace, hat, earring, ring, bandanna and many more.
- Invent a new features such as adding extra cloth and attach it to some part of the base clothing.
- Giving the whole design a motif.
- Give the design a notable feature.
If you're writer but not an artist, then you're lucky IMO. Because if you know a lot about fashion aspect, you can design your OC as wild as you can without the limit of your artistic skill. You just can write them up to your heart content. However, me as an artist anyway, is limited to what my skill can do even if I know a lot about fashion aspect. I tends to keep my OC design doable by my skills.
Anyway, now that you know it. You can troll the hell out of the artist you're about to commish. With your fabulous way on describing your OC design, you can gives the artist an infinite loop of headache.
Speaking of artist limit, I once ever had a chance to get a free sketch art from an artist because she was looking for a chance to improve herself. Or at least that was her point of view. Other people besides her was like "YAY!! free art!" that they swarmed her blog with OC request. All requested their OC to be drawn except me. I requested her to draw her own OC......... for a price. I don't really want my OC to be drawn that time because I can squeegee my OC's weiner with my skillz. I'm talking about the price the mission being freaking GOBLET before she improved her skills. Like an ABSOLUTE CHALLENGE just to get improved.
I asked her to draw cape under the robe.. Then put it on the leg....... Then a cargo pants with a hoodie and put it on the body. But damnit, I will make her create the world best fashion ever designed. And it start with these cape under the robe. This design shall paved the way to the tranquility of the fashion.
In the end she was like "Dude, you're drunk!". Then I was like "Wow.. It seems my challenge appear to be beyond hardcore."
A - Decorate the base clothes with an ornate or simple decoration
If you think your base fashion is plain, then this is your chance to give it some decoration. Lets start with simple decoration such as lines, zigzag, jaw-like line, bubles or some part in the attire that has different color. You can put them around the sleeve end, or you can put them goes down accros the hem or put them at wherever part of your base fashion.
Same goes to ornate, except they are even harder to be applied on your design if you're an average artist like me. But If you are a writer, you can apply the ornate like a boss and hire an artist to do the dirty job for you. >D . But please don't hire me to do that D:
You can also attach these kind of decoration on an armor. Like adding them extra paint on some part or having the plate engraved an ornate of something and many more.
B - Give the base clothes some messy/inelegant extra feature
This usually only fitting if the character happen to have a matching background to this kind of feature.
Not every character has artistic sense of fashion. Some type of character would like some part of their clothes to be torn to make them looks cool or whatever reason and background they have.
You can torn the knee part of the pants, sleeves, or other part. Giving some patch can also add the vibe of messyness to the character.
I'm sure there are probably more kind of this feature that my knowledge don't know of.
C - Adding accessories
Necklace, circlet, wristband, Capes, ribbon, choker, shawl, belts, ring, earings, flowers, hairpin, mask, glasses, sunglasses, even chains. You can imagine something ridiculous in this part such as putting belt at thigh, having them hanging on the side of an already equipped belt, and many more ways. Even it can be worn as bandanna.
Same goes to the other accessories, they may can be worn on a part where they aren't suppose to be. And when they are put on a place where the aren't suppose to, their size are usually altered to fit the place they're in. It can turns them into somekind of unusual accessories. I have a design example for this case.
Ring. Do you know where rings are usually put? Fingers right? But this dude put them on a jacket as accessories with a strap that kept them stood in place. You may thought it is weird, but it give the plain white jacket some spark that decreases its plainness.
Utilities, pouches, holster, bandoller, and sheath can be added too. Especially pouches. During Velvet design contest, Monty Oum himself stated in his twiter that he made sure that his character design equipped with pouches/pockets for the cosplayer to put their wallet in. So you know what does this mean. The word of "God" has spoken.
On the side note, giving utilities, pouches, sheath, holster, or pocket to the character do makes things plausible. Imagine this : Your character has a weapon, but where will he/she put the weapon? Your character carry a lots of money, but where will she/he put the money?
What if they don't have the place to put their stuff in when they have stuff to carry?
Its not like all character can summon and de-summon their stuff out of thin air, right?(SPOILER!!)
Personally, even in my original verse story, I always made sure all the character have something to put their stuff in. But that just my personal way on designing my thing.
D - Invent a new feature
Sometimes you might come across with a character that has unusual feature in their fashion. One of the example is Cloud Strife (Advent Children version). He has that side waist cape that kept hanged by the belt over his shoulder and other side of the waist. Then he also have those external sleeves attached along with his shoulder pad. One may say it is weird but it has their own charm that appealing for the viewer. Note that Cloud isn't the only character out there who has unusual extra features.
I can't say I have enough experience on doing this. But at least I ever did this kind of thing in designing character before. So I'll tell you a story when I design one of my OC. Her fashion base is a mixture between Chinese traditional and business woman. I kept the hem of the inner layer Chinese traditional as far as to reach few centimeters past her crotch. But the business woman jacket over it doesn't seems to look like a battle clothes. So I add some three calf-length extra cloth attached on both sides and back of the waist respectively. They are kept in place by some sort of accessories I invented. Which is combination of circlet and chains that overall makes a belt that tacks both the extra cloths and the business jacket. As result, the business jacket become more combat oriented.
Thus, I suggest you to do this if you find something is missing in the design. Like how my design lacks combat theme that I add some extra feature to make it more combat oriented.
E - Giving the whole design a motif
In my honest opinion, this is the most fun part when designing your character. But it requires some creativity to do so. So I'm gonna give you some tips of how to do so :
Say, do your character have a hobby? What kind of stuff does she/he likes? what is your character job? what is your character base fairy tale/myth? Or I can ask the same question to you, the author. Either way, these question expecting the same type of answer. Let start with the character hobby.
- Let say what if your character hobby is playing piano? Then you must have the idea to make part of the character design resembles aspect from piano. It can be altering, hairstyle, giving a musical tatoo, doing either point A-D at above with a decoration or whole shape that looks like piano or a part of it. But in this case, I had an idea of altering a shirt collar to resembles piano keys.
- Let say what if your character likes bug? A lady bug to be exact. In this case, I had an idea to make a red shawl with black dots which overall resembles the lady bug's shell color and pattern. But you can creatively alter it such as instead of giving that pattern into a shawl, you give the pattern into the shirt/blouse/or other part of the clothing. But remember, the red and black dots aren't the only thing you can take from a lady bug. For instance, you can take the shape of the shell itself and make an armor that resembles it.
- Let say what if your character fairy tale/myth is based on Arianrhood which related to full moon? As much as I have an OC alludes to that Goddess. I personaly gave her a ribbon with moon ornament on the side of her hair. Though at the same time I think that her resemblance to moon is rather weak. But at least she has a bit moon motif in her design.
- Let pretend that you likes flames. You must have an urge to design something based on your favorite thing. In this case, I have an idea of giving the end of the pants and shirt wrist a flame decoration. Or if your character have an armor, I'd give the plate a flaming engraving or a paint that formed flame altogheterly. But you can creatively place the flame whatever you want.
With these example above, I do hope you got the idea what I mean by adding motif. Motif can be based on anything. Even ornament on a table, objects we seen in the real life can be an inspiration.
F - Give the design a notable feature
Coming up with notable feature is quite hard. Notable feature is some part of the design that ONLY your character had while no other character does. It makes your character effectively iconic that one can recognize your character is your character by looking at their notable feature. Easy example : Mickey Mouse. You can tell a character is Mickey when you look at his unique mouse ear. But we're not making cartoon character here. So I'm gonna give you a rather obscure example : Gatotkaca. He has two notable features which are his garuda wing-like armor and his teapot head. You know a character is Gatotkaca if you saw a teapot head and the garuda-wing armor such as this .
I really have no real guide how to come up with this. You must like invent a new type of design quirk that strongly recognizeable. But I can say this much:
I suggest you to re-explore point A-E above and invent something new.
If you had no idea what addition you should add, take reference from your favorite anime, game, movie character or something. Notice the "Extra Features" that makes their design turns you up. You can take reference from those. But remember, TRY TO AVOID PLAGIARISM.
STEP 4 - Chose your color
This part can be easy to hard. Sometimes if you poorly choose your character color, they might be an eyesore to look. it gives you the feeling that something isn't right. So here is some tips :
- Give more than one color. (But careful, some color doesn't blend each other.)
- Make sure the other color above blends with the original color. You can take reference from an already existing well-designed character to give you the gist about what color that blends with what color.
- Give a gradient color if you can. Example like how Weiss Schnee has gradient color from white to ice blue in her gown.
- If you choose to keep the singular color, give them another shade of that singular color. Such as Red with Darker Red.
- Carefull with bright color. Make sure they have a matching other color.
- Consider that we aren't designing a power ranger. Unless if you create an OC that purposely to be like that or similar to that.
TRY NOT TO :
- Give singular color without variety of shades or other blending color. Especially if the main color is bright.
STEP 5 - Make sure the design fits to the character background
Use your brain, my friend (Says someone whose logic doesn't work sometimes). Make sure whatever you design do matches with your character background. Such as poor families barely have a fancy schmancy fashion. A cultured person with pride will hardly get influenced by another culture.
Lets explain this in fun way, shall we?(Joking warning!!)
Let say, I want to create an OC who lives in cold weather environment. Lets give her a sexy reavealing outfit because she is beautiful and hawt. Then TA DA!!
Sexy girl who lives in snowy environment are kewl, aren't they?
By mean kewl as in cold. Are you freaking serious? Do you have any idea she could catch cold in that condition? I dunno.. Maybe she is either a troll or a hardcore. She maybe intent to troll people by spreading the flu she got to other country in her traveling. If things like that in real life, then I suggest all of the Cold environment people out there not to frequently cause a catastrophic nose-blasting massive influenza infection napalm strike. Which is what happen in that picture.
Are you laughing?
Bad news : You might be laughing at your own design (Including my own design). So make sure whatever design you had matches their background.
If you failed in this step, you can go back and restart from either Step 1 or 2.
STEP 6 - Pretend you're wearing your design
Lets think like this : Pretend you're the OC you're creating with their ability. Then wear the set of outwear you just designed. Do they supress your battle performance? Do they bother you in some way? I'm gonna tell you my experience when I designed an OC some years ago. I created a heavy warrior who wields heavy weapon. Among the overall design, I screw up in her footwear. I gave her a high heel shoes knowing how heavy her weapon is. Then somebody saw my design and criticize me. He says "The heels will bother her and she could fall during battle". I tried to imagine what if I'm my OC, and he was right. Thus, I redesign the flawed part of my design until it fits.
Actually, I should have given him the
excusereasoning "Its combat high heel!".
If you failed in this step, you can go back and restart from either step 1 (If some physical identity misfit), 2 (If the base fashion misfit), or 3 (If the decoration bothers the character).
These are tips that I got from either my experience in designing or a tips from someone else who know about designing.
- "Simple design can be cool if they have a pattern going on around." ~Comes from the artist who ever criticize my design about the high heel. (Example)
- "If you can(I'm sure most everyone can), do not give careless overdetail to your character design. It can hinders its meaningful impression." ~Me
- "Proper color choice can make even a simple design attractive."
- "Good color choice can be more important or influential than the design itself." ~Decathartique
Keep the design simple. However, plain and simple are different in this case. Plain in this case is referring to ordinary and flat design that doesn't give impression to the viewer. While simple is referring to design that is memorable, without the need of many complication.
Then a quote from Albert Einstein : "Creativity is knowing how to hide your source". It means that creativity comes from various sources that being mixed together into something that had never been done before. So take inspirations then mix them into something new.
So in the end it depends on your :
If I'm missing something, please do tell me in the comment bellow. I'm still amateur, I'm sure there are still much more I might have overlooked. Also pardon for my randomness ^^;