Ever wondered how artists and authors decide how to costume their characters? Here is how I do it.
#1: what is the character’s job/economic status?
In Faminelands, Lark and Orin are mercenaries so they need armor that is lightweight. They are not rich so they will never be in gleaming plate-mail.
As the point of armor is to protect the body from injury, so I am a true believer of armor on both men and women warriors. I think the idea of a metal bikini is stupid. When I see the metal bikini on women warriors, I get pissed. I will probably never draw a character in skimpy armor.
That being said, Lark is also growing, so her armor more than anyone else’s will change. I tried to make it look piece-meal.
I also don’t think you should always show your characters in armor. Both for comfort and to protect their privacy, they probably would not wear armor to the market.
#2 Purpose of outfit.
Now Lark is a young girl. In the books she has four basic costumes: all appropriate at different times. Plus many of the articles of clothing are mix and match. Orin also has four basic costumes.
She has breeches, boots, green cloak and a white tunic. If she is in armor, we see a light weight leather kidney belt, leather upper chest protection and leather skirt, covered in belting. If she is in town: she also has a heavier pale green tunic. She also has a blue dress, she wears to sing in.
Orin has pants, boots, nearly black/green cloak and a white tunic. He wears a full boiled leather curiass covered by belting. As he is stronger, he also wears metal over his calms and metal bracers on his forearms. For town, he has two tunics, a heavy green one and a sleeveless blue. The blue is his nicest garment. He only wears his for evenings.
In the Daoine, they have a few more options depending whether they are in the great house or staying with their father who is a bowyer. Even still, I try to make it clear, she doesn’t have an unending supply of clothing. They are not supposed to be rich.
#3 Choose a color family and stick with it in order to differentiate as well as group your characters.
Lark’s cloak is a very specific color of green. It was the first color that I decided upon. Not only is it the same green as Lady Aster’s main gown, but we see it mimicked on every person from House T’Ralom (including Orin’s everyday pants.) His cloak is almost black, yet almost gives the appearance of green.
Lark and Orin’s colors are almost always mimic eachother. His darker and more masculine, hers lighter and feminine. Part of it is to reiterate that he is older, yet it also enhances his masculinity.
As I said, Lark and Orin are warriors. So no matter what they are wearing they are also minimally armed with small blades. More often then not, you see them armed with more even if they are not in battle.
If on the road, you also see backpacks and bedrolls.
Anyway so that is how I do it, how do other people decide what their characters will wear?