Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dressing Cricket: the first sketch

It occurred to me that while I'm designing my fictional character Cricket, for Cricket and Grey, it would be helpful to dress her too. How a person dresses says a lot about who they are. Who they are has a tremendous influence on how they dress. What they do for a living, what environment they live in (climate is a big influence), and their attitudes about life will all determine what a person will wear and how they will wear them.

The first montage is a kind of overview of the feeling of Cricket's sense of style. Here's a corresponding brief sketch of her: She's 5'6" tall, has bright red straight hair worn in a straight bob with no bangs, she's freckled, light skinned tending towards flushes of pink, light lashes, doesn't wear makeup often, round face, thin but has small chest and curvy hips.

She's an herbalist by trade, forages as well as cultivates her own herbs, therefore spends lots of time getting dirty. She mostly rides a bicycle for transportation and walks a lot.

She's well read, intelligent, a meticulous worker, her skills at herbalism are like a fine cellist's work (delicate but strong, graceful and smooth, lyrical), her other skills are more utilitarian (cooking, would never bake a Madeline, for example, more likely to make pemmican). She is awkward with strangers, shy, quiet, watchful.

She is gutsy and can throw a punch, thanks to her father, as well as a professional pugilist, she's light on her feet, and uses weapons with surprising sangfroid and skill.

With people she knows really well she's at ease, more talkative, has a dry sense of humor, and is warm.

Cricket has few occasions to wear dresses but these two I thought were exactly the kind of thing she'd wear if she had to dress up. Particularly the brown dress. The other dress I kept putting back into my binder because of the elaborate detail on the bodice of the dress but the funny thing about designing fictional characters is that you start to develop a gut instinct about them. Which, them being fictional, is kind of strange. It would be just like Cricket to wear a linen dress with some good details but wear thick leather boots with it.

Important details of Cricket's dress: natural fibers only with emphasis on cotton and wool. Utilitarian with some fine but streamlined details. Clothes must all be durable. She favors neutrals with only occasional cautious splashes of color. Style is blend of early 20th century with with a streamlined futuristic treatment, taste for masculine clothes. Capes are favored, but nothing with ruffles or huge dramatic billows. Tailored, close, tidy. She would never wear heels. Ever. On no occasion. So that picture with the chinos paired with heels? Ridiculous.

I think as I get into writing the book more will become clear. I may need to design a few things myself because while these pictures begin to sketch out how she might dress, they're missing something I see in my mind.


  1. Fabulous! Love both dresses...great neutrals, just my style!

  2. Aren't they great?! I keep thinking of these two dresses and letting that be some of my inspiration for more exercise. I'd like dress up again before I die and I think I need to wear something inspired by these.