RESEARCH

 

COSTUME TROPES IN ANIMATION

Within my Master's degree, received in 2019 from the Arts University Bournemouth, I focused on Costume Design within Animation. 

In addition to collaborative projects, I developed an illustrated essay which explored the history, process, and range of animated costumes though Pirate and Cowboy case studies. The following illustrations and captions are extracted from my larger essay. 

HISTORY

To support my costume investigations, I gathered extensive historical research on traditional cowboy and pirate clothing. Each garment was explored individually and accompanied by images or original illustrations. 

DESIGN EXPLORATION

After understanding the historical garments, I broke down the common elements of "Cowboy" and "Pirate" (unpictured) costumes within film and animation. I created visual timelines to depict highly influential productions and design tropes. I examined the limitations of costume design for animation and how that impacted the range of designs, depicted below.

 

Alongside this research, I posed multiple design challenges including a western character without any conventional garments (above, right) or a character dressed in a cliche pirate costume with a different identity, included as a concept design. 

COSTUME IN ANIMATION

To support the research above, I created illustrative timelines of costumes within animation to highlight similar themes. In these designs, character attributes and silhouette play a significant role in differentiating similar garments. By rendering each costume on a similar figure, it's clear how comparable these designs are. 

Costume design within animation has mirrored many live-action film trends. In the included charts, I used simplified graphics to show the shift from vibrant cowboy costumes in the 40s and 50s to more muted contemporary styles.

 

The third chart is re-organized to accurately depict design trends, for example, while Woody was first seen in Pixar's Toy Story  (1995), his design is based on 1950s western television programs, therefore much brighter than the more revisionist-western design tone in the latter half of the century.  

I am currently in the process of breaking down my research journal into shorter essays or entries to post on a future blog portion of my website. 

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