Design-A-Long: Introduction

Hi Friends,

I’ve noticed a trend lately that’s super awesome: Cosplayers branching out into creating their own designs. Whether they’re designing costumes, streetwear, or something in-between, watching these designs showing up is super exciting to me. I’ve always loved design.

I used to watch Fashion File and Fashion TV as a kiddo, I would design dance costumes to my favourite songs, and then in high school part of my art show (which had a theme of ‘Women in competition’ and was basically a final exam) included two dance costumes that I had designed and sewn for the show. Then, in university (round two, anyways), I entered Interactive Design which taught me more about the principles of design and how long I can go without proper sleep.

Spoiler: not long.


But anyways! What I’m getting at is that I love seeing what people come up with, but I know it can kind of be frustrating to get the image in your head onto the paper (or screen, but I’m old and still draw on paper) the way you want it to look. I’ve also seen a few murmurings around about how to make a design that really stands out, that people might want to wear, or even buy.

So I started a blog post. And then it kept going… and going… so now it’s a series. Calamity’s First Design-A-Long, starring things she has learned from all her research in fashion design, character design, graphic design, sewing, cosplay, binge watching design Youtube videos, etc.

Caveat: This is just from things I have learned. There is no be-all-end-all way to design things.  As always, I encourage you to try new things, evaluate what works for you and what doesn’t, and follow your heart. (Unless your heart tells you to be an asshole. Then don’t do that.)

So How Will This Work?

Similar to my sew-a-long series, I’ll be posting weekly articles that walk you through the process of developing an Original Design along with descriptions of how I work, tips, Things I Learned the Hard Way So You Don’t Have To (TM) and everyone’s favourite: shitty MS Paint Illustrations.

This series in unabashedly inspired by Zoe Hong‘s video series “Watch Me design a fashion collection”.

Week 1: Concepts, Moodboards, Research and Inspiration


My pinterest board for my Jade Witch design

Basically what it says on the tin. Figuring what inspires you, what kind of costume you want to design,  and pulling together various pictures and inspiring visuals.

Week 2: Sketches and Concept Development


A few of the Jade Witch initial sketches

Using the moodboard and inspiration from week one, we’ll start working on developing designs, focusing mostly on shape, silhouette and lines.

Week 3: Colour, Critique, & (Design) Concepts

Taking our sketches from week 2, we’ll talk about colour theory, fabric choices, design concepts like balance, gestalt and flow, as well as how to self-critique our work.

Week 4: Refine, Refine, the Design


Refined Jade Witch Design with notes

Taking our chosen design, we’ll refine it and work on developing it to a finished design. This includes options for illustrating the design, adding colour and values.

Week 5: Clean, Present and Share


Oh yay I didn’t forget how to photoshop things.
y one regret is not giving her a hat.

How to clean up your design, present it in an appealing way and social media sharing tips.

Bonus Week: Going Pro

So you wanna be famous? a designer? Let’s talk about flats, marketing your work and payment options. Oh, and legal stuff. Because who doesn’t looooove Legal stuff?

Anyways, I’m excited about this series, and I’ll be designing a brand new witch to go along with the Opal and Jade ones I’ve done already. If you decide to design along with me, please share your progress, I would love to see it.

xox Calamity

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