Friday, January 27, 2012
Shannan Costume - Allon book series
My mother asked me to create a tangible costume for Shannan to accompany the artwork in publicity. For background on the character, Shannan is the female heroine from the novel, Allon - http://www.allonbooks.com. From birth, she is destined to bring back the return of the mysterious Guardians and help Prince Ellis take his rightful place as ruler of Allon. She is a strong, but caring girl, wise beyond her years (and needs to be to deal with a young, hot-headed Ellis!) and an expert hunter. Her grandfather whisked her away upon her birth as she was marked for death by the Dark Way (Why, you ask? Well, you’ll just have to read the book!). As such Shannan lives in the secluded forest of Dorgirith away from prying eyes and invasive questions.
Being costume-centric as I am, I was quick to take up task. Though, being me, I added a few other challenges to the mix. I knew that I wanted to make a movie-level costume (or as I like to say, a "Weta-level" costume (i.e. Weta Workshop)). This particular costume is from the beginning of the book where Shannan's character is introduced. It a forester’s costume in basis, but with it being in the world of Allon, we’re trying to stay away from the cliched medieval look. The era of costume design for Allon is designed roughly around the renaissance period, but with a fantasy aspect as well (as Allon is a fantasy world not unlike Middle Earth). Stealth and ease of movement in Shannan’s clothes are essential. So I designed the costume to keep with a utilitarian fashion.
If interested, I have posts on my art blog detailing the making of the entire costume...
The Concept: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/shannan-costume-design/
The Concept 2: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2010/09/14/shannan-costume-details/
The Cowl: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/shannan-costume-the-cowl/
The Undershirt: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/shannan-costume-the-undershirt/
The Jerkin: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-the-jerkin/
The Sleeves: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-the-sleeves/
The Bracers: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-bracers/
The Pants & Boots: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-pants-and-boots/
The Quiver & Belt: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-belt-and-quiver/
The Pouch & Wineskin: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-pouch-and-wineskin/
The Wig: http://brianalamb.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/shannan-costume-wig-and-winter-shoot/
Then, of course, comes the icing on top - the photography. Lauren Wood (or Lauren Athalia as she’s called) is one of the most top-notch photographers I’ve ever met. Not only does she know how to wield a camera to maximize the beauty of a naturally-lit scene, but also knows how to use that light to bring out the best qualities of her models. (I have a difficult time with photographers not lighting my face properly and thus my weak jawline becomes my undoing - i.e. my face and neck tend to appear to blend into one another in most photoshoots. I know when I look in the mirror I have a jaw! It’s probably a minor point to most, but Lauren managed to capture my usually elusive jawline on camera and I couldn’t be happier.) I wanted to give both my mom and Lauren the best pictures I could and boy did I get them. (Please check out her website to see her incredibly photography. Who knows, you might see a familiar face popping out from behind a blonde wig and top hat. ——> http://www.laurenathalia.com )
The really special treat with this photoshoot was that I had a co-star, and a four-legged one at that. One of Shannan’s companions in Allon is a wolf named Torin. Lauren has a knack for procuring incredible sets, props, and animals. So my co-star was a real, full-blooded Timberwolf named Breeze. Now Breeze is not a pet (and I do not support having wolves as pets). I’m not sure about all the details, but she was a rescue. She was a bit skittish at first, as wolves are around strangers. It took about 30 minutes for her to warm up to me, but it wasn’t long before we started to call her Miss Kiss-n-Run as she’d bolt to lick my face off and then run around between shots. I hate to sound cliched, but it was a dream come true for me to be playing alongside a real wolf. I've always had a deep loves for wolves. (I think one of the first jobs I ever wanted was to be a zoologist just so I could work with the wolves at our local zoo. It was a sad sad day when they got rid of them at the Nashville Zoo.) But before I get sappy, here are Lauren’s beautiful photographs.