Monday, July 9, 2012

Hunger Games Before Dinner

 Last fall I noticed a lot of people I follow on Twitter discussing a book called The Hunger Games. I looked it up, and based off of the plot synopsis on the back of the book, it really didn't sound like something I'd enjoy. The first thing that came to mind after reading the description was Battle Royale, a Japanese movie about a bunch of school kids forced to fight each other to the death in an arena. The Japanese movie is violent and not really my kind of thing. However, my mom had a copy of the trilogy, and while staying with her, I picked the book up one weekend. I wasn't all that interested in reading it, but 1) I wanted something to read and The Hunger Games was available and 2) a lot of people whose opinions I generally respect had recommended it. Just before the movie was released I heard news groups calling The Hunger Games the next Twilight. To be honest, if I'd heard that before reading the book, I would never have touched The Hunger Games.

But that didn't happen, and I read the book. I finished it over the course of one day. It goes without saying that I enjoyed the book. I liked the story and many of the elements of the setting in the Hunger Games. The characters were okay. Katniss I could honestly leave; she came across as kind of dull to me. I liked Peeta; I did not like Gale, and I was very happy that Peeta did not die as my husband and I both expected him to by the end of the first book, although under the circumstances, I felt it was almost more cruel to leave Peeta alive at the end, but I'm digressing. I'm not intending this post to be a review of the story. My absolute favorite character in the books was Cinna--I have a thing for stories with costume designers as prominent characters; I liked Edna and the Incredibles for much the same reason.

Spoiler Alert

I mentioned in my Blue Exorcist review that characters I specifically identify with or grow particularly attached to die. There are very few exceptions to this. True to the trend, Cinna dies--not in The Hunger Games, but the second book in the trilogy. They did leave it kind of open-ended, and I held out hope that he might make a miraculous reappearance by the end of the third book. Sadly, I was disappointed there. After Cinna died, I became attached to Finnick... he also died. >_< Anyways, I liked Cinna's character so much that I wanted to do a tribute of a kind to him and his work--at least that's the best way I can think of putting it... Can you even offer a tribute to a fictional character since it's not really the character's work, but the author's? XD

Spoiler Over

Whatever the case, I digress. I have decided to create a series of drawings based around the costumes Cinna designed for Katniss. Each design will, of course, be based off of my interpretation of the author's description of the costume, hair style, and make-up (as much as I ever include make-up in any of my pictures XD). For the three designs from The Hunger Games, what I imagined was very different from the designs used in the film. I am glad it worked out this way; I love seeing other artists' interpretations of things I've read. To me, this is one of the best aspects of drawing from literature. There is a lot more room for artistic freedom, and I'm always fascinated by how multiple artists can take the same page of text and come up with such vastly different results.

The first costume I drew was the one Cinna created for Katniss to wear for her debut at the Capitol. The book described her as wearing a plain black bodysuit with heavy black boots. Her hair was pulled back in a single braid and she wore little to no make-up--Cinna did this so that the Capitol audience would recognize her in the arena and connect her with her eye-catching entrance. She also wore a "fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and [a] matching headpiece" (The Hunger Games, chapter 5). I thought it would be cool to draw not just a cape with streams of color on it, but to make it streamers of red, orange, and yellow. These were of course set on fire once she was on the chariot. Personally, I think the streamers would have been extra dazzling once the chariot started moving; they'd certainly flutter a lot more than a cape, which would be considerably heavier. I had a lot of fun with this design--Photoshop hated me for it, but I definitely enjoyed working on it. =) I am really happy with how the flames on the streamers came out.

The second costume I tackled was the dress Katniss wore to her interview with Caesar Flickerman. The dress was long, but not so long that she would trip over the hem. She wore heeled shoes that weren't too high. She wore a fair amount of make up and her team drew swirling flame patterns in gold on her skin (I did add this to the picture although it doesn't show up very well). Her hair was braided from her left side across her head then down to hang over her shoulder with red ribbon braided in with the hair. Also, the book adds, "my dress is entirely covered in reflective precious gems, red and yellow and white with bits of blue that accent the tips of the flame design." (The Hunger Games) It also gave the impression of being on fire when she would twirl around. I gave the dress an uneven hem because that would keep it long and flowy while not being too long, and I thought it would highlight the flame theme. There is a very subtle flame pattern worked into the dress. I also tried to give the effect that the entire dress was literally covered in gems. I am especially pleased with that aspect of the picture.

If you can't tell, I'm drawing these basically in the order they appear in the books. The third is going to be the dress she wears for her second interview with Caesar Flickerman after winning the games. I have started coloring this design. The fourth will be her chariot costume for the Quarter Quell. Fifth will be her wedding dress turned mocking jay from her third interview with Caesar Flickerman. Sixth will be the Mockingjay uniform she wears in book three. I may draw her wedding dress before it becomes mockingjay-ized as a seventh design. I am also playing with the idea of drawing Finnick. Those last two may or may not happen. I hope you guys enjoy these designs as much as I am enjoying making them. (Btw, the "before dinner" was because I was supposed to finish writing this blog before dinner... I didn't quite make it though, but I kind of like the title, so I'm not going to change it. XD)

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