Historical Fashion Project

I love studying history. Whether it’s visiting a new history museum, looking through an antique store, or reading a history book, I just can’t get enough of the past. More specifically, I love cultural history. Military facts and war stats, meh. I am generally a pacifist and a war-averse sort of person, so military histories aren’t really my cup of tea. But, I can’t get enough facts on historical day-to-day life—what people used to eat, what they did for fun, and most importantly what they wore. I just adore learning about the history of fashion.

It’s kind of funny that I have such an affinity for historical fashion, because apart from dressing up for my yearly visits to the Renaissance Festival, my clothing is pretty utilitarian and boring. I’m not what you would call a fashionista. I wear shades of black and grey and tend to opt for comfort over style. But, historical fashion fascinates me. It’s interesting how the cultural landscape of a time dictated how fashion evolved.

I started researching notable times in fashion history and began creating some illustrations based on what I learned. I have only started the project, and I could see it evolving into something bigger, but for now it’s a small side project that I work on in between my larger projects.

I started with researching medieval styles. I was playing a medieval-themed video game at the time, and I was interested in the names of the articles of clothing that I had never heard before, like braies for instance i.e. medieval underpants.

Historical Fashion: 13th Century Men's Clothing Historical Fashion: 13th Century Women's Clothing

After finishing that, while researching fashion history in general, I came upon information on the pivotal fashion styles of Edo Japan (1603 – 1868). The beautiful patterns and silhouettes of the outfits and hairstyles of that era were inspiring.

Historical Fashion: Edo Japan

I posted these previous illustrations on Instagram and a friend requested I try my hand at some swimsuit fashions, specifically she wanted to see a swimsuit from the 1920s, when it was still scandalous to show off too much skin. I learned while researching this time that police would actually measure the swimsuits of women on the beach to ensure that they weren’t showing too much skin. Only about one hundred years ago, it was scandalous to wear anything so revealing. It’s weird to think how that really wasn’t all that long ago.

I loved creating the 1920s swimsuit, so I followed up with a swimsuit illustration from the 1950s and the 1970s (see below.)

Historical Fashion: Swimsuits

So, I still haven’t even touched a lot of interesting times in fashion history. I will definitely keep working at this project. So many outfits, so little time!

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Water Deer!!!

I just made a new mini-illustration after learning about the existence of water deer, a species of deer native to China and Korea. I just learned about these animals, and I am 31 years old. How did I manage to live 31 years on earth and not know that these glorious creatures existed?! My favorite animals already were deer, but these species have the added bonus of vampire-looking fangs, thus making them the greatest of all the deer!

I know have to go on a vigorous Google search to find any more animal species that I am missing out on.

Water Deer Illustration

Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!

I’ve finished a children’s book! I did it! One day I was all, “I’ve always wanted to both write and illustrate a children’s book, maybe I should do it.” And so…I did.

There was a lot that happened in between my idea and making that idea a reality. Children’s books take a lot of time and perseverance, especially when you’ve decided to do the text, illustration, editing, and design all in one go. Also, sometimes my larger projects can get relegated to the back burner depending on what is going on in my life, and this project did get set aside as I got wrapped up in other projects and life events. When it’s a personal project and there’s no real deadline, it is sooooo easy to let it slide. So, I have to admit that I am more than a little proud that I did eventually get back on track with finishing this.

So, “Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” was created and can now be found on Amazon.com. What’s it about? Well, being from Minnesota, of course it had to be about fuzzy forest creatures. Here’s the blurb about the book:

Edward the Elk wants to play hide-and-seek with his forest friends, but his antlers are making it difficult to hide! Follow Edward as he searches the forest for the perfect hiding place. A great book for beginning readers, parents can guide children as together, they spot Edward in his many hiding places.

Where's Edward? There's Edward! Children's Book
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Book Cover
Where's Edward? There's Edward! Children's Book
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Printed Book

It was such a rewarding experience, and I am already gearing up to create another book.

Before I wrap up this blog post, I did want to show a little bit of my process in making this book. Below is a comparison of a final sketch that turned into a final illustration. For anyone who does art or illustration, you know how much prep work goes into a project that the public doesn’t normally see. After making this book, I made more pictures of elk than I ever thought I would. But, not complaining; this was a very rewarding project!

"Where's Edward? There's Edward!" Sketch
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Sketch
"Where's Edward? There's Edward!" Final Image
“Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” Final Image

Click here to check out “Where’s Edward? There’s Edward!” on Amazon.