These are some pages from a personal project of mine based on one of my favourite books called Sabriel by the author Garth Nix. Here I wanted to explore the costumes of this book's world, all the way from the whole of the land, their culture, down to sub groups and finally characters. This is only a fraction of all that, and I could continue this project for years.
Some of the first steps was to re-read the novel and start laying down key elements, breaking down the script and making a story arch.
Going through the story also helped establish what cultural groups existed in the world, and what themes played a big part in the story.
Once I had found some of the costume themes I wanted to play around with I started collecting reference and drawing out studies.
After a period of studies, I started making my own designs within those themse and then worked on combining the elements of each theme into a brand new style which Sabriel's world would base it's culture around.
With a vast amount of sketches I started picking out where each indivitual belonged in the culture groups I had made notes about earlier. One of these groups, that also make their apperance in the novel, is the seaside people.
This group of people is not mentioned as such in the novel, however for a land so big and the bigger function of the country I decided to include the inland people.
This big group is based on the capital city, mentioned in the book. It has a much more complex class sytem than the other groups and is also a basis for a lot of potential sub-groups.
This group is in fact the top class of the city culture group. Within a royal palace, and a higher class of aristocrats, they have their own hierarchy. Various sub-groups like the Abhorsen, the Clayr and more also have a direct link to this culture group.
Once the main groups of this world were established I could start carving my way further towards the main characters. The main one, Sabriel, belongs to a group of people called the Abhorsen's - and they were a sub-group that needed to be addressed next.
The Abhorsen's have magical items, which are bells, that are in fact their main weapons. Exploring different looks for the bells was enjoyable and I found it important to make a bell-holster that would function well.
After the main things that all Abhorsen's have in common - it was time to start carving Sabriel out as an individual and what type of costume would suit her character best.
Once I had settled down on her basic cut I did some colour and pattern explorations to help find the one that would suit her best. I also kept in mind her development throughout the book.
Finally here is her main Abhorsen outfit, with the bell holder strapped around her chest.
Here is an overview of the layers of her Abhorsen's outfit, where it's possible to see glimpses of other clothing as well as different fabric explorations.