Saturday, December 25, 2010

I come bearing the gift of steampunk!

Does anyone remember my little blurb when I was talking about going to Another Anime Convention a few months ago, up in Nashua, NH? Like I briefly mentioned, I ended up going to a lot of really amazing steampunk panels. Ones discussing Steampunks, Victorian ethics, and our own ethics; and ones of Steampunk around the world, because seriously, why do so many Steampunks cling to Victorian England when there was a whole amazing world to steam up. I learned about, for instance, the art of James Ng, who is a really brilliant example of non-Western-centric Steampunk, and just a beautifully skilled drafstman.

All the Steam panels I went to were run by members of The Wandering Legion or by Ay-Leen the Peacemaker, writer for the blog Beyond Victoriana. If they're ever at a convention you're attending, check them out. it is well worth your while.

As it was, this con coincided with a project for my Fashion and Body Adornment Class. It was my self-directed final and my teacher, curious about this Steampunk stuff I'd been drawing, steered me in the direction for more of it. I was kind of "meh" at first, because I felt like I'd exhausted my interesting in drawing steampunk, but then I decided to roll with it, working specifically non-British Steampunk, deciding to create outfits for people in different countries. So in the end, things work out.

In making these paintings, I gave myself a few rules:

1) The countries I chose would be associated with Great Britain in some way, largely through the Commonwealth.
2) I would preserve the corseted silhouette in my figures' outfits, but find new ways to use it.
3) NO GOGGLES OR GEARS. Though two of my characters were in situations where goggles would have been inappropriate, I didn't want to default to one of the traditional default icons of Steampunks. Of course that's kind of bullshit, given rule 2 but....

Here they are.

1) Arctic Canada. Her outfit was inspired by Inuit gear when going up into the Arctic Circle to hunt seals. Her corset is worn for extra core warmth and the metal trappings on her boots have spikes to crunch through ice. There are sun marks under her eyes.

2) Egypt. This one is where I started dressing characters, rather than trying to costume a culture. This character walked into my head, someone who offers to guide foreign tourists and archaeologists through tomb sites, but takes them to tombs that are open or trapped, while steering them away from ones that are still safe and unseen.

3) Singapore. I know, I know. It's a bit of an anachronism to have a food hawker for a genre that branches into the early 20th century at best when Hawker Centres are more a mid-20th century/contemporary thing Just...shhh. So here is my food hawker. The corset she's wearing is back support for the steam-heater backpack that carries all her food in different canisters. Steam power keeps the food delicious and hot, with an exhaust pipe directed away from her body to prevent burns. This way, she can set up at any old road side and sell her food.

And there you have it!

Oh and since, an hour and 27 minutes ago, it was Christmas, I had an excellent time with my mother and two of my aunts who are visiting from the Philippines. Gifts were given. Too much food was eaten. Doctor Who was watched. Good times. Good times.


  1. XD Singapore!

    It's not really that much of a stretch to imagine that an Industrialized Singapore would have had hawker stalls -- food is such an important part of SEA culture that it's hard to imagine at least a port WITHOUT food stalls.

  2. Haha, thank you.

    And that's definitely my experience with the Philippines. Food is everywhere and it seems like everyone can't wait to eat. XD