Character Makeover– Part VI.

Welcome to my sixth and final installment of my Teen Titans (the 2003-2007 animated series) character makeover project. Sixth installment, you say? Well, yes, as I’ve decided to bookend the series with a makeover for Terra,  despite her complicated relationship with our team of young, intrepid heroes.

Terra in action! Source.
Terra in action! Source.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that this is just my process, it’s not the only process! Also, depending upon the project, the order in which I proceed may differ.

Back in June of last year, the first member of the Teen Titans to get her makeover was Raven; in July, Beast Boy got his turn; in August, Starfire was given her new costume; come September, Robin was given his new look, and February of the new year finally brought us Cyborg’s dapper new costume.

In design, ‘creating the world’ is exceedingly important to achieve the look for which one is striving, and since I started with Raven and gave her a stylized, sort of Gothic Victorian look, I have been trying to stay within a [really fairly loose] set of parameters in order to maintain some semblance of cohesiveness for the rest of the team’s costumes. Since ‘Victorian’ is a rather extensive term, and the era itself, more or less, encompassed the time of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901), I’ve given myself enough latitude to paint with very broad strokes.

The conversation regarding all of this character redesign revolved around the possibility of a Steampunk makeover for the Teen Titan team (please see the Raven article for my opinions and reasoning behind that). As Terra’s abilities lie both in the otherworldly (terrakinesis, or, in its simplest terms, the ability to manipulate earth), AND in being technologically savvy, we have some flexibility in what genres from which to pull her costume’s inspiration. And again, onto my questions!

Who is this character?

In the animated series, Terra was likable, although she initially lacked confidence, was something of a shy violet and naive, the attribute that eventually was her downfall. Her insecurities stemmed from her inability to control her powers and emotions, but she eventually overcame that obstacle, and it was revealed that the young woman was a rather fun-loving individual.

How does the costume serve and/or represent the character?

On the show, Terra’s costume is represented primarily by yellow and black, a color combination of which I am actually fond. Terra does like to have a good time, so I don’t want to make her look too stodgy or buttoned-up, but I still want to have that late 19th century, early 20th century feel.

What is the character going to be doing in this costume?

As I mentioned earlier, Terra’s powers lie in terrakinesis, but she also has an aptitude for movement and agility, so her costume should especially reflect the latter traits. One of the fashion ‘innovations’ of the Victorian Era were culottes, or voluminous pants that resemble a skirt, but allowed women to ride astride a horse like a fellow would. Of course, pants had existed long before, but this ‘split skirt’ made it… sort of… socially acceptable for women to wear bifurcated garments on bottom halves.


If you’re interested, my research board for Terra can be found here on Pinterest, where  the other Titans’ boards for this project are also located.

Annie Oakley! Source.
Annie Oakley! Source.

As for my research, I took at look at American West-inspired steampunk, in addition to ladies of the west such as Calamity Jane and sharpshooter Annie Oakley. I also expanded my field a bit, and took at look at Progressive Era fashion (ca 1890s-1920s, United States), Edwardian Era fashion (ca 1901-1910, United Kingdom).

A beautiful gown, ca. 1885-1889. Source.
A beautiful gown, ca. 1885-1889. Source.


Admittedly, I saved Terra for last because I simply didn’t know what I wanted to do with her, but I think a sort of Westerny-steampunky look will serve her well and also fit in with the other characters on the crew.

Terra's croquis.
Terra’s croquis.


Here is the line drawing for Terra’s new duds:

Terra's looking ready to tussle.
Terra’s looking ready to tussle.


Not sure what you’re going to put where? Do you already have fabrics selected for your design, or are you still playing around with them? Just because my overall drawing is done doesn’t mean that I have to commit to coloring it a certain way. I like to make several copies to play around with color, and sometimes I need to practice a technique to render a fabric properly. Play around! Have fun! Or, if you know exactly what you want to do, skip this step.

Here we have Terra in her new ensemble:





I hope you’ve enjoyed my Teen Titans makeover series. Stay tuned for some more character makeovers in the future! If you have suggestions of any sort, go ahead and leave a comment!

Do you have characters you’ve personalized through a unique redesign?  Any sketches, drawings or actual costumes? Feel free to share your pictures or drawings down in the comments section!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s