Learn How to Design an Exosuit

Exosuits are robot suits worn directly over the human form. They do anything people can do—but better. In addition to being an effective defensive shell, they enhance the wearer’s strength, increase endurance and house high-tech weapons.

When your characters are ready to suit up and save the world, make sure they’re equipped to do it. Start by designing an exosuit that’s practical and aesthetically appealing.

One Size Does Not Fit All
Styles of exosuits can vary as widely as styles of clothes do. You can adjust size as well as appearance (the way you did for the body armor in chapter 3), but make sure to leave room for padding, wires and circuitry. Higher levels of technology mean less space is needed on the interior, so that affects the look of the suits.

Break It Down
If designing an exosuit all at once is daunting, start simple with one body part at a time. We’ll use a foot as an example, but you can apply these techniques to any individual portion of the suit.
First, reduce the body part to basic shapes. For the foot, add a circle in red to represent the ankle.

Keep It Uncomplicated
One option is to go simple and sleek, following the shape of the foot. On an exosuit like this, the sole is similar to something you’d see on a running shoe.

A Little Fancier
You can also play off of the angular shapes of the foot and add decorative elements. The circular portion near the ankle is common to both examples, but the designs look completely different.

Inspiration from Life
Try taking inspiration from existing clothing and shoes. For example, a common style of running shoe with a Velcro strap could easily be converted to something high-tech.
Try playing up the angles. Instead of curves, use straight lines. Exaggerate the proportions of the shoe’s collar and the part that replaces the Velcro strap to make it look heavier.


All at Once
Another way to design your exosuit is to tackle everything at once. To use this method, start by sketching the wearer’s body in simple shapes and lines. Draw the joints in red. When you add the suit on top, these will show you the places where you need to add a break in the metal to allow the exosuit to bend.

Sleek and Glossy
Keep the lines smooth and follow the shape of the body, but break the rigid part of the armor into separate pieces. This allows your character to move at the shoulders, the elbows and behind the knees. The upper chest is a solid piece, but there are individual plates on the stomach so she can bend forward.

Bulky and Angular
If you want your suit design to be more bulky, try sketching the body with linear angles and use that as a base to create your exosuit. Sizing up the plates to encase the body can provide a good starting point.

Step 1: Start With a Sketch
When designing an elaborate costume, it always helps to create a rough sketch of it first. This lets you fine-tune your design without a huge time sink; if you decide you don’t like it, you haven’t wasted hours getting every angle perfect. Try sketching it from the front, the back and the sides. When you come up with one you like, keep your initial design on hand for easy reference.

Step 2: Design the Bottom Layer
Figure out what your character wears underneath the exosuit. Keep the outfit fairly tight so it won’t catch on anything, bunch up or be uncomfortable.

Step 3: Add Your Sketched Suit Design
Work in the suit design you sketched earlier. It should sit over the body, and the limbs of the suit should correspond to the character’s limbs.

How to design an exosuit | Sci-Fi Fashion Art School

Step 4: Finish It Off
When you like what you have, commit to your design. Now you can fill in the details, ink the drawing and polish it up.

You can find more about exosuits, robots and other futuristic characters in Sci-Fi Fashion Art School by Irene Flores. Available now on the North Light Shop, Amazon and wherever books are sold!

Sci-Fi Fashion Art School | North Light Shop


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