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This article is free for download and re-distribution, though if re-published I prefer that I am contacted and referenced. Thank you, and I hope I've helped others in their art!
UPDATE: By the by, I found this as a beautiful reference. The site displays antique arms and armor, with this page being for swords. It displays the vast array of colors you can see in metals due to different curing methods. There are some really great examples of bluing here, for instance, as well as some browned pieces: www.ambroseantiques.com/swords…
UPDATE: Since so many have enjoyed the graphic I created for this tutorial, I offer it in links below its own, in PNG and JPEG format.
The diagram provided says it all and (though I personally disagree with citron as a steampunk colour) provides a wonderful example of the colours that suited both the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
This article would, and should, be used as an excellent resource for steampunk costumers, illustrators, painters, artesians, writers, or indeed anyone interested in the genre.
Seriously, the thing with the metals is very comprehensive, and I'm happy you pointed out that Victorian fashion wasn't really all boring neutral colors.
Meanwhile on the subject of hats, I myself am accustomed to wearing a tricorne to indicate myself as a sailor... Or, you know, airship sailor
You know, a tricorn is one I do not have yet, but would love to get for my collection. I do have a number of unusual hats, including a beret that can only be described as nautical. Fun thing: the tricorn was once the hat of choice for civilized men, and when it fell out of vogue in 1800 it's the top hat that took its place, so there are fun possibilities there for characterization; do you have a character who is behind the times, or perhaps has been away somewhere a very long time, or is wearing his father's or grandfather's old hat? So on!
I wonder if the idea comes from Queen Victoria's own mourning. After all she only wore black for most of her life, and certainly people picked up on it. I think it's a major reason why we think black is elegant today.
But floral patterns became really popular around then too, and those colorful by definition.
Oh a beret sounds very interesting!
I suppose my character does do quite a lot of travel and she does come from a family of fishermen, but mainly I just think a tricorne is so practical. It's basically the hands-free, hat version of an umbrella, and it's so easy to personalize.
Banana terra cotta
Terra cotta pie