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December 16, 2012
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Steampunk Fashion: Use of Color Theory and Metals by Windthin Steampunk Fashion: Use of Color Theory and Metals by Windthin

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I've been studying color theory and how I can make use of it in the designing of clothing, jewelry, and various accessories with a Steampunk bent (and in general). These are my observations.

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:…

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.

Victorian Color Wheel (PNG) by Windthin Victorian Color Wheel (JPEG) by Windthin
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I highly approve of this article on the steampunk aesthetic and the need to still apply colour rules while operating within the genre. In addition to this, the article also highlights important background knowledge needed to perfect the tiny details and intricacies that all crafters need in their works.

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.
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Windthin Featured By Owner Edited Oct 2, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wow, reached 700 favorites!  Thank you, all!
alphabetsoup314 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm not really into steampunk, but I found the art history aspect quite fascinating. I like that it was well-grounded in real life events, trends, and processes. It gives you more to think about beyond 'To make something steampunkish, add some cogs and stuff to Victorianesque outfits!' 
Windthin Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you.  I figure that the art history part is something that you can take into many projects, really.  I first got onto the Victorian color wheel through a book (referenced in my article) about Victorian-era decorating I was reading for something I was writing.  And I definitely believe there is more to Steampunk than slapping a few gears and clockwork bits onto something.  I try to make my own aesthetic.
HerNameIsDren Featured By Owner May 26, 2013
I love the image in this thumbnail...
Windthin Featured By Owner Nov 9, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thanks.  I made the design myself.  It's based directly off of the old color wheels, albeit with a bit more flare.
Worldcreator Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2013
Thanks for the article. I'm prepping to write a steam punk story and are at the research stage. This helps a lot. Thanks again.
Windthin Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
Glad it can help! I wish you the best with your project!
Photopathica Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013   General Artist
We have chosen your work for our Featured Folder for January!
This piece has been featured here: [link]

On behalf of:
Windthin Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you, both for the heads up and this honor!
lopezj392 Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! this is very useful for future reference
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