Saturday, April 21, 2007

Which Bible clothing colors should I use?

When you come to adding color to your Bible characters, do you ever wonder which colors you should be using on clothing for authenticity?

I've just read a very interesting 40 page booklet titled 'Drawing Bible Pictures'. It was written by W H Whanslaw, and was first published in 1943. (twelve further editions followed).
It's basically a 'How to draw' book for Sunday school teachers, encouraging them to produce their own Bible posters. This booklet has all the usual contents found in a 'How to draw' book such as 'How to draw Heads, Hands, Feet, Animals, Birds, Landscapes, Perspectives', etc, etc. But it also includes some quite in-depth articles on 'Hand/eye coordination', 'How clothing folds', 'Light and shade' and 'Pictorial Composition' which goes into great detail on how the Dutch Masters composed their paintings!

The section that I would like to share with you is about the suggested choice of colors for Bible clothing.

Bible Costume
The upper classes should be shown dressed in long, roomy clothing with borders and fringes to emphasise the social strata. If color is being used purple must be avoided, since only one person - the Roman Emperor - was entitled to wear this color. Bright reds for cloaks should be used sparingly, for red was generally a woman's color; deep red and rich brown-reds may be used, as well as greens, especially emerald green for decorations. Almost any kind and variety of blue may be used to good advantage, either in solid masses or in the form of stripes of various widths.

The lower classes favored browns and blues, pale greens, and all shades of yellow. Women would wear either blue or white dresses, with red and yellow decorative stripes and ornamentation.

A Centurion would wear bronze armour, a red skirt, red at the shoulders, and a scarlet cloak; this cloak was worn only by the officers. The three feathers in the helmet were red with black tips, and showed that he was in the colonial army; the sword was bronze, the breeches dark blue or black, the boots of black or brown leather.

The common soldier wore steel armour with a bronze helmet, chestnut-brown vest and skirt, dark blue breeches and black leather sandals, and carried a shield in bright colors.

I'm not sure how accurate the above notes are, or where W H Whanslaw got his research, but it is interesting reading. If anyone has anything they would like to add on the above subject, please add a comment.