The FMA OC Guidebook: Character Design
Ok FMA art and style is really frustrating in the fact that theirs always a freaking exception! Any rule you make, any! Its always like "but oh! So and so has..." yea-no. Is is to much to ask for a little conformity here? Realy!?
Ok that rant put aside...
THERE ARE SOME EXEPTIONS TO ALMOST EVERY "RULE" I PUT DOWN HERE
So technically yes, you could give your OC bright purple hair with a pink fringe, but bear in mind that that will look very out of place in the FMA world. So there's just one thing for you to bear in mind when breaking these rules: Subtlety. The broken rule should fit in with the rest of the FMA world and not stand out like "holy cow where are they from! It should not be the first thing you notice when seeing the character, nor should there be two broken rules in the same OC. Ready then? So lets begin
This is one of the few absolute rules DO NOT GIVE YOUR OC AN EYE COLOR YOU DO NOT SEE IN REAL LIFE! Now I know what you're going to say, "Rose had purple eyes." "Ed has gold eyes."
I know, both of those colors actually do occur in real life. They're rare but they do happen. (My high school art teacher had gold eyes, lucky woman) I'd advise being very carful if you chose to give your OC gold eyes. In Brotherhood they are a Xeresian Trait and in all versions they are only seen in the Elric family!
Also heterochroma (Different colored eyes) are considered very sueish. They do not make your OC look more cool or unique! Unless you have a very good reason don't do it!
Now for hair color there is a general rule of thumb "If you do not see it naturally in real life do not use it!" That said the possibilities for hair color are vast. Unlike most anime there is not just "black" or "brown" or "blond." FMA hair comes in every natural hair shade in the spectrum! Example: Al, Clara, Gracia,
Note: unnaturally colored hair dye does not seem to have been invented nor does the concept of streaking so that's scrapped!
Bare in mind also that a different color fringe is only seen in one character in the entire show, and this is one of the first to appear! likely she was created before the rules of the universe were firmly established. as such I would HIGHLY advise against giving your oc a different color fringe!!
Now as for hair style there seems to be an unnatural occurrence of gravity defying cowlics (aka antenia) in the FMA world, as well as unusual types of bangs, some of which also defy gravity. Very few bangs lie flat, and everyone seems to have some type of bangs. (Even if it's a banged variation of no bangs.) (Yes I know that made no sense) As for hair style as long as it's practical, (Remember most of these people don't have hours and hours to put their hair up, and don't want giant ribbons or such getting in their way as they go about their work) and not a Mohawk go nuts!
There are some major things to bear in mind here
First of all you need to remember that FMA is based on the early to mid industrial revolution. Although the style of the clothing goes to times much later the means of making, and technology of the clothing remains consistent with this time period. (This is where it comes in very handy to be a history freak.) There are no synthetic fibers and no fancy synthetic dyes. Your OC is not going to have a fancy t-shirt with logos or fancy pictures on it. Most sportswear, especially those made with synthetic fibers is out of the question. Also remember the more complex the outfit the more it would cost. They don't have machines attaching buttons, adding lace, or automatically sewing these things for them. All the work is done by people either with old fashioned sewing machines or by hand! alchemy could speed things up a bit but the basic principal remains the same.
Another thing is that there is no Plastic. You'd be surprised how much plastic is actually in our modern clothing!
Choosing your OC's Outfit: A guide.
First off when I refer to fancy clothing from now on I am refering to anything complex. Anything with lots of buckles or pockets or layers (in the same piece, not as in putting more then one shirt on) counts as fancy as well as the clothing we would define as fancy by modern standerds
When chosing an outfit for your OC it's good to first look at their location
Do they live in a big city? dD they live in a small town? What is the climate like?
If an OC lives in a small rural town (something like Risembool) most of their clothing would likely have to be sewn by hand, (by either them or their family) with materials purchased from a local general store. While that store might have a small selection of clothing, It would not be much. Thus most clothing worn by people here would be very simple. Anything fancy would have to be imported (very expensive) or made using a purchased pattern and sewn by hand (very time consuming). Shoes would usually be bought from the selection at the general store or be very simple ones made by hand.
A slightly larger town (in terms of population) might have a tailor and/or cobbler. Fancy things or custom orders could be ordered from them, and they could make them for a price of course. It would be cheaper to buy things they had already made though. But these might not be made in the style or color you wanted and would not be hand made to fit you.
Actual Cities would be where you could find a decently sized selection of premade clothing. This would be the only place where people who were less well off would be able to find fancy clothing they could afford. The larger the city the larger the selection to chose from.
Additionally bear in mind the climate of your OC's location. Someone in Brigs is likely to wear much more clothing then someone in Central or Dublith.
Is your oc rich? Are they poor? Where and how do they work?
A rich OC is much more likley to have fancy clothing or many diferant outfits then a working class one. Someone who works where they will get dirty is not likely to have clothing that would be hard to clean. Aditionaly If they have no reason to think they may get scratched or scraped they will be much more likely to wear thin or less covering outfits then someone who thinks they will be. Make sure their clothing is practical for their situation, unless they are impractical themselves. If they are and insist on wearing clothing that is impractical for their situation chances are there will be repercussions in some way.
There is not going to be much in the way of artifical dyes for your OC to have their outfit colored with. As such very very bright clothing is highly unlikely for them to wear. Also unless they are pretty sure they won't be getting dirty White is not likely to be a main clothing color choice for them, Except of course for aprons or smocks.
Your OC is likely to be affected by the types of clothing they see around them. A non Xingese OC is unlikely to wear Xingese looking clothing unless they see that around them a lot or have a strong reason to wear it instead of "normal" clothing for their place.
Once you have taken everything else into account it's time for you to get creative. What type of person is your oc? What type of clothing would this lead to them deciding to wear?
Once again I'm sorry if I've done anything to insult or offend
This article is part of tansyuduri's FMA OC Creation Guidebook and cannot be copied redistributed or stolen without credit to her AND a link back to this EXACT document. It is however encouraged to be used and disributed through linking. Thank you for your respect and cooperation with the above terms.
I can't believe I even have to add this but If you wish to make your own tutorial and use info from this I would like the credit due to me for the effort and time I put into making and researching this. Please! include a link back to this as a source. Like you would do for an official paper written for school or work