Artist Chezka Sunit has tried to answer a popular science-fiction question: What does Dune look like? In a series of illustrations she’s posted to her ArtStation page, Sunit gives her visualization of the characters from Frank Herbert’s saga, originally published in 1965. Sunit, clearly a huge Dune fan, created this series out of excitement over the Denis Villeneuve-directed screen version, coming December 2020. And her cast of characters comes off as a bit more stylish than what we’ve seen from the movie.
Sunit gave us some insight into her sources of inspiration for these designs.
“For starters, the headdresses and clothes on Princess Irulan, Lady Jessica, Gaius Helen Mohiam and Alia are largely influenced by the patterns on moths/butterflies, Alphonse Mucha, Russian kokoshniks, Mongolian deel, Iain McCaig’s Padme Amidala sketches and Eiko Ishioka’s costume work for Tarsem Singh’s The Fall,” she says. “Most of the women’s face accessories and the Fremen face tattoos are inspired by Afghan Pashtuns and Bedouins, while Leto Atreides II and the Fremen stillsuit patterns were inspired by monarch and swallowtail caterpillars. Lady Jessica’s version as the Fremen’s Reverend Mother is inspired by Byzantine Christian art. The military, formal attires of Leto Atreides I, Duncan Idaho and Paul Atreides are inspired by European tunics and Sikh Bana/Chola.”
So there’s a lot going on there. The aesthetic that unites these is the backgrounds, which recall the geometric ornamentation of Art Deco. “Art Deco is a classic style that stands the test of time (plus most people are familiar with it aestheticwise, since modern design as we know it is built on it’s backbone),” Sunit says. “I think that any great measure of art is that it still stays relevant even after decades has past which is the same for Frank Herbert’s Dune series.”