How Marvel illustrator's Filipino roots influenced 'Black Panther' costumes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A Filipino-American Marvel artist made the undaunted female warriors of Wakanda look good while they go at lengths to protect fictional superhero Black Panther.

Anthony Francisco, Marvel's senior visual development illustrator, conceptualized the look of the soldiers in the top-grossing film "Black Panther."

"I've been really lucky. I helped visualize the look and costumes of the characters, while staying true to the Marvel Universe," he told CNN Philippines on Monday via Skype.

He started as a costume designer before he became a visual development illustrator.

He shared how he bagged the coveted job.

"The head of visual development, a good friend of mine also, decided to give me that task. I was up for it because I didn't design any women characters yet and with this one I really wanted to make it special. It was a challenge but I was ready for it," he said.

Growing up in the Philippines has served as Francisco's inspiration for the costume of the fearsome warriors that guard Wakanda's King T'Challa.

"I remember beading when I was younger, I remember the friendship bracelets we used to make as kids. Just the little projects at school that feels tribal, local. The ideas really help me tell the story," he said.

He added, "It's not just visual when you get inspiration. I get inspiration (from) just the memory of touching the material, the beading."

He revealed which local ethnic group gave him the most inspiration for the Dora Milaje warriors.

"I grew up in the Philippines and went to school there. I learned a lot of the tribal stuff. The Igorot always stuck in my mind for some reason," he said.

The Igorots are indigenous people living in the Cordillera Region located in the Northern Philippines.

"There's some hints of that in there, but mostly for inspiration, but still trying to focus on keeping it looking African," Francsico said.

He said Filipino culture was added as one detail to the costumes of the warriors.

He said a detail added to the costume of the warriors was inspired by amulets believed to give the wearer protection, strength, and prosperity. 

"The little trinkets on the side of their skirts, thinking it's like an anting-anting. I don't know how anting-anting looks like but I know there's such a thing as that and I grew up with all those stories," he said.

Aside from the "Black Panther," we're sure his other work elicited an "awww" from you. Francisco also designed the adorable Baby Groot from 2017 film "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."