I begin with understanding the intentions of the story. That helps me to zero in. Then I gather research for each individual character and analyze the time period with comparisons to the figure and the facial structure. It helps to be comfortable with computers because the massive amount of research is kept electronically and shared with my staff this way. Very little is printed out. I work with an illustrator to come up with the proper silhouettes and details of the clothing from the time period to time period. And on and on.