December 13, 2012

Costume Sketches

Coming up this weekend at Thin Ice Theater is Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."  I am serving this time as costume designer and coordinator.  

A few years ago, I started making little costume sketches as we create the costumes.  It's a good way for me to visualize color balance or conflict, what outfits will be seen together and such.  Once we get into the dress rehearsal period, the sketches can be very useful in the dressing room to keep actors and helpers aware of all the pieces that go into each outfit.

Costume designers generally do sketches of what they plan to make, and present them to the director for discussion.  Our process has to be a bit different than that, because our first step is to pull and fit things from our collection, and then fill in with new items and embellish the old as needed.  So, I start with a blank slate, and keep twiddling with the sketches as we figure out what we're going to use.  I check out the progress with our director, and share them with the set designer, so the entire look can be better coordinated.

I do the drawings in Adobe Illustrator.  I mostly use the pen tool to draw the shapes, and then add color.  Probably the most helpful hint I can give is that I make a new layer for each outfit.  That makes it infinitely easier to find each little shape when I want to change it as the costumes evolve.  And I copy and paste things like pants or hats between outfits/layers - no need to draw them anew for each character.

Here are a few of our actors in some of the outfits above.


 Miss Prism


I'll have photos of the show next week, and will write a few tales of the exciting things that happened in pulling all these outfits together.

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