Costume Rendering (left) and Execution (right) of Dromio Syracuse, Comedy Of Errors (2014), Johnson Theatre at UNH, Costume Design: Szu-Feng Chen
BASIC DESIGN CONCEPTS BEFORE STARTING
Similar to the Set and Scenic Designers, the Costume Designer has to have a basic knowledge of art and also be able to describe the different materials used to create their designs. Drawing for this area is especially important so the Costume Constructors (those who would actually make the costumes, sometimes also the Costume Designer) can follow and create.
1) Line: An understanding of the lines of composition.
2) Mass: The size of the physical items onstage.
3) Composition: How are the actual physical items onstage arranged in the space? (symmetrical, balanced, unbalanced)
4) Space: An understanding of the physical area of the stage, and if it's taken up by positive space (taken up by physical objects) or negative space (open space).
5) Texture: Either two-dimensional or three-dimenstional variations in material, color, or pattern.
6) Color, which has four properties: Hue: what we think of as "color", the mixture of a certain amount of pigment to create the desired color. Saturation: The intensity of the color itself. Value: The presence of black in the color, varying from 0 (Black) to 100 (White). Finally, there's Temperature: an emotional quality of a color (ie: warm colors vs. cool colors).
1) Pick a character from your favorite movie (either animated or live action) and try to brainstorm a costume design that would be for the character if the movie was ever put onto the stage. Would it be the same as the film version, or would there have to be slight alterations?
2) If you are more hands-on, watch this tutorial on How To Make A Hoop Skirt. Good luck!
WHAT IS COSTUME DESIGN?
- It is a design where the designer works in tandem with the director, actors, scenic designers, props masters and lighting designers (as well as a few others) to create a cohesive costume design for a theatrical performance. This includes any items that the characters wear on their bodies, from period-appropriate undergarments, to dresses, to pants, to wigs, and more. They work closely with the makeup artist and hair/wig designers to create a look for each character.
- A costume designer should have the knowledge of how fabrics work and how to sew, even though they may not be the ones sewing the pieces themselves. They should understand different fabrics and textures, as well as understanding various time periods and standards for fashion in those time periods.
IDEAS TO GET STARTED
Costume Rendering (left) and Execution (right) of Macbeth, Macbeth (2012), Johnson Theare at UNH, Costume Design: Szu-Feng Chen