Costume Renderings: Mistakes, Mishaps, Failures and Flubs – Part 2

This is part two of my series on mistakes in costume rendering. I think there will be three to this series … pending my ability to find the examples I’m looking for in my mass of renderings.

Collaged Rendering + Colored Pencil Rendering (because I combined them myself)

Collage and Colored Pencil Rendering

This was for a play that was set in modern times. Sometimes I want to try something new because I’m feeling lazy and I think it will be faster than my tried and true method of sketch/paint/over-sketch. This was one of those mistakes.

My thinking was along these lines: “This is a modern show. I’m just going to buy everything for the show anyway. I can probably find most of the pieces in catalogs. I’ve always wondered if I could collage a costume and then draw in the face and hands….”

What I learned: catalogs shoot their products in all kinds of poses, angles, and sizes. If you just cut and paste, you lose all ability to regulate proportion. Some people might be okay with this. I am not. Proportion is one of the things I struggle with constantly, so I notice every time it is off. It is so distracting to me, that I as the designer have a hard time focusing on what I am trying to communicate with the design. And if it’s hard for me as the designer, I can’t imagine a director being able to look past it and see what I’m really trying to say.

In the end I sketched the designs and put all of my little cut out pieces on the side of the rendering. That way if my sketching was really difficult to decipher, I could point to the jacket (for example) and say, “it will look like this.”

Which brings up an important point.

Many directors have a hard time visualizing designs. I might go so far as to say that that is the whole point of renderings; to give the director a sense of what they will likely see onstage at first dress (or costume parade if you are unlucky enough to have to go through that).

So renderings that decidedly DO NOT clarify, aren’t really worth doing, are they? At least that is what always runs through my head while I’m sketching, painting, and scanning my renderings. This is probably why I have such angst and agita in my life.

 Regarding the use of colored pencils in renderings…

While I thought this would be faster than sketching, painting, etc… it turns out that laying in color by colored pencil, is exceedingly long and laborious. And every time I am tempted to try this again, I remember two things:

  1.  It is imperative that you pay attention to the direction of your pencil strokes as you color.
  2.  Kind words from a former professor, “Use each tool as it was meant to be used. Use a pencil to draw. Use paint to paint.”

On the upside, I find that with a high-quality, soft colored pencil, I can color and blend and over-color forever!

Here’s an image I found of colored pencil work done well (and again, it’s closer to what I see in my head, but am unable to reproduce). The artist is Debbi Friedman, and she does beautiful work.

Debbi Friedman’s beautiful colored pencil work.

I find it really hard to believe that Ms. Friedman’s work is colored pencil and not a photograph. It’s remarkable and beautiful at the same time.

Part 3 is coming. Just as soon as I find the renderings I want to use.

Please enter into the discussion in the comments below. We all learn by sharing with one another.

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