Costume Renderings: Mistakes, Mishaps, Failures, and Flubs – Part 3

Chalk Pastel on Fabric Rendering

This was actually from my undergrad final art project. I was allowed to pick a project and I chose to design a single show two different ways and in two different styles. So, trying to be super creative and artistic (this was for the art department; not the theatre department) I decided to do one in chalk pastels on the fabrics that I would have used, had it been a realized project.

This got some great feedback when I presented it at my portfolio review for grad school, and I sometimes think about resurrecting the idea. A couple of minor issues are my lack of a face, the trouble of drawing on fabric rather than paper, and my general lack of proportion (which I’m happy to say has improved since this rendering!)

I would want to trim down the fabric, as it would be easier to pull the image off the page (visually). But it isn’t as far off as some others.

Here’s an image on what pastels can look like when done well:

Oil Pastels done well


Other things I have learned over the years:

Don’t underestimate the importance of a horizon line. For too many years my characters floated though space, listing this way or that.

Do learn to draw hands, feet, and faces. The faces part is widely debated, and I know excellent designers who don’t draw in the faces, saying that it frees the actor/actress to picture themselves in the role. I tried that excuse for awhile, and then realized that I didn’t like drawing faces because I couldn’t, and when I did get faces right the actor/ress was more likely to say, “that’s how I see them too”. And there is something fun about aging one face, and making another look like they are a teen. Still not perfect at it, but I fall on the “it’s better to have them” side of the debate.

Do find a size of drawing that you are comfortable with and stick to it. I was pushed in school to increase the size of my renderings, and for good cause. I tend to draw small and tight. However, In trying to draw larger, many of my renderings end up as lanky stick figures. With giant heads.

Do know that it really isn’t about the drawing. It’s about what ends up onstage opening night. Rendering is a communications tool, but there are many ways of communicating. All of them good and appropriate. If you find something that works. Stick with it and perfect your technique. But always try something new if you want to mix it up.

Above all, RELAX! It’s just a rendering. It’s not like your renderings will bring about world peace.

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