Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Inside the Shoebox of Art Supplies

The scanner is refusing to cooperate for some reason. I'm sure it's a good reason, but either way, I'll have to wrestle it a bit before new sketches are coming to the blog. (Shown above is a Carthaginian man, a dress from a Waterhouse painting, a red smoking jacket). As said before, despite good weather, the Designer (also photographer) is busy during most days. Also, I'm looking to finalise designs before I start nosing around the Cloth Market and Sham Shui Po again in a few weeks, so I'm in theory supposed to be hard at work with a pencil instead of prancing around in silly clothes.

(I'm also trying to dye a hideous pink-and-yellow dress "Burlesque Red" in the washing machine, but that's probably a story for another day.)

Instead, I thought I'd take a few snapshots of what the great Shoebox of Art Supplies and ramble about the contents therein as a probably quite dull insight into the not particularly sophisticated workings of the Costume Mercenary.

I keep all the paints, watercolour pencils, torch, paper and so forth in a giant shoebox (I think it originally contained my housemate's boots, hence the spaciousness).

Any given "concept" sketch starts out as a page from the Star Art sketchbook (they use the same font as a significantly more famous science fiction film trilogy and this amuses me to no end). A naked figure is traced onto it via the means of a perspex chopping board (or it was one, before it failed at that task and became my tracing surface), a small wind-up torch and a pencil. I'll not describe the convoluted balancing process, but suffice to say I look forward to one day devising some kind of actual glass table and gaffer-taping the torch to it.

I reuse a lot of poses (mostly from here), partly because I'm not that good at drawing people, partly because there are only so many sensible poses and partly because the purpose of the sketch has never been to show off how good I am at drawing people.

Fashion templates and the silhouette is something that real fashion students and designer seem to agonise over quite a bit. Costume designers are encouraged to keep the proportions to what was historically fashionable (and achievable with corsetry or lack thereof). I get the impression that fashion courses teach a certain set of proportions and that's what they work off to create that elongated, stylized shape with oddly contorted dynamic poses of cocked hips and thrust forward breasts. What makes a good female figure a decade ago is today judged too manly, too top-heavy or even too muscular. I suspect any attempt to change the way male and female models are selected (c.f. minimum weight for models) needs to start here, on the drawing board where designers are drawing clothes on eight or even nine head tall people (normal people are close to six, I believe). But I'm rambling again.

I should probably attempt to draw my own figures one day. Probably the same day I start experimenting with drawing in a more fashion plate style.

There's a lack impetus partly because in many ways, I consider the concept sketch to be least important part of the design process for me. Patterns, flats and questing for button/trim/fabric are all much more integral to the process, but then I don't have to make presentation boards for prospective investors.

Clothes are then roughly sketched onto the figure, which is then painted over with watercolours.

As pictured, my paints are an utter mess. I have a habit of shouting "What colour should X be?" and if there is answer, I default to purple. I suspect I'm been brainwashed over the years by a good friend of mine who believes it is the Most Superior of All Colours. This is especially evident in my Odyssey sketches.

When dry, the sketch it inked with a 0.5mm black pen and various other details (usually gold or silver) are added with an appropriately bling pen.

And then it's all done. Rinse and repeat.

1 comment:

  1. This is because purple is the most superior of all colours.


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