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Costume Design Hints & Tips

From the Costume Design Course for Performance at Saint Martin's (University Arts College) in London I thought I'd share my hints and tips for swift costume designs. My samples below are based on the comedic play, THE IMPORTANCE of BEING EARNEST by OSCAR WILDE.

If you're not super-confident or quick at drawing figures, tracing paper is the key. Lay it over period pictures and trace the outlines with a pencil or fine felt tip pen (making sure your felt pen does not go through the paper and ruin a library book!!). I did these with an 04-08 size with a trusty STABILO. Enhance the sleeves, alter the length of dresses or change details whilst copying. Make it your own. Glue the tracing paper to thicker paper or card and colour in with good quality pencils/graphic felt pens. Save water colours for thicker paper. Add texture using haberdashery/craft ribbons/flowers/gems/pearls and staple/stick on fabric samples.

For the make-up/hair/wigs/hats/jewellery/collar/cravat/tie details I can hand draw portraits in an instant without tracing anything - but if you need some help just download a template from the internet, print it out and use that. Below is a freestyle face that I doodled whilst waiting to get into the studio...

This paper and net 'cut-out' collage technique reminded me of the flat block colours used by Toulouse Lautrec - which is in keeping with the 1895 date of the play.

I love the natural plant swirls from the Art Nouveau period - which inspired me for the detail in this late Victorian corset. Again - trace over a basic shape and do your own twirls and swirls on top...

You can get in touch via the website for mobile costume workshops and nationally accredited ARTS AWARD certificates.

Feel free to ask about anything to do with this blog... I'd be delighted to hear about your projects...

Laura x

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