Costume Designer

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The Chalkboard and more working drawings

For each show I write all the looks to be designed on a chalkboard. Here’s the do to list for All the Fame of Lofty Deeds.


When I’m done with initial sketches for a character I check it off. When the rendering is complete I cross it out. I never erase–I like seeing my progress. As the board fills up with checks and cross-outs I sometimes circle what’s left to do. It’s how I mark the home stretch. Today I’m erasing the board to make room for The Wiz.
The board is obviously useful as a checklist, but I’ve realized it’s also the ritual that marks the beginning of my time at the drawing board. It’s the last of the practical/paperwork side of things for a while, and it lets me ┬áhit the pencils and paper with a clear mind.

Speaking of the drawing table, here’s another shot of a work in progress. I’m still working on our Tumbleweed.

Weed at the table

The research image in the lower left corner is a Herb Ritts photo and one of the first images that spoke to me for this character. It’s back again as we consider the script changes and the newly developed arc of the Tumbleweed. Tommy and I are still talking through the new sketches, so I won’t go into too much detail right now. I will say I had a major breakthrough when I realized we need to design the Tumbleweed as a character, and not just make her look like a tumbleweed. I came to this conclusion after reading the new draft of the script which reveals a very clear character arc for her. The dream-like quality of the world of the play gives us a lot of freedom too–if there’s a five headed record executive monster then of course our tumbleweed can have some human-likeness.
The other images are of possible textures for our girl, along with some clothing silhouette research. Also of note is the color of the paper I’m using. When we first started talking about the show, Jon brought us some images of a Nashville bar named Tootsies Orchid Lounge. We were all struck with the tobacco stained publicity photos that line the walls of Tootsies. The tobacco stains speak to age and hard living, qualities we wanted to speak to in the design. I find it useful to use inspirational drawing materials even in the early design process, and the yellow onion skin tracing paper felt just right. To give the final renderings more depth and opacity, I mounted them on sienna colored drawing paper.

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