Oh boy, finally getting back into the swing of things, and all I'm doing is bombarding you with all this design bunk, huh? Well too bad, because this show is the only thing on my mind right now!! Also all my sketches are currently on my work computer, which is imminently being replaced, so I need to write these posts and empty out my personal files.
Today's topic: Prelim Designs, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Ugly Sketches.
So, you've talked to the director, you have some kind of psychologically driven concept for the show, you have this huge stack of research, and now what? Prelims. Now it's time to take all that research and turn it into loose quick sketches for each costume. Everyone's approach to this is a little different. Some people may want to create sort of "mood boards" (oooo) of colours and textures for each character, to help keep a consistent thread and track the visual development of the character throughout the story. Some people may do a similar thing with a giant list of words. Other people still don't write any of this shit down, and just internalize it. I'm more of the latter party. "I've read this one act play 6 times, if I don't get it now, I am never going to".
You know who the characters are, what their individual experience of the story is, and have some idea how that needs to translate to their "look" in the show. Now, pick up a pencil, and draw. The key to prelims is don't be too precious about them, and don't let them take a long time. You may even draw multiple versions of one look, if you think you and your director have different visions, or you're still working some details out in your head. Just draw a bunch, and then select the sketches you're going to show your director which you feel best represents your vision for the show. Your sketches may eb beautiful, or they may look like (to borrow a beloved phrase) hammered-ass, like mine. Doesn't matter, just as long as the ideas get out there, I mean the director is going to ask you to change things anyway!
Here are my prelims for The Lover. Please, try to stifle your laughter. I should not be putting these on the internet and claiming to have any artistic ability, but I promise you these sketches are a tool, and are as quick and dirty as I get. Deadlines, y'all.
|Sarah, look 1|
|Sarah, look 2|
|Sarah, look 3|
|Richard, look 1|
|Richard, look 2|
|John, The Milkman|
Next time, I'll be sharing my final designs for The Lover. I promise, they are way prettier. You won't believe all the things that changed!! Prelims really are a tool of communication, as all artwork for theatre is. It may be beautiful, or it may be sloppy, it may be realistic or it may be abstract; the renderings a designer does need only do one thing really well: show the people responsible for making the show what it is that they want. But more on that next time!