Neurotic Owl

flying through clouds of uncertainty on wings of existential dread

Saturday! Once again, a reminder that I can actually draw something besides owl cartoons, and a word of warning about costume design.


So this is a rendering, aka the most fun part of designing a show 90% of the time.  It’s not actually terribly well thought out as an image, since the leading character is not the one in the middle, but rather the little girl in the blue blouse and skirt, but there you go.  The show is ‘Mirandy and Brother Wind’, based on this rather stunning book:


and I shamelessly stole the bulk of my design plan, colour palette, etc. directly from the illustrations.  That’s the kind of thing that would be terrible if I were doing a painting to sell, but is absolutely acceptable as a costume design.

The truth is, design is a loose description — what I’ll be doing for this and the other children’s show I have coming up is really mostly coordinating.  Nothing will actually end up looking just like the rendering, which is primarily a visual guideline for my own benefit.  I have a tiny amount of time and money, so there’ll be no making costumes from scratch.  As is frequently the case with smaller regional theatres, the one I’m working for doesn’t have a costume staff, so I’ll be responsible for measuring the kids, then pulling, building, altering, and cleaning everything myself.  The rendering is an easy one page reference tool for when I’m wandering through costume storage at any of the three theatres I’m likely to borrow from or any of a dozen thrift stores looking for the item that will fit the child and suit the character.

If you’re young and in school and excited about becoming a costume designer, great!  Go for it!  Just know that, if you plan to work in regional theatre, you can’t get away with being a designer who paints pretty pictures and calls it done.  You will have to sew, and shop, and climb through hot dusty warehouses, and do laundry, and you will do it all for less money than you make at your day job.  That’s one of the things I didn’t learn in school — the designer frequently makes less than anyone else on a show, and since you’re mostly paid a flat fee, you’ll lose an extra 15% of the pittance you receive when the government penalizes you for being self-employed.  Clearly I find the creative process of designing to still be worth it, so I’m not saying don’t do it — I am saying have other skills, because you will need them.


Was that depressing?  Sorry.  Have this picture of a Charlie covered in Tribbles to make up for it.pompoms

“The hell, Mom?”

2 comments on “Saturday! Once again, a reminder that I can actually draw something besides owl cartoons, and a word of warning about costume design.

  1. ccoshow
    July 6, 2013

    The cat tries to confound you, you confound the cat. It’s the circle of life.

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