This book is based on my years of experimental executions of costume and makeup designs in theatrical productions. I consider this book to be a companion book to my Character Figure Drawing book, published two years ago by Focal Press. The drawing book emphasized drawing and rendering techniques; this craftwork book focuses on the execution process and on techniques for creating craftwork for costume designs.
My purpose in writing this book is to stress the importance of the steps that turn 2-D costume designs into 3-D physical objects. In my opinion, experience creating craftwork from designs is essential for anybody who wants to be a better costume and makeup designer. The creation of the actual crafts may be delegated to others, but the costume designer should understand the craftproduction process.
I consider myself to be a hands-on person. (I believe my crafting skills are much better than my writing skills.) This book is a summary of the executions of my designs that worked effectively on stage. It covers broad-based craft subjects, useful information, instructions, and ideas.
Unfortunately, I don’t possess all the process photos showing every step for each creation in the book. To make up for this, I have included many drawings illustrating the most important processes; I hope the sketches make sense to you. The lesson here is: DO NOT FORGET TO TAKE PROCESS PICTURES OF YOUR WORK! You never know when you may need them later.
In addition, some of the photos that appear in this book are of poor quality, and I apologize for this; I was not able to replace them. I am also unfortunately unable to list all the names of the people related to every photo.
The methods and techniques presented in this book are rather primitive and simple, and can be done using basic equipment. Creating craftwork involves problem solving, exploring media, and cost control.
My book on character figure drawing has been well received by the readers, and I hope readers who are interested in creating craftwork will find this craftwork book even more useful.
I received positive feedback from readers after Focal Press published my book Character Costume Figure Drawing. This interest from my readers encouraged me to write a second book. Character Costume Figure Drawing demonstrated drawing techniques for portraying characters with lifelike body language and facial expression; Costume Craftwork on a Budget is a continuation, focusing on the development and execution of craftwork. It shows the techniques for moving from 2-D designs to 3-D pieces of theater craftwork that I have designed, built, and used effectively on stage. My goal is to make this an instructional and technical book that is easy to follow and fun to read.
This book covers broad topics, including 3-D makeup, false teeth, beards and wigs, masks, millinery, armor, soft leather shoes, nonhuman costumes, aging and altering garments, and Halloween costumes. There is no other book available that comprehensively covers everything I cover here. Some of the methods I developed had never been used before. Many other techniques I improved and enhanced to make my project work in a particular situation, producing end results that were beautiful, economical, and quick and easy to make. I have made many crafts throughout my career, and for this book I have chosen examples that use a diverse array of techniques.
This book demonstrates straightforward step-by-step procedures with many illustrations. It also includes my designs, construction photos and illustrations, materials and tools, production photos, and some of my students’ creative work for productions I designed. I am very proud of my students’ work, and I am delighted to be able to share our experiences with other theater craft creators.
Although you may not make the same crafts I show in this book, I hope you pick up some useful techniques that will help you along your creative pathway. I hope this book will inspire new ideas in your craft-creating adventures. Although certain details covered here may seem elementary, I include them in order to thoroughly display the creation of the craft. Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of all the steps. The book covers productions from throughout my career, and many of them took place many years ago; I illustrated these older productions with line drawings.
The techniques for creating the craftwork in this book are only one way to execute the projects, and of course they are not the only way. Craftwork should not all be done the same way; otherwise, it won’t be unique. We must always keep trying and learning nonstop, continually experimenting and developing, and imaginatively inventing new techniques and technologies.
This book is for anyone who is interested in craftwork, such as theater costume professionals, students, craft specialists, or people interested in Halloween costumes; it can be used in the classroom as an instructional tool or in a theater company’s craft department. It is for anyone who needs specifi c craft techniques for theater productions or for anyone whose goal is to create fast, easy, and practical crafts that are durable. If you don’t have a big budget for a production but still want beautiful products, this book imparts some inspiration, methods, and ideas to get you started and help you create dramatic and unique pieces of affordable artwork.
I hope this book is enjoyable to read and brings out the readers’ creativity, imagination, ideas, and inspiration as it tells a story of how to cleverly make durable products in a short amount of time in simple, easy-to-follow steps using a wide array of illustrations and photographs.