So, how is that Cinderella costume coming you might ask...well, rather than sewing, I may have become a little distracted the past few days (no thanks to Pinterest), and pulled out the colored pencils & paper instead! I was given a set of watercolor pencils a while ago that were just begging to be used, and Pinterest kept tempting me with ideas for Victorian fancy dress, and, well, the rest is history! I mean, really, when the creative muse demands, who would dare to resist?
My Creative Process
~ Julia Cameron
Each of my costume renderings begins as a simple thought, a picture that I see in my head that demands to be realized on paper. Inspiration, be it a historical garment, image that I come across, a simple color laying next to another, etc. comes at any moment. Morning, noon, and night I think and dream of costume designs! Alvin Ailey described it best when he stated that the "creative process is not controlled by a switch you can simply turn on or off; it's with you all the time." However, very rarely do these designs in my head ever make it to paper. But, when they do, the start as a basic pencil outline:
Nothing fancy, just a good, old, #2 pencil from the pencil cup and a brief sketch laying out where "things" go. To help keep in proportion, I usually draw guidelines for the figure first, and then build on the clothing. For the past two days, I've collected quite the stack of pencil sketches!
|Another pencil sketch, 1880s. I think I was going for a "checkers" fancy dress...|
I really like the shape of that hat brim though!
If I am pleased enough by the pencil outline, and the muse demands it, I will move onto inking the sketch. Again, very few sketches move onto this step...this time, it was only four designs. Yes, I am far too critical for my own good when it comes to my drawing. Often details will be worked out in pencil first. After inking (employing a fine "sharpie" pen), all of the pencil framework is erased:
Then, color...this is the scary part for me! I tried a new medium this time, watercolor pencils. I began the same way as with regular colored pencils by filling in the lightest colored areas and adding shading. The gold took several, different layers to achieve the color I was looking for:
Then, I transitioned to the darker colors:
Perhaps paint in a suggestion of a background, and, ta-da, a finished costume rendering!
Overall verdict: I'm still not sure how I feel about watercolor pencils...they are definitely harder to use than regular colored pencils or watercolors. And, achieving the color intensity and specific shades I wanted was a challenge, not always met. Something to continue experimenting with...
The Finished Victorian "Fancy Dress" Results
(1) The "Lady Archer"
Inspiration came from this original fancy dress:
|Fancy dress costume designed by Jules Helleu for the House of Worth, c.1860s.|
(Image via: V&A Collections, E.22036-1957)
(2) "Lady Chess" Fancy Dress
You can see that I am trying to add some sense of movement to my previously static figures. The blue did not turn out the way I wanted, so it sort of reminds me of a 1950s diner...and, yes, coloring in those checks took forever. Inspired by this period fashion plate:
|Fancy Dresses by Capewell and Kimmel|
for "Frank Leslie's Family Magazine," c.1858
(Image via: Pinterest)
(3) "Starry, Starry Night" Fancy Dress
Again, the blue proved unpredictable, despite layering like 10 different colors...Inspiration came from this natural form gem:
|Toilette de promenade, c.1875-1880|
(Image via: Pinterest)
(4) Last, but not least, my most favorite:
|Bustle drapery detail shot.|
To prove that she's not forgotten...
Warm wooly number one - a handmade sontag shawl, knit by some very talented hands (not mine!). Eeeeeee, I love it so much!!
...A perfect pair of hand warmers for Cinderella!
"I'm a very restless person. I'm always doing something.
The creative process never stops."
~ Oscar de la Renta