CDG - The Costume Designer

Fall 2016

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Fall 2016 The Costume Designer 25 the detail which goes into them is a very unique process." Ultimately, the goal is to find a shared visual language with the production team. "I come from a theater background and am capable of illustrating," chuckles Clark. "However, how we must package an illustration in order for it to be received well. That takes a level of illustration skill that is beyond most designers' capabilities. So, as a designer, your collaboration with the illustrator is as an extension of yourself." Sekeris adds to this thought noting, "I think there is a misconception because as illustrators, depending on the Costume Designer and how they want to utilize us, we can be either a brain or we can be a pencil." Years ago, Villanueva began illustrating on layers of vellum perfecting the details with each added layer. These days, he draws entirely on the computer. He says, "I have a multitude of books on different types of peri- ods, military, fantasy, every superhero you can name. I love to do research. It's one of my favorite things, aside from just making the artwork. I really do completely submerge myself into the world that I'm assisting in creating." As the design team searches for the seams and shapes which best express each character, hundreds of iterations may be drawn. "You have to be a good listener," says Clark, "so, our time together is a very trusting place, whether I'm working with five or six illustrators, or just one at a time. We have to learn how to listen and communicate well through imagery, and ultimately create something beautiful that will result in the characters of the film. I always find that during the process the greatest thing is when we all love it. You Long Beach and studied under CDG member, illustrator Robin Richesson, which he considers an honor. Villanueva explains, "In 2006, Robin introduced me to the art of cos- tume illustration in one of her classes. It was then that I real- ized my childhood dream could be my career." ORIGIN STORY Regardless of genre, every Costume Design project is initiated by thoroughly digesting the script, the characters and their intentions, then using images to express the designer's interpretation of the plot and the characters. "The shift comes as soon as you start to research a superhero film," says Clark. "With the kind of imagery you are summon- ing, you enter this world of fantasy, and it's magical. The design process is intricate, so the tools we use are vast and complicated." Most superhero projects are based on a previ- ous film, a graphic novel, or concept work, which enters the studio system as part of the pitch for a project. Because the existing artwork has to be considered in the design, Clark takes a moment at the beginning to consider what drew the director to the concept. Is it buildable? Will it function on a real body? She finds this to be a delicate but necessary con- versation in order to move forward. As the costume team begins its own illustration pro- cess, Clark calls this assemblage of ideas an extraordinary and heroic effort in and of itself. "We're sort of like mad sci- entists at the same time as we're designers. You're creating these beautiful images, but then the execution of them and Photo: Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate Films Christine Bieselin Clark's design for the character Andrew "Ender" Wiggin in the film Ender's Game, as illustrated by Constantine Sekeris.

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