1st Edition

The Costume Designer's Toolkit The Process of Creating Effective Design

By Holly Poe Durbin Copyright 2023
    370 Pages 293 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    370 Pages 293 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Costume Designer’s Toolkit explores the wide-ranging skills required to design costumes for live performance in theatre, dance, opera, and themed entertainment. Arranged in chronological order to create a design, each chapter describes tools, strategies, and techniques costume designers use to create lively and believable characters within a story environment. The book provides a step-by-step outline of the costume design process beginning with developing as an artist and creating an artistic vision for a script. It covers a wide range of topics, including:

    • Assessing the scope of a production
    • Understanding design thinking and the creative process
    • Project management and budget forecasting
    • Collaborating with and leading creative teams
    • Current practices in costume rendering and communication
    • Mixing purchased, rented, stock, and built costumes to form a design
    • Designing a garment with impact
    • Fitting costumes on performers
    • Combining grit and grace for a successful career

    Each topic includes case studies and tips from experienced professionals, identifies vital skills, describes techniques, and reveals the essential elements of artistic leadership, collaboration, and cultural acumen.

    The Costume Designer’s Toolkit is the perfect guidebook for the student, aspiring, or early-career costume designer, to be used alone or in costume design university courses.

    Part 1: The Designer’s Tools  1. What the Costume Designer Brings to a Production  2. Collaborative Creativity  3. Design Elements Create a Picture  4. Color Creates Emotions  5. Design Principles Create Meaning  6. Fabrics Create Definition  Part 2: A Designer Prepares  7. Getting Paid: All that Glitters...  8. Script, Plot, and Story  9. The Mechanics of a Script  10. Characters Engage the Audience  11. The Story Unfolds on a Stage  Part 3: A Designer Explores 12. Generating Ideas  13. Adding Authenticity with Research  Part 4: Concept Development  14. The Design Approach  15. Designing the Character Costume  16. Communicating the Costume Design  Part 5: Feasibility  17. Defining the Scope of a Show  18. Budgeting Creative Projects  19. Leading Teamwork  Part 6: Production  20. Pull it Together: Sourcing and Organizing Costumes  21. Styling Menswear  22. Meet Your Maker: Made-to-Order Costumes  23. Accessories and Costume Props  24. Hair and Makeup Design  Part 7: Evaluate  25. Preparing for Fittings  26. Fitting Garments  27. The Rehearsal Period  Part 8: Refine the Vision  28. Dress Rehearsals  Part 9: Opening and Epilogue 29. Design Documentation   30. Growing Your Art Appendix – Sample Resume


    Holly Poe Durbin is an award-winning costume designer for theater, opera, independent film, and themed entertainment. She has collaborated with notable actors such as Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, William Shatner, Martin Short, and Tessa Thompson to create engaging characters. She has worked internationally, on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in regional theaters around the US including the South Coast Repertory, the Old Globe Theatres, Mark Taper Forum, St. Louis Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Shakespeare Center LA, and Playmakers Repertory in North Carolina. She was the costume director for the Center Theater Group in Los Angeles and is the head of costume design studies at the University of California Irvine.