The costume design portfolio is consistently one of the most difficult portfolios to build. While a costume designer's job is certainly covered by a motion picture costume designer, there are also costume designers for theater productions and special events as well as costume designers that design original pieces from scratch.
In order to truly provide yourself with an advantage that will grab attention from potential employers, you have to decide what type of costume design you're interested in pursuing. In many cases it's often good advice to find someone who has been doing your desired form of costume work and shadow them for a few weeks or even volunteer with them so you can learn the ropes before going out on your own. However, if you don't have anyone in mind this doesn't necessarily mean you won't be successful. This costume design portfolio guide will give you good advice for costume designers that are interested in all types of costume work.
The early costume designer portfolio is very similar to the fashion designer' sketchbook, in that they both start out small and increase in size over time. The typical costume design portfolio should contain anywhere from five to twenty sketches, which demonstrates your ability to capture expressions, figure proportions, sculpting or basic form building concepts. Effective costume design portfolios consist of headshot drawings with basic reference points indicating accurate sizing so employers can visualize how these designs would fit on an actual human being.
Each drawing should come complete with a note detailing the character's personality traits, moods and overall appearance as well any additional elements needed such as accessories or costume details that help define the character's place in the story. Before you present your costume design portfolio to a potential employer, carefully consider what he or she is most likely to notice first and make sure you highlight this element by making it bigger, bolder and/or more colorful than anything else on the page.
While costume designers can use any type of media for their costume design portfolios, digital media will ultimately be the preferred choice because it allows the costume designer easy access to rework pieces without having to start from scratch. However, keep in mind that all sketches should be clean enough so they're easily reproducible if needed. Because costume design positions often involve working with budgets and other artists on large projects, employers may want to be able to easily reproduce costume design sketches so they can share them with others.
Portfolio Content Tips :
- Keep costume design portfolio pieces small, no larger than 8x10 inches at the largest.
- Ensure costume design sketches are clear and easy to read. It's important that employers be able to clearly see what you're envisioning for each costume design sketch. Be sure that your costume designs reference objects familiar enough that your employer can clearly picture the finished project in their head without having to spend too much time envisioning it before hiring you on.
- Keep costume designer portfolio pieces limited in quantity; No more than twenty costume design drawings, tops! Employers will quickly lose interest if there are more costume designs than this because it's difficult to remember what they're looking at.
- Keep costume design portfolio pieces cohesive in theme, but don't be afraid to show your range by including costume designs for different genres of film. For example, if you want to get hired for costume design on children's movies, it's fine to include some costume design sketches that are meant for silly costume characters and others that are more serious! Just make sure the style of costume designs you choose all work together well enough that your employer can see your price range without wondering how each sketch is related to the next.
- Costume design portfolios should include at least one hand drawn costume sketch (so employers can see how good you are with hands) and one fully rendered 3D model (for costume design depth and volume).
- Don't hand draw costume design portfolio pieces on textured paper or any other medium that employers can't reproduce. All costume design portfolios should be clean enough that they can easily be reproduced if necessary.
- Costume designer portfolios should include at least one costume sketch for every season you expect to work, not just summer swimsuit costume designs! Seasonal costume designs include costume sketches for winter wear, spring casual wear and fall business wear as well as costume pieces for the ever popular superhero costumes found during the summer months. Be sure you also have costume designs ready for Halloween, so your employer knows you're up on all current trends in seasonal fashion!
- Keep costume design portfolio pieces interesting by including a range of different costume designs, not just superhero costume sketches! Also include costume design sketches for costume characters of less obvious costumes like aliens or animals.
- Remember to use space on your costume designer portfolio appropriately by reserving some room for descriptive information about each costume piece being presented. Be sure that your costume's color palette is described, along with any distinctive features that are most representative of the overall costume design including reference images if available.
Portfolio Formats : When creating a costume design portfolio, it's important to consider how you're going to present your costume designs so they best represent your work and show off what you have to offer as a potential employee.