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Digital costume sketching through embodied awareness

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This article presents a method for costume design, where empathy and embodiment are used as methodological choices by the designer in the character-creation process. In creating references for the sketching process, costume designers combine photos in which they portray themselves as the character that they imagine. These role-selfies, taken with a handheld tablet, work as starting points for the sketching procedure. The material for the present study is collected from MA costume design students who participated in digital character-creation courses at Aalto University, in Helsinki, Finland, and is a part of doctoral research by the author. The data are collected through a mixed-method approach and is organized as a case study investigating the experiences of using the body as a source for costume design. The research question in this study is as follows: does an awareness of one’s own body facilitate the sketching process? The initial results show that the research participants consider the method useful because it enables them to experience a stronger bodily connection with the digital medium, the imagined design and the emerging character in the costume sketching process. Hence, the findings of this study can be used to develop design and teaching practices not only in the field of costume design but also in other design processes involving character creation.
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Keywords: costume design; digital costume sketching; embodiment; empathy; role-selfie; touch screen

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000108389418Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Publication date: December 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Studies in Costume & Performance aims to encourage, generate and disseminate critical discourse on costume and the relationship between costume and performance. It considers costume as a symbiotic articulation of the body of the performer which is visual, material, temporal and performative. Whether performed live, seen through the camera lens or found in an archive, costume embodies and reflects the performance itself.

    The journal will bring together experts in costume, scenography, performance, fashion and curation as well as critically engaged practitioners and designers to reflect and debate costume in performance, its reception in production, exhibition and in academic critical discourse. Submission will include visual essays. The journal is double-blind peer-reviewed in order to maintain the highest standards of scholastic integrity.

    Past and current practice is considered through the ‘reading’ of the costumed body as a communication of embodied, cultural, social, artistic and historical narratives. As such this journal is an articulation of practice, which, through this process redefines practice itself.

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