Whenever I take photos with big concepts, I start with concept art and costume sketches. Usually these aren’t so detailed that someone else can interpret them, but they are detailed enough for me to remember what I feel the need to include in an image. There are three types of art I can potentially do in order to help conceive my vision.
1. Costume Sketches
2. Concept Art
I use these three types of art to help me develop my ideas into costumes, find models and locations and compose images.
First up is a set of thumbnails I drew up for my illustrations of Ascanio in Alba. Interestingly, while I did photograph these things, I did not use any of these ideas in my final photograph.
Next is a sketch for Fiordiligi’s costume from the opera “Cosi Fan Tutte”. This character dresses up in her boyfriends military uniform.
Der Stein der Weisen was a fun opera to bring to life through illustration. Set in a fantastical Asian world, there was a lot to play with.
My genie is based off of Buddha and the maidens vying for his bird’s attention were drawn from Chinese inspiration.
The thumbnail below is followed by the image I produced.
Compare the thumbnail above to the finished image below to see how closely my concepts are followed.
Die Schuldigkeit des Ersten Gebots didn’t have such a big concept process, I only needed the thumbnail to get an idea of what I wanted to get out of the final picture.
You can compare the thumbnail above to the finished image below.
Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail was costumed out of clothes found in my friend and fellow costumer Camille’s closest. I thought about all the pieces she had available, and then combined them on paper as seen below.
Below you can see some of these costumes in the finished image.
The Magic Flute is an opera I have extensively illustrated. When I first heard it, I was inspired to fill an entire sketchbook.
But when I decided to use photography to bring these ideas to life, I did not know anything about costuming. So, I started petty small. I would probably go bigger today, especially with the Queen of the Night.
My costume ideas of Tamino and the Queen of the Night were based on what I could realistically make at the time.
Tamino’s outfit is influenced heavily by Japanese history and video game costumes.
Below you can see the outfit created from the above design.
Papageno was always meant to be a sort of bird version of a faun in my final image. I based his tattoos and look of of the Egyptian art of the Ba Spirit. A half-bird/half person creature represent a person’s soul.
Papageno was brought to life by Jon Sollee in the image below.
My Don Giovanni costume sketches were fairly blank, mostly focusing on shape.
In the end, Don Giovanni got a much more complicated white doublet, but the same cut still applies.
My thumbnails for Don Giovanni, below.
A set of Il Sogno di Scipione thumbnails.
Don Pippo of L’oca del Cairo and Lucio Silla, of Lucio Silla, costume sketches.
Compare the Lucio Silla Sketch to the final image.
La Finta Semplice was originally meant to feature five or so models, but they kept dropping out. Below was my last minute attempt to create some costumes that could be pulled from what I already owned.
The Marriage of Figaro photos were inspired by the image below, something I created after first hearing the opera a decade ago.
The Marriage of Figaro photos involved so many models and stylists, that I needed a thorough map of thumbnails to keep them straight.
I used the page below to keep track of which photos I had taken on the day.
Compare the middle sketch above to the final image below.
For Mitridate, I based Aspasia’s outfit’s off of Historically accurate garb.
Farnace was also based off of History, but with a fantastical tattoo addition.
Compare the costume sketch above to the final costume below. I regret selling that cool pirate belt holding his cape up.
Finally, I end with the costume sketches for Zaide, another set of costumes pulled from my friend Camille’s closet.
I hope you enjoyed viewing all this concept artwork! I have much, much more, but none of it is scanned.
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