Ladies and Gentlemen, start your pencils…..

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your pencils…..

By Lea Umberger

If you are following along from the past posts of Let Me Introduce Myself and First, Comes the Research , you may have guessed we are at the next steps in the costume design process. The director and I have reviewed the research, talked character, color scheme ideas, what we are trying to do with the story outside of just recreate an image of Einstein, Mary Church Terrell,  Abraham Flexner or Marian Anderson.   With these conversations concrete in my notes and in my head- it is time to put the pencil to the paper and Sketch!

Recap of the Process of Costume Design

If you just happened along this blog, let me fill you in a bit first on what we are tackling right now in the Lea Umberger Designs Studio:

I am not sure how familiar people are with the process of costume design for theater and film. So I wanted to take you through a few steps in my process for “My Lord, What A Night”.

THE PROCESS: After reading the show and determining how many costumes are needed, the next steps include:

  • Research period and in this case specific historic characters
  • developing a concept/ the central meaning around the piece with the director and through the designs
  • Sketches
  • Swatching/ Collecting Specific Fabrics-
  • Color Rendering (watercolor is my preference, but I am hoping to get into digital color rendering in the near future)

Currently I am working on “My Lord, What A Night” by Deborah Brevoort

SYNOPSIS: When famed African-American singer Marian Anderson is refused lodging because of her ethnicity, she finds an unlikely friend in Albert Einstein. Quick-witted debates attempt to solve the nation’s problems over tea. Inspired by true events, this story explores the racial, religious, and gender-based struggles plaguing two of the most iconic entities of the 20th century.

It’s time to sketch!

For “My Lord, What A Night” I planned to sketch a total of 8 different sketches.  Here are a few sketches, created based on research and one sketch to show the whole process.  Once the sketches are all complete, these are reviewed and signed off on by the director and the artistic director of the theater and then….the color will follow in the coming weeks!

Einstein Research and Notes for “My Lord, What A Night”
“My Lord, What A Night” Costume Design Sketches for Einstein by Lea Umberger
Marian Anderson Research Act 1
Marian Anderson Research
Costume Sketches for Marian Anderson by Lea Umberger for “My Lord, What A Night”

































































































And here is the research and completed sketch from the shared video of Mary Church Terrell- a sketch that took roughly 20-25 minutes to complete.

Mary Church Terrell Research
Sketch of Mary Church Terrell by Lea Umberger for “My Lord, What a Night”

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