Date: February 16, 2014
Days Spent on Project: 365 (Really?!?!?)
Location: Apartment, Washington Heights, NYC
Person I would have sent it to: Jess G.
Jess was one of the costume professors that I studied under while at the Yale School of Drama.
He’s one of the “blessed few,” I’ll be so bold in writing. He’s had a long career, continues to be in demand, and even has two Broadway hits still playing to audiences. I worked as an assistant on one of those shows two years ago, and I found it to be a very educational experience… both in design, learning more resources and shops in the city, and meeting a new group of people and artists.
Jess is just pleasant to work with. Yes, he’s a good designer, but I think he has perspective about the job and the work he does and asks others to do. That perspective was great to experience.
Every year at Yale, as the second semester wound itself down and all our final projects had been turned in and evaluated, there would be a party at Michael’s Y’s house, in a nearby Connecticut town. After the weeks of stress, overnighters, and work, it was nice to celebrate having survived another year and looking forward to the summer and the next go-round at the YSD.
My second year, after I had turned in set models and costume sketches for Gounod’s Faust that had earned mixed reactions from the faculty (my sets were deemed good, my costumes weren’t), I went up to Jess and asked what I could work on over the summer. Did he have any advice.
He did. He said that it was nice that I threw myself into the work each week, not just turning in a handful of sketches, but sometimes an entire show… week after week… critique after critique. He suggested that my sketches looked rushed, and in my speed to get things done, my sense of proportion was becoming increasingly off. The sketches were becoming cartoony more than anything.
And it was true. As I was pushing myself to get my ideas down on paper quickly, the method I used to measure my figure drawing was becoming more of an informed guess rather than specific. The heads on the figures I drew were becoming just slightly too big. I was developing shorthand for feet and hands and poses that were becoming less and less believable. My ideas, while technically drawn on a paper and could therefore be turned in, weren’t necessarily well-thought out.
So I promised myself I’d work on that. To this day, I now draw on a scale that is comfortable to me. My figures are 12 inches high, which some people think is rather large, but it works for me. I divide my figures into 8 sections, like you’re supposed to and like I’ve always done, but I measure the divisions every single time. And I take the time to really look at what I’m drawing; I’ve remembered how important it is to draw what you see and NOT what you know.
Helpful lessons to relearn, you know?
Music I listened to while sewing: Spotify suggested MNDR today. “Feed Me Diamonds” is pretty awesome.
Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: Another interview to talk about a new project today. Another web-series, this production company got my name from a production designer I worked with last fall on my first web-series.
Networking. Sometimes it works!
Now to figure out if this one will pay anything.
I’ll take it, whether it does or not.
Silly freelance career.