Costume Design

THR361W, COSTUME DESIGN                                                                          SYLLABUS

fall 2011                                                                                                                                                              

McIver 159



                                    12A Taylor Building, 334-4076


OFFICE HOURS:   Tues/Thurs 9:30-11am or by appointment  OFFICE PHONE with machine for 24-hour notice    meetings:  334-4076.  HOME PHONE with machine for 24-hour notice meetings: 299-3409

                                Email:    Web page:       



  • To use the vocabulary of primary costume design elements effectively in collaborative discussions.
  • Understand the process of costume design by effectively conceptualizing and creating historical costume designs and contemporary costume designs for a specific historic play using costume design vocabulary and research.
  • To design historic stage costumes that relate to historic fashion and while recognizing theatrical visual elements within the designs
  • Observe the interfacing of "art", "craft", and “business” of costume for performance
  • As a writing-intensive course—several written assignments will undergo two or more drafts to improve clarity, organization of thoughts, and more effective expression.


TEXTS: The Costume Designer's Handbook by Ingham and Covey                     

BOOKS ON RESERVE:       Historic Costume for the Stage by Lucy Barton

                                                      20,000 Years of Fashion by Boucher

                                                      The Book of Costume by Davenport

                                                      The History of Costume by Blanche Payne                                                 

                                                      Stage Costume Design by Douglas Russell

                                                      The Chronicle of Western Fashion by John Peacock

                                                      Tartuffe, by Moliere

                                                      The Dramatic Imagination Robert Edmond Jones



                16 pts:  8 written responses to the assigned eight chapters from Ingham that manage to highlight the important points of the chapter

                10 pts:   ***Well-organized essay comparing costume design to art and fashion. 

                  5 pts:    ***Written play analysis or outline (complete sentences) for Tartuffe revised using course Writing Tips page

                  5 pts:  ***Initial Concept drafts

  4 pts:    Studio exercises (in preparation for research book)

Color exercises—2 points

                                 1 texture exercise—1 point

                                 Line exercises—1 point

                10 pts:  10 examples of historical paintings (can place two to a page if desired—should be color photo copies)

10 pts:  2 full body costume examples for each character in Tartuffe, based on definitions of historical terms introduced in class for 17th century fashion, identify      
    definitions on the examples.  Must use photo-copied  examples from the Books on Reserve and/or other books in Jackson library for at least 70 % of the 
    collection.  Internet sources from approved sites may constitute the final 30% of the collection.
20 pts: Tartuffe research book with 2 costume renderings presented in 17th century fashion

                (including all previous drafts of  play analysis, design concept statement, color, line, texture exercises)

20 pts: Final Design Project:  8 swatched and rendered sketches of characters from Tartuffe based on Research Book ideas 

                  5 pts: ***Extra Credit:  Written response to Robert E. Jones The Dramatic Imagination


                105 pts total    *** designates formal writing ultimately expected that incorporates Writing Tips page


  • GRADING: Evaluating course assignments relies heavily on "objective" criteria, such as how accurate responses are to:
    • 1) Assigned reading material
    • 2) Collecting appropriate material for color, line, texture, detail exercises, and research book
    • 3) Using design and historical vocabulary introduced in class. 
    • Essays and costume design renderings will be evaluated on how evidence is produced in order to present a logical basis for the opinions of the designer based on the play analysis of the play (Tartuffe) as discussed in class. 
    • Late work is discouraged, rarely accepted, and points dropped when accepted late.
    • Keep a portfolio of all written drafts from the semester—these drafts must be included in all final related work, including research book and final project.  We build on and improve each draft.  Do not submit final written work without including the earlier drafts of the work.  Note Writing Tips page and utilize the tips for a better grade. 


ACADEMIC HONOR CODE:  Each student is required to sign the honor statement on all major work submitted for the course.  Refer to the UNCG Academic Integrity Policy at the Dean of Undergraduate Students website.


ATTENDANCE: Attendance is expected and is taken into consideration when determining the overall course grade.  You are responsible for making up missed course work and lectures.


ART SUPPLIES NEEDED: #2 pencil and eraser at all class periods.  Old magazines for tearing out pages.  A cheap watercolor set with brush is required.  You may borrow someone's brush, share one with several other people, or buy your own, but it is your responsibility to have access to one.


OPTIONAL SUPPLIES: For renderings—I suggest a #10 watercolor brush, watercolor paper, colored pencils, pastels, felt-tips, inks, paper dolls.


PLAY ANALYSIS FORMAT: There are two versions for you to use.  (Outline form is fine but use complete sentences.)

                                1.  The play analysis found in the text by Ingham and Covey—uses an outline form.

                                2.  The play analysis found in Douglas Russell's book on reserve (which bases his format on that found in Aristotle's Poetics) Genre, Plot, Characterization,
                                      Theme, Spectacle, Musical Devices (rhythm), Dialogue.



ASSIGNMENTS DUE                                       COURSE SCHEDULE


               Aug. 22:  intro./ photograph course members

   Aug. 24:  dramatic tension/rhythm in characterization

dramatic tension in magazine page                  Aug. 26:  art/design/craft/fashion      realism vs. abstraction


essay/Costume Design Compared to              Aug. 29:  scheduled 15-minute interviews with first draft of essay

Art and Fashion                      Aug. 31:  writing tips

essay due                                                              Sept. 2:   research book for designing Tartuffe introduced; expectations


                                                                                Sept. 5:   LABOR DAY

read Tartuffe                                                        Sept. 7:  Tartuffe

                                                                                Sept. 9:  Tartuffe


chapter 1                                                               Sept. 12:  Tartuffe

revised essay                                                       Sept. 14:  Tartuffe play analysis in class 

Tartuffe play analysis                                        Sept. 16:  the production (Chapter 2) explorations for Tartuffe in class


chapter 2                                                               Sept. 19:  costume research

Tartuffe production format                               Sept. 21:  writing the concept statement/ examples

concept statement for Tartuffe                        Sept. 23:  group work on concept statements


revised play analysis                                          Sept. 26:  texture/rhythm/focus

revised concept statement                                 Sept. 28:  collected swatches in costume shop

texture swatches                                                  Sept. 30:  line theory/rhythm/focus


chapter 3                                                               Oct. 3:  line exercise with partner (accessories for characterization)

                                                                                Oct. 5:  sketch demo ½ class

line exercise due                                                   Oct. 7:  sketch demo ½ class


chapter 4 (first half)                                             Oct. 10:  FALL BREAK

                                                                                Oct. 12:  color theory/rhythm/focus/color wheel

chapter 4 (last half)                                             Oct. 14:  color exercise in class, introduce three color system exercise for research book

chapter 6                                                               Oct. 17:  three color system exercise and identifying color systems in magazine     advertisements color system exercise                                                                 Oct. 19:  color collage for Tartuffe – will be the research book cover) characters and mood as inspiration for color/line/texture
                                                                                     exercise to visually describe your production’s ambience and concept statement. Does a piece of music help identify a sense 
                                                                                     of  rhythm for you?  Explain.
collage                                                                  Oct. 21:  color demo ½ class


revised three color systems                               Oct. 24:  color demo ½ class

chapter 5                                                               Oct. 26:  pre-production period and revised costume plot

                                                                                Oct. 28:  Tartuffe considerations in 17th century fashion         


10-17th century historical paintings                 Oct. 31:  show and tell paintings—review historical terms

                                                                                Nov. 2:  show and tell character samples                                                                      

####Note:  At least 70 % must use examples from costume history books in the Jackson library or reserve in library

     Nov. 4:  review color, line, dramatic tension focus in classic paintings—review research book assignments


     Nov. 7:  studio work—work on two sketches to be included with research book

                                                                                 Nov. 9:  studio work for work on two sketches to be included with research book research book and preliminary 2 sketches    
                                                                                 Nov. 11:  studio work of 17th cent costumes for Tartuffe characters to be included in research book


                                                                                Nov. 14:  studio work—strive to complete first rendering for final design project

chapter 7                                                               Nov. 16:  studio work— strive to complete second rendering for final design project

                                                                                Nov. 18:  studio work—strive to complete third rendering for final design project


                                                                                Nov. 21:  studio work—strive to complete fourth rendering for final design project

                Nov. 23:  THANKSGIVING

                Nov. 26:  THANKSGIVING


chapter 8                                                               Nov. 28:  studio work—strive to complete fifth rendering for final design project

                                                                                Nov. 30:  studio work—strive to complete sixth rendering for final design project

                                                                                Dec. 2:  studio work—strive to complete seventh rendering for final design project


                                                                                Dec. 5:  cancelled for student reviews

                                                                                Dec. 6:  READING DAY



FINAL EXAM, Dec. 12 at noon to 3pm—10 FINAL RENDERINGS (revisions of first two included previously in research book optional) SUBMIT RESEARCH BOOK AGAIN (with any desired revisions) WITH RENDERINGS  







using line, color and texture to create focus and tension


Part A.  Imagine yourself as one of the figures in a selected magazine advertisement.   Describe briefly what you are doing in this “story” and why you personally are in it (masquerading as the figure at-hand). 


Part B.  What small details in the advertisement picture let the viewer clearly see the dramatic tension of your masquerade?  Concentrate on color, line, and texture elements in the picture.  Are there any elements that become rhythmic and/or contrast with others to aid in focusing the viewer’s attention and interest?  Why should a viewer care to look at this masquerade?   What is in it for the viewer?


In this masquerade, do you and the viewer hear music?  If so, what type of music?


How specific is actual location for this scene?  How specific is the season and time of day?  How can you tell?  Is season/climate important for this scene?  Why?


Who else is with you? Or are you alone?   Can you identify the other(s)?


What are you saying or thinking?  What are other people in the picture saying or thinking? 


If you were the creator of this advertisement, what would you want to change—if anything?