Understanding HOW costuming communicates


Students The students will demonstrate their understanding of how to communicate with clothing (using color, texture and shape) by creating a design rendering for a specific character.


Materials Needed

Color Theory PowerPoint
-Drawing Materials for all the students (colored pencils etc.)
-Copies of body forms for students to draw on if they want. Have a variety of figures (male, female, young etc.) They are available on: http://www.designersnexus.com/design/free-fashion-croquis-templates/


Lesson Directions



Anticipatory Set/Hook

Have the class share their examples of costumes that they saw. Use some particularly outstanding examples to transition into the powerpoint. Ask the students very specific questions about their examples pertaining to the color, texture and lines. Ask them how the costume would have been different if it were a different color.



Step 1: The Powerpoint Discussion. Use the presentation to discuss artistically what different colors and lines can say about a person. Being aware of how these changes affect the audience’s perception. As each different color slide comes up talk about what the student’s think it could communicate and a character that they could see dressing in that color. Also bring up combining different colors in a piece, i.e. how would it be different to combine red with blue versus red with black? Use the last slide to combine the use of color, texture and lines and what those things together can say about a character’s world. Have them come up with different combinations and talk about characters that those combinations would fit.


Step 2: Activity; drawing a rendering for any character they come up with in their head. Provide the students with the body form outlines if they want them. Instruct them to think of a character- they can create the character or if they need to they can base it off a well-known fairy tale (but no movies/TV shows). They are to create a list of things they want to communicate about the character and using the things discussed in class draw a costume for that character. Give the students time to create their sketches.


Step 3: Sharing. Have the students share their drawings with the class. Split them into groups of 5. Have the group members try to guess the character or the things the designer was trying to communicate. After everyone shares have the groups give the other members “I wonder if…” statements on other ways of looking at their design. (i.e. I wonder if you used brown instead of black if that would …? Or I wonder if the skirt was softer if it would…?)


Step 4: (this can be given as homework) Revising. Have the students take the suggestions they got from their group member and get back to the drawing board. Everyone needs to create another costume for the same character and it needs to be different from the first. They can stick with their original idea and just switch things like color and texture. To change it they could also consider a different season, time of day, point in the story (if based on a fairy tale) or the character at a different age.


Closure: As everyone is drawing/sharing, gather the drawings and the classes attention back together and have each group share one member’s work that they found to be especially effective and then talk about why it worked so well.



The students get credit for their two costume sketches. They need to have a list of traits they were hoping to communicate about the character. The sketches need to reference things like color and texture and the second drawing needs to be markedly different from the first.