It's all in the Details


From their thumbnail sketches, students will create a more complete, colorful rendering of their set design. They will include samples of their color palette and any fabrics, textures, or other materials that will be included in their final design.


Materials Needed

A piece of wood, a rock, some leaves, a piece of burlap; pieces of paper; colored pencils, crayons, or colored markers; examples of colored renderings


Related Documents


Lesson Directions

Anticipatory Set/Hook

Have the students get into groups of four or five. Give each group one of the objects listed above. Have paper and colored pencils available. Instruct students to begin roughly drawing the object on their paper. Tell them to include more detail than they had in their thumbnail sketches such as a visible texture, more defined shape, and color. Explain that the drawing does not need to be, by any means, an exact replica. Allow students about ten minutes to work on these drawings.



Step 1: Transition – Have students discuss the difficulties they encountered when drawing a representation of their object. Have them also discuss what went well and what was easy for them.


Step 2: Instruction – Explain that “drawing and rendering are the primary visual-communication methods used by theatrical designers. Every designer must be able to draw and render with ease and facility.” 


1. Lines must represent the qualities of the materials they represent
2. You should be familiar with the physical characteristics of the materials you’re drawing
3. You must know what you’re drawing before you can draw it


Remember, a rendering does not need to create a photographic likeness. It is a simplified view and differs from the thumbnail sketch in that it is more detailed and in color. It portrays the colors, textures, shapes and styles that give your design that evocative nature of the design concept.


Step 3: Modeling – Display the colored renderings for the class. As a class, discuss the qualities of the renderings that students should seek to model. Explain that the only requirement for students’ renderings is that, again, they be an accurate representation of the mood and spirit of the students’ design concept for their scene.


Step 4: Guided Practice – Allow students the remaining class time to begin working on their colored renderings of their scenic designs. Be sure to pass back their thumbnail sketches so they have that original idea to go off of.



In two days, students will turn in their finished, colorful rendering.