Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Use for Refrigerator Cartons

Here’s a little studio tip. If you like to draw or photograph costumed models for reference, make a simple backdrop out of an old refrigerator carton.


Paint one side of it with flat white latex, and the other side with black. You can glue flaps to the top to make it taller. It will stand up anywhere and give you a simple light or dark background.

The backdrop behind the pose on the left is a lot better than the busy studio clutter on the right.

You can take it out on the driveway for shooting models in real sunlight. When you have finished the photo session, it folds up to nothing. I use this backdrop for life drawing, too.

Here's a detail of the painting "Market Square" from Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, so you can see how that last scrap photo was used for the figure riding the Apatosaurus.

6 comments:

Jamin LeFave said...

I can't help be notice the unique and interesting costumes that you use during your photo shoots. I was wondering were you find them or if you have someone make them. I would be interested to know the process you go through in finding the right costumes.

James Gurney said...

Yes, costumes would be a good subject for a future post, but in a nutshell most of the ones I use are cast-offs from the big theater rental companies in New York. When the costumes get too raggedy for use in opera or musicals, they sell them off to the illustrators, where a few missing buttons or zippers don't matter.

I also haunt yard sales and import stores. You never know what will turn up!

Jamin LeFave said...

Thanks for the info. I would be interested to know what rental companies have you had success with?

James Gurney said...

Eaves-Brooks was the company that sold off their oldies years ago. I don't know if they still do it——let me know if you find out. The time I went, the costumes they had were either ballet or opera costumes. The ballet ones were way too tiny and the opera ones were humongous.

Ben Balistreri said...

Great blog and a particularly interesting post. I just finished reading "Journey to Chandara" and loved it!

James Gurney said...

Wow. I'm honored, Ben. I love your character design work on Foster's Home, and can't wait to see your graphic novel Seaweed.