Continuing yesterday's costume tips:
7. You can improvise a lot of costume details with samples of fabric combined with old clothes from your closet. It doesn’t matter if the color matches or if it looks good enough to go on stage. You’re just looking for information about folds and drapery.
8. If you can’t fine the right costume, don’t worry! Remnants of leather, satin, brocade, or velvet from a fabric store can provide you with helpful information about the behavior of the fabric. Steel bowls from the kitchen can give ideas for how armor would look.
9. For simple togas and capes, you can drape and pin fabric samples over your artist mannikin or dressmaker’s dummy. For the fabric to scale down to a miniature size, it should be a very light weight. Cellophane scales down really well over a miniature figure, and can be spray painted to give it opacity (Thanks, Graydon).
10. Don’t be shy to ask for help. If you know someone who is clever with a sewing machine and can think laterally, they might be able to help you improvise a few basic things.
11. Once you get your model (or yourself) in costume, you can take reference photos in a variety of poses. If it’s an easy pose to hold, you can work directly from the model. That's how I did the painting of Oriana above, which appears in Dinotopia: The World Beneath. I put pieces of tape on the floor to mark where the model's feet should return between breaks. The whole session only took about an hour and a half, which saved time over shooting reference or doing drawn studies.
12. If you attend a sketch group, ask if your fellow artists might enjoy sketching from a costumed model. If so, everyone can pitch in a costume or two, or the models may come with something. You can usually pay the model to stay after the sketch session to work with you for reference.