Bandit Girl, in the flesh.
I had the privilege of working with the illustrator Marcos Chin and director David Drake on a theatrical adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's short story The Snow Queen. My primary responsibility in the show was to envision and construct the costume for the Bandit Girl character (described by a classmate as "Socially Awkward Girl with a Knife.")
The Bandit Girl is a really fun and quirky character. She rescues the heroine Gerda from a band of savages, drags her to a cave against her will, and then releases her after a dramatic change of heart. To me, the character represents the untamed and desperate qualities of human nature. She is someone who has never been able to emotionally connect with people because of the dangers of living in the wilderness.
For my early designs, I wanted the costume to be both sexy and earthy, and indicate the season of Fall. I'll admit, I went through some pretty hilarious sketches before I settled on a final idea.
As Marcos and I discussed it further, we decided to make the costume multi-layered, centering the design around a wolf head dress and a cloak made of leaves. I also decided to toss some catholic school girl, roller-derby, and gold bling into the mix.
I found it really interesting to design for a physical costume. I was much more focused on the concept and materials than the actual technical aspects of the drawing. The real work was yet to come...
It turns out the David asked me to play the character in the show (I wasn't too surprised...) so I had the learning experience of figuring out how to make a costume that fit me. Through much trial and error I managed to construct the headdress from a bike helmet and cardboard, devise an excuse for a shirt out of white fabric and safety pins, and don't even ask me how the skirt managed to stay on my body, but it made it through 3 performances. (Hot glue is my best friend.) Here are some shots the final product taken during the show: