Monday MUSE – Theatre and Costume Design

On the evening of Monday the 22nd of February 2016 I attended an interesting and inspiring seminar based on Theatre and Costume Design led by guest speakers Charles Cusick Smith and Phil R Daniels who have worked and are currently working on a vast range of projects.

Link to their Facebook Page:

This is the poster invite to the MUSE I received from my tutor Amelia Johnstone via email.

Notes from the seminar: 

  • Theatre design = collaborative – don’t get paid a lot of money – you have to truly love what you do and value that more than pay. 
  • Always have to complete a 1-25 scale mini model of stage design before making the large scale final piece – a mock up.
  • You have to be a good communicator – you lead, you give the instructions.
  • You will be faced with the challenge of strict deadlines.
  • Costume Designer – collates fabric samples before making any designs for costumes. Your designs have to be effectively translated by the costume makers – clear and precise work.
  • Costume has to flow with choreography of the actions within the performance.
  • Pantomime design is absolutely suited to an illustrator.
  • Theatre Designer directs the painters who recreate it on large scale – Theatre design – creation of the environment on stage – scene/setting/atmosphere.
  • Scenic artists use gouache.
  • Lighting is very important – you need a good lighting designer for your set to look good.
  • Art is an international language.
  • At the beginning as an illustrator having achieved a degree at university it is difficult to get work – as mentioned before in a different muse. 
  • Theatre Design drawn and painted first then enhanced through computer technology.
  • Illustration used to be very 2D based it’s a lot more open now and exploratory – mixture of 2D and 3D.
  • Be aware of copy right on images – keep licensing your work. 
  • Price everything that has gone into your work. 
  • £140,000 pantomime budget.
  • Marketing area – stick to the commissioners brief and separately bring in your own ideas as well – do there instruction and introduce them to your own other options (subvert). 
  • Mini theatre design models were made out of any materials they could find.
  • Nothing goes unused – recycling/reusing.
  • You’re going to get walls coming towards you – never stop knocking them down – don’t let it get in your way. Follow your heart. Do what you feel you’re meant to do and stand for what you feel is right. 
Some mini theatre models – they make these to inform the larger final set.
Some mini theatre models – they make these to inform the larger final set.

I loved this MUSE it was very insightful into the autonomous and freelance world of illustration I desire to entre after achieving my degree at university. I’m more inspired and encouraged to travel with my work and let my passion and intuition through my creativity truly drive me to wherever I want to be for whatever cause.

It was really wonderful and moving seeing how jolly and delightful Charles and Phil were at the MUSE. I can see their utter excitement and love for what they do making them both equally content and proud.

I can’t wait to begin my own journey as an illustrator after I leave university to experience working for people, working with different people, working for myself and visiting new places around the world.

Every work that I will do will have a purpose of existing for a good cause. I’m excited to take on this challenge and study the world’s imperfections to lead change through this all important and rewarding role in improving the wellbeing and happiness of ourselves and the future generations.

What I want my work to do:





















Stand out.




Author: ellosweetmellon

I am 21 years old and I live in Cardif. My dream is to be a great illustrator that can sell and exhibit my work with pride.

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