SFX Books


Books about costume design and sewing for both theater productions, opera, dance, the entertainment industry, fashion and film. Several of the books are also excellent for cosplayers.


Digital Costume Design and Collaboration

Applications in Academia, Theatre and Film

By Rafael Jaen

Digital Costume Design and Collaboration gives in-depth instruction on how to draw, render, and fully design costumes using online tools and software. Grounded in the use of Photoshop, the book explains the process of building a costume design from scratch, including information on digital tools and painting techniques. The book demonstrates how to utilize social media, such as Flickr and Pinterest, to compile research; how to create user-friendly web based slide shows; and how to archive digital files for portfolios and personal websites. It also demonstrates how to organize spec sheets, plots and inventories using Google Docs for easy editing and Dropbox for easy file sharing. A companion YouTube channel featuring video tutorials of exercises and applications compliments the book.

Costume Craftwork on a Budget-Clothing, 3-D Makeup, Wigs, Millinery & Accessories

Costume Craftwork on a Budget

Clothing, 3-D Makeup, Wigs, Millinery & Accessories

By Tan Huaixiang

Costume Craftwork on a Budget demonstrates how to use inexpensive materials to create durable costumes and props in a short amount of time. Fully illustrated step-by-step instructions teach readers how to use 3-D makeup and create teeth, wigs, masks, hats, nonhuman costumes, leather products, and other accessories.

This new edition features updated introductions for each chapter and project, expanded chapters on 3-D Makeup, Wigs, Masks, Headdresses, and Animal Costumes, and projects from shows such as Shrek the Musical (latex ears), Orphie & the Book of Heroes (headdresses), and Side Show (a lizard costume). From creating armor out of laundry baskets to detailed tricks for creating a witch’s prosthetic nose, this book equips aspiring costume designers with the techniques needed to produce costumes and props that are beautiful, economical, and safe.

Costume Design 101, 2nd edition-The Business and Art of Creating Costumes for Film and Television by Richard LaMotte

Costume Design 101

The Business and Art of Creating Costumes for Film and Television

By Richard LaMotte

Written by an industry venteran with 40 years of experience, this book is the new edition of Costume Design

Costume Design for Performance by Bettina John

Costume Design for Performance

by Bettina John

Costume Design for Performance offers a detailed insight into the creative process behind designing costumes for the performing arts, including theatre, opera, dance and film. Guiding the reader through the essential steps of the designing process, Bettina John combines extensive knowledge of the industry with insights gleaned from leading experts in the performing arts. Featuring over 200 original artworks by more than thirty designers, this book gives a rare insight into this highly individual and creative process. Topics covered include script analysis; in-depth research techniques; practical techniques to explore design; basic drawing techniques; character development; the role of the costume designer and wider team and finally, advice on portfolio presentation.

Costume in Motion-A Guide to Collaboration for Costume Design and Choreography by E. Shura Pollatsek

Costume in Motion

A Guide to Collaboration for Costume Design and Choreography

By E. Shura Pollatsek

Performance Costume-New Perspectives and Methods. By Sofia Pantouvaki and Peter McNeiljpg

Performance Costume

New Perspectives and Methods

By Sofia Pantouvaki and Peter McNeil

Costume is an active agent for performance-making; it is a material object that embodies ideas shaped through collaborative creative work. A new focus in recent years on research in the area of costume has connected this practice in vital and new ways with theories of the body and embodiment, design practices, artistic and other forms of collaboration. Costume, like fashion and dress, is now viewed as an area of dynamic social significance and not simply as passive reflector of a pre-conceived social state or practice. This book offers new approaches to the study of costume, as well as fresh insights into the better-understood frames of historical, theoretical, practice-based and archival research into costume for performance.

This anthology draws on the experience of a global group of established researchers as well as emerging voices. Below is a list of just some of the things it achieves:

1. Introduces diverse perspectives, innovative new research methods and approaches for researching design and the costumed body in performance.
2. Contributes towards a new understanding of how costume actually ‘performs’ in time and space.
3. Offers new insights into existing practices, as well as creating a space of connection between practitioners and researchers from design, the humanities and social sciences.

The Costume Technicians Handbook by Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey

The Costume Technicians Handbook

By Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey

The classic book on costuming is back and better than ever!

In the third edition of The Costume Technician’s Handbook, Rosemary Ingham and Liz Covey once again draw upon their many years of hands-on experience in costume design and technology. Now they add information gleaned across the country from shop managers and staff about their methods and supplement it with images of some of the very best theatrical costume work to be seen today. And they continue to provide the most complete guide to developing costumes that are personally distinctive and artistically expressive.

Ingham and Covey have been attentive to technical developments as well to keep you up to date and ready for action. They have expanded their book to include:

  • two new chapters on costume shop management and the use of computers in costume shops
  • instructions for using new materials
  • a substantial updated bibliography
  • lots of brand-new color and black-and-white photographs
  • new appendixes on mathematics for technicians, health and safety standards, and much more

Whether you’re a professional costume technician, a student of costume design, or an adventuresome home stitcher, settle for nothing less than the best—The Costume Technician’s Handbook.

Unbuttoned-The Art and Artists of Theatrical Costume Design by Shura Pollatsek


The Art and Artists of Theatrical Costume Design

By Shura Pollatsek

Unbuttoned: The Art and Artists of Theatrical Costume Design documents the creative journey of costume creation from concept to performance. Each chapter provides an overview of the process, including designing and shopping; draping, cutting, dyeing, and painting; and beading, sewing, and creating embellishments and accessories. This book features interviews with practitioners from Broadway and regional theatres to opera and ballet companies, offering valuable insights into the costume design profession. Exceptional behind-the-scenes photography illustrates top costume designers and craftspeople at work, along with gorgeous costumes in progress.

Designing Costume for Stage and Screen by Deirdre Clancy

Designing Costume for Stage and Screen

By Deirdre Clancy

“She is the most wonderfully inventive and brilliantly talented designer” Dame Judi Dench on Clancy.

Deirdre Clancy is one of the most experienced and accomplished costume designers in the business. In this book, she gives her inside knowledge of designing for stage and screen, which includes television, film, theatre and opera. She includes a brief illustrated history of costume design – from the Greeks to Lady Gaga – an invaluable guide for students and current designers.

Part Two off the book takes the reader through the design process: how you go about doing it, and the different strands of costume design – from contemporary clothes through to period costume, how to communicate with the audience, designing on paper and with Photoshop or on an iPad and how to share and communicate your ideas and well as mood boards and collages for inspiration. Part Three is about the world of costume design – what it involves and how to get into the field, who does what and the differences between working for stage and screen productions. Clancy advises on budgets and improvisation and covers all the practicalities and behind-the-scenes tips. Part Four looks at period costume from the Dark Ages up to the twentieth century, encompassing authenticity and feasibility. Finally, Part Five looks at individual case studies in depth, including opera and Shakespeare productions.

Packed with great drawings and case studies, this is an essential book for any student or professional costume designer looking for additional inside advice. Whether you are a designer for the stage or screen, this book has something new for you with advice from one of the best in the business.

Costume-Designer-s Handbook-A-Complete-Guide-for-Amateur-and-Professional-Costume-Designers-by-Rosemary-Ingham

Costume Designer’s Handbook

A Complete Guide for Amateur and Professional Costume Designers

By Rosemary Ingham

Newly revised and updated, The Costume Designer’s Handbook is now more comprehensive than ever and is the backbone of any costume designer’s library since its original publication in 1983. Features of this edition include:

  • a foreword by Arvin Brown, Artistic Director of the Long Wharf Theatre
  • guidance on how to read and analyze a play
  • plans for establishing a costume plot
  • insights into working with directors and other designers
  • resources for doing historical research
  • a discussion of the properties of color
  • sketching, drawing, and drafting techniques
  • 150 photos, drawings, and charts
  • reference section

From Page to Stage-How Theatre Designers Make Connections Between Scripts and Images by Rosemary Ingham

From Page to Stage

How Theatre Designers Make Connections Between Scripts and Images

By Rosemary Ingham

How does a designer harness something as elusive as the human imagination to create a set that will complement and enhance a dramatic production? What steps are involved in making the jump from a script’s text to an engaging imaginative stage?

In From Page to Stage, author Rosemary Ingham explores the relationships between text analysis, imagination, and creation. Heavily illustrated with striking examples, the book covers:

  • the who, what, where, how, and (maybe) why of text analysis
  • moving from dramatic text to theatrical event
  • imagination and knowing: what imagination is and how it relates to memory
  • what happens when the designer’s imagination meets the script
  • and much more.

Also included are photo/interview essays, in which Ingham ultimately asks the designer “how will your interpretation affect an audience/individual/society intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and politically?”


Character Sketch

A Drawing Course for Costume Designers

By Helen Q Huang

Character Sketch outlines a theory of costume rendering that explores how a designer conceptualizes and creates a character on the page. Beginning with how to develop a sense of character through active, gestural poses, this book explores and explains the process of drawing and painting from rough sketch to finished rendering.

Helen Q. Huang 黄其智, an award-winning costume designer for more than 25 years, breaks down her process, from understanding body proportions and active poses to applying research and color concepts to renderings. Her step-by-step watercolor painting techniques cover mixing skin tones, blending colors, and applying paint in different methods for a variety of fabric textures and patterns.

Showcasing how to capture a character on the page, Character Sketch is a must-read for any costume designer looking to communicate their artistic vision.

Digital Costume Design & Rendering-Pens, Pixels, and Paint by Annie O Cleveland

Digital Costume Design & Rendering

Pens, Pixels, and Paint

by Annie O Cleveland

For theatre, film, television, entertainment or fashion design, Digital Costume Design & Rendering will help you master digital tools to increase productivity and creativity.

Using Corel Painter or Adobe Photoshop, author Annie Cleveland’s years of professional experience as a costume designer and a teacher will quickly immerse you in the world of digital costume design.

Written by a costume designer for costume and fashion designers, this definitive, how-to guide takes you from the basics of opening the program and exploring the workspace to working with color and layers. Selections and transformations are followed by working with patterns and then it’s on to the finishing touches for your final design. Included as a bonus is a unique chapter on digital makeup design to complete your work.

The Costume Supervisors Toolkit- Supervising Theatre Costume Production from First Meeting to Final Performance by Rebecca Pride

The Costume Supervisors Toolkit

Supervising Theatre Costume Production from First Meeting to Final Performance

By Rebecca Pride

The Costume Supervisor’s Toolkit explores the responsibilities of a Costume Supervisor within a theatrical, opera or dance production company. Rebecca Pride provides an insight into all manner of processes, beginning with a definition of the role, and offers explanations of the timeline from the first design meetings, leading all the way up to managing fittings and final rehearsals. This how-to guide outlines best working practices, including building a team and creating a Costume Bible, whilst also providing helpful resources such as sizing guides, a list of useful addresses, and case studies from renowned theatrical organizations.

The Art of Disney Costuming-Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between By Jeff Kurtti and the staff of the Walt Disney Archives

The Art of Disney Costuming

Heroes, Villains, and Spaces Between

By Jeff Kurtti and the staff of the Walt Disney Archives

Celebrate the imagination, passion, and attention to detail invested in each Disney costume within this gorgeous coffee table book!

The elegant and adventurous array of dresses, uniforms, and other attire is a feast for the eyes and a fascinating examination of pure craft and of the brilliant, creative minds behind it. The collection begins with a summation of the costumes created for Disney animation, early live action, and television, along with show wardrobes sported at the Disney Parks by Audio-Animatronics figures and Cast Members.

The next section details a timeless case study: Cinderella’s ball gown. A diverse group of designers has been called upon over the years to address and improvise the creative and practical needs each time the fairy tale Cinderella has been reimagined. Each project has brought with it inherent cultural challenges when bringing a familiar and beloved tale to life again and again, and all have yielded stunning and distinct results. At last, the full galleries (organized by the character archetypes of heroes and villains, and those complex, always interesting, “spaces between”) showcase costumes across more than thirty Disney films.
At each turn, this volume offers a one-of-a-kind backstage view of remarkable works of art, and it inspires a true appreciation for the highly skilled and talented costumers who created them.

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