Digital costume sketching through embodied awareness

Kirsi Manninen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This article presents a method for costume design, where empathy and embod-iment are used as methodological choices by the designer in the character-crea-tion process. In creating references for the sketching process, costume designers combine photos in which they portray themselves as the character that they imag-ine. These role-selfies, taken with a handheld tablet, work as starting points for the sketching procedure. The material for the present study is collected from MA costume design students who participated in digital character-creation courses at Aalto University, in Helsinki, Finland, and is a part of doctoral research by the author. The data are collected through a mixed-method approach and is organ-ized as a case study investigating the experiences of using the body as a source for costume design. The research question in this study is as follows: does an aware-ness of one’s own body facilitate the sketching process? The initial results show that the research participants consider the method useful because it enables them to experience a stronger bodily connection with the digital medium, the imagined design and the emerging character in the costume sketching process. Hence, the findings of this study can be used to develop design and teaching practices not only in the field of costume design but also in other design processes involving character creation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Costume and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • costume design
  • digital costume sketching
  • embodiment
  • empathy
  • role-selfie
  • touch screen

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