Catching Fire: a wardrobe guide

I tend to keep track of things that are worn in films. It’s not an obsession, but I’m consistently interested in seeing what costume designers and wardrobe teams want to dress people in.

Over the past several months, I’ve been slowly compiling a list of what Katniss wears in Catching Fire. Sometimes it’s something that I’ve seen somewhere and I go, hmm… this designer’s style seems familiar to me, and then I find out after some research why, or it’s from following the Capitol tumblr. (If you’re not on tumblr and you’re a fan of, well anything, you should be.)

This is by no means comprehensive, it’s just sort of what I’ve run across.

We’ll start with the training uniforms. Easy enough to find out about with a little research.

Lucas Hugh. I mean, if you can afford to be dropping about $1000 on one set of workout clothes, this is your brand. (£320 for the jacket, £110 for the tank, £85 for the sports bra, £165 for the capris. Or the whole look for £550, which google says exchanges to just under $900.) Although, some part of me thinks that if you can afford to spend that much on workout clothes, you’re probably not the kind of person who is going to be buying workout clothes for actually working out.

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And yeah, they’re gorgeous. Get them here, if you have the money. Or be like me and think, oh, I’ll just make my own.

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From my POV, having worked in production design and with wardrobe, what the tributes wear in their training says a lot about Panem, even more if you know who designed the clothes and how much they cost. It all plays in to the Capitol seeming so frivolous that they’re like sure we’ll dress them up in designer workout gear.

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I can’t name most of the things featured here, but I know about those boots. I ran across an ad in Vogue’s september issue and immediately recognized the designer’s styling. Sorel. Get your Katniss boots here for only $220. And note that in the film, these boots only show up with the costume that Katniss wears here for about 2 minutes. I mean, it’s a powerful scene especilly for Effie’s character and her arc, and also Effie’s costume is way more exciting here than what Katniss wears or the boots she’s in.

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The outfit Katniss wears here was designed by Barbara Bui, using a design from her Spring 2012 Ready To Wear collection. However, this fabric never shows up in the collection, and neither does the skirt. So basically this is a custom piece that was done for the film.

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Moving on to this lovely jacket shown when Gale gets whipped half to death by a Peacekeeper, it can be yours for only $550. If this were pure leather, I’d tell you it’s a steal for it also being a designer piece. But, if you know how designer pieces are priced when it comes to leather, you know that this isn’t just leather. It’s a little less than half leather, the rest being twill. Nicholas K designed it, and on the website, it even advertises that this was worn by Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. The cowl/scarf shown here is a Maria Dora piece, I think.

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I haven’t been able to figure out where this sweater is from, and sadly, it doesn’t show up in the final cut of the film. It would have been just a blip from the Victory Tour anyway. I’d guess it’s a Maria Dora piece, since she seems to be the knitwear designer of choice for the film. Also because it looks like her work. I do love that it has a little bit of a Helmut Lang vibe to it though.

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And then comes the pièce de résistance, the cowl that everyone wants, designed by Maria Dora. I found an excellent pattern for it online. However, that pattern doesn’t follow the actual design completely. Mostly because we didn’t see the back of the cowl until later trailers and into the film. It’s still a great pattern and I have the supplies for it sitting next to my desk waiting for me to begin.

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Not the best photo, but it gives you a good idea of how the back works. So it’s really all one big piece that’s been wrapped around and attached neatly.

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And for the arena wetsuit? These were obviously custom made for each person. There are costume and replica versions out there, but all the ones that I’ve seen come off as cheap and mass produced. That’s not something that anything coming out of the Capitol could be described as. Something to note, if you’re going to make your own: the arms are separate pieces from the wetsuit itself. If you’re looking for a good place to start, here’s a good pattern. You’ll have to switch the zipper to the back and make some creative modifications, but you do what you must. For the patterned fabric parts, I’d actually recommend screen printing yourself. It’s a basic geometric pattern, one that wouldn’t be too hard to do.

And for a bonus….

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I can’t recall who he’s wearing, but if you’re a girl and looking for a more feminine version of this aran sweater, how about this lovely Elizabeth and James one? It’s only $450. What a steal, right? …..not really.

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At some point I’ll post a review of the film. I saw it opening night and was blown away by it. It’s rare that a film adaptation can be this close to the book and be this amazing.

misfit monday: fiber fair, a video summary

Footage I shot at the Fiber Fair held at Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm on September 21, 2013. It’s an annual gathering of local fiber/yarn artisans and wool farmers. The public can come, buy just about anything related to yarn and wool, and learn about the process, including spinning yarn, the animals involved, and the process of creating finished pieces using these fibers. My favorite part was meeting the Pangora goats. They’re a crossbreed between Pigmy and Angora goats, so they’re small and soft.

I’m not an editor or color corrector by any means, but I guess this looks alright. And in case you’re wondering, it was shot using  Canon T4i, and edited using Adobe Premiere Pro and color corrected in Adobe After Effects.

Heidi shows up in it, and at one point I do too!! With a Llama.

Follow my Tumblr: juliethehummingbird.tumblr.com

Brought to you by Hummingbird Productions. (hey, that’s me!)

product photography

My sister is working on updating her online store, and asked me to photograph her products. It was a good exercise in working with a client and figuring out how to give her what she wanted.

You can find her store on her website.

Here are some of the best shots (or at least my personal favorites):

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Loki print and a detail shot. The original was done in Caran D’Ache color pencils.

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Heidi has her MFA in Sequential Art from SCAD, and is working on a comic done in watercolor and color pencils, called Dealing With Trolls.

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One of her biggest sellers are her gijinka Pokemon bookmarks. Vaporeon happens to be my favorite out of all of them, but everyone who sees them has a different favorite.

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Heidi’s favorite happens to be Arcanine.

 

These were all shot with a Canon T4i on apperture priority, using 2 LED photography lights and a closeup lens. Edited in Adobe Lightroom, although with a Canon, you don’t have to do much editing.

misfit monday: my favorite art materials

I thought it’d be fun to share some of the traditional art materials I use and give a rundown on pros and cons for them. And also to work on my product photography skills.

Pencils:

I use graphic pencils for a lot of work. For my 13th birthday, a friend got me a set of Koh-I-Noor graphic pencils, and that opened up my eyes. I’d used charcoal before, but I don’t like charcoal. Not my thing. But pencils? Totally my thing.

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Pros:

  • erasable
  • comes in varying hardness from about 10H (although I only have up to 5H) to about 10B (I have up to 8B)
  • keeps a point, versus charcoal that won’t keep a point well
  • easy to work with
  • inexpensive as compared to other mediums
  • sort of a gateway material–start with these, then eventually move on to other, more challenging materials
  • can be used anywhere and easily transportable
  • teaches the importance of contrast, light and shadow
  • easy to draw details and textures with
  • one of the least picky mediums when it comes to paper

Cons:

  • graphite smears over EVERYTHING
  • requires Fixatif spray to finish something and keep it from continuing to smear everywhere.
  • the softer pencils (like 2B-8B) get progressively harder to erase and will leave ghost lines no matter what. Once you put it down, it stays down.
  • inconsistency between 6B-7B causes 6B to be a dark and shiny coloration versus 7B and darker which take on  much more charcoal like consistency. They don’t blend together.

I actually prefer Staedtler graphic pencils, but I will use other brands if nothing else is available to me. And for paper, I usually use Strathmore paper, which is readily available most places.

Why do I prefer Staedtler? I just like the way they feel. Also because I tend to get a smooth and consistent line from them. Sometimes pencils will get those weird catches in the graphite, and I’ve never encountered that with Staedtler. They don’t break as easily as some of the others I’ve worked with.

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For working with pencils, you’ll want:

  • a kneedable eraser
  • a nice regular eraser (I use Staedler plastic erasers and LOVE them)
  • spray Fixatif (I use workable fixatif)
  • a good pencil sharpener

Color Pencils:

I started using color pencils when I was 12. Nice color pencils, I should say. I wanted Prismacolor pencils and have had the 48 set plus whatever I bought open stock. Prismas are wax based for the binder (what holds the pigment), which comes with it’s own set of complications versus the SUPER nice color pencils which are actually clay based (Caran D’Ache).

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Pros:

  • colors
  • very blendable, and easy to build up depending on pressure
  • working with graphic pencils first will make working with color pencils a lot easier
  • a mostly smooth look but still having texture
  • keep a point nicely
  • can be melted with turpenoid/turpentine like watercolor pencils and water.
  • not picky about paper
  • fairly transportable if you get a pencil case for them
  • don’t get all over your hands like graphic pencils do

Cons:

  • wax based ones like Prisma will build up a film over time that you can wipe off, but it’s annoying
  • they break a lot
  • not erasable
  • they don’t always have the smoothest texture and can get those weird catches in the lead

For working with color pencils that are wax based, like Prismas, you’ll want:

  • to always sketch out what you want to draw in just a regular pencil first, since you can’t erase color pencils
  • turpenoid/turpentine to melt them if you want, and some decent paint brushes to apply it with
  • spray Fixatif once you’re done. You don’t need it, but it does help prevent the colors from rubbing off on other things over time

Watercolors:

I used to hate watercolor paints, because I’ve always been terrible with them. But then my sister introduced me to Dr. Ph. Martin liquid watercolors, which is what I’m going to talk about specifically.

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Pros:

  • bright, intense colors
  • can be dried out and reconstituted (although not all colors reconstitute well)
  • act more link inks than watercolors, adding a lot of permanence to the color so layering them is much easier
  • beautiful, consistent coloration
  • mixes of color will striate to create cool effects
  • salt creates a different kind of texture with these paints because they soak into the paper at different rates
  • a much faster medium to work with than any kind of pencil or charcoal, though they do require adequate drying time
  • smooth, silky coloration
  • color pencil, pastels, and inks can easily be layered on top of them
  • transparent color, so anything on the paper underneath will show through
  • you can easily use only 3 brushes (or even 2), cutting down on costs. A wash brush, and a detail brush.
  • easy to clean up afterwards

Cons:

  • intensely picky about paper (I use Fluid watercolor block and LOVE it.)
  • act more like inks than watercolors, adding a lot of permanence, thus you only get one shot at getting it right. Water will not pick all the colors back off the paper, even when you’ve just put it down. Though some will come up, especially blues.
  • colors don’t soak into the paper at the same rate, causing striation that you may not want
  • humid weather makes working with any kind of watercolor a pain in the butt and can double or triple drying times.
  • Dr. Ph. Martin watercolors aren’t super portable, although you can take them places if you’ll have a table and water.
  • expensive (although in the grand scheme of how much nice inks or watercolors cost, these are actually inexpensive especially considering the quality).
  • finicky to work with. Takes a lot of practice.
  • requires sable brushes. No other kind will work with watercolors well.
  • water warps paper, so you have to stretch it first with a water wash.
  • they come in glass bottles. I’ve never broken one because I’m super careful with them, but they are breakable. (The other day when at Blick, I was looking at them and one fell out of the shelving it was in and I was so terrified it was going to break, but I was lucky in that it landed on the rubber stopper top and sort of bounced and fell over.)

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Things you’ll want when working with Dr. Ph. Martin liquid watercolors:

  • cold pressed watercolor block (a block lays flat so painting is easier and you don’t have to stretch the paper first) (I use Fluid, pictured above, and both my older sister and I prefer it over any other kind of watercolor paper)
  • paper towels
  • clean water
  • sable brushes (can be synthetic sable, but they must be sable brushes) (I have only 3 I use, pictured above)
  • a paint palette
  • patience

If you want to know more about watercolors, Becca Hillburn uses them all the time and you should be able to find reviews on different water colors other than the Dr. Ph. Martin ones that I use on her site.

Oil paints:

My favorite medium, and it has been since the first time I touched them at 16. While I don’t work with them nearly as often as I’d like simply because of the time and money they require as compared to any of the other mediums I’ve mentioned, they always come first in my heart when it comes to materials.

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Working with oil paints is extremely different for every artist, as every artist picks a different way to use them. This means it’s kind of hard to give a rundown on them, but I’ll talk about my experience with them.

Pros:

  • long drying time, meaning you can leave something and come back hours later and still be able to work on it. This also makes blending 100x easier than with acrylics. (as this is listed as a pro, it should be easy to figure out why I hate acrylics, which have a rapid drying time.)
  • thick texture, or alternately thin, depending on mixture with turpenoid/turpentine.
  • not as picky with brushes as watercolors, although still kind of picky. You don’t want super soft brushes, but neither do you want super bristley ones.
  • not water soluble, so getting wet won’t hurt them.
  • they feel like heaven to paint with.
  • a very forgiving medium
  • not picky about the surface. You can paint on board, canvas, lots of things.
  • can cover large areas very quickly
  • blendability.

Cons:

  • painting thin over thick causes cracking. (whoops…..)
  • EXPENSIVE.
  • they smell. also, don’t decide you like a guy after the both of you have been painting for 12 hours straight without the greatest ventilation.
  • they take a long time to cure.
  • some colors are translucent and some are opaque. you have to keep track of this. Permanent Azalean Crimson won’t show up on black very well because of this.
  • again, expensive.
  • they will get everywhere. Don’t eat while painting. You will know the moment you’ve ingested paint because it will make your sandwich taste horrible. Although, if you’ve only gotten some paint that was on your hands onto your food, you’ll survive just fine. They’ll also stain your clothes, so wear a paint apron.
  • not portable.

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Personally, I use Windsor-Newton (Winton) paints. They’re one of the big brands, and I’ve used a few other brands because people have gifted me those paints, but I personally will only buy Winton paints and use those if I have a choice. What you need varies for how you use them, but here are some basics:

  • paint palette and foil (to cover the surface for easy cleanup and also so you don’t stain everything) (also to cover the paint when you’re not using it)
  • medium hardness brushes
  • turpenoid (the stuff I use is pictured below)
  • a jar where you can put turpenoid and clean your brushes in
  • dish soap to clean your brushes afterwards (Dawn works best, I’ve found)
  • paper towels
  • palette knife
  • painting apron
  • easels are nice

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So there you have it. Those are the things I work with most often, aside from now I use Photoshop a ton. But traditional mediums will always be my thing. And oil paints will always be first in my heart when it comes to art stuff.