Artist Interview : Dawn Bright

We are getting so excited for our third annual Star Wars group show titled Son of Skywalker : The Awakening running from March 31st-May 7 with a special Collector's Preview on Friday, March 31st from 6-8 pm.  We are especially excited about this show because it coincides with the opening weekend of WonderCon happening just down the street at the Anaheim Convention Center.  Along with our incredible 2D work we will also be displaying many 3D works including sculptures from RYCA, Wolfbat and Lawrence Noble as well as incredible movie quality Star Wars costumes hand made by Dawn Bright.  Dawn is a member of the 501st here in Southern California and we were able to interview her to find out more about her process and background with costume design and construction. . .


1. How did you get started in costume design?

 After attending college for Art and Illustration I was offered a job as a concept artist where I worked making designs for video games. This is where 2d shapes that I made on paper are then transferred into the 3d realm. I learned, wrapping and shaping of cloth on forms. Not long after I decided to take my talents to the sewing machine creating designs for the real world. 


2. Can you explain a little about your process?

 One interesting thing about me is that I do not use patterns. I buy material and I make my own shapes to create form and design on a mannequin or a person. There have been many cases where I have even had to hand make my own material from scratch. There are many costumes I replicate that had materials that were custom made or come from sources such as games where the material design doesnt exist in the real world. This leaves me with making things from scratch which is a lot of fun and quite the challenge. 


3. How long does each character’s costume take to complete? Do you have a favorite? 

I spend a lot of time hand making and researching my costumes, some of them have taken me only a day or two from start to finish. I have almost 25 approved costumes between the 501st and Rebel Legion (the Rebel Legion is the good guy sister Organization). However some of my costumes are intricate and detailed that I am still working on years later. Many of my Padme gowns have very complicated pieces that were from rare old items of the past  or were very hard to make for the original industry professional. On my black invasion gown for example it was hand making the spirals on the jacket and the spider web lace in the front. On one of my costumes I had to locate a custom textile maker to weave the fabric, while other costumes I am in a state of constantly upgrading. In the 501st and Rebel Legion we have many chances throughout the year to wear our costumes for various events, and I do a lot of them so I am perpetually working on my costumes to maintain accuracy and keep detailing perfect. My absolute favorites are my Queen Amidala black invasion gown and my Kylo Ren. I spend the most time in them at events and they certainly get the most use.


4. Tell us about the 501st - what is the process of getting a costume approved/ how difficult is it to have a piece approved?

 The 501st is a group of Star Wars costumers who strive for screen accuracy in costuming. Most of it's members look like they walked off the screen. This is due to a lot of effort in (for the most part) building these costumes from scratch. We wear these quality costumes for Star Wars-related events and make contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work. We have very few regulations as far as joining goes and mostly you just need to be over the age of 18 and have a screen accurate costume. There are hundreds of costumes that a person can make that have guides on our various forums and many more people willing to help or make costumes. Your best bet is to join your local garrisons webpage (Your garrison is your local areas group of costumers where you will sign up to events) and start asking questions. These folks can help direct you to where you need to go for help! I have never been happier since joining the legion. It fills my life with so much purpose.