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The Sketch behind the Mas – A Candid Talk with Timothy Bootan

Concept Art by Timothy Bootan

I’ve been quiet for the last two weeks, mostly because sometimes you need to adult and do life, but also because after interviewing four successful designers I was left to ponder about the parts of the engine that makes up a Carnival Costume on the road that we, the public do not see and more importantly do not recognize sufficiently. Every designer talked about the importance of learning how to sketch, and in the Carnival industry there is a job that assist the designers as well called a Concept Artist. My quest to investigate this lead to some outreach via my social media, (@imsroyer on all things – yes, this is a shameless plug), and landed me right on the doorstep of Mr. Timothy Bootan, (@trpbootan via Instagram).

Bootan is a son of the soil who sketched for numerous designers in various bands from 2013 to 2015, he oozes talent from the pores, so much so that he is now a Concept Artist for Warner Bros. Studios. His interview was not only informative, but sheds light on how Concept Artists should be treated and respected in the industry:


1.Can you define, in a carnival context, what does Sketching mean?

Sketching is a rough draft of the ideas a designer has for his/her costume. It’s not a final design on paper but just a rough visual idea of what the design will look like on the human body. It’s usually done in person and can take seconds or minutes to complete. Based on how I do designs sketching is not the final draft for me but only the first, so I prefer to call doing artwork for Carnival costumes “Concept Art” since it’s easier to differentiate sketching from the final draft.

I separate sketching from a final version since I design final drafts by doing enough research on the suggested theme. That way I can mix elements of the theme and the general design idea of Carnival costumes so they can blend without looking out of place. For example, researching ancient Samurai armor so I can mix a Samurai themed costume with the elements of the feathers and gems we see today. I then draw and paint accurate to the smallest details on a costume, I label each piece and blow out the design elements almost in a 3D perspective so the designer can know where each part of the costume is placed on the human body. It may sound like a lot of work but I like to be meticulous with my art.

2. How do you differ from a Designer as a Sketcher?

A Designer is the person who creates the initial idea for the costume based on the theme and gives the artist his/her vision of how they see it in their mind’s eye. For example, the colors, the type of feathers etc. The artist then draws the costume for the designer to have a visual representation. The designer is also the person who physically builds the costume which the Sketcher/Artist won’t be doing.

There are however times when an artist must take the designer role as well. An example would be where I once was given just a theme. The designers had no idea how the costume would look and left everything up to me. I then had to design every costume for the band. I did the research on the theme, figured out what colors, feathers etc. would work and then drew the costumes for them to build. Although I didn’t physically build the costume, at that time I took the role a designer should have.

3. Do you consider the work you sketch for designers your IP once you’re paid for it?

No, once I’m paid for it then it’s your artwork. I would however, like to be listed as the person who drew the artwork especially if I took somewhat of a designer role in figuring out every feather, color, gems etc. for a costume.

4. How much influence does a sketcher have on the final design?

Unless told he/she will be designing every detail until the final draft is approved then I’d say not much. My designs have ended up being the final design because of the amount of detailing I put into them so I can’t speak for other artists but from what I’ve seen, other artists usually just do the first draft of a costume and let the designers to take over from there.5. How do you get credited for your work?

I am listed as the concept artist, sometimes I am listed as the costume designer for work I put into my art.

6. How involved do you get in the prototyping and development post sketch?

I like to be involved as much as I can or allowed to. Although I cannot physically put together a costume I like to be there with the designer to help in any way I can. I want the costume to look great, just as it did in my artwork so I’m always there to help even if it’s just to explain whatever needs to be explained.

7. How do you feel seeing the final product alive on stage?

It always feels amazing, seeing something you helped build by drawing from your mind’s eye of a designer. Anytime I see something go from hours of research then to paper and finally to an actual costume feels like a great accomplishment. Whether it be a Carnival Costume or a suit of armor for a film, as a concept artist that feeling of seeing it “alive” in front of your eyes cannot be any beaten by anything else.

Gives you some food for thought no? We’re hoping to see more of Bootan as he plans to get back into the Carnival Industry for 2019! In addition to this Timothy also uses his sketching talents to feature inspirational personalities on his FB platform uInspireMeTT which he uses to motivate and mentor industry creatives to stick to their dreams, check him out, we expect great things!

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