Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

Scale Models

Es Devlin

Lesson time 15:12 min

Es breaks down the genesis of her ideas and explains that for her every project begins with research. She also demonstrates the power of sketching and making a connection between the mind and the hand to see what worlds begin to emerge.

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Topics include: Scale Models • Make A Model • Model Making Materials • Models Tell Stories • An Invitation


[MUSIC PLAYING] INSTRUCTOR: There's no human being that I know that doesn't love a miniature model. It starts when we're kids, dolls houses, a model house. And then it's architectural, models of cities, models of your living room. And I think it's something to do with the ability that humans have to operate from a number of perspectives at once. This model was made to communicate the final design for "Don Giovanni," an opera by Mozart, that was performed at the Royal Opera House, and is, in fact, still being performed in that opera house and in various others around the world. This is the final model. I didn't make it. I do not have the skills to make this kind of model. It was made by many others, and extraordinary skilled people. They welded this little piece of metal. They cut every incision in these bits of cardboard. They hand-painted this beautiful little figure here. And this is at the very end of the process. So we've already sketched it. We've conceived. We've done some deep study into the world of Davante, who wrote the libretto, Mozart, who wrote the music. We've tried to really immerse ourselves in the world of enlightenment culture that generated this opera. And finally, we're ready to communicate our ideas to the many departments who are going to work on this-- the projection department, who are going to bring it to life, the sound department, the lighting department. This becomes a sort of communication device. There's also a factor to which the model is a kind of currency, a sort of communication tool. So for example, any artist or designer who wants to make a piece at some kind of scale, a large sculpture or a large set design, there's a lot of people involved. Firstly, there are people who need to pay for it, right? For example, if I'm working with a musician, and I'm saying to them, there's going to be this extraordinary, huge head on a stage or there's going to be this beautiful revolving cube, they need to see it. They need to understand what it's going to be. They need to picture themselves beside it, in it, around it. The model helps communicate that. Equally, there are thousands of people, departments, working answer many of the projects that I engage in. I'm never alone. So when I have a model, when it's an object and I'm able to put it on the table, it means all of my collaborators can learn from it, can apply their craft, their magic to it. Sure, we can communicate ideas through drawings and through computer renderings. But there's something really democratic about a model that's placed on a table between a whole roomful of collaborators. [MUSIC PLAYING] So once you've reached the end of this phase of research, whether it's pop-up books, whether it's biological books, you may have made some sketches. And the next thing is, how do you turn a sketch into something that looks more like this? So I'm going to demonstrate. You start with a piece of paper, simple, simple bit of paper, tape whatever line...

About the Instructor

For more than 20 years, Es Devlin has sculpted immersive experiences for opera, drama, and performers like Beyoncé, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and U2. Now the artist and designer shares her process so you can cultivate creativity in any form. From sketching to collaborating to creating powerful visual stories, learn how to turn the abstract—your ideas and imagination—into art you can see, feel, and share.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Es Devlin

Designer and artist Es Devlin teaches you her approach to creating powerful visual stories and cultivating creativity in any form.

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