In response to David Neat´s article about model making:
The process I´ll describe, is useful for any creative work.
Hamlet by W. Shakespeare
1) The sketch. It shows the general idea and the atmosphere you want to create. This has to be done observing the real proportions of the theatre or the place it´ll be performed in, at least for the drawing´s outline. It´s the expression of the general concept, the way to convince other people that your design is proper to communicate the director´s idea. It´s not a painting or a common drawing, it´s based on a careful analysis of a text (play, script or any composition). The more realistic, the more accurate to the final result. 1:25 is a good scale for the sketch.
2) The draft model. It shows the main shapes whit no detail, to preview the structure and how it works in the 3D space. Done from the real theatre´s (or set´s) plan, it helps to settle the main measures and to review the shapes. Before this step, it´s necessary to make some plans by hand, not definitive, but tentative. This pre-model will be not for hand-in, but for self-study, because in general, it´s a fast and rude work. 1:50 is enough.
3) The plans. They have to be very clear, because trough them, the design will be built. All the designer´s skills are shown at this step, because the creative side has to go always with a realistic point of view. The sketch and the model doesn´t show how the structure will be built and its measures. The plans are the document that make our design possible. 1:20 or 1:25 are good enough to display a stage design plan.
4) The final model. It´s important to model, first of all, the structure of the place we´re working on. (In this case, I´ve made a stage with 2 revolving circles, because my design is divided in two structures that turn and connect each other through “bascule bridges”).
At this step, we have to be craftmen. Detail and ingenuity are the keys. It´s not the real design; we don´t use the real materials, so we replace them for others that have the same appearence in a lower scale.
For example, in this case all the structure has to be built with iron strips, but in the model, I´ve made it with wood strips. The grille in the real world, is an iron one, but in the model, I´have applied a open-weave fabric, because wire mesh hasn´t the tough appearence I´d expected.
The model materials provide the texture and the color, so it´s important to select them very carefully, because any detail is noticed. We´re too close to the model, we cannot trick as in the stage, where the audience sees from the distance.
The structure must be very precise to reach a realistic result. It´s important to include a scale character to show the proportion and also to improve the appearence.
Moreover, not less important is to take good pictures of our work. A bad one will ruin it all. Finally we can enjoy comparing the sketch with the model and applying different color lights.