Anatomy of a Backdrop

This behind-the-scenes special look at SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN features the development of a backdrop by our Scenic Designer, David Pierce.

I thought that I’d share with you the stages that a scenic backdrop goes through. This is a medium size roll drop that is 11 feet tall by 15 feet, 6 inches wide. I have painted two smaller variations of this drop and decided to paint a larger version to be kept for permanent stock.” –David, set designer for SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN

“This is a perspective line drawing. I use this step so that I can project the line work onto the large canvas.”
“This is a perspective line drawing. I use this step so that I can project the line work onto the large canvas.”
“This is the rough sketch of what the drop would look like. During the concept stage I work out composition issues.”
“This is the rough sketch of what the drop would look like. During the concept stage I work out composition issues.”
The beginnings of David’s artwork on canvas.
The beginnings of David’s artwork on canvas.
“This is the end of day two- the awning, windows, concrete, and additional shadows are added to the brick building.”
“This is the end of day two- the awning, windows, concrete, and additional shadows are added to the brick building.”
“This is the end of day three. Today was spent on the very tedious and slow process of creating the 3-Dimensional letters of The Owl Drug Company.”
“This is the end of day three. Today was spent on the very tedious and slow process of creating the 3-Dimensional letters of The Owl Drug Company.”
“This is a detail photo of the lettering.”
“This is a detail photo of the lettering.”
“This is day four- the side walls, street pavement, and shadows are blocked in. Also, the interior of the Drug Store gets a color and the red tile stripes are added.”
“This is day four- the side walls, street pavement, and shadows are blocked in. Also, the interior of the Drug Store gets a color and the red tile stripes are added.”
“This is day five- the stripes are finished on the bottom half of the building, including shadows and highlights. The bottom is then masked off while I work on the red awning shadows and highlights.”
“This is day five- the stripes are finished on the bottom half of the building, including shadows and highlights. The bottom is then masked off while I work on the red awning shadows and highlights.”
“This is a detail shot of day six. I have started adding the figures (Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Gene Kelly from the original motion picture) to the interior of the Drug Store.”
“This is a detail shot of day six. I have started adding the figures (Donald O’Connor, Debbie Reynolds, and Gene Kelly from the original motion picture) to the interior of the Drug Store.”
“This is day 7- the people in the interior are finished and the counter is added.”
“This is day 7- the people in the interior are finished and the counter is added.”
“Here is a detail shot of day 7′s progress.”
“Here is a detail shot of day 7′s progress.”
“I wanted our dear friend, Steve Pepper, to always be with us, so, I added him to the Drug Store interior along with the ‘original three’.”
“I wanted our dear friend, Steve Pepper, to always be with us, so, I added him to the Drug Store interior along with the ‘original three’.”
“This is day 8- the rest of the detail of the interior is added to the wall and the counter top. This is your ONLY CHANCE to see the scene in detail before the window glare is added to the store front.”
“This is day 8- the rest of the detail of the interior is added to the wall and the counter top. This is your ONLY CHANCE to see the scene in detail before the window glare is added to the store front.”