When I started doing burlesque I was surprised to discover that for me, one of the more challanging aspects of the art form, were the costume elements. Specifically how to dress to undress.  My everyday disrobing involves yanking garments from my body and hurling them to the floor. It takes ten seconds. My audience is The Man of Mans. No need to keep certain bits covered when I ditch my duds. Dude has an all-access pass.

Meanwhile the logistics of taking it off in a burlesque routine are a bit more involved. Layers and fastners, and what piece comes of when and in which direction. How to make it all enticing, beautiful and choreographed in time to music.

As soon as I began burlesquing, I began making costume lists for my routines. It’s a helpful practice but I still find it challenging to transpose the visuals in my mind into words.

Then I had an idea.

I’m a visual learner. I also love to draw, particularly clothes and fashion-related things. As a kid I used to spend hours sketching fantasy outfits. I knew I’d have an easier time planning my outfits, if I could see them. And so burlesque story boards were born!

The process was very simple. First I found a website with printable fashion figure templates.  I printed a few, cut them out and pasted them on another piece of paper:


Next I scanned the image and created a PDF document of the figures. I wanted to story board a routine with that involves about six stages of undress, so I printed out two pages.


Time to draw!  I’m much better at putting outfits together then I am at taking them apart. I realized that if I began by drawing the starting outfit and going forward, it’d be tough to make corrections if I accidentally missed a step.  Instead I began with the final look…


…And worked my way backwards.


Added a few notes…


…And voila! A burlesque story board!

I love this activity. It really does help me figure out how to get (nearly) naked. And better still it combines my latest grown-up passion with one of my favourite childhood passtimes!

If you’d like to see this storyboard go from page to the stage, please come on out to Rockalily Burlesque‘s next show The Nearly Naked Truth on March 23rd! The $15 dollar ticket gets you a night of music, dancing and a whole lotta sexy!  Best of all, the proceeds go to Ottawa’s favourite pro-choice sexual health organization – and my employer – Planned Parenthood Ottawa!

Hope to see you there!




  1. Vick Ko says:

    Yes, this becomes performance art. Choreographed, rehearsed, refined.

    I really really hope it doesn’t take the passion and “tease” out of it.

  2. Lynn says:

    Wow, your storyboards are actual works of art. I had no idea you were such a good artist! Lovely and cool.