When Marilyn Sotto was just a little girl, her father brought her something to keep her occupied while she was sick at home with the measles — a small book, with a pale blue soft cover. “On the cover was a horse, hand-drawn, and the title read How to Draw Horses, by Walter Foster,” shares Marilyn. “I was enchanted with that book, and loved looking at how the hooves worked and at all the little details on the face. Since that day, I’ve had a connection with Walter Foster and the beautiful books that have been produced by him and his company.”
Not only did Marilyn’s father introduce Marilyn to her very first Walter Foster drawing book, but he also always encouraged her to follow her artistic passion. He could see that from a young age, Marilyn had a gift of sketching, drawing, and painting, and he knew her talent would take her places. Marilyn’s father was an artist himself and was constantly looking for ways to bring more art into the world — whether that was painting murals in restaurants with his daughter because he thought the restaurant needed an extra little “something”(you can still see one of their murals at Sonny’s Pizza & Pasta in San Clemente, California) or walking into MGM to become a scenic artist. He didn’t have any experience with movie scenery before his time at MGM, but his talent, hard work, and perseverant nature opened the door for him there, and his career in the movie business was born.
It was precisely her father’s career in the movie business that prompted Marilyn to look into the business herself. A graduate of Venice High School in Los Angeles, California, Marilyn began applying at jobs at movie studios soon after graduation. A few years later, she finally got a job as a messenger girl at MGM. After proving herself a hard worker, Marilyn eventually got in the studio sketching with designers, and she worked her way up to gain a spot working on Julius Caesar, starring Marlon Brando with Herschel McCoy as the costume designer. “Designing costumes for this movie was a real challenge,” explains Marilyn, “because it was going to be shot in black and white, but we were to sketch in color. We had to imagine the black-and-white values of our colored sketches.”
Marilyn continued on to work at Western Costume, as well as on the set of several other movies, working with Edith Head and other top costume designers. She also spent several years working with Disney, designing costumes and sets for their Florida and Paris parks. One day, her father noticed the thousands of sketches she had around her home and decided they needed to take the sketches to Walter Foster and see what he thought. A meeting with Walter Foster, and The Art of Costume Design was born! In our newly released How to Draw & Paint Fashion & Costume Design , you can see several sketches from Marilyn’s first book. Be sure not to miss this chance to see her beautiful art!
This is the first post in our newest blog feature, Artist's Spotlight! Be sure to check back often to learn more about the fabulous artists we are honored to work with.