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This is where I start to lay down the color for the rest of the picture. I started to flesh out her skin color and details in various elements. Her face and chin guard were the primary focus on this layer. I also started to experiment with different color hues; always keeping in mind that I wanted to have a very minimal color palette. I basically wanted to go for a monochromatic color scheme.
I started to focus more on adding details and colors to the tattoos. Here I'm fleshing it out a bit, since the line drawing is a bit confusing. Once colors were added, it helped to bring out the details.
The tattoo was always a challenge. I started out wanting to design a serpent or a dragon, but in the end opted to go with something non-distinct.
Starting to detail in the face, adding highlights and eye shadow.
At this point, all of the layers have been added and various details are refined. I’m feeling pretty good about it. But it just didn’t work out. I received a lot of messages saying that my theme wasn’t clear, so it was back to the drawing board.
In hindsight, I don’t know what I was thinking. The message was very vague and it’s pretty hard to perceive all of that just by looking at the picture. But at the time I just couldn't pull it off by any other means. As the idea couldn’t be grasped without text, I had to try a new approach.
I decided to go with a hand holding the picture. Since photographs hold so many memories, I went with this idea. You know that feeling when you look at an old photo; it brings back a wave of memories. I did a quick thumbnail and distorted the image, but it was too flat and stiff. I needed to warp the picture in order to maintain the idea of a timeworn photo.
I was tight on time, so I decided to cut it into little strips and then paste it back together. A rather primitive approach, but it seemed to work for me. So the picture is now nicely warped, I painted in details and added noise to wear down the glove. At this point, I really don't know what I'm going to do about the background. I was thinking maybe, old newspaper clippings or letters. It might seem a bit too busy.
The glove (hand) represents us, and it was worn down to give the indication of times gone by. The endless streaming of newspapers was to denote thoughts and memories passing by. I decided to add some sort of writing to the photo, sort of creating an illusion of someone’s love letter.
Since, I don’t really know how to write in Mandarin or Kanji, I decided to make up my own. The characters were created using a brush on paper and then scanned in Photoshop. I hope they aren’t anything bad. I applied the characters on a different layer and faded the writing just a little bit.
I remember the tragic 9/11, where people would post pictures of their love ones on the side of buildings, and I wanted to do something similar. Like as if he’s picking up her picture off the wall.
Again, I went back to the grease pencil and shaded in the background. I wanted to use it as a backdrop to the newspaper clipping that I will overlay later on.
I scanned in old newspaper clippings and blurred them until they were illegible. As for the background, I went with something cool to offset the warmth color of the photo. I did experiments with the warm color, but it seems to overpower the main focal point. Also fleshing out more details and playing around with various filters.
Sometime memories have a way of coming back, to always beckon and haunt us. Good or bad, they are always there.
I added a worn out tape to show that it was attached to the wall and added more scratch marks on her back and upper left hand corner. I also played around with the background color and started to introduce a warmer palette. I've fixed a few things and did some more clean-up. Most of it is just too subtle to even notice and at this point; I felt that it is the final image for me.
Huang Nguyen web site
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