Illustrate a celestial portrait
Following her strong appreciation of portraiture, Tran Nguyen depicts the beauty of the female expression with a dash of celestial whimsy
Tran Nguyen depicts the beauty of the female expression with a touch of whimsy.
This issue’s cover artwork is an astralthemed exploration of female portraiture. Through the usage of billowing lines, iridescent patterns and a slithering motif, the narrative takes on a more otherworldly tone.
Portraiture is a magnificent engraving of a single-bodied story. With it, I can depict their longings, fascinations or vices, in a romanticised and fantastical way. I enjoy amplifying narratives through the use of motifs that tend to have undulating characteristics. Recently, I’ve been captivated by celestial motifs. I’m attracted to the mystery that lies within stars and the in between – they’re entities full of untold stories.
The figure is captured in a moment where she mingles with the abstract elements so that both worlds appear as if they exist on the same plane. Though she’s not distracted by the snake, the woman attends to it by having her hands linger on its scales. Pairing her stoic expression with the snake conveys their interdependent relationship with one another. In current society, the snake is often a representation of sinister, but in this case, I see it as a symbol of mystery. It’s a dark, secretive creature that hides in obscure places.
The drawing is limited to a monochromatic palette with a few spot colours to keep a graphic aesthetic and direct the flow of the composition. It’s also dependent on texture and the balance between each. Her hair is a matrix of billowing lines so pairing it with the solid black shapes of the snake can help break up the monotony. By adding gold dots on the creature, I can further push the texture depth.
My intent for the illustration is to portray a female character, her black and gold counterpart, and their starstudded narrative. It’s a simple character story chock-full of textures and stellar delight.