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

ImagineFX - - Contents - Tran Nguyen Tran is a Ge­or­gia-based gallery artist and free­lance il­lus­tra­tor. Born in Viet­nam and raised in the States, she’s worked for clients in­clud­ing VH1, Smith­so­nian and Bloomberg, and has show­cased with gal­leries all over the world. www.my­nameis­tra

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.

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