I had a general idea of the symbolism while I was sketching thumbnails in the last Sketch Diary. Now, I get to tie it all together into something more tangible than scribbles! My fear with this piece is that I wanted to cram too in with the nest, eggs, branches, veiled woman, reflection in the water, etc. The key and main focus of this composition, however, needed to be first the Lady. I was onto something with the poses I previously compiled, but they weren’t where I wanted them to be yet for this image, so I took the time out to do a photo shoot to capture the subtle pose that I wanted.
Specifically, I didn’t like the flatness of the hands in my mockup. They weren’t as expressive as they could be in the original pose (and you’ll probably see me say this a lot while searching for the right pose for a Nouveau piece). The hands needed to be more gestural and graceful, which meant much of the photo shoot was spent trying out different hand motions and head tilts. The body is the most important narrative element in Art Nouveau pieces, since a stiff figure can make an image feel posed and disconnected rather than flowing and lively.
Plus an outtake for fun taken during hand gesture practice.
In the end, my final decision was a mix of the head tilt of the original pose plus the open hands of one of the poses I took. The head tilt evokes a sense of meditation and harkens back to portraits of saints in contemplation, which very much suits this Lady and her spiritual themes of rejuvenation, resurrection, and baptism. The upturned hands also speak of a deep breath, meditation, and more of a connection with the water and energy around her.
I also worked on the window design at this point, since I had a general idea of how much of it would be covered. A lot of the window was going to be revealed this time, which meant I could work on a design that covered more of the area of the window rather than focusing on accents in the outer boundaries that would need to peek out from behind the figure. I used a template of a circle I made for the previous Ladies and divided it up into sections to help make plotting out symmetrical elements easier. Once I had a small section of the design done, I copy and flip it to create the rest.
Notice my designs start out with really rough shapes first to give me an idea of how the space is used rather than jumping right into the detail of the flowers. Since I’m going with an Easter-inspired theme for Lady of March, I was inspired by faberge and decorative eggs for the window designs.
Next, I whipped out my trusty fashion croquis sketchbook and doodled a couple of quick designs to see how I wanted to handle March’s corset, which is the other key area for symbolism and decoration in this series.
As ever, Pinterest is always my first step when brainstorming for fashion (or anything else)!
I like to use greys so I can establish the values without being tied down to any particular color scheme just yet.I ended up favoring the design on the right for the visual interest a more complex design brought to the stomach, which is located in an open and central area in the overall composition.