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I joined TITLE Mag as a graphic designer during the development of their sixth issue, published in March 2022. Following their "Golden Age" theme, I took inspiration from the beauty of Old Hollywood and Burlesque performance but with a twist that brought those familiar aesthetics into the digital era. Through the power of 3D modeling and rendering, Velvetina materialized as the ultimate manifestation of classic beauty in its most superficial form, thus closing the printed magazine as the final project of the issue.
To see this project through to the final product, I teamed up with a small group of graphic designers to conceptualize, model, render, and edit each image for printed publication. Each composition began with a quick sketch that was then put together as a 3D scene in Blender, and then rendered like a camera to a real-life set. The model was sculpted and rigged from scratch, and then posed and dressed to fit each scene in which it was placed. The final project resulted in four individual photos and one title spread that stretched the length of two pages.
BUILDING THE CONCEPT
When conceptualizing this project and sketching out ideas, I found myself drawn to deep and rich jewel tones that were representative of luxury, glamour, and drama. I looked to the staging of Burlesque performance as my inspiration for each scene, utilizing contrasting lights, glittery and luxurious textures, and over-the-top campy elements that are so closely tied to this style of performance. I wanted each image to appear highly staged and theatrical, but with elements of fantasy that could only be brought about by the tools I had on my computer. Huge boas, pearls, and sparkles were heavily utilized as key elements to help drive this theme home.
When designing the look of the show's star, I was without a doubt that it needed to be simple and iconic. I had always understood "classic" beauty to be a touchy subject in today's culture, but remained fixated on it and everything it represents in the realm of idealized femininity - something I've always found to be out-of-reach for a young queer kid who grew up within the bounds of traditional masculinity.
I aimed for the model to be reminiscent of fashion dolls before they're given face paint, hair, and clothes. Velvetina exemplifies superficiality, so it was only fitting for me to give the model a plastic (and in some cases, glittery) texture while leaving out extraneous details like hair and skin.
Below are a few examples of sketches and progress shots made during the development of this project.
3D Design: Johnathan Briar
Post-Production Editing: Elizabeth Waight, Aj Walder, Johnathan Briar
Layout: Emma Sulfsted
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