This artwork was designed for a UN initiative to help in translating critical public health messages into engaging artworks. I used cinematic storytelling techniques to deliver a global message and here I’m sharing some of the insights.
Contrast, Staging and Composition
The first element of contrast I adopted had nothing to do with lines and colors. While the UN would normally call for dialogue to prevent conflict and ease social unrest, our girl decided to take things into her own hands!
The painting’s composition relies completely on contrast as we see the father’s figure completely in dark against his luminous daughter, but to twist the center of power and give the girl a stronger position without any hint of vulnerability, I used a camera angle below her eye level and kept the father’s shadow away from falling on her figure.
The composition is also built using the word La (لا), which is the Arabic for No, formed by the light areas. Building the scenes using descriptive words is a fun idea that I’ll experiment with more in the future.
Color and Light
The light on the girl is inspired by the cinematic glam-cam, 3-light setup. The fill light from the left side is girly, and the backlight which helps show the form of her figure is under-exposed, but it’s there doing its job. The main one, the key light on the right side, has a warm orang-ish hue. Using this light in the cold (war) scene does a lot expressing the girl’s mood.
Her red band which points directly at the enemy has the same function.
Red color normally expresses extreme symbols and feelings like: rage, passion, wrath, seduction, war, speed, action, sacrifice, and even communism, but definitely not innocence. To make the ends meet, playing again on contrast, I worked my best integrating the color red to the innocent, cute features of our little hero.
On the other hand, Blue, the color of open skies and seas was squeezed into the area occupied by the broom. Soothing and calming, and technically a complementary color of red, blue was used to break the tension in the piece.
I will exaggerate and claim blue carries an invitation for the beholders to stay home, to bring the sky and the sea inside, and to cherish their own blue periods.
N.B. When a child looks at the sun with closed eyes, he sees a red color, and that red, noted John Berger, is nothing but innocent!
This piece is a freebie and I’m happy to share the original, print-ready PNG file (4,500 x 4,500 px @ 400 DPI, sRGB) through Alhyari.Art file sharing portal here: https://www.alhyari.art/file-share (sign-up required.)
If you want the file in PSD, PDF, or TIFF format, or if you want the art process video (15 minutes in 4K), please contact me at email@example.com. These are also free for non-commercial use.
“Muhammad at-Tayieb” al-Hyari
Freelance Digital Artist & Illustrator | Khobar, Saudi Arabia | www.alhyari.art