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Victo Ngai
New Yorker Fiction - Mayfly
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This full page illustration is for the last New Yorker fiction "Mayfly" by Kevin Canty
AD Jordan Awan suggested that we could focus the piece on the first paragraph of the story: "Driving across the Utah desert on I‐70, James hit a butterfly with his car. Then another. Then a shower of them, hitting the windshield like hail, wings trapped in the wipers, orange and black. The noise of them, muted but steady, woke Molly from her trance, and she looked out the windshield, at broken wings and yellow smears."  
but steady, woke Molly from her trance, and she looked out the windshield, at broken wings and yellow 
smears.
them, hitting the windshield like hail, wings trapped in the wipers, orange and black. The noise of them, muted 
but steady, woke Molly from her trance, and she looked out the windshield, at broken wings and yellow 
smears. 
These are the initial sketches I sent in. Sketch 1 and 3 are alright but I was quite exciting about distorting the guy's face (he is sort of a jerk) with dead butterfly juice in sketch 2. Jordan came back and said he wanted a more abstrast approach to the story, maybe a wallpaper of butterflies from edge to edge. 
I have been a bit allergic to the word "wallpaper" - a crit I often received back in my RISD days. To me, it stands for "too flat", "decorative without purpose" and "a list without hiearchy". So when I sent in my revised sketch, I was still timid to go full "edge to edge". 
This assignment had a 24 hours turn around. It was 2 pm at this point, although Jordan wants me to push the "pattern-ness" further, he let me go final. 
This was the first final version. Jordan and I were both happy with the colors but wondered if there's something we could do to make the piece even more psychodelic and weird. Lucky for us, this is when the editor decided to run the story a week later!! The idea of distortion and "savage beauty" from sketch 2 revisited me and I proposed to re-do the illustration. 
I started playing around in PS and warping the first final in all slightly different ways. When I came up with a mock-up I finally liked, I went back to the drawing board to redo the lines so the final will not look digitalized. 
I am very happy with how the piece turned out and to realize sometimes the boundaries and rules I set for myself are quite silly.  Neither the piece nor the eureka moment would happen without Jordan pushing me out of my comfort zone. I am really grateful to be working with the best people in the industry!!
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