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Hannah Gundersheim – Marie

During January 2024, a friend of mine mentioned they were planning to release a new single soon but that they didn’t have the funds to invest in a professional photoshoot. They’d wanted to go for a somber, moody direction reminiscent of a particular photo of Zendaya from the promotional materials of Euphoria season 1 (Picture 1) but with more vibrant bisexual lighting. One key factor in this was a pretty urgent turnaround time – one week. Usually my projects span over a few weeks so everything has time to breathe and settle, so this was a change of pace. Shortly after starting on this project, I ended up contracting covid which left me with plenty of time to focus on this – in a way, I’m a bit thankful for catching covid in this scenario.

To begin, I had the client send me some photos so I could experiment with different lighting treatments to try and achieve the desired effect (picture 2). In turn, I sent a few different inspiration pieces for a painting style so we could dial in the specific angle we wanted to take early on (picture 3). They sent me one final reference picture (picture 4) to use and then I started work in earnest on the cover.

I started by tracing some of the basic details from the reference photo while making some slight adjustments (picture 5) before sketching out shading zones to plan where to add highlights and shadows later in the coloring process (picture 6).  From there, I started with adding a basic layer of color (picture 7) before filling in the background and adding some preliminary shading on with some heavy brush strokes (picture 8). Next, I worked on shading the hair with an emphasis on stark highlights to give it some nice natural shine worthy of a L’oreal commercial (picture 9).

At this point, the foundation of basic coloring and ‘paint-by-numbers- shading was more or less established, so I sat down and spent a few hours adding more organic details and texture to make it feel more like a proper painting with character (picture 10). All that was left was to add the tears we’d discussed (picture 11) and apply the lighting effects referenced earlier with the goal of making it look as though this was lit using studio gels, despite being a painting (picture 12).

Marie by Hannah Gundersheim is out on February 23 on all platforms.