The Day Before The Fall of Saigon
I was commissioned for a series of illustrations to be used in a video interview with Nguyet Ha-Le where she describes how she and her family escaped the city of Saigon in 1975. The illustrations were going to be used in conjunction with archival footage and footage of the interview with Ha-Le. This interview was going to air as a part of our local PBS station, KCPT's series of companion pieces to Ken Burns' 2017 documentary The Vietnam War.
I opted for a style heavily rooted in Expressionist wood cuts to fit the dark and heavy tone of the story. The start black and white colors would also play nicely with the visual tone of Ha-Le's interview segments. I didn't want to compete with the "realness" of the archival footage, so I let the illustrations become a bit more stylized while still avoiding becoming too "cartoony" and downplaying the severity of the story.
To fully commit to the idea of the woodcuts, rather than "draw" the illustrations in black, I colored the whole field black and "carved out" the white space. This sort of reductive approach heavily informed the overall aesthetic of the work and helped get conceptually closer to the woodcut style.