For the cover of the Intimacy issue we asked UK-based illustrator Hannah Buckman to create an image that reflected the theme. Here she tells us how she approached the commission.

Varoom: Could you talk us through the concept for your Varoom cover?  How does it express the theme of Intimacy?

Hannah: I was really pleased to have been asked to illustrate the cover for this theme as intimacy and relationships between figures in space is something I had been exploring in my personal drawing practice for a few months. 

Editor Olivia mentioned in the brief about not wanting to depict the theme too literally as the magazine would be covering a breadth of interpretations. I was thinking about mirrors, a partner as a mirror or someone who reflects you back to you, yin and yang, partners being each other’s halves, enmeshment, tattooing – ‘making a mark’ on another person and dancing together. 

Initial sketches for Intimacy cover

To express that I started to do some drawings of people moving and fitting together making these strange shapes. Initially I was thinking about the three sets of couples separately, so each of the couples are focused on each other, ignoring whatever else is going on in the room. But then I think when you put them all together in the same space it kind conveys a forced intimacy borne out of proximity… (which is what living in London can feel like?) people together in a confined but open plan space where there is no privacy. 

Cover sketch and final colour ways image

What was your working process?  Do you go straight to digital?

With this piece I started out with lots of hand drawn sketches trying to get the movements between the different bodies to feel right. I feel like if I can nail a sketch on paper first it’s then a lot easier to translate into a digital form. I went from black and white pencil sketches which I then scanned into the computer where I drew over what I had sketched, adding and taking away bits whilst also playing around with colours and overlays in Photoshop. 

Final cover with type

How do you feel about the final artwork?

I’m happy with how it turned out! I was keen to bring in elements of what I had been doing in the studio with paints and pastels into the digital format and I think that comes through somehow. I think that the colourway works with the theme, has a kind of relaxed feel. I wanted there to be a warmness to the colours that maybe reflects a depth of emotion between the sets of figures. Enjoyed working on the piece!

To see more get Varoom 42 Intimacy here

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