Flight, the name given to the banner, was to symbolise their ascent from this world to the next and also because of the butterfly.
A few changes had been made to the composition to allow for more depth and interest, like varying book sizes, making the pile of hands lower, and increasing the saturation of the colours.
I first went with the basic exploration of sketching traditionally the more literal elements of the Butterfly Lovers, namely figures, butterflies, skulls and clouds.
I first attempted to see how composition would work and I drafted out several long horizontal thumbnail sketches.
However, that was very limiting and felt like this reduced my potential elements and ideas. Hence, ditching that, I just explored with the literal elements themselves, seeing what I liked, what worked and what could be expanded in meaning and variety.
Exploring motifs related to death and the unhappy characters who held the couple apart.
After I realised that the elements felt rather detached and typical, I decided to try and sketch the with elements that I enjoyed sketching- body parts (but mostly hands).
I thought about how the girl, Zhu, had to subtly show affection or even contain her affection for Liang because of how she had to pretend to be a boy and their families disagreeing with their being together.
I expanded on the idea of gestures and decided to experiment with different hand gestures or body parts that could be isolated in a way to show discomfort or a longing for the other.
The initial rough stages of sketching were very undecided but helped to direct where the following sketches were going.
I then went on to sketching these said gestures and body parts in a way that I felt were subtly expressive of longing and loneliness. Books were also added as part of them motif sketching because of how I liked that their time together in school was probably the most amount of time they would spend together unknowingly.
I used a brushpen for texture and the variation in line width to add more character to the body parts.