Zine – Newton

A comic! That was what I wanted to do for my Zine for the town of Newton.

Above is the basic storyline I had drafted out for my Zine when I decided to do a comic. I also decided to use an illustration style based on my inspirations which I will talk about below.

Other simpler scrapped ideas

Inspiration / Artist References

During my first consultation I was told that I could look at children’s storybooks such as the Ugly Duckling and the like. I thought it’d be interest to go back to not just see how these stories were crafted but also see how they were drawn and illustrated.

So I visited this website: http://www.magickeys.com/books/

It’s an online website of various children storybooks. I was amazed. My favourite book is ‘Brave Monkey’ because it has a very meaningful story and that was what I wanted to do for my Zine as well, something meaningful. Aside from looking at their art style, I was also looking at how they used their text and the placement of it. I wanted to see how they did their layout.

I wasn’t able to think of a story very easily since while the place itself was interesting, they were all fragmented events – eg touting, renovations, they were events that were either too short or boring to develop into a concrete idea. So I decided to draw from my experience – the kindness I experienced from the old lady who talked to me and even treated me to drinks and a meal later, as well as how closely knit the community is for the Auntie. As such, I decided to do something that revolves around the compassion of the people there and write a story about kindness, which is something I felt about the auntie on my visits there and how helpful she was. So that was my theme for my zine – kindness, with a quote that I wrote down to inspire myself:

“in one way or another, we are all looked after”

Draft comic in early stage

So I got my first story draft, but the story was very lame and underdeveloped.

That was before I got into reading deeper into children storybooks and also taking a look at Little Big Books to see if I could get inspired too. I note down stories that made me interested and emotionally invested in the characters. For example, on that website, I noted these two stories:

  • Invisible Alligators – has a morale, and lovely ending statement
  • Wolstencroft – Very touching ending that is very rewarding because the story really exaggerates the problem

I saw that the stories there have a main character that guides the story along. They also presented their main character with a problem that they had to solve, something which my story did not initially have, making the world a little too ‘perfect’ for my character.

So I added new frames to add a little more depth to the story.

Colours / Drawing

The colours I used were mostly extracted from the original images I had. I bumped up the saturation so it would look more attractive and colourful, especially for the food and also to go in line with my inspiration. However, looking back, I think I could have used colours a lot better for some of the frames.

I also kept in mind what I learnt with how the Pingu character was drawn in the previous semester so it’s great to be able to link with previous assignments.

Converting live images to illustration Printing Process

I went to TrueColors at Bugis to get my Zine printed. It was quite a nightmarish process for me actually. I believe for most of us this is our first time printing Zines but I felt a little less unprepared for it than I could have. Problems I faced with printing zines were aplenty.

My first printout was actually in A3 because of miscommunication. I passed the person in the printing shop A3 paper, but they thought that I wanted an A3 size booklet. This was also my fault as I did not set a correct resolution in photoshop. The size I had set was incorrect and I had used the wrong DPI for my photoshop file, leading to the size of the zine being closer to A3 than it was to A4. Thankfully I could still fix this.

The second mistake I made was that some of my text were too close to the edge of the paper so when my zine was printed and cut, some of the text were actually cropped off! It was my mistake as I had not thought about how close the text was to the edges.

I went to edit my Zine on the spot to change the affected text, but for some reason, the cutting was inconsistent and another part of the Zine now had their text were very close to the edge even though it was previously okay. At this point I had already printed three copies and spent $12 so I decided to just deal with it as the cutting was a little inconsistent and I didn’t want to risk it getting worse.

The final mistake I made was realised only on the day of presentation itself that my paper was actually not the 80 gsm that was listed on the store. I had somehow gotten 250 gsm paper? Which had me totally shocked and caught me off guard. I guess this is a huge lesson for me to check carefully and also perhaps bring a sample of 80 gsm paper along for me to compare so I know how to feel the difference.

Despite all this, I am really thankful to the staff at TrueColours. It was really late at night when I went there. Even though they kind of scolded or chided me for coming so unprepared, I think they’re really kind to help me despite them being so busy. I am really thankful that they helped me get my Zine printed wonderfully. Then I went to have my dinner at McDonald because no place was open that late.

Just a coincidental photo I took. There you can see my Zine on the table behind my late night meal

So nevertheless even though I actually wanted to raise my hand when the question “Who regretted their choice of paper?” was asked in class, this is just a very good experience for me to see for myself the different types of paper to print Zines on as choice of paper had never been something I considered much before and something I had always overlooked in previous assignments.


I think one way I was really hoping to learn by the end of this module (Foundation 2D) is how it actually ties in to our careers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to link many things to Animation or Interactive media, my first and second choice of major respectively and am as such left with plenty of questions as to how this will help me develop as an artist in those aspects. Definitely I learned something along the way of course, but I still feel a lot of wasted learning potential. I could have learnt so much more if I knew what to look out for and what will help contribute to my career so that I can focus and improve my learning experience in my 1 year in foundation term as I still feel there is much I need to do to prepare myself before streaming into our majors.

Overall, printing this zine (along with the typography assignment) was a good learning experience for me and after 1 year of foundation, we are now going to stream into our majors. I am curious to see what awaits us.

Thank you Mimi for guiding me through my first and most important foundation year!

Trip to Newton

When I came to Newton, I was expecting to see many Condos, which I did, and wondered if perhaps I should do something about condos since Newton had many of them – Newton One, etc. Even the research I did prior to my visit confirmed that Newton had many condos (and in fact, just mostly condos).

Then I came to Newton Food Centre to have my lunch and bought a plate of Hokkien Mee. With my camera, I took a picture of the stall and the auntie, an old elderly woman who is the stall owner.

Upon seeing me take a picture and ordering from her, she said to sit down in front of her stall to have my meal.

It was a Saturday afternoon and there were fewer people. The seats were only half filled and it was a very relaxing place. Everybody was just having a good time.

The lady I had ordered my food from sat in front of me. She asked if I could send her the photo I had just taken, and that she would pay for it whatever the price is.

We ended up having a conversation and I asked her a great many things about Newton. We had problems communicating as we both only had Mandarin as our common language, and it was neither our main spoken language. She was very friendly. I was very surprised that I ended up starting a conversation with her and we talked for a good hour. She asked about my school, what assignment I was doing (and I shared with her about 2D), and then I asked how her life was like. She told me about her children and how they have grown, and it was just a fairly relaxing conversation on this cool Saturday afternoon.

On one rainy, cold night, I went to Newton to visit her a second time. I went to the same stall, only to see its shutters were closed and the old lady was gone.

I was sad that I didn’t get to taste her delicious Hokkien Prawn Mee.

When I visited her again with her photos a third time, it was on Saturday, at around the same time. I went there to have lunch intentionally and we met. I ordered the same dish from her. She rejected my $4 and told her husband not to accept it when I tried to give it to him. She then bought sugarcane from the neighbouring stall for me, to have with my meal.

Here is a picture of her when I passed her my photos. I had printed two photos coincidentally – it was just a feeling that I wanted to have one extra, and I passed her both and it turns out her husband was there so she gave one copy to her husband so they both have the photo. I was really glad to be there and have patronized from their stall.

Her hokkien mee + a sugarcane drink she treated me! So sweet of her…

Overall, it was a very heartwarming experience for me, one that I never expected to get. I thought I would just come to this place and leave after exploring, but I never expected that I would form a bond with someone here or even see myself coming back to have a taste of her Hokkien Mee again.

Metastory – Celebrations

One thing that we get to celebrate is the disappearance of funerals. There are no more funerals since MemBrain Tech set up its hub here in Singapore and various other first world countries. I guess that’s something to celebrate right?

Nobody actually ‘dies’ now in this world… in a spiritual way. Even though their physical bodies decompose and rot away, almost everyone gets their memories loaded into cartridges when they die. These cartridges hold terabytes of data and can even be fit into the size of your pocket. It’s like how those things that they used to call ‘thumbdrives’ back in the 2020s, though nobody uses them anymore. Instantaneous cloud transfer has made it possible to transfer data freely with worldwide Wi-Fi. Despite that, many people choose to have memories loaded into cartridges. I guess their families still prefer to be able to hold onto something hard and physical to keep with them, rather than having digital copies of everything which is what the world is about now.

Metastory – Laws and Rules

There are times when we had to be careful. Tampering with one’s memories is not always viewed as acceptable in the society.

There has to be a set of rules that everyone has to follow.

Not being allowed to get into the heads of others was one rule set by the government. But the truth is… most of the rules are set by our own people. These are internal rules that we set because tampering with our own or others’ memories had long raised moral questions.

When people die here, their memories are transferred into cartridges. MemBrain Tech offers everyone a chance to salvage their memories, extracting them from their brains, turning something that we could never imagine could be held in our own hands – something physical. You had to do this within the first four hours after the time of death, as the brain will rapidly destroy itself when it loses oxygen, essentially corrupting the person’s memories.

There were no “hard” rules to memory transferring. If your wife or girlfriend died, and another person was willing to offer their body to be the ‘physical carrier’ of their memories, you could load your dead wife or girlfriend’s memories into this new body, replacing its old memories. But doing so would essentially ‘kill’ the person. Even though his or her body will live on, he or she no longer possesses his or her unique identity, experiences and memories.

Many people have tried to come up with a hard set of laws and rules regarding when memory transfer is permitted, but nobody has been successful. There are just too many edge cases, too many scenarios where one rule may work in, but not in the other. That’s how MemBrain Tech grew so big. Nobody could stop them or impose legal barriers.