W3-5 Research & Process: actually trying to make the composition

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Previously, I established the brainstorming behind the main concept, and the selection of jobs and names. This post focuses more on compositional process, edits after consultations, etc.

Note that as of this point I’ve yet to particularly finish compositions, in that I prefer to work on and finalise a draft before actually embarking on creating the final piece. This, unfortunately, means that I’m very susceptible to changes which MUST be made to the final piece for it to look alright, even if it SUPPOSED to look alright according to the draft. Said final changes, if any, will be updated in a separate post.

Consultation 1 (via email)

I sent Shirley the sketches from previously, along with a few new ones. These were the general ideas I had in mind, though:

All in all, the conclusion was mostly to avoid forcefully warping objects into certain shapes, and to add more dynamism through avoiding straight lines, if possible.

Consultation 2

I attempted to have a clearer composition by using Illustrator to make vector sketches.

Other than that, I also established the Translator font by doing as Shirley suggested:

  1. Dissecting Japanese strokes (specifically, hiragana), then
  2. Mixing them together to form the letters

(insert picture when I actually have it)

I didn’t bother to try to make it look like actual characters, as opposed to a clear amalgamation of preexisting Japanese strokes.

Email Suggestion

Shirley mentioned to Google to see what already exists, which I realised I didn’t even think of.

1. Cat Photographer

The font I had established in the meantime. This was done by downloading many, many cat photos, using the Lasso tool to take out various parts like the legs, ears, paws, mouths, eyes, etc, then pasting them together. I mainly used tails and legs for direction, with smaller parts used as per appropriate to fill spaces based on their shapes.

The key image is cats, so I searched for cat typography.

Of all of them, my current typeface resembles the first and second most closely, that of the collaging of many cats to form the letters. Looking at it makes me finally understand what Shirley meant by cat gestalt, and what she meant when asking what I’d do to cover the gaps during consultation (which I didn’t understand at the time, but now I think it meant that she thought I would be putting a lot of small cats together?)

On the bright side, the misunderstanding means that, yes, it’s not a mainstream idea currently in use, probably because who would even want to cut up cats?

2. Japanese/English Translator

It seems to be a rather common idea to edit Japanese strokes into English words… I’m unsure if it’s considered too similar due to that, but I’m inclined to believe it’s alright, simply because most typefaces seem to be attempting to convince viewers that they are legitimate characters, while I’m merely dissecting and reassembling without attempting to make it convincing.

3. Terrarium Retailer

Since then, I attempted to make the actual picture, but while watercolour translucency is effective for the terrarium, its severe dilution makes the colours somewhat dull. Also, I’m out of practice.

At some point we must all remember that if we were clever enough to come up with something entirely unique, we wouldn’t need to be in school. Mine is really rather similar to the 2nd one, apart from the direction (plants grow upwards than sideways), font (bubbly than straight cut) and colours (mix of other colours than just green).

4. Sushi Blogger

After the consultation, I decided to try making a sushi art brush in Illustrator, of which this is the prototype (lacking details or whatsoever). In the middle left is the tileset for the brush, while the middle features my attempts to use the brush together with different fonts. In the top left corner is the rice texture brush I attempted to make, which does not seem particularly effective.

I have tried Googling “sushi illustrator brush” to no result, so…? Seeing the 2nd composition reminded me that I hadn’t thought of a suitable background, though, so I considered a sushi plate.

In Illustrator I might envision this as a top-down perspective, with the plate implied through its patterns and textures. However, this made me realise the fatal problem of perspective: the sushi would be lying sideways on the plate if the rice were visible… Also, if it were straight on like the 2nd reference, it would be somewhat lacking in dynamism.

Consultation 3

I raised the following questions:

  • The composition of the Photographer
    • I felt it was not focused enough due to the background
  • The composition of the Blogger, in terms of the perspective
    • A top down perspective would mean that the sushi is technically lying on its side, an improper placement…
Shirley mentioned the possibility of making swatches for the rice and salmon texture than a brush, and adding perspective to the plate instead


  • The composition of the Retailer, which was somewhat too rigid
    • The initial idea involved boxes and boxes in straight lines to match the online shop format, which was somewhat boring
She suggested putting the terrariums together in a bundle, than separating them. It’s amazing how such obvious things don’t always come to mind!


  • The medium of the Retailer, of which I couldn’t quite decide what would work well
In accordance with the terrarium texture, I attempted painting directly on the plastic as an alternative. Between the dull watercolour on paper and the simplistic acrylic on plastic, she showed a preference for the plastic, and gave crucial suggestions on the gluing process.


  • The technicalities of Illustrator, where the different custom brush options was really confusing me and Google was not helpful enough
  • The technicalities of printing, regarding bleed area

The ideation and drafts seems alright, so the conclusion from here on out is to actually get to making the final pieces, and any necessary edits, since it’s very possible that it may not actually look good in the end even if it ought to as per the drafts.

W1 Research: Unique Styles, and a gatecrashing Constructivism

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EDIT: Please note that there’s too much process and research for me to properly consolidate in one post, and thus I’ve included a Precede and Succeed system: click on the link to go to the post which comes before or after this one, respectively. The final full list will be put in the Gallery post too.

Here are some of the styles I’ve looked at which seem rather unique to me! It involves both 2D (typography and otherwise) and 3D.

My process is constantly updating and becoming convoluted, so I’ll leave it in a separate post.

(Here’s also a little snippet of some research I did on Russian Constructivism, which didn’t quite fit anywhere, but it seemed like such a pity to just delete it.)

Russian Constructivism (1913-1940)

  • Using art for social purposes, e.g. communication (posters), architecture
  • Mostly, but not entirely, apathetic (unless said emotion is beneficial to the purpose of the work)
  • Initially only applied to 3-dimensional objects, but later expanded to 2-dimensional
  • A suspicious amount of Constructivist work is “scientific” in nature, likely due to the rise of modernism and science/technology (post-Industrial Revolution), as well as the Russians attempting to express/present their society as a progressive society
  • A suspicious amount of Constructivist work is propagandic in nature, likely due to the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution leading to a need to endorse the new government, where Constructivism was a convenient means of spreading propaganda

Keywords to describe visual qualities of Constructivism:

  1. Geometrical/Orderly
  2. Experimental/Abstract
  3. Apathetic/Objective
  4. Modern