Task 3: Applied Illustration (Research)

For this assignment, we are to create a series of illustrations for a fictional event, which could be anything. The deliverable is are themed illustrations of at least 5 illustrated items, which at least one of it has to be 3D.

First approaching this project, even though the project could be literally about anything, I would think having a more realistic approach is more suitable for the long run in terms of portfolio. I think to design for a fictional but realistic local event looks better for a portfolio than an invitation for an outer space birthday party.

The even that I decided to go for is a festival or a market with participants from the different towns in Singapore. It shall be called Singapore Township Festival. As the name implies, the festival is all about food and handmade items, in a sense promoting local produce and crafts and at the same time, the Singaporeans love for food.

The idea is that every town would have its own design or graphics, but the styling from all the graphics from all the towns could come together and look like it’s from the same event.

The graphics would be a visual representation of the history of the town, where the name derives from, or any urban legends that are linked to the town.

I can’t possibly do the designs for ALL the different towns in Singapore. So I decided to pick the 5 different regions in Singapore :

  • North
  • Northeast
  • East
  • West
  • Central

South would generally be referred to the smaller islands south of Singapore.

The reason why I chose these towns is that they are more recognisable to the public and have been there longer than a lot of the newly developed ones.

Pattern Research

Since the illustration is more of a secondary graphic only as a supporting visual element for the different towns, I figured the illustrations should be more of a repeated pattern, where a visual element of the town is repeated to create a pattern.

40 Islamic Art vector patterns. Islamic art is so mesmerising and impressive that I was intrigued to study it and work on some patterns! I am really happy with the results of these fourty elegant geometric patterns, which above all offer editable vectors that you can adjust to your project's needs. It is a lovely collection of both highly complex and more simple patterns that can give your designs a sophisticated look and a classic beauty that offers you so many creative play options (look at40 Simple Line Geometric Seamless Vector #PatternsIllustration of seamless gold geometric retro pattern vector art, clipart and stock vectors. Image 17969108.Free Vintage Coloring Book Pages | Retro Patterns Geometric Design Vintage Wallpaper Seamless Background


Most of the towns in the North is named after (or has links to) a guy named Nee Soon, such as Yishun and Sembawang. He made his fortune from his pineapple and rubber plantation, hence the reference will be from these 2 items.

Image result for pineapple skin


Image result for rubber plantation

Rubber plantation

I combined the repetition of the pineapple with the lines and the collecting container of the rubber plantation.


Northeast long ago were mainly fruit plantations. Even the term Punggol means to “throw sticks at fruits so it falls”. Now towns like Sengkang and Punggol has sea themes to them, hence another element to combine it with.

I combined waves and added a hanging fruit in it. When repeating the waves, it forms like a vine with fruits growing out from both sides.


Inspired by the story of how Bukit Merah got its name.

Image result for hill

A hill

Related image

Story of Bukit Merah

Combined the idea os the shape of the hill, the repetition of the banana stems used to build the wall, and the sharp nose of the swordfish into one form.


Inspired by the Tampines/tempinis plant.

Image result for streblus elongatus

Included shapes of the leaves and the fruit of the plant.


Most of the west is known for its industrial area, and back in the day, Jurong is actually part of the Silk Road.

Image result for cooling towers

Cooling towers

Included the form of a ship and some cooling towers into the form.


Assignment 2: Editorial Illustration (Part 2 – Development and Final)


Idea 1

For the first idea,  I was trying to go with the idea that just because a brand putting its presence into simple things like a plain t-shirt, it just becomes more expensive. So people are actually paying for the brand, rather than for function.

Idea 2

For the second idea was inspired by the Supreme Brick, but more to the idea of random items with brands putting their presence on it and selling the random items at a higher price.

Idea 3

The third idea is an assembly kit or a starter kit to be a Hypebeast.

I decided to go with the second and third idea as it is closer to the message that I want to convey through the illustration.

So initially I decided to combine the idea of random items with brands on them with the assembly kit, but the idea of having an assembly kit with random items would not make sense at all. So I decided to retain the items that make someone a Hypebeast. So the way that I would combine it is that both items, the random and the Hypebeast items, will still be there rather than having one replace the other.

Design References

For the illustration style, I decided to go to a more digital line-work and flat-lay as I felt like it would be a good way to represent the items that I would want to illustrate and also I think it is a good way to show the details within the items.

I was also thinking of whether to do it in a more static format or a more dynamic illustration


First draft

Initial design

As for the initial design, I found it difficult to represent the brands, without having to put the brand logos itself. I tried to design the items based on what they are known for and their graphics that they normally include in their products, like the stripes in Off-White, and the bar in Supreme. But still, I felt like the items are still not well represented. In the end, I decided to proceed by adding the logos to it, which is seen below.

As for the colours, I would want to keep it neutral as I am putting a lot of brands inside, and I wouldn’t want any of them to stand out more than the other, and it would be quite chaotic to have a lot of colours in it. I also wanted to have almost like a template approach, like a flat drawing in fashion design where the colours don’t matter yet. Can also say that I having a neutral approach in this situation as these millennials are free to decide how they spend their money and does not directly affects me.

Final design

To add the logos, I have to tweak it a bit so as not to get into some copyright issues. Both items, the random and the Hypebeast, are present so that at first glance, it may just look like another flat lay of Hypebeast items, but when you look harder or look again, you can actually notice that there are random things in between.

Final mockup

Assignment 2: Editorial Illustration (Part 1 – Research)

The second assignment requires us to do an editorial illustration for the bi-annual publication, Varoom. We are also to do the illustration based on one of three themes:

  • Style
  • Empathy
  • Obsession

The illustration will be used as the cover of the Varoom magazine. So to begin this work, I would start my research on Varoom’s work.

According to the AOI – Association of Illustrators:

Varoom is the globally leading illustration magazine featuring a unique combination of industry insight and critical analysis of the field of illustration. It is a unique publication commanding a global audience commenting on and discussing the contemporary illustrated image in depth. It features interviews with illustrators, image-makers and designers as well as critical articles by leading commentators.

It is interesting to see the various illustrations featured on the cover of the magazine. Opens up my mind to the many different illustration styles and concepts there can be. Below is a sample of one of their latest publications:

More on the assignment…

What is an editorial illustration?

According to Udemy:

Editorial illustration is artwork created in response to written text, usually an article in a magazine, newspaper, or blog. In this course, we will focus on how to analyze a text, develop a unique idea, and communicate that concept visually as a partner to the article. Editorial illustration is an exciting field because it allows the illustrator to inject their own opinions and unique voice into the work. We’ll focus on how to inject your own personality into your expressive illustration while still communicating your concept and illuminating the written word.

Some samples of editorial illustrations:

Illustration by Stephanie Wunderlich

Illustration by Agathe BB

Illustration by Joe Magee

Illustration by Sebastien Thibault

Images from Agoodson.com, and more of the details about editorial illustrations can be found there too.

So which theme am I going for?

  • Style
  • Empathy
  • Obsession

When given these 3 options, the first theme that struck me was Obsession. Mainly because I don’t have enough experience in the feeling of empathy and I definitely have not much understanding of style. Those 2 themes are fairly broad and I believe that it would require much understanding of empathy and style before being more specific on what kind for the assignment. I went on with obsession as I felt that it is more relatable and is easier to understand.

So specifically to obsession, I would want to do obsession over Hypebeast clothing and items. There is a recent trend among the younger millennials where they tend to want to buy all the latest and hyped clothing and flaunt it when they go out or on social media. I just find it annoying and interesting how this thing developed in recent times and effects only a certain generation.

The term Hypebeast was initially from a website which main intention from the creator is to be the place to go for updates on the latest sneaker trends in the market. Somehow the brand expanded into promoting other types of clothes and the latest street culture that brands offer, hence the term Hypebeast refers to the culture or someone who is up to date with the latest clothing of culture trends normally promoted or sold by the up-market brands.

More on what Hypebeast is about here, on their own website.

More on the topic of obsession over Hypebeast stuff, there was a time when one of these brands, Supreme, came up with a brick that they launched as a humorous way to joke about how their customers and the market would buy anything that has the word ‘supreme’ written in a red box-shape just to remain in trend. They also made a lot of other items with the Supreme-red and the logo printed on it, and it almost became like an icon of mocking putting brands on random items but people would still buy them.

More on the Supreme brick here, by Highsnobiety.

So I got the idea for the assignment, I would want my illustration to be based on that idea of having brands putting their logo on random items and people would still buy them because they are so obsessed on trying to remain in-trend by buying all the Hypebeast stuff.

Target Audience

The audience of this illustration will firstly be these millennials. This is because they are mostly the ones who are having this obsession. Maybe it would help them realise that what they are doing is really silly.

User Persona


I was planning to go for a neutral look, almost not representative of the items and the brands so that none of it stands out more than the other, that’s why I went for the monotonous black and white also so that colour meanings will not play much of a role in the illustration. I also plan to use a flat lay and more static than dynamic so that it is clear and to the point.

Assignment Task 1: Stylised Self Portrait

The task is to create a stylised self-portrait of me with the concept of visual narrative or visual storytelling. The illustration should be more stylised rather than realistic.

I began researching on some concepts and ideas from other designers to have a rough idea and direction to go for with my portrait.

Retrieved from https://dribbble.com/shots/2513316-Paperclip-Festival/attachments/495007

Retrieved from http://www.studiograson.com/

Retrieved from https://www.ui.cn/detail/255163.html

Most of my references that I ended up looking for would feature a central figure and also alot of flat graphics, may some subtle gradients. These choices were made to help describe most of my choices when it comes to designing, where I like to centralise and have symmetrical layouts, and also flat graphics so that it is not so distracting.


To help out with deciding on what should be inside the self-portrait illustration, I wrote down a list of words that best describe myself.

  1. I love doing photography. Both capturing portraits and landscapes.
  2. I have been wearing spectacles from a really young age. And my lenses have always been really thick.
  3. My family thinks I 2 sides to my personality. A hangry (hungry+angry) and a happy side.
  4. I love the outdoors.
  5. I love road trips.
  6. I love cheesy foods.
  7. I love the sky gradients.

From the wordlist, it’s time to visualise and sketch them out and include my face into it. Here are some of the initial sketches that I have done:

Sketch #1

For the first sketch, I drew myself with glasses that contains the two things that I shoot, landscapes and portraits. The glasses were also drawn thicker as to emphasize the thickness of my spectacles. I drew some pizzas in the background, disguised as mountains to show my love for food and also my love for the outdoors. The colours are not included yet but I was planning to use the sky gradients of the evening to colour the background and the sky.

However, overall I found that the contents in the illustration were a little too equally-sized and there is no hierarchy or contrast in it, despite not having colours yet. And the feedback I got from my peers was that I should emphasize the focus on the face or at least have leading lines towards the face. I also felt like there could be more added to the portrait, other elements, that would make the portrait more wholesome.

Sketch #2

For the second sketch, I retained some of the elements from the first one and also added on and improved on it. The glasses and thick frames remained but I made them bigger. I made the mountains normal but to emphasize on the cheese, I made rivers and waterfalls of cheese instead. There are also shavers at the sides of my heads to show how I am almost always cutting my hair short and shaving the sides for almost all my life.

I proceeded to illustrate in Illustrator based on this sketch and modified accordingly as I go along.

Digitalising Process

As I started digitalising the sketch starting off with the background, I realise that it starts to become too chaotic because I included both the colours for the evening and the morning skies. So I decided to focus more on the evening sky — the purple.

I also then decided to remove the black portions of the sky as it would become too distracting when I start to include the mountains at the bottom of the portrait.

I thought I was done with the portrait and I felt that the cheese strings were too distracting and it cuts off the directional lines to the face. I decided to frame the portrait up using a plane window for my love of travelling. It felt like it would somehow reduce the amount of space between the sides of the page and the face so it would be more focused.

I then looked back at the progress and the overall look and felt that the sky gradients are not well represented, so I decide to insert back the gradients.

Lastly, I now feel like the cheese strings are just floating around and should not be attached to the sky gradients. So I decided to attach the cheese strings to the plane window instead.

Finalised design
  • The peeling of the face shows how i have 2-sides to my personality, the hangry and the normal, so when you peel the face you could see the mouth eating a string of cheese, satisfying the inner cravings.
  • The strings of cheese all around the portrait shows my love for cheesy food
  • The monotone self-portrait contrasts against the colourful background and also show the monotonous and “uncolourfulness” of my life.
  • The airplane window frame shows my interest in travelling.
  • The colourfulness of the background shows my love for the twilight sky gradients in the evening
  • The thickness of the glasses also represents my thick glasses from childhood and also to represent camera lenses for my passion in photography. Each of the lens has something inside, showing landscape and portraits.
  • The bottom part of the background shows trees to show my love for the outdoors.