Project 3: My Existential Ego (Final Post)


This is my final layout during the presentation. The layout is carefully balanced in terms of type, illustrations with symmetry, pattern, and mouth motifs. Now let me explain the equations row by row.



The unorthodox is represented by the colour blue of the lips. The background of pink is supposed to symbolise the normal environment in which the unorthodox blue tries to exist in.


The pink colour irises symbolises the judging eyes of new normal people.

I took a long time getting ready to exist

The pink judging eyes of normal people results in the ego acting completely normal, represented by the entirely pink composition, in the public eye. However the ego can never truly hide its unorthodox-ness, as hinted by the hidden blue shadow of the type.



This is represent by the two colours pink and blue co-existing harmoniously. It shows how the ego is able to be both colours as any time of interaction.


This is shown by the two colours, similar to the piece above representing the ego.


This is shown by how in the above two compositions a muted pink and blue is used with duller tone to represent the ego and people similar to the ego. But when they come together, they become vibrant and more saturated in the last composition.



This is represented by the extremely dark hue of the pink and blue used.


This is represented by the very bright, sweet, and saturated tone of pink, blue and purple used.


This is represented but how the darker hues (cynicism of the ego) literally seep and cover the pastel pink background (the ideals).



This is represented by the de-saturated pink, blue and purple.


The emotional people is represented by the vibrant and saturated blue and pink, as well as the “emotional roller-coaster”.


The ego is represented by the pistol which has unsaturated colours and the emotional people by the vibrant lips and background.

To conclude, I really enjoyed this project and felt that I am on my way to developing a visual style that I am proud to call my own. Some challenges I faced was time limitations to clean up certain details of the illustrations. However, on the whole, I am glad that I managed to come up with a coherent series. Also, a large thank you to Joy for being so patient and giving me so much guidance and confidence throughout my entire 2D journey.

Hope to continue working on such projects in future!

(Disclaimer: There was a problem with the colour of the high quality images of the illustrations after uploading them onto OSS, thus, after multiple trials and methods, I only finally managed to upload these with accurate colour. Please pardon the lower-quality images)

Project 3: Direct Thought Process of My Ego (WIP)

The way I approached this project was really straightforward. As I am very result oriented, I did not experiment much composition-wise, but more so thought it through and planned it out in my mind.

I listed the character traits which I thought affected the way I interact with people and narrowed it down to the four main traits of being unorthodox, being a social chameleon, being cynical, and being emotionally empty.

Then to complete each equation I thought circumstances or people that might result in me showing my character trait. Some examples are

– When meeting new people, will become normal
– When meeting with societal judgement, will conform
– When meeting people who are not used to the peculiarity of art students

– When meeting new people, will try to figure out what kind of person they are
– When meeting similar kind of person, will go crazy

– When meeting people who have idealised outlook, will destroy their ideals
– When meeting new people, will be distrustful of their intentions

– When meeting emotional people, will sympathise but cannot empathise

For each equation I selected the situations that make the most coherent sense as one of the four equations.

Thus I resulted in the following equations:

Character Situation Resulting Reactions
UNORTHODOX Meet New People Will try to be normal (Hide unorthodox-ness)
SOCIAL CHAMELEON Meet Similar People Go crazy (In a positive manner)
CYNICAL Meet People Who Have an Idealised Outlook Destroy their ideals
LACKING EMOTIONAL CAPACITY Meet Emotional People Cannot mix well with them

With these equations settled, I thought about how to apply colour theory to the different equations. I know that I wanted a coherent overall look for the twelve squares so it was a matter of deciding the overall colour scheme, then manipulating the value and tone of the colours to portray the meaning of my work.

Initially I wanted to use this colour scheme, like split complementary colours grouped together.


However, after some research, I decided I was interested in the “pastel grunge” aesthetics. The colour scheme that suits such a style would be the rather dreamy pastel analogous colour scheme of blue, purple, and pink.

Thus, I did up a list of different tonal value of these three colours as a main colour chart guide for my illustrations.





Lastly, illustration-wise, I wanted the entire piece to look like a coherent decorative series. Thus, I decided that the elements in the composition would not really represent the meaning of the equation, but more of the colours in the composition.

Here are some research photos I found online on pastel grunge that the aesthetic of my illustrations were inspired/based on:













Basically a rather stylised, pastel, illustrated, teenage-angst aesthetics.

The only experimentation I did composition-wise was that of the mouth motif, as I decided to repeat it for every equation.


I thought that adding a neon ring of light might make the composition more visually attractive. However, I realised that this move strayed too far from my general aesthetics, thus, I decided to stick to just the illustration of the mouth.

Trial Sketch:


With this, I conclude my rather direct thought and planning process of this project. See you in the final project post! 🙂

Project 2: Forrest Gump is Not the Movie I Chose, but the Project Title (Final)






This is my final four compositions and the layout of the presentation. The main theme of this series of designs is beauty of the grotesque. I took all four quotes from the movie Helter Skelter, in which the director explored one’s extreme pursuit of beauty and the unfortunate consequences of doing so.

The method in which I carried out my compositions was in repeating motifs throughout the four compositions. The background of all compositions were that of fashion editorial portraits. This was because i felt the thing that best represented the notion of beauty was fashion. While I ensured that portraits of a variety of races and gender were chosen as I felt theme was a universal one, and I should not restrict my subjects to a particular demographic.

Furthermore, each of my composition has common motifs of decay and grotesque imagery in the form of bugs, all tailored to their relevant quote.


The quote for this was “Pretty on the outside…but like a fruit that bugs have eaten from within”. The decay here is portrayed through the texture of rotting fruit on the subject’s hair. While, cockroaches crawling out of her mouth suggested her rotten insides.


The quote for this was “She was like a flower that was in full bloom but on the verge of scattering as soon as the wind blew”. Here, wilted flowers make up the subject’s body and soul, and it is infested with flies.


The quote here is “No matter how beautiful it is, a rabbit is still a chunk of meat once you skin it”. Here the decay was within the motif of skinned rabbits crawling out of the model’s head, and the bugs were the entire sea of maggots held within the head.


The quote here was “I hear a ticking sound. Something inside of me is going to end very soon”. Here, the decay is in the rust behind a face, and the decay is filled with crazy ants.

The decay is portrayed in rather abstracted forms with high threshold as I was trying to focus on their patterns to make the grotesque truly beautiful. I also kept to bitmapping the fashion editorials, and increasing the threshold for the motifs of decay, to maintain a consistent style.

Some things I could have improved on in this project were the composition arrangement and contrast of motifs in my design, as well as the fact that I could have done more documentation. Unfortunately, I did not manage to capture some test screens and prints as the silkscreen printing process was rather messy and hectic in the studio. Lastly, I wished that I would slowly learn to become more experimental and a little less result-orientated.

With this, I have completed my project 2 of 2D. I really learnt a lot both in skills and myself through this project. Thank you to Joy for being so encouraging throughout the entire process, I am really happy I managed to find my own visual vocabulary. Thank you to Xiu Meng too for staying back to help us with our screens and being so patient. I look forward to improving my exploring style in the final project!

Project 2: Moving into Final + Printmaking (WIP #2)

STAGE 2 (Cont.)

We had our first silkscreen printing lesson. I was not a stranger to silkscreen printing, as I had experimented with it before. However, I had always worked with vector image with lots of line work, and not with realistic image bitmapped designs.

Nor had I worked with such high-tech equipment before. In the past it was using a light-box, not a machine to expose, and a hair dryer instead of a large heater.

Thanks to Xiu Meng, we successfully produced our designs on our screens. I met with some difficulty during the printing itself. That was because I had never worked with such a complex design before. I placed the bitmap as 50, thus, the design was extremely complex.

Here are some of my prints:


This print came out too light. As I was afraid that if I added too much ink for such a complex design, the print would turn out too dark.


This print turned out not bad. However, it was unevenly inked as when i was dragging the squeegee I accidentally slid the squeegee out of place.


This was one of my last prints, and one of the better ones, as it was both evenly inked and had the most details intact.

Through this class, I decided that for my future works, I would put lesser dots for bitmapping as the effect will turn out better.

Actually, before I came to class, I was only a half satisfied with my designs. It was not the aesthetic I had in mind. During the silkscreen printing workshop was group consultations. After feedback from my group, and an extra consultation with Joy, I decided that it truly was not the aesthetic I was comfortable for my work to be in, I was going to start from scratch. I did not want to submit a piece of work I am not happy with.


I remembered there a movie I really liked a while back, Helter Skelter. I loved this movie as I have a preoccupation with beauty and aesthetics and this movie explored and challenged notions of beauty. It was quite hard for me to find quotes from the movie as it is a Japanese movie, translated into English. Thankfully, I managed to find film stills with accompanying quotes.

I was inspired by its aesthetics of excessive luxury and beauty turning into something rather grotesque.



She was so beautiful.



But the negative consequences of the pursuit of beauty turned her mad.


She looks like she could belong to a horror film.


Thus, from the idea of excessive beauty turning grotesque, I got inspired and thought to make something truly grotesque look beautiful instead. The movie’s cinematographer and art directors sure managed to do so.

I also went onto pinterest and weheartit to search for inspiration, looking through fashion editorials (which was a direction I had been interested in for a long time, especially in 4D class, but I never thought to bring it over to 2D ).

From there I developed my final compositions and did my tote bag. I will not talk much about my compositions as I’ll go into more detail in my final. However, I would like to talk a bit about the process of printing my tote bag.


Thank you XF for this candid photo of me coating the screen.

I made sure to decrease the number of dots in bitmap so that it was easier to print. However, it was rather challenging and I printed quite a number of test prints on newsprint paper before doing it on several tote bags.


This is my screen. The chemical did not fully wash off, so I tried my best in printing.


This was one of the dark versions on newsprint.


This is a lighter version on a failed tote bag. I decided that I quite like the hair being left with gaps of white as it brought out the texture of grotesqueness more.

With this I’ll end my process post and head on to the final post where I’ll explain my final compositions. See you there!

Project 2: Initial Explorations (WIP #1)


Initially, I was really clueless as to how to approach this project. I was a methodologically result-oriented person, so this project was a huge challenge to me, as we were limited to finding images on the web. That posed as a huge hurdle for me, as I couldn’t recreate the exact imagery I had in mind.

Furthermore, I could not settle on a quote as I did not want to limit myself to selected quotes in case the end-result compositions turned out badly.

But due to the project timeline, I had to march on ahead and come out with compositions. So my initial approach was to list out quotes from my favourites movies, choose a few, and try to make compositions out of them.

Here are the results:


“I’ve mastered three!” – Hugo, 2011


“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” – The Great Gatsby, 2013


“Dear Diary: My teen angst bullshit now has a body count.” – Heathers, 1988

However, after consultation with Joy, I realised I had been approaching the project wrongly. I misunderstood and thought that I could not use literal imagery to illustrate the quotes. That resulted in an artist block, as the quotes I had chosen were very poetic, and thus, when thinking of the end composition, it was unavoidable to have some sort of literal imagery.

Therefore, to avoid literal imagery, all my compositions turned out disjointed from one another, and were just a mish-mash of images put together, not properly integrated into a design.

In reality, all this project aimed for was to have an overall theme in all our compositions. This was to help us build a style and visual vocabulary that was unique and identifiable as ours. It was like having our visual filter placed over our chosen quotes.

Thus, with that takeaway, I proceed into the second stage of my explorations into trying to create a filter to see things through.


After reviewing the list of quotes I had, I realised there was a primary theme of sex and death. So I decided to make my designs based on sexual imagery with a tinge of morbidity, to highlight the sexualization and romanticisation of death.


“Fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Teresa?” – Heathers, 1988

The first composition I attempted, I use the pomegranate as a symbol of the vagina, and the background landscape to form the female anatomy. This resulted in a rather subtly graphic and vulgar design of a female impaled on a cross. (The perspective is one from the bottom of the female body)


“We’ll be forgotten. We’re machines for the processing of desires.” – Helter Skelter, 2012

While in this second composition, I increased the contrast of the female anatomy to make it look more abstract and blend in with the rest of the landscape in the background. I lengthen the neck and jaw of the female so it became a phallic imagery impaling a pomegranate, that the “female subject” seemingly wears like a halo. While, the gas pump was to represent the machinery image, and at the same time emphasise the sexual connotation of the image.

With these two compositions in hand, I headed to the second consultation, and silk-printing workshop, which I will be covering in a second process post. Head there to read up more on my collage-printmaking journey!

Project 1 Final: My Lines Are Definitely More Emo Than I Am (I Just Want To Sleep)

Finally, after all the exploration and learning, I managed to produce my final piece. In this post, I hope to do a summary about my concept, overall approach, as well as the individual scripts and the reasons why they were curated as such.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy Final Presentation of “My Line Is Emo”

Labels“My Line Is Emo” with labels


My main concept is contrasting emotions. I feel that emotions do not exist as a singular entity. In order to portray emotions more apparently and realistic, the best way would be to place them next to similar or contrasting emotions, for both to complement and bring out each other.

My placement of strips follows my concept very closely. I started off by pairing negative and positive emotions off, usually grouping the emotions by their intensity, or relationship. From there I came out with this list:

Tenderness vs Hate
Arousal vs Disgust
Longing vs Anguish
Ecstasy vs Depression
Thrill vs Hysteria
Delight vs Irritation
Ease vs Anxiety
Idleness vs Tenseness
Contentment vs Loneliness


My approach was a blend of experimental and methodological. It started off extremely experimental for me to gain inspiration and insight into what mark making was about. Then, the methodological portion was when I paired off the emotions, and I would form an image of what I want each emotion to look like and how they should be created.

The approach I used could be summed up as one that was result-orientated instead of process-based. The process was not emotional, and does not imitate the body language of expressing emotions as it is focused towards producing an aesthetically pleasing piece that evokes the relevant emotions in the viewers.

I chose to standardise doing my marks on white drawing paper. As I wanted to limit my area of exploration to purely technique-based since mark making was already quite foreign to me.




I chose to use paper marbling to present tenderness due to its light value and organic water mark shape. The faded swirls within the water mark further enhanced the emotion, as to me they symbolised the stirrings of the heart when one feels tender affection towards another.

While the topographic lines were some sort of geometrical reflection of the paper marbling marks. The density of lines increases as it reaches the middle, creating an effect of a denser core of emotions spreading outwards. That I felt was the way in which tenderness was expressed.



My interpretation of hate was not one of intense anger and aggressiveness. Instead to me, hate results from a sort of hurt and tenderness. Only when one cares, one would care enough to hate. There would be no reason to hate something you did not care about in the first place.

Thus, I wanted my hate to be presented in this rather delicate form of webbing. Where certain areas of the web are intensely darker, representing the tinges of anger in the hatred. While the other thinner lines branching out from the darker middles portrays the hurt and tenderness on which the hate is built on.



Similarity is found in how I chose to portray both emotion with patterns that have a darker core that spreads outwards, through the pen work in tenderness, and webbing in hate. The relationship these two share are extremely close, even though the prints turned out to be rather different in nature.




This one is similar to tenderness, but the pattern of circular lines grows denser towards the middle and is done repeatedly across the entire strip. This is because I think for arousal, intense feelings of the core are higher in frequency and urgency, thus the overlapping of the amorphous forms.



The many dots of ink spreading within water creates a disturbing pattern reminiscent of trypophobia-inducing images or that of bacteria. I feel this appropriately presents the emotion of disgust.



Both of these emotions are one that are of a rather physical nature. Physical arousal and attraction towards one could quickly turn into physical repulsion and disgust due to changes in circumstances. The contrast between these two would be while arousal is presented in large amorphous forms with dense cores, which are comfortable and hypnotising to look at; the small and dense nature of multiple ink dots instead evokes discomfort and irritation, in which disgust is founded on.




The ebbs of light values within the darker value suggests a sort of warm and hope within the neutral space of darkness. Thus, I felt that it was appropriate in expressing longing. However, I would like to highlight that the overall value of this piece is still rather dark. This is because longing, as positive as it is, has an undercurrent of suffering, that of not getting what one wants and pining for it.



Dark circular ink blots suggests the pain felt in anguish and the web-like ink marks caused by salt on ink further represents the innate spread of emotion. The spaces with lighter values in between the dark blots of pain are used to create contrast between the dark blots and webs, and the background.



Both look similar but the difference in technique highlights the slight difference between the two. Longing is done through the manipulation of water, by dabbing parts of the inky water dry, while anguish is done through salt in ink. The salt gives the forms a more defined web like edge, while the edge of the forms in longing are less defined and thus seem softer and more positive in nature.

Furthermore, forms in longing are of lighter values as compared to their background, and this is a total opposite in anguish. I chose to contrast these two forms are they are extremely similar in nature, both being of pining for something, but one is of positivity and anticipation, and the other is of pain and torture.



The circular forms of ink drips in water looks whimsical, and reminds the viewers of bubbles, something associated with play, to evoke a feeling of delight. I added circular forms in with pen to create variation and to make it seem collage-like, something lighthearted and delightful.



The density of irregular specks and marks creates a sense of discomfort, something that evolves into irritation when it reaches a point where it could no longer be overlooked.



I decided to compare these two emotions as they are both not extremely intense emotions, but more of an underlying feeling. This is seen by the amount of negative space both pieces have. However, the size of the circular print in delight is bigger and not dense all, giving a sense of peace and joviality. While, the size of the circular print of irritation is small and dense, resulting in a rather claustrophobic effect and thus more aggravating.




Ecstasy I felt would be represented through using extremely trippy optical illusion diagrams, as it disorientates the viewer and allows them to experience the adrenaline in ecstasy. The salt in the ink piece creates an effect of an optical illusiondue to its many tiny amorphous forms causing the same swirling effect optical illusion diagrams have.



The piece has an overall really dark value, and slices of negative spaces within the black are covered with dry brushstrokes suggesting a downwards motions. The combination of these two factors really creates an effect of gloom and pessimism.



These two are very different in appearance, but they both have a sort of overwhelming energy and movement within the strips. Ecstasy has swirling motions and depression has an all-encompassing downwards sweep. Furthermore, both share overall darker values as both, even ecstasy, has an underlying tone of negativity.




The zig-zag dry brush strokes of the piece, creates an intensity and energy within the composition. The sharp turns connotes the speed of the strokes. These strokes are reminiscent of the speed of the roller coaster, something that is thrilling.



While for hysteria, the strokes are of medium length, criss-crossing in random directions and of varying thickness. The complex nature of the composition reflects the messy state of mind of one who has hysteria.



I placed these two emotions in comparison as I felt they are emotions of similar intensity and energy, both running high on adrenaline. However, hysteria has the element of confusion and mess thrill does not have. Therefore, even though they are done in the similar style of dry brush strokes, thrill’s strokes are more straightforward, while hysteria’s are more complex.



There is an illusionistic texture of feathers created in this print. Feathers are associated with lightness, and thus effectively conveys the emotion of ease to the viewers.



This is created by salt in ink, and the accidental unequal distribution of water. The tiny splatters of salt on the right side of the composition shows the underlying discomfort and panic. Then it proceeds to flow into larger fluid and viscous lines on the left side of the composition, evoking the sense of nauseous and dizziness one might have while having a panic attack.



This two emotions are opposing emotions of the same nature. Feathery strokes are seen in both ease and anxiety, but within anxiety, the feathery strokes are liquidified into viscous strokes, thus making them take on a narrative of heaviness and suffocation, instead of the lightness of the dry brushed version.




The composition is made up largely of negative space with spiry brushstrokes all in an upwards motion. This was reminiscent of the lalang in the wind, a strong association with idleness.



The irregular negative spaces within each long stroke across the strip evokes a sense of uncertainty. Tension originates from this sense of doubt and suspicion.



Both emotions are portrayed through the use of negative spaces. However, since they are completely opposing emotions, negative space is used to create a sense of freedom in idleness, but the constant switching between negative and positive space in teneseness is use to create a sense of constriction and restraint.




The calm satisfaction is conveyed through the smooth lines of the large S-shaped curves.



The thin web-like lines lightly applied sparsely across the composition creates a sense of aching within the vast area of negative space which symbolises the emptiness felt when one is lonely.



Both are similar in terms of being emotions of emptiness. Thus, both have an overall light value. However, contentment is a peaceful and happy emptiness, while the emptiness in loneliness is sad and hurtful.

This concludes my 18 lines of emotions. I really enjoyed this mark making journey as I learnt a lot about this initially entirely foreign topic to me. Looking back, some things I wish I had worked on more was to be more daring in exploring the different techniques, as well as explore other techniques. Also, Joy mentioned that I could have labelled my work, which was one area I wish I had taken into consideration before presentation.

Regardless, I have no regrets as I felt that I did my best and had lots of fun learning and making marks. Now, it’s time to catch up on some sleep!!

Mark Making: Final Explorations (WIP Part II)

In this WIP post, I would like to share mostly about the methods and explorations I did while working on my final 18 strips. The techniques I used in my final work are loosely grouped into: Cotton wool dabbing, Salt in ink, Water in ink/Paper Marbling (and the ones with additional pen work), Dry brush, and a little bit of Mono-printing.


This was a continuation from the initial explorations I did in the other post. There were improvements made in my technique to counter the problems I met previously. The issue was that the amount of ink in my palette had to be very little in order to coat just the surface of the wool. However, it was impossible to control the amount I pour each time. Therefore, I thought of painting a plastic surface with ink before coating the wool on that surface. That way the amount of ink would be appropriate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPrevious attempts of hate

This was the print I visualised to represent hate. I wanted the entire piece to have a slightly darker value. I realised the trick to do so would be to re-coat the plastic surface each time I do the print, which was what I did in my last attempt.

Another emotion I did with this technique was loneliness.

Initially this was the print I visualised for tenderness. However, due to factor differences in coating of ink, I was unable to get the same effect I did in the previous times. Instead, the result I achieved reminded me more of loneliness. Tenderness and loneliness shared similar intensities, in terms of small ebbs of positive and negative emotions respectively. The difference lay in the nature of the mark. To me, tenderness should be portrayed by patches of faded dots, but this print had defined thin web-like lines, which was more suited to the more negative emotion of loneliness.

In addition, I was considering using this technique to create the emotion of longing.


However, because I did it in inverse, white paint on black ink, I felt it was too incoherent with the rest of the strips, and abandoned the idea.


There was two main methods I used in this technique. One was to paint the strip with plain water first, drip ink into the water, then sprinkle the salt in. Another was to paint the strip with ink mixed with water, then sprinkle salt in.

The first method I used to express the emotion of anguish.

A few problems I encountered in these attempts was accidentally dripping too much ink resulting in the salt not being able to create the mark effectively.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExamples of my other attempts

However, I had to be careful not to drip too little or too apart. As all the ink drips in water created circular marks, and I did not want a polka-dotted print. So it was crucial to find a balance between the amount of ink dripped and the distance in which it is done so.

For the second method, I was very excited when I discovered it because it involved less variables as compared to the first method. I chose to use this second method to convey both esctasy and anxiety.

The only things I realised I had to be careful about was the amount of salt sprinkled and the duration in which the salt is left on the paper.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExamples of my other attempts

Esctasy was a beautiful mistake, the original print when the salt was just sprinkled did not have so much negative space. However, I was inexperienced and left the salt on the paper to dry. It was then I learnt that the longer the salt is left on the paper the more the ink would be absorbed by the salt, thus leaving even more negative spaces behind.

I had better control over the salt while doing anxiety, but not so much over the distribution of inky water. However, I think the affect turned out desirable.


Longing was the emotion I was trying to convey. I wanted to create spaces of lighter value within spaces of darker value, but did not want the salt effect. Thus, I decided to use a dry brush to dry up certain parts of the strip.

While for disgust, I created small dips of ink in water reminiscence of trypophobic inducing images.

I had to be very cautious while dripping though, as the water would flow which results in the concentrated ink spots to dissolve and dispersed, ruining the effect I was going for.


This was one of the emotions I had the clearest image of what I wanted it to be. I was convinced that the curvilinear pattern could best represent arousal but did not want it to be the only strip fully done in pen. So I decided to incorporate ink within it.


Regretfully I did not manage to capture the process of creating delight (as seen above), but it was using similar techniques of ink and water with pen.


This is one of the new techniques I tried. I did not think it would produce good results, as to my knowledge, paper marbling requires a certain kind of paint to make extremely distinctive marks. However, I felt that the light swirls of paper marbling could help me bring out feelings of tenderness. Thus, I decided to give it a try.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExamples of my other attempts

The first few attempts were really bad. I tried really hard to control the ink swirling within the water on plastic, making sure it was neither to sparse nor too diluted. It was also really hard to ensure that the shape of the water could fill the strip. Thankfully I did manage to get a pattern that I was satisfied with.


I documented the process of creating this mark this time round. This is because I wanted to document how in creating thrill, a sense of fast motion strokes, my process of creation was filled with speed too. Thrill was one of the rare ones where the mark created revealed the process of mark making.

Tenseness was another one of such. While painting the strips out, I held my arm out unsupported, trying to draw a straight line as accurately within the strip as possible. I felt that the tenseness of my arm used to draw really reflected the emotion in the resulting mark.

Meanwhile, ease was a good example of how the process is different from the resulting mark. The process of creating ease was not slow, but brisk and precise. The required accuracy of the print made me really tense while making it. The brush had to be dry enough, but not too dry, to ensure a consistent and light print throughout.

For other emotions like hysteriaidlenesscontentment, and depression, I used the same techniques reflected in the last post, so I would not elaborate further, but instead talk about their characteristics in the final post.


Even though I said I would not be doing mono-printing previously, I realised that the print created by a foam piece really helps created the feeling of irritation with the irregular dense specks.

With this, I am almost done with Project 1 and my journey of mark making. Look out for my next post about my final presentation and basic summary of “My Line is Emo”!

Mark Making: First Explorations (WIP Part I)

We have finished presenting our first 2D task in ADM “My Line is Emo”, and I’ll like to do a little looking back on how I started my mark making journey in these weeks.

On our first lesson, we started our venture into mark making by learning mono-printing. I brought a lotus root for printing, as I was fascinated by the organic shape of the vegetable and thought that the creases on its flesh might make an interesting pattern.

Lesson 1

Lesson 2

However, the resulting effect was not what I expected due to the limitations of mono-printing. I was hoping for the ink to capture more texture of the sliced lotus, but the prints turned out to be a rather solid patch of colour.


Next, I decided to try to print a netting and a binder. Both of which created really interesting results. However, I felt that none of the prints were what I was looking for in terms of the project brief in “My Line Is Emo”.



After realising that mono-printing was not the technique I was looking to do in my project, I decided the best way to continue was to try out some mark making techniques. Some techniques I explored were the dry brush technique, cotton wool dabbing, water with ink, and salt in ink. In exploring these different techniques, I had important takeaways that would eventually define my final work.

At first I was just trying out different strokes of the brush. As I continued, I realised there was a specific way I approached this mark making, I would constantly work on and improve the same print I did if I felt that the result I got was not desirable. Thus, I had a lot of pieces done in similar methods, but had differing resulting effects.

Here are some examples:

Comparison 1

This two pieces were created using short brisk dry brush strokes that were done by flicking my wrist. However, after doing the first piece, I felt it was too messy and wanted to see how it would look like in a neater format. Thus, I immediately did the second piece.

It was then I started to realise how the contrast between the two brought out different emotions. For the first piece, as it was brisk and messy, possibly suggesting emotions of hysteria or agitation. In comparison, the second piece looks calm and the illusionistic feathery texture it created gives it a feeling of lightheartedness and ease.

Comparison 2

While for these two, they were both created using cotton wool, repeatedly torn to ensure consistency in texture, then dipping into my almost dried-up ink palette before dabbing onto paper. The difference in this two prints was actually an accidental creation. I wanted the prints to be light, but after dipping the wool in ink, the first dab would definitely be too dark in value. Thus, one piece of paper was used for the first dab, before dabbing the second piece of paper. After doing so, I observed that the piece lighter in colour in photo two brought out emotions of tenderness and love. The piece darker in colour in photo one, in contrast could possibly evoke feelings of hatred and loathing.

Through this exploration I had my first takeaway: Drawing contrast and difference in prints can better bring out the emotions the mark is trying to present, and this would be something I would like to use in my final project.

Here are some other marks I tried that did not really resonate with me:


Some evoked emotions, while others were just pleasant to look at. I also tried contrast within compositions but I did not really like it.

Next, I tried a more directed approach in trying to form emotions. One experiment I did to attempt to create the emotion of surprise was to ask my friend to “surprise” me at random intervals. I would start off by drawing a continuous line and each time she said “change” I would flick my wrist upwards.



The results were an interesting pattern albeit a little messy, but I felt it did not really present the emotion of surprise to the viewer.

I also tried to create several patterns of anger by physically imitating the body language of anger.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaking harsh angry strokes across the paper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJabbing the brush violently into the paper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAggressive and frantic swirls on paper

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATrying to “shake in anger” literally while drawing lines across the paper resulting in jagged lines

These were process-centric prints whereby the process in creating the mark displayed anger but the results on the paper did not. This was something I wanted to avoid.

Through this directed approach, I had another important takeaway: I prefer a result-centric approach instead of a process-centric approach as I wanted the viewer to be able to feel the emotions I was trying to portray in my mark.

Other than these two main takeaways, I had other smaller observations.




By reducing the negative spaces of the mark in the first two photos, it will evoke a more sombre mood as it has an overall darker value. This is as compared to the piece in the last photo with a lot of negative space.

Also, I really like the effect of water with ink and salt in ink as it produced marks impossible to recreate using the brush, and I felt it could express emotions of anguish.

Water 1



However, as it was my first time working with salt in ink, the marks I produced was not very successful. I would definitely have to continue working and improving on it.

To sum up, my first experience with mark making was really eventful, and it was really a journey of learning for me. It forced me to start to observe qualities of the prints, like the thickness of lines or value of the mark, something I do not usually take into consideration. Furthermore, I realised that mark making, especially the ones made with more experimental methods, was actually really hard. It made me look at mark-making artists with ten times more respect now.

Continue reading more about my mark making journey in my second post. See you there!!

What is Mark Making?

Mark making is actually a really foreign concept to me. The definition I found online did not help as it was really general:

Mark making is a term used to describe the different lines, patterns, and textures we create in an artwork”
“Mark making can be loose and gestural, or structured and controlled”
– Definitions from

It connotes that all the forms of traditional art making I had been doing so far was some form of mark making, which I had no idea I was doing all along.

We were asked to do some research on a few mark making artists and these are some of my findings:

I mark therefore I amCremaDeLaPhoto:

Obsessive manicured graphite scribbles creating a repeated rose pattern implied a fanatic compulsion that characterise his work. It adhered to a pattern and later to a grid.

His works are more about the process, and how the materials interact. He does not cover up imperfections. His work reflects his philosophy of continual evolution.

I was the work to be in flux, because it is flux. My life is in flux.


One recent series of his was the “Crackle Paintings” in which he lays black and white paint over canvas with secret material before slamming his  fist and elbow into the surface of the surface, creating a flurry of splits and cracks. This is a technique he accidentally discovered when he fell into a canvas one day.

I am really inspired by his philosophy that change is the only constant, it is something I relate to. His experimental techniques produced beautiful designs, and gave me a bit more insight into what mark making is.

He was an American painter who uses surrealist automatism to express the workings of the mind, violent emotionalism, and individualism.


The process of creation was arguably more important than the final product. Pollock seemed to perform some sort of ancient ritualistic dance as he prowled, crouched, and stalked across the large canvas stretched across the floor, with an unrelenting rhythmic monotone performed with a fidgety staccato choreography.


Paint was flicked, spilled, dripped, splattered, manipulated, however, it was reveal by photographer Hans Namuth’s documentation of his process that each stroke was deliberate and not random paint splatters.

I learnt that abstract mark making is actually a rather careful process, and not may not be as easy as it looks, as well as how important documentation is.

Warhol was mainly a pop artist, but one aspect of his art I would like to focus on as part of mark making was his Oxidation Paintings.


Warhol had his close friend urinate on copper based paint, as a form of mark making. There were homoerotic intentions behind this method. From Warhol’s mark making I observed that mark making really had no boundaries in terms of materials and ways of making the mark.

To conclude my above research, I think I have a better idea of what mark making is. Mark making was a deliberate creation of a visual effect on a surface, with little or no restrictions as to the medium used to create nor the surface. The process of creation was just as important as the final product, and thus, it is necessary to document the process.