I came up with the thumbnails. Some of the keywords that I used in my ideation process are light, mirror/reflection, possibilities, symmetry, beauty, research, and discovery.
From the thumbnails, I decided on three of the strongest ideas.
Corannulenes under the hard spotlight from magnifying glass. Straightforward, simple, illustrating discovery and research. The corannulenes would be in different colors to suggest possibilities. I was thinking of making them look like falling snowflakes.
Corannulene in the center as the main character, with mirrors surrounding it and showing reflections of the different possibilities of what it could be. The focus is on possibility and variability in research and discovery.
I’m not sure what it is but it’s sort of like pinball machine/Rube Goldberg machine/just some kind of mechanism, like an arcade game where a ball rolls down to the bottom. Instead of a ball, a corannulene will roll down. It portrays the fun and insightful side of research.
I asked for feedback from Professor Ela and she really liked the mirror idea (idea 2). To be honest, that is not my favorite idea (mine is idea 3). I wasn’t sure whether I should go with the idea that I liked the most or the one that the client liked the most. In the end, I went with idea 2. It is not going out of my comfort zone per se, since I don’t have any comfort zone (I am not that well-versed in illustration yet…) so I thought it’d be a good exercise for when I go out into the “real world” to follow what the client likes more. It is, in a way, a challenge I posed to myself.
I want to practice drawing flat illustrations more, so here is my moodboard. I love the soft colors, especially the pink and yellow, and wanted to try using them.
I had some difficulties as I was envisioning idea 3 with this art style. For idea 2, I thought I had to go with a more realistic style for it to fit, but then I thought again, why not. Just try it. So I didn’t change my original moodboard and decided to just… go with it.
This is my final result.
I put the corannulene in a petri dish to emphasize the fact that it is a molecule because one of the feedbacks that I got from my friend(s) is that they didn’t recognize it as a molecule, especially because I used color fill on them instead of the molecular skeleton. Taking into account the fact that the title of the journal would be in white, I used dark colors as the background. To draw attention to the corannulene, I gave it a bright color, although now I’m wondering if the pink and the yellow are too eye-catching.
My biggest struggle is giving depth to the whole composition. I added more mirrors with darker colors to illustrate mirrors that are further away, but it still fell flat. I also added noise (which made my Illustrator run slow…). In the end, I added gradients to most of the elements and a slight glow to the corannulene as an attempt to “save” the flatness. It’s still lacking, but it’s admittedly much better than before. However, I really should have made the gradient on the background more contrasting. I could also do better with my color choices.
I didn’t want to use gradients at first because they often turned out duller in prints compared to in screen, and prone to printing failures. I wanted to use a stipple brush for a shadow effect, but I am not sure how to do that (even after watching a video on how to do that) and I was running out of time (yes, I have terrible time management) so I took the shortcut which is using gradients.
There are so many things I could do better. However, it has passed! I’m kind of relieved since I was struggling and stressing over this assignment so much, and the result is certainly not the best I could’ve done, but I’ll give myself a pat on the back. All in all, that had been a great exercise for me.
The prevalence of social media is, and has always been, a double-edged sword. It does help connecting people all over the world—but because of the vast amount of information, a lot of people are trying too hard to absorb everything, hence spending too much time in social media. Moreover, the ease of access causes various messages to be posted in the Internet, including negative or harmful messages.
Bullying has been an issue for a long time that is constantly addressed, but never really solved because it’s considered a minor problem. A lot of people are unaware of recognizing what line shouldn’t be crossed when making jokes or conveying your personal opinions, and not only will that reflect badly on themselves, it can affect other people’s lives more than they know.
In a lot of countries, especially Asian countries, mental illnesses are still considered kind of a taboo. While the openness to the topic has increased over time, that doesn’t mean people are aware of what mental illnesses are about, what causes them, or even how serious it actually is.
One in every four species currently faces extinction. While it is a great problem, cognitive biases (e.g. bystander effect and hyperbolic discounting) prevent real, significant changes from happening in the world.
Most of my issues gravitates more towards the social implications, which is what I’m more interested in exploring further. I would like to discuss more about mental health issues.
Why is the issue important? Who does it affect and how?
Aside from my personal interest in this issue, mental health problems keep on becoming more prevalent while the lack of information doesn’t change. World Health Organization (WHO) had predicted that depression will be the leading cause of disease burden by 2030 (WHO, 2011).
A lot of people seem to be unaware still that mental illnesses can be as life-threatening as some physical illnesses. That lack of awareness influences the way people see and treat others with mental illnesses. It discourages sufferers of mental illnesses to actually ask for help due to fear of being judged by society or perception that no one will understand how they feel.
In addition, people experience mental illnesses differently, so a testimony from one person may not be applicable to another. This causes people who suffer from mental illnesses to be unable to effectively express themselves sometimes because they can’t exactly pinpoint how they feel and the descriptions from others may not match their emotions. That can be frustrating for both them and people around them—family, friends, therapists—and it also doesn’t help the healing process.
Who do you need to communicate to, and why?
There are a lot of issues under this “mental health” umbrella, but I would like to focus more on the people with mental illnesses, specifically depression (which is considered the most prevalent mental illness currently). I would also focus more on young adults in Singapore. Depression develops frequently during adolescence, between the ages of 18 to 25 (Eaton et al., 2008), and the number of young adults with depression is increasing (Mojtabai, Olfson, & Han, 2016). Moreover, according to the Singapore Mental Health Study conducted in 2010, 5.8% of the adult population in Singapore suffered from Major Depressive Disorder at some time in their lifetime. Since in Singapore depression is still somewhat considered a taboo, I think it would help people with depression if there is something that can help them express their emotions to make people around them understand that depression shouldn’t be a taboo, but an issue to be discussed together.
How has visual communication contributed to address the cause?
This was the example shown in class that really captured my interest. The so-called tools are supposed to help people visualize their feelings. I like how Bodewes created different shapes and used different materials to provide a wider range of emotions to be visualized, and how she chose more affordable materials to make her entire toolkit more affordable for people. I think it’s a simple yet effective idea to help people visualize their feelings to others, but it may be prone to misinterpretation since people may understand a tool slightly differently from others. I also like how Bodewes also provide a board and workbook with the tools; the board to set up the tools and the workbook for the therapist to write on. The tools were clearly made for two people to work together and discuss.
Olive is a bracelet that can detect your heart rate, motion, skin temperature, and skin conductance—and through those, be able to identify if you’re stressed. After that, you can connect it to an app which will track your daily stress levels and provide ways to calm down, e.g. breathing exercises. While it’s not directly connected to my topic, I like this invention because it’s able to identify stress without you needing to realize it first. It can help you notice when you’re actually stressed and not just feeling “a little off”, so I think in a way, it helps you to express yourself. The company made it to be fashionable with different choices of colors and textures because they want the wearers to feel that the bracelet “express” themselves. While it’s not a big point, I think it’s nice because it will encourage people to actually wear them with pride instead of hiding it.
Mindnosis is a self-assessment kit, made with the intentions to make people identify what area they need help with, and where they can get it from. The whole design looks minimalistic and spacious. The box doesn’t have any patterns or colors, which made the colored triangles and cards stand out, making them look like a fun game instead of a procedure to go through. The designer used a clean, easy-to-read sans serif font, complemented with symbols and icons which made the kit look welcoming and interactive.
Replika is an application which allowed you to chat with a bot who will act as your friend and therapist. It will ask you questions about your day and condition and respond accordingly (to the limits of a bot, of course) to your responses. They will also prompt you questions, ask casual questions like a friend would, and offer you mind exercises to make you feel better. I tried it myself because I was skeptical of how interactive a chat-bot can be, and to be honest, I was impressed. While the bot is clearly a bot, it’s much friendlier and conversational than I expect it to be. It even uses emoji and slangs to enhance the feeling of talking to a real person. I find it easier for people to open up in that case, and the application can then ask you more questions to help you identify your feelings better. The application has a pretty simple interface, with a customizable chat background. The main page has classified different topics that you can easily choose to be your topic of conversation, if you want to. You can also customize your bot’s profile picture, gender, and voice.
My final jobs are thief, barista, gamer, and watchmaker.
To be honest I was pretty disappointed after printing because:
1. The printing person stretched the image to fit A3, so the images are not A4 anymore (and I just noticed it when I was arranging them)
2. Some of the colors didn’t turn out like I hoped they would or didn’t even turn out at all. For example, my thief job supposedly has a different color for the hole on the wall and some shadow, but they’re not there.
And the worst is,
3. The barista job did not turn out well at all. The wood grain is lost and replaced by super dark brown, making it impossible to see the coffee beans. The shadows on the coffee beans are lost too.
I’ll show you the image comparisons later.
Printing aside, the images turn out pretty well for me, in a sense that I enjoyed the process of creating them and they all pretty much turned out like I had pictured them to be. I learned a lot about Illustrator and Photoshop about this project.
Without further ado, here are the end products:
Compared to the first draft, I made the letters three-dimensional to give more depth and added some sort of “action” to emphasize the idea of “stealing” something. I used clipping mask to make the surroundings all black to give the idea of thieves being caught in action by a flashlight.
Although it’s not very obvious, the color of the hole on the wall is different from the printed version, and the opacity of the shadow is not shown. (To be fair, I put 95% opacity so maybe that’s why it turned out really close.)
To emphasize the idea of gaming, I added the start button, the mouse, and a character (to make it look like the starting of a game). I didn’t want to add too many clouds since I thought it would be too messy, but without clouds it was too plain so I just added a few. As for the character, I made it up myself to represent “me”.
Making the latte art is so. Hard. I played around with the effects and I think this quite resembles real latte art, although I have to admit the letters are not very obvious. I added coffee beans to emphasize the “coffee” idea, and I also added a wood grain texture at the back. At first I just wanted to trace a ready image of wood grain texture but apparently they’re pretty simple to make, so I just tried although it may not be THAT good.
The printed image is… really bad. You can’t see anything in the background at all; it just looks like a dark brown background.
Zoom in to the background and coffee beans
It’s very different from the image I created. I tried re-printing it but the result is more or less the same.
For this one, I tried to find a sort of vintage font and traced it. After that it’s just creating some different gears and putting things together. It was pretty simple actually. I chose not to add colors to emphasize the “mechanical” feel. There’s also some contrast between the letter V, which contained a wrist watch, and the letter J, which resembles a pocket watch. Both of them are watches so they still fall under the watchmaker’s expertise, but they sort of represent “modern” watch and “vintage” watch so I want to put them both.
Some shades didn’t turn out exactly right (like the chains) but it’s still okay.
I’m the type of person who usually jumps into things before thoroughly thinking about it first (doing before thinking), that’s why I tend to go backwards when generating ideas but I realized I have to redo a lot of steps that way and it’s not very efficient.
As for techniques, I really learned a lot about digital drawing. I realized that I encountered a lot of problems because I didn’t arrange my layers nicely. Another point: I need to be tidier while working.
For the first F3D class, I brought my Artline Stix brush marker as a three-dimensionally interesting object.
Here it is.
At first I am only intrigued by its triangular shape, which is different from normal markers or pens. However it’s actually much more interesting than that. Let us analyze it one by one.
As I have mentioned above, the shape of the marker is like a triangular prism, not cylindrical like commonly found markers. If we draw the principle axis through the center of the marker, we can see that the marker is almost symmetrical. Almost, because interestingly, all three sides of the marker have different faces.
First, there’s the plain side. (Refer to the picture above.)
Second, there’s the side with small convex cylinders.
Third, there’s the side with small concave cylinders.
Those different shapes add to the contrast in a single marker. In addition, the convex cylinders fit into the concave ones, just like Lego! So if you have a bunch of them, you can stick them all together and make a circle. (Sadly I only have one.)
The small cylinders are also uniformly distributed throughout the body of the marker, making it look like a repetition (cross-section?).
The convex-concave contrast is also apparent at the top and bottom of the marker. And yes, they fit too. (Wow.)
I find it very interesting that in a single marker, there are so much contrast, yet they can complement each other as well. It provides some kind of visual balance.
2. SIZE / PROPORTION
The sizes of the convex and concave cylinders on the marker’s sides are small compared to the body of the marker, so for the relative proportion… I’d say those cylinders are XS while the pen is like M or L? Probably M, but I can’t be sure. It provides a pair of contrasting volumes within the marker, and cluster of similar volumes as well (because the cylinders are “repeating” on their own sides).
If you uncap the marker, you can also see the application of the rule of thirds! The length from the marker tip to the point where it’s supposed to be capped is roughly one-third of the whole body length of the marker.
Also, this might be wrong but I feel that the proportion of the positive-negative space is also applying the rule of thirds. As I have mentioned, the marker has three different sides, where two of them are covered with little cylinders (positive space?) and one of them is plain (negative space?). The presence of the plain side prevents the marker from looking too bulky and, again, giving balance to the whole look.
3. COLOR AND TEXTURE
As for color, we can see the brand name in shiny silver against the all-black body clearly, hence straight away drawing our attention to it and putting emphasis on the brand although the body of the marker is actually pretty interesting. Well-played, I’d say. The silver shine adds “magic” to the marker, so I guess it is the subordinate whereas the all-black body is the dominant and the small cylinders on the sides are the subdominant. (I might be wrong about this.)
As for texture, when the marker is uncapped, we can see that while the body is matte black, the part between the tip and the body is glossy black. (You can see the difference from the picture above.) Although both of them are still black (which emphasizes that they are still one entity), the difference in texture emphasizes that they are of different parts. The glossy part is somehow smoother, so it is easy to slide your fingers there; but the matte part isn’t very smooth that your hand won’t slip easily while gripping the marker. They both complement each other not only in tactile experience, but also in function.
Moreover, the texture is a bit different between the marker sides (comparing the sides with cylinders and without cylinders). The plain side is slightly smoother compared to the sides with cylinders, so if you turn it while gripping it, you can actually experience slightly different feelings. Even the concave-cylinders side have a slightly different texture compared to the convex-cylinders side. I am genuinely amused by this marker now.
I know I might have gotten some things wrong, so please correct me if you find a mistake or a point to elaborate. Thank you!