Image Making Through Type – Process

Keeping my researches in mind, I’ve came up with a few ideas on the jobs. I want to be as experimental and creative as possible.

Here is my list:

Job Idea  1: Dream Builder or illusionist

Using optical illusion to create 3D within 2D. The idea is that a dream builder builds a dream, so I would use this optical illusion as a foundation to whatever that is going to be built.

This is inspired by the 3D illusion artworks seen in trickeye museums and on youtube videos:

Job Idea 2: Thought Train Conductor

I merged a ‘train conductor’ with ‘thought train’ to create a Thought Train Conductor. This job is basically someone who controls a person’s thoughts by conducting the thought train. The idea is inspired by Pixar’s Inside Out

Job Idea 3: Ant Trainer

I thought it will be funny to have a trainer that control ants to make them do tricks. I got inspired by looking at animal trainers, and I stumbled upon a thing called Flea Circus

It intrigued me, it’s so weird, I feel like it made the cut for an imaginative job. So I decided to be an ant trainer instead of a flea trainer.

Job Idea 4: Mainstream Lifeguard

The idea is that a mainstream is not just what is popular, but also something like a river. To be a lifeguard at a mainstream is to be someone who rescues people from what is popular. It’s a complex idea. I would combine elements of a lifeguard and popular stuffs like social media, pop culture, popular fashion brands, etc.

Job Idea 5: Apocalypse specialist

An apocalypse specialist is a person that is an expert at all kinds of apocalypses (zombies, alien invasion, nuclear war, etc). I’d imagine taking apart the destructiveness of all sorts of apocalypses.

Job Idea 6: Singaporean Spy

I thought about the idea of a “Russian Spy” in USA, and I thought about how a spy that Singapore sends out is oddly called a “Singaporean Spy”. Sounds funny. Anyway, to be a “Singaporean Spy”, one have to be in another country, so I thought it should be Malaysia. The idea is to create an artwork that looks Malaysian, but secretly hides elements from Singapore.

Other jobs that didn’t make the cut:

Tilt Master (because I’m always tilted)

Space Traffic Controller (I love space)

Cloud Traffic Controller (like, iCloud, Dropbox, etc)

Alien Biologist (alien body parts)

Doomfist (The Overwatch character)

Sneeze Blesser (Someone who blesses anyone who sneezes)

Earth Rotator (The person that rotates the Earth)

My mindmap

I decided to stick with just 4 jobs:

  1. Dream Builder
  2. Thought Train Conductor
  3. Mainstream Lifeguard
  4. Singaporean Spy

I started creating drafts for the jobs.


What my idea were for them:

Dream Builder

Idea 1: To make use of the movie Inception’s idea of a dream to let audience know the idea of a dream builder.

My initial concept part 1
My initial concept part 2
The optical illusions (head on view)

The optical illusions (side view)

This is where I got my inspiration from. I like the idea that a 2D drawing can trick the mind to think that it is 3D. By doing so, it became in line with my concept of turning dreams into reality.

Finalised sketch of the ideaThought Train Conductor

To breakdown thought train conductor, it’s Thought, and Train Conductor. For thought, it can be brain, thought bubble, and for train conductor, it can be train tracks or train body.

Mainstream Lifeguard

My idea is to use elements of lifeguard and put it into a sea of brands. The lifeguard objects will form my name.

Singaporean Spy

I have a very interactive and complex idea for this one. Let’s talk about the simple one first: I wanted to use a spy suitcase containing very Singaporean items to convey the idea of a Singaporean spy. The complex idea is to scrap the entire idea of conveying a straightforward message, and strip the idea of a Spy to its fundamentals.

To be a Singaporean is to have T-shirt / shorts / slippers combo. That goes the same for Malaysians. So using this idea, I intended to create a disguised t-shirt.

A tshirt is folded whenever we first see it in a store. Therefore, my idea is to fold a tshirt as if it is new from a store, and on it, it will reveal my nickname, formed out of chains of Malaysian slang. This represents the first impression of a stranger to the tshirt, a Malaysian. And this also represents my “Singaporean Spy’s” alter ego, the disguised Singaporean acting like a Malaysian, speaking their slang.

Once opened, there will be another name, my real name, this time, it is in Singaporean slangs.

Another idea is simply to use the super secret spy suitcase and use Singaporean items to fill it up.

Consultation One

I received feedbacks that the texts must be created first before the image is added in. I couldn’t really understand what that means, but I supposed I need to create something that is more straightforward and use semiotics to convey the job. The feedbacks for the jobs are:

Dream Builder

Generally alright to go the direction I am heading, but I must keep in mind not to do anything that is physically 3D. The idea of using Inception as a clue to the concept is not recommended as it didn’t take the real essence of the job title. An example given by Shirley was to use architectural blueprints, but I thought those are too literal.

To move myself forward, I decided to use the same concept of using 3D illusions. With that, I made an accurate template that I can use to trace out for other ideas:


Thought Train Conductor

The idea is generally accepted, but there are some issues too. Using just clouds and train tracks, it does not really convey the idea of a “conductor”.

Mainstream Lifeguard

The usage of objects to form the letters is not recommended. Instead, I was told to personify the letters (giving it character instead of using objects to form it)

Singaporean Spy

The idea is too interactive and did not use semiotics to convey the message. The assignment’s objective is to use visual cues to suggest the job to people. The idea was rejected, and I had to look for other ideas as this job is too hard to illustrate for me.

I finally understood the brief this time. With feedbacks in mind, I decided to change some ideas around.

I changed Dream Builder into Cloud Maker, as it would be easier to convey than a Dream Builder, using semiotics. There are very little association with “Dream Maker” to me.

I removed Mainstream Lifeguard as it is too hard to depict, too, and thought of a new job out of puns: Deep Sea Driver (not diver). I believe this would be not only easier for me, but would also be successful.

I also changed Singaporean Spy to Singaporean Breakfast Enthusiast, keeping the idea of something Singaporean, but make it easier to do, too. Idea is to use Singaporean breakfast set to form the name.

Consultation Two

Changing “Mainstream Lifeguard” to “Deepsea Driver”, but I was still stuck with the idea of using the objects to form the word
Reworking the concept, I gave personality to the text by making it look like an underwater view of being in the sea
Updated Thought Train Conductor
Breakfast Enthusiast

The next consultation, I had most of my concepts settled. However, there are still some changes. Most of my text are not of the same typeface, which is one of the requirement for this brief. Understanding this, I know how to move forward. With that information, I moved away from sketching drafts and tried doing the actual artwork.

In the meantime, I changed to Breakfast Enthusiast to Kaya Toast Maker, as I intend to use only the kaya toast to build the text.


Consultation Three + Final

Deepsea Driver

Deepsea driver was moved to be done horizontally, and the “underwater vibes” is done such that it will be consistent with each letter.

The look was inspired by the Finding Nemo poster

I received feedback that I was one of the few that put my text at the bottom (so I’m unique, yay?) But there are some things that still needs to be fixed. The background seemed too plain, and the texts have no texture.

I went online to see if there are any tutorials to create such effect and found a really good video that did the under sea texture really well!

Taking some references from the method, I created the final work:

That’s the end of Deepsea Driver process!

The name is made with my name “bryan”. The gradient inside the name signifies the descending depths of the ocean. The cars replace the holes in the letters that have them, which signifies that there is some driving involved in the job. The letters are made with multiplied layers over it to create the wavy effect of being underwater. The background further sets the context for the job.

Semiotics: Depth, water movement, car, bubbles, light stream, seabed

Colour Palette: monochromatic, blue to symbolise the ocean

Textures: the clarity of water and the light that stream through to indicate rough waves that refracts light

Composition: sinking, at the bottom, as though it is like moving at lower depths, floaty. Horizontal to depict the vastness of the sea

Cloud Maker

Using the template I made, I traced a cloud texture to the text. I then scanned the new sketch and added texture onto illustrator using a random cloud brush I made using a guide I found online:

The outcome:

The clouds form my initials “BLEK”, as I’d imaging an builder or maker to use their initials. The grassland creates a context for the audience to understand that these are clouds, as well as to split the page into two different colours so the 3D effect can be seen if the page is tilted to the side.

Semiotics: Cloud, shadow of cloud, and the grass to indicate that it is outdoors

Colour Palette: Analogous, calming

Textures: Cloud’s puffy texture, grass

Composition: Central and slightly to the right to enable for the 3D effect

Thought Train Conductor

I decided to add brain textures to the text to create a more obvious idea that there is some thinking involve and therefore, thought.

Image taken from

I used the brain image as a reference to the texture of the text.

I did a mockup on Adobe Illustrator to have a brief look at the outcome. They looked too much like intestine to be thought of as a brain, although there are clues from the thought bubble. Feedbacks suggested me to give the font more brain texture.

A close up to the train tracks made by vectors

The Thought Train Conductor is made by using my surname, Leow. The reason is that as a train conductor, I will be addressed by my surname.

The tracks are coming from the left side, as if connected from something, and goes around the brain, weaving in and out the brain loops. With each weave, the thought bubbles comes out. This represents the train tracks being interconnected to the different parts of the brain, and with each passing, generates thoughts. This defines the thought train.

Semiotics: Train tracks, brain, thought bubble

Colour Palette: Analogous, with purple ~ pink gradient in the background as the representation of the deep, calm, inner side of our subconscious

Textures: Brain folds, train tracks, thought clouds

Composition: to create the idea of a continuous path, yet trying to not make it look boring, so I split Le and ow to make the train track route more dynamic


Kaya Toast Maker


Image taken from

I took the texture from a photo of kaya toast and did an image trace, which I then edit some of the colours individually to fit the shape of words. The green plates, the dull green kaya, and the blue table are coloured according to image references.

Image taken
Image taken from
Kaya Toast MakerAdding some additional objects to hint that this is a kopitiam breakfast at the kopitiam, I added the coffee and condiments, as well as a vignette.

I used my surname for this composition as I imagine a kopitiam uncle would always be called by that. “AH LEOW AH, LIANG BEI KOPI!” then I’ll be like “OK”

Semiotics: Toast, condiments, kaya

Colour Palette: RGB, but I used blue as the background as with blue tables in kopitiam. The kaya is interesting as, if the colour is off by a bit, it will look like lettuce.

Textures: Kaya toast, kaya, plastic plates.

Composition: I made it look like an instagram shot taken from above so that it will bring the context of it being food.

Final works

Deepsea Driver
Cloud Maker
Thought Train Conductor
Kaya Toast Maker











Take aways and Lessons

I thought I had good Illustrator knowledge until I came across this project. The usage of Illustrator to create graphics design and texture is so different from that of creating 2D renderings of object in product design.

I also learnt to appreciate the flexibility and fluidity of Photoshop, as Illustrator did have its limitations.

Also, I learnt through the hard way to stick to the brief instead of doing what I want. As I did not understand it initially, I had to back track a lot, wasting a lot of precious days (or even weeks).

There is chance to create better works, so it was unfortunate that this happened. Nonetheless, I am excited for the next project Zine, and hope I will do better there.

4D Assignment 1

The semiotics in my images here are not very obvious. I am a logical person, so my approach to this assignment is to take it literally, but also, let people infer what are the things I love doing, my identity, and my lifestyle through my placement of objects and choice of items.

Death by jogging // I love to run, and when I run, I run fast. My goal for 2.4km used to be 10 minutes, and so I know my running pace well. This image depicts me disappearing while running. The clothes are separated in the way I imagine my clothes to spread when I run. I’ll be listening to music while I do so, which explains the earpiece. If you look closely, my phone is in the shot too. The phone weighs my pants down, so it drops quite a distance away from the shirt. I tried using action space at first for this picture, but it doesn’t work as there is too little subject. I tried leading lines, which leads the eye from the bottom left to the middle (shoes). I chose this spot to take the picture because the background has winding road which makes the image looks more interesting (although it failed because this shot isn’t high enough)

Death by mirror // I happened to see this mirror and I like the environment, so I thought to give it a try. The pavement is very busy, as it was a Sunday evening. I had a lot of trouble taking this shot, trying to make sure I don’t block anyone or my stuffs don’t get crushed. Little time was spent here due to the traffic and so I didn’t take a good picture. If only there is more time spent here… I tried to frame my clothes in the picture, but once again, the subject is too small.

Death by stairs // I thought this was my winning shot, but many people like other shots. This shot, I tried leading lines. The eye will scan from the clothes to the top of the image, which goes to the people looking at what I’m doing (Getting so judged right here). The people’s eye will lead our eyes back to the pile of clothes. Thats the effect I’m trying to get. I also used rule of thirds in this shot, as well as a bit of strong (weak) diagonals. Weak, because it wasn’t enough diagonals. What I’m trying to portray here is my love to just go out and chill. I’ll be listening to music and using my phone, and I’ll opt to take a walk down the stairs instead of using the escalator.

Death by brunch // Here is a depiction of another thing I love doing — chilling. Eating brunch is so relaxing, especially when there is a friend to talk to about things. I don’t think I used any photography methods here, which is why the shot don’t look that good.

Death by Netflix // I like the lighting here. I tried to use leading lines with my bed’s edge and my clothes to the phone, showing my favourite show as of now, Rick & Morty. There is a bit of framing as well, on the phone, due to the shelf. The idea behind this image: I love to watch rick and morty at night, and other youtube videos. I’ll plug in my ear piece and watch it at the side of my bed, like I do here. You can also spot some of my own stuffs like books, watch, charger. The placement of the items there depicts my lifestyle in some ways, but also hidden in a way.

Death by bridge // I tried using rule of thirds and framing (Which failed because my clothes are not in the space). I love to go out to the park to walk. This bridge has a meaning to me in particular, because I used to be from the Air Force during my NS. I like to stand here and look out to the reservoir, and watch the F15-SGs taking off / landing at Paya Lebar Air Base. This is a good spot to watch.

Death by transport // I want to try taking a shot inside my dad’s car while going to NTU. It’s a part of my life now since I’m here. I’m trying to depict the night setting, me and my bag which is fat and contain lots of stuffs. Using my phone (on whatsapp). My dad’s face at the moment I disappear (not so convincing, though haha). The reason I want to try this shot is because I like how the lights inside the car creates a certain serious mood. However it isn’t captured here. I tried using leading lines from the end of the lorry (doors) to the phone.

Death by game // I love gaming. I’m good with shooter games and I take pride in it. In the screen, I’m playing Overwatch, my favourite game now. I’m playing my favourite character, Mccree, and depicting a part where I’m on fire, which shows I’m doing well, but because I disappeared, I am taking damage and just standing still, which can be seen by the red colour border in the screen. The objects around the table are really stuffs on my table. I often eat snacks while gaming so I have the snacks packet on the table (hard to see cos of the angle). My headphone dropped on it while I disappeared because of the way I position it and the way I always move forward to my screen when the game gets intense. I opened the drawer a bit to create a more interesting shot. Well, but overall the photo isn’t very interesting.

Death by bike // I took a long time with this shot. I tried to use leading lines to lead the eye from the bike to the clothes, then to the curious kids. The eyes of the kids will lead the eye back to the bike. Also, I tried to do an extreme closeup of the bike and also tilted the image to as such to play with the perspective. The bike looks like it is standing up, but it is actually lying down. I threw rocks around to create the effect that it crashed. So yeah. Oh, and also, bike because I love my bike and I love biking.

Death by bike 2 // same thing, different angle, same leading line i’m creating, less successful.

Death by bike 3 // This isn’t as successful too, even though I tried using the background as a leading line. The overall image is just too plain, although the lighting is better.

Runner up: Death by Netflix 2 // Same semiotic, different angle. I really like using my book shelf to create the framing. But if I get too close, it loses the the overall mood of the whole image becaus the image will look too plain and so doesn’t really convey much meaning. Too far, and the image will lose its focus on the framing. This image is alright but I think I might have made it too dark on the right side, which creates a lot of weight on that side, something that will distract from the frame. The frame is also too plain, I feel, which is why I didn’t choose this for my final. I want to take a picture at this distance so I can show the other parts of the room not within the frame, which also adds in to the lonely mood. In this shot, a cup can be seem, as well as some more items around (see previous shot, which don’t show that much), just that the way I play with the contrast sort of covered it up (bad.) Anyway, framing, a love for Rick and Morty at midnight, my stuffs lying around.

Final choice: Death by book // This is the clearest depiction of who I am and also looks interesting. Firstly, I like to read books, specifically non-fiction (which is what I’m reading here, an autobiography / biography cos the dude died while writing but yeah its called Breath Becomes Air) ANYWAY. I like to eat while I read, and LOVE to have coffee with me. Basically, chill. I love doing it in my living room because of the space, the light, the fresh air. My sofa is comfortable too, with cushion and stuffs. I’ll lie on it while I read.You can see my clothes at the bottom right, which I left behind while I disappeared, so you can imagine the way I lie on the sofa before I disappeared. Oh man, the cushions are so soft. My table has tissue, and a fan remote controller, and some of my stuffs like my earpiece, my phone on instagram, cookies which I eat. Basically, what I use while I read, chill. (except for the tissue which is permanently there) I LOVE music too, and have a collection of vinyl albums. I’ll take them out and listen once in a while, but in this picture, I just sort of take them out and never play them, spread them around while I’m choosing the music but I’m distracted by the book. Overall, this creates a frame for the book, which is my main objective when I was taking the photo. I’ve also taken a bite on the cookie before I disappeared, leaving crumbs on the book. So yeah, this is the depiction of my perfect afternoon, IF I DIDN’T DISAPPEAR. The main thing, the book. The side things — a depiction of who I am, at the corner, creating the frame.

Anyway, I wanted to make the image not so perfect, because life isn’t perfect. You can’t have everything arranged neatly. The image’s saturation is also lowered slightly, so as to create a more soft feel.