Project 3 Research & Ideation

For this project we were tasked to illustrate collaterals for an event of our choice. I had the idea to do the branding for NTU’s Yunnan Garden because I was doing a video for the Chinese Heritage Centre for another module, for the opening event of the Yunnan Garden. So I thought it would be good if I could do the branding for the same event!

Concept PDF:

To decide on what I wanted to specifically illustrate, I decided to take a look into the history of Nanyang University and the Yunnan Garden. I took a visit to the Chinese Heritage Centre to get some ideas, and I found a picture book which gave a lot of insight into what Nanyang University was like in the past! Here are some interesting pages from the book:

I decided to include some of the historical elements I found in the book into the illustrations, such as the durian & rambutan trees, and the pagoda and arch. I also decided to include some of the wildlife found around NTU in the illustration. Knowing this, I went ahead with illustrating the individual elements!

Assignment 2: Research & References

I was quite excited for this project because illustrating a magazine cover is something I’ve never tried before and I’ve always wanted to give it a go! Some of my all time favourite illustrations have been for the covers of magazines so I had quite a lot of ideas for this project.

Knowing that Varoom is a magazine targeted at designers and illustrators, I decided that would be my target audience. I chose the topicĀ empathy and I wanted my illustration to show thatĀ people nowadays do not have empathy towards designers and illustrators, causing them to pay us in “exposure” rather than in money.

User Profile

I had the idea to draw a scene where there are things like stores, but instead of money being used, all the currency is in terms of “exposure” like Instagram and Facebook likes.

I went looking for references and decided I wanted to go for this style of illustration which shows a sort of town centre/city scene with a lot of activity and commerce. When I consulted Lisa about this, she suggested that as a Singaporean, I should try to illustrate scenes that are unique to Singapore because it is what I am familiar with. I agreed and started looking for more references to suit this.


I went to take a look at photos by Nguan, who is a very popular local photographer who is known for capturing day to day Singaporean life. My purpose for referencing his photos was that I too wanted to capture this kind of Singaporean essence in my illustration, giving the viewer a slice of life in a normal day in Singapore. As such, for my thumbnails, I asked Lisa if it would be a good idea if instead of doing drawings, I went out to a nearby HDB area to take some photographs of local life, and she agreed! So I was also able to use these as reference pictures for drawing later on.