editorial illustration: process to final

kind of found this effect (above) by accident while playing around with the layer modes and it was something i was looking for, so that the floating face stands out more. so i tweaked the effects a little to get to the final piece.

also i found the face too much of flat white so i coloured her eyes


edit: okay SO after the critique session, i received feedback from Lisa and a few peers that the contrast between the black and white in the first outline-only composition works far better and conveys the message clearer as well.

so i shall edit the final piece and update this post later!

lesson learned: stop adding too many things :’)


wk9: further form explorations

feedback from previous weeks:

  • the circular screen installation proposed does not fit into the site proposed
  • how do you expect people to use the installation?
  • make a specific proposal of the installation


when developing forms and functions for the installation, we were stuck on the idea of having the passerby notice the shadows (forcing it on them). benefit of doubt that the users see what we intend to do. so we decided to leave it open-ended.


we clarified that there are two directions we could take to use the shadows in the environment:

1   define a space. because the environment chosen is a common area and is too noisy, the aim of the installation is to tone down and create a neutral space. some examples of forms the installation could take are canopy, architectural pieces, tunnel, partition.

2   define a three-dimensional object. by placing an object that is out of context and stands out from the environment, people are more inclined to look at them as individual objects rather than objects that blend in the background to only serve a purpose (e.g. shelter)


another point we clarified was also to use simplified forms, because the aim of the installation is to make use of the shadows surrounding the site, and a form that is too complex will simply overshadow and dominate the shadows. at the same time, it cannot be too simple; it needs to have a character and intentional so that it does not blend in to the background.


curating light through space and architectural structures


(above) 5-metre tall structure with hanging polyester mesh. interacts with the wind and serves as a big canva for the shadows to cast and interact on. the takeaway of this structure is that it is simple yet the size makes it eye-catching, and does not take away from the shadow.



shade structures by MDT-tex


Excentrique by Daniel Buren


Le Refuge by Marc Ange


Virgin Lounge Melbourne by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects





in regards to the character and intention, the curved structure vs the rigid structure of the existing canopy suggest that there is an intentional design process. it does not look like an off the shelf structure, but a one-off, customised, curated and specific.


material: polyester mesh, stainless steel structure to foundation

height: 3-4 metres

can be duplicated/arrayed along the stretch of the walkway

possibility of using colours for material





different from the previous idea in which we are framing the shadows in the environment, the second idea is more curated towards creating shadows with the installation. the installation provides a structure for vines and climbing plants to grow on them, where the structure creates rigid shadows while the plants curate more organic shadows.


editorial illustration: pencil compositions

concept: negative impacts of empathy


idea 1 is revolved around the idea of putting up a sunshine front (hence sunflowers) when empathising; but too much empathy hurts yourself in the process, thus the thorns at the back

2 (two versions)

the theme for idea 2 is “drowning in another’s emotions” when empathising with them

also not shown in the sketch, but i’m thinking of doing a constellation/galaxy texture for the ‘water’ to show vast space and endlessness of empathy


idea 3 is more of a dark humour. hugging a cactus pretty much defines empathy; you willingly put yourself in pain, just to comfort another (even a cactus…)

and to top it off, a haggard but still smiling face 🙂


i’m not so sure which direction to take right now…

i guess i’m leaning more towards the first idea since it fits my initial moodboard and artist reference (written on this oss post) but the other pieces might convey the message of negative impacts of empathy better

any feedback is appreciated!!

i shall also ask around to see which sketch conveys the concept best hahaha

editorial illustration: thumbnail sketches

concept: negative impacts of empathy

(disclaimer: a lot of these sketches are just me vomiting out what i have in my head so some are not as refined or well-thought, and i have no idea what they really mean lol)


1A  midst of thorns and vines

1B  going through thorns and vines

1C  a refined version of 1B???

2A  similar to 1B, more straightforward with the addition of another person i.e. the person one is empathising with

2B  a cracked face to represent the positive front we put when empathising; sunflowers to symbolise happiness, some are slightly wilted to show crumbling resolve

2C  sunflowers in the front, a person in the middle, and thorns at the back

3A  sucking the energy (colours) out of you

3B & 3C  sucking the life out of you (quite literally put)

4A  chained down; multiple chains to show empathy to multiple people at once

4B  a more straightforward version of 4A; drowning

4C  hugging a cactus

5A  combination of previous ideas; chained down; holding a wilting/messy bouquet of flowers

5B  dragged down and drowned by hands

5C  eyes crying out into a pool, where you are drowning in

6A  hands reaching out as support; vines grasping at the arms and thorns cutting the skin

6B  hands reaching out as support; vines and thorns coming out from someone else’s mouth injuring the arms instead

after consultation, i decided to develop further ideas 2C, 4C and 5C into more refined pencil compositions

wk7: material exploration and form development

feedback from last week

  • consider using textures or 3D forms so shadow is distorted and cast at different angles, playing around with the 3D volumes instead of a flat plane
  • think about the fallen leaves and how to get rid of them; the leaves may make the installation blend in more with the environment and less noticeable to passerby
  • reflective material – must be above waist level; cannot be seats


site observation

chosen site: stair linkway between North and South Spine


shadow time-lapse (11.30 – 15.30)



material exploration
in relation to last week’s first form exploration (mirrored seat), thus we tested out reflective materials and how they interact with the shadows


(left) brushed aluminum sheet
(right) polished aluminum sheet



(left) reflective paper sheet
(right) glossy plastic sheet

interesting distortion effect of reflection on glossy plastic sheet, which reminds us of the shadows on the ground



Tom Fruin


Catherine Losing


In Flakes by Mount Fuji Architects Studio


further exploration and development


new light features from newly upgraded school infrastructure in North Spine

the shadow cast is an inspiration for our updated proposal found below, which is also relevant at night

an update from last week’s second form exploration with nighttime consideration of installation



emphasis on shadow

using coloured acrylic to cast colourful highlight, making the effect more noticeable

framing the shadow with the use of the coloured acrylic



next step

  • further idea development
  • constructing life-size mock-up to test effect
  • potential consideration for wind interaction with installation




editorial illustration: references and moodboard


John Holcroft
conceptual and editorial illustrator

i love how Holcroft illustrates controversial concepts in an interesting manner, letting the audience view his take on certain ideas. for this assignment on editorial illustration, i would like to illustrate key points of the theme in the same manner as Holcroft, using unique analogies that quickly and effectively relate the message.


Yuko Shimizu
editorial illustrator

Shimizu’s works are beautifully illustrated, carefully inked, and finished with muted yet eye-catching colours. i like how her style is a fusion between american pop illustrations and japanese manga styles. being heavily influenced with japan’s manga illustration styles myself (and finding it a little hard to break out of the habit of drawing in that style), i find Shimizu’s style inspiring as she did not shy away from her roots nor ignore the style she often sees in her environment, and instead incorporated them both into her illustrations to make her own unique style.

(also her use of dynamic brush strokes is similar to what i am used to, so i would like to use her ink art as reference)


Akiya Kageichi

words cannot even describe how much i find Kageichi’s style stunning and mesmerising. from the composition and the amount of details put into each piece, to the minimal colours and textures used. though some of his works look a little chaotic, a good few are framed beautifully and lets the viewers’ eyes move across the illustration.


style-wise, i am still unsure which direction i want to take: either something minimal and effective like Holcroft’s illustrations, or detailed and impactful like Kageichi’s. (or perhaps even something in between like Shimizu’s artworks.) so i created two moodboards with different keywords, just to keep my options open.

moodboard 01

keywords: dark, delicate, layered, intricate, muted


moodboard 02

keywords: minimal, clean, modern, bold, whimsical


editorial illustration: user persona

basic demographic of Varoom consumers:

  • 18 – 30 years old
  • aspiring students and graduates, workers in the creative industry, has immense interest in the creative works
  • probably has money to spare
  • familiar with design, music, fashion, or one of the art fields
  • seeking for deeper insight of the creative industry, as well as know-hows from interviews of employees of the industry

[i made two user personas because i’m still contemplating whether i want to illustrate a sad-funny analogy of the theme, or in a serious style. the two personas help me gauge the spectrum of Varoom consumers and maybe decide which style i would like to use]

user persona 01: janine

Janine is a 26-year-old social media manager of a well-established magazine company. she enjoys aimlessly scrolling through Pinterest and sarcastic jokes.

likes both basic and quirky aesthetic // witty // creative // a little emotional // busy // always in it for the gram


user persona 02: Troy

Troy is a 28-year-old sound designer with an interest in illustrations and graphic design. He occasionally splurges on whimsical things that interest him at that moment in time.

spontaneous // playful // creative // open-minded // does not care much for social media // well-informed


anti-persona: Walter

Walter is a 37-year-old telemarketer who only cares about three things: his family, his lunch break, and pleasing his boss. He spends most of his free time watching mindless shows on the television.

efficient // detail-oriented // serious // dislikes changes // wishes to retire with valuable assets to be passed to his children

editorial illustration: research


content includes comments and discussion on contemporary illustration from a global audience, as well as interviews with illustrators, image-makers, designers

[source: Association of Illustrators (AOI)]


editorial illustration

Across the spectrum of print and online publications, art directors rely on illustrators not only to create beautiful and attention-getting images, but also to help impart information and express complex ideas. Editorial illustrations bring stories to life and entice readers to engage with content.

— Jenny Carless (Adobe Create Magazine)

what is an editorial illustration?
an engaging visual representation of the accompanying article that clearly tells a story or convey a concept to the readers


two elements of editorial illustration:
concept and style

these two go hand in hand. a successful illustration can illuminate the essence of an idea effectively through the use of a fitting style to convey the mood; is it humourous? serious? thought-provoking?





psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of feelings, thoughts, or attitudes
[source: dictionary.com]

putting yourself in another’s shoes and/or experiencing from another’s point of view; not necessarily having experienced the feeling yourself
[source: self interpretation]


the three types of empathy

cognitive empathy “THINK IT”
understand what another is thinking or feeling

emotional empathy “FEEL IT”
put yourself in another’s shows and feel their emotion that may lead to pain and burnout

compassionate empathy “BE MOVED BY IT”
feel concern about another’s suffering, but from a distance and with the desire to help (positive feedback that relates to motivation and reward)


from personal experience

being quite an emotional sponge myself, i tend to absorb another’s emotions relatively easily – i would feel their suffering if they are in pain, their anger if someone irritates them, or even their excitement if they look forward to something. i do enjoy listening to their tales and rants. but sometimes… they get a little too overwhelming. most of the time? my positive energy gets sucked out and i end up feeling numb.

people say that empathy is an exceptional skill to have, not only personally, but also socially and career-wise. but for some (like myself) who do not know when to stop sharing the same thoughts and feelings as another, it can get very exhausting… especially when the other spouts nothing but negative remarks.

thus for this editorial illustration, i narrowed the theme down to

the trials and tribulations of having too much empathy

(to put it a little dramatically)


some negative impacts of empathy:

  1. feeling the pain and experiences of another; indirectly inflicting the pain and negativity on yourself
  2. always having to put up a positive front
  3. feeling burdened (especially when you don’t have anything substantial to make the other feel better); the idea of it weighing you down
  4. TIRING; burnout

wk6: site and form exploration

feedback from last week:

two ways going about it;
CASTING: creating an object/sculpture to cast shadows
FRAMING: using elements around us (nature and sunlight) and framing/emphasising their shadows


material consideration
polyester mesh; white translucent cloth; paper; frosted acrylic; polished aluminum

NB. we were thinking if there is any material that is photosensitive i.e. absorbs light in the day and emits fluorescent light at night — trapping the shadows


experimentation and observation

two ways of seeing how shadow interacts with the medium:

direct light

View post on imgur.com

back light


in back light, the effect between light and shadow is attenuated/toned down


site consideration

1. stair linkway between North and South Spine


2. NIE entrance


3. entrance of the Quad



based on the feedback, we wanted to look into how we could frame existing elements. hence we looked for light/shadow-abundant areas. also taking into consideration the possibility of constructing an actual installation at the location



Le Banc de Nelge (the Bench of Snow), Atelier Pierre Thibault


City of Hope Kaplan Family Pavilion, AHBE

Tree, Myoung Ho Lee


Wall in Blue Ash Tree, Letha Wilson


installation for Noisily Festival, Rupert Newman

temporary pavilion by students of Bezalel Academy of Art and Design



White Extension, Sasa Ciabatti, Bilyana Asenova and Archistart


The Gates, Christo and Jean Claude

mass-void theory


form exploration


version 1

follows contour and path of the shadow as it moves throughout the day

version 2

using a geometric shape such as a circle (as shown) or a rectangle, it contrasts with the organic forms of the cast shadow, allowing the white to be a ‘frame’ or ‘canvas’. the bench distorts the cast shadow and creates a new perspective to the flat white; it also defines a volume of the object whilst emphasising the effect.

version 3

the use of reflective material reflects the cast shadow, duplicating and emphasising them; the top reflects the foliage above, offering a new perspective and prompting viewers to look up. viewers can differentiate between the colourful reflection and the monochrome shadow on the white background, emphasising the beautiful effect of the shadow.



technically can be placed in any open space; not site-specific

includes a small tree inside a pot/bench. throughout the day, shadow is cast onto the white circular screen (light material which will add movement when wind blows)



version 1


version 2

floating sculpture that allows audience to view shadows of trees and objects in the environment cast onto the material. the shape invokes curiosity so people passing by are interested in approaching and viewing. the sculpture could be hanging down from branches of trees around the area or infrastructures



things to keep in mind:
how do you make users/audience notice the shadows? (importance of framing)
cannot be too simple, needs to have an intention, needs to stand out from the environment, should not blend in, should not be infrastructural


wk5: defining spaces

Continuing from our concept of observing the ordinary in NTU and the inspiration of the rays of light caused by the dense morning fog and the trees around the campus, we decided to forgo our original idea of using fog as a medium and focus on the use of light as a material instead.


Interplay between light and shadow to create spaces

Spaces around the campus are molded by the lush greenery prevalent in the campus area. Layers of foliage is an everyday occurrence in NTU—we see them everywhere—but even something that we see everywhere everyday can be beautiful.


Emphasising beauty of the mundane

Initially inspired by the light broken down into rays of light by the foliage of the trees, we are looking into using the tree as a form exploration through natural stylisation. We found the rain tree in particular to be interesting. The rain tree can be found not only in NTU but island-wide, and is well-known for its wide canopy that serves as great shade. Another fun fact about the rain tree: the leaves of the rain tree close just before sunset and open again as the sun rises. This little feature could also be incorporated into our installation in creating movement and dynamism in the changing shadows.



Forest Shadow, Tomohiro Hata and Takashi Manda

in the middle of the flood of color, what about we imagine a colorless space? only shadows of the trees exist in the world. music of birds what we didn’t take notice may come to ears of us who have enjoyed by our visions. various fragrance of nature may come to our nose. our skin may feel gentle breeze. on the contrary, because of such a vivid season, we propose a place where our senses slightly shift to other one in exception of our visions.”

tomohiro hata + takashi manda: forest shadow

Stereographic Projection, Henry Segerman and Saul Schleimer




Louis Kahn on The Power of Shadow

“As identified by Leonardo da Vinci, we often encounter three types of shadows: Attached shadow, shading and cast shadow. The attached shadow falls on the body itself – like a cantilever roof causing a shadow on the façade. The second type belongs to bright and dark contrasts, which are inherent to the form and depend only on the source of light, e.g. a ball shaped pavilion, which even under a cast sky shows a darker zone in the lower part. The third, cast shadow, could be the result of a high house generating shadow on the street due to the projection of the building outline.”



Sublime Light, Anila Quayyum Agha


Photographic Exploration