applied illustration: sketches and process

introducing the models

i’ve chosen three endlings as the models of my whole campaign:

Benjamin the Tasmanian Tiger
Incas the Carolina parakeet
Booming Ben the heath hen

there were a few other choices, but i deliberately chose these three because they had names and tragic backstories. i want my target audience to feel guilty (haha) and empathise with these endlings. thus by connecting them with a name, it feels as though they were humans (just like my target audience) hence they empathise betterβ€”in contrast to just calling them with their general species names i.e. Tasmanian tiger, Carolina parakeet, heath hen.


thumbnail sketches

initially i wanted to play with the concept of juxtaposition between monochrome, hand-inked drawing and vibrant, digital art. so my thumbnail sketches (right image) consisted of compositions with a strip cutting in the middle of each page. the black represents the monochrome drawing while the orange represents the colourful rendition.

from these sketches, i moved to a more refined pencil composition of just the animals and rendered them digitally, keeping in mind that the colour palette i wanted was something more fantasy-like and out-of-this-world.



process to the final

trying out the juxtaposition

firstly i drew the monochrome parts of the endlings and scanned them

and then juxtaposed them to the coloured piece

but the combination of the two looked terribly off πŸ™ maybe it would have worked better with a photograph instead of inked drawing. i had to scratch my initial idea and go with a simpler concept instead: illustrating these endlings into fictitious-looking creatures by using vibrant colours and exaggerating certain body parts.


i don’t think i’ve ever illustrated anything with SO much colours in one composition before, so this was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. combining colours is HARD. i resisted the urge to keep a minimal colour palette and just threw in all the colours i could think of (while still considering the harmony of the combinations).

so without further ado, here are my final compositions before i edit them into the mockup layouts!

final pieces

campaign poster
for the poster, the strips are made to flow smoothly when the posters are placed side by side in this order. i shall talk more about each piece in the next OSS post for the gallery!


blob rendition
for this version, i changed the stripes at the back of the subjects into blobs. this is mostly used for the souvenirs to be sold at the fundraising event, so that the compositions can stand alone in most souvenirs without the awkward cut of the stripes like in the posters.


applied illustration: audience, moodboard and ref

target audience

basic demographic:

  • 18 – 35 years old (students and/or working adults)
  • well-informed or at least aware of current situation on environment; a bonus if environmentally conscious or cares for animal rights
  • care to make a change for future generations??
  • probably with higher-paying occupations


user persona 1: Nyle

the one in front in grey…. maybe

Nyle is a 25-year-old travel agent, though he doesn’t like planning trips for himself and prefers to spontaneously find places to visit. he likes nature walks and long hikes with good company. recently, under his girlfriend’s influence, Nyle has made efforts to be more environmentally-conscious, starting small such as bringing his own tumbler and refusing plastic bags when not needed.

spontaneous // expressive // well-informed // open-minded // likes to engage in meaningful conversations and discussions


user persona 2: Marie

Marie is what you would call a typical 47-year-old ‘auntie’. she is a stay-at-home mother of two children and professional nagger. when something is broken, she doesn’t bother to fix them and would rather skip all the hassle by just getting a new one (courtesy of her husband’s income). she spends half of her time at home watching Taiwanese dramas.

stubborn // impatient // fixed mindset // wants to live a peaceful life // but makes sure everyone else doesn’t have a peaceful life by nagging at them



i had a few choices of colour palettes, but since the last two assignments i worked with muted and much darker tones, i think i’ll try to take the challenge of incorporating bright colours instead. also the brighter tones fit my concept and keywords better.



Juliette Oberndorfer

i love how the colours in which the artist uses in these illustrations doesn’t conform to the real world, making the composition seem more fantasy-like. the bright and saturated tones also adds to the fantasy effect, almost as if they came out of Harry Potter.


Mark Conlan

what draws my attention to Conlan’s works are the ‘strips’ of imagery that leads the viewers’ eyes across the composition. the juxtaposition of colours and contrast also gives them a dream-like effect.


Lieke van der Vorst

this illustrator makes effective use of monochrome, sketchy drawings of animals with the combination of cleaner, brightly-coloured elements around the animals. the colours surrounding the monochrome subject of illustration makes the animals pop out even more.


applied illustration: research and concept

two weeks ago, i saw a few posts on instagram about the passing of Sudan, the last male northern white rhino, and this got me interested in delving deeper into this topic! so i started digging around for more information on extinct animals, or more specifically individuals like Sudan who are the last member of their species.

my concept is basically a fundraising / charity event to prevent endangered and threatened species from becoming extinct, by putting these survivors of their entire species in the spotlight and gain empathy



after some digging around, i found that there is a term used to call these creatures who are the last survivors of their species: endling.

endling was coined in the mid-1990s by Robert Webster. there were also alternatives such as ender or terminach.Β but none of these terms are used often or even listed on the dictionary, so people are unfamiliar with these words.

i wanted to try changing that. i want to let more people learn about the term endling, and maybe from there learn more about the endling situation!Β  i was thinking of using the term explicitly for the event name, like “The End of Endling” or “An Ending to Endling” and maybe use them as a hashtag as well to raise awareness of the term, at the same time tying it back to the event


i found an article that became the base of my inspiration. it was such a good read, very well-written, and gave me new insights that i think more people should know about!

The Sense of an Endling

to summarise, the text lists a number of endlings with their own sad stories, which would be my main inspiration for the campaign posters. they had also described the story of Celia, the last Pyrenean Ibex, and her last moments, as well as how scientists had tried to bring back Celia’s taxon from extinction. one quote within the text struck me:

β€œAt this very moment, brave conservationists are risking their lives to protect dwindling groups of existing African elephants from heavily armed poachers, and here we are in this safe auditorium, talking about bringing back the woolly mammoth; think about it.” 

this statement is the reason why i want to dedicate the fundraising event to endangered and threatened species instead of bringing back what we have already lost.


concept: fact or fiction?

as i was looking for images of endlings and a few extinct animals, i found some of them looked like they were mythical creatures of some sort?? like they weren’t actually real.

especially the Tasmanian tiger!! (above)

so i was inspired to play with the concept of fact or fiction, history or myth, real or fantasy. there is also the underlying message that if we don’t put a stop to endlings now, these common animals (like the rhino) to our grand-grand-grand-children will look as if they are mythical creatures too!

to bring forth the idea of these creatures as mythical, i want to try using bright and fantasy-like colours (deep purple, bright pink, neon blue, saturated lime green) to depict these endlings. i’m also trying to play around with the idea of using juxtaposition between accurate, anatomical drawings in monochrome, and fun, playful illustrations in bright hues (see examples below)
















the items

some ideas of possible illustrated items for the fundraising event:

  1. campaign poster
  2. banner (describing the event details) maybe??
  3. thank you card… maybe?
  4. tote bag
  5. misc souvenirs, like postcard, badge, sticker, magnet, coaster, pouch, notebook, etc.

i was thinking of using a Patreon-style system, where you can donate a certain amount and the items you get accumulate depending on how much you pay (kind of like the one below!)

as for the choice of items to be given out, i think i’ll create a user persona first to decide what type of things the target audience would be interested in getting!


research on fundraisers

for now, these are a couple of examples of fundraising events that i can reference a variety of souvenirs from!

Charity Organisation ORANGE


Congo Children’s Fund


alright, that’s all folks! next up: moodboard, user persona and artist references!


list of references (more like a note-to-self):