Tag Archives: illustration

03 Applied Illustration — Process (2)

Greetings, from day (I wasn’t even counting) of circuit breaker.

I have good news and bad news.
The good news is, I’m still really enjoying this project.
The bad news is, I still have no idea where it’s headed, and it’s due in a week.

WEEELLLL I have a little bit of an idea, that’s better than before… but it’s still not concrete. I’ve swear I’ve been thinking A LOT about it. I went to bed at 5AM last night thinking about it and jumped out of bed at 12PM literally still thinking about it. And it gave me an actual headache before I could even get to brushing my teeth.

I feel like it’s been hard trying to get creative while stuck at home, which is quite odd to say. My logic is — the times I get my best ideas are during my free times away from life, so like poop time and shower time, but now every time is ‘free’ time and my brain has essentially lost its grasp on the concept of time. Anyway…


I’ve done a lot of work, but progress looks minimal overall because all the work was done on the motion graphics collateral. I went forward and backtracked a couple of times with a few ideas.

I expanded on the animal illustrations wherever needed, so that more could go on with each scene. I struggled a lot with colours — because the backgrounds don’t follow a colour scheme, I needed colours that could pop on each background individually, yet still look coherent to the rest of the illustrations.

I put a hat on the penguin at some point.

I’m even a layer namer now, because I’ll do anything for a sense of routine and order during this period of time.

Animal Zooming / Animal Conferencing

Based off the idea of this event being “a virtual tour of these animals while we’re all stuck inside”, I had the idea of turning this into an Animal Zooming or Animal Conferencing thing, a parody on Zoom and the Nintendo Switch Animal Crossing craze amidst quarantine. They’re zooming around the world, they’re zooming on Zoom! So I did this, and even though it’s cute, I decided against the idea because I didn’t want to turn the project into a “joke”.

While doing this, I was wondering, why the heck should the animals have to be partying on zoom, when nothing’s stopping them from partying in real life? So, I finally figured out where the animals were headed:

Spotted in Quarantine

I thought about making this into some sort of documentary/film about what the animals were doing while the world was asleep (in quarantine).

I’ve not yet eliminated this idea, but I’m close to doing so because I can’t yet imagine how the other collaterals will be, because I don’t want to put this film border on everything. Though, I can still imagine this to just be the trailer and everything else will be promotional/merchandise. I also feel like the border isn’t necessary, but it would make the “spotted” idea come across more clearly.

Motion Graphics Trailer

(Ignore the opening)
I’ll still have to make an opening which will involve the title of the event that will be illustrated across all/most of the collaterals. Details are still to come for the ending.


Trying to Figure Out What This Project Is

If it's a movie about what the animals were doing while the world was on lockdown:

Motion Graphics Trailer (with release date)
Movie Poster (with release date)
Enamel Pins (merchandise)

Instagram Posts (?) (like how some Netflix shows have their own pages)
Premiere Photo Taking Wall (?)
Premiere Invitation Cards (?)
Phone Covers (merchandise) (?)
If it's a quarantine party that only animals were invited to:

Motion Graphics Trailer (more like 'event coverage')
Enamel Pins (because you didn't get to go)
Phone Covers (because you didn't get to go)
Photo Book (because you didn't get to go, so take a look at what went down)
Invitation Card (that you didn't receive)


Title Inspiration:




Enamel Pins

Pins to be sold on an e-shop as merchandise. The title will go on top, and I might give them names and put them at the bottom.

In Conclusion

This is probably the worst way one should go about planning and creating a project. At this point my brain has turned into mush, but I trust that all will be well… I hope.  🤞

02 Varoom — Final


Theme and Idea

My illustration for the theme of fantasy revolves simply around the story of my mother who has been trying very hard, and failing, to propagate Peace Lilies at home as they always burn into crisps under our extra hot Singapore sun.

The fantasy will consist of nothing deep, just:



(View post)



(View post)




I illustrated each plant individually and played around with tens of thousands of arrangements to see which ones worked best. I faced an issue with figuring out where the plants could sprout from, because starting them from above the text would look odd, but starting them from the bottom of the page would interfere with text legibility. So I tried adding pots, and then a flat ground. I eventually realised I could use patches of grass to cover up the stems.



I re-illustrated each and every element because all my sketches had been resized to the point of… myopia. Downside of not using vectors. (I did at some point convert all my lines to vectors but it didn’t feel right!)


I added fauna to the flora, although only subtle-ly to balance out the composition. I tried adding a hanging chimpanzee from the “a”, and also a giant dragonfly, because my mom loves those long-arms-chimpanzee toys and dragonflies, but they were fighting for attention with the lilies hence I decided with small creatures (though that is actually one giant butterfly if you compare it to the character). Amidst all my trial and errors and hundreds of layers I also have no idea where the monkey and dragonfly have gone, hence they are not pictured. 🙁


I played around with different colour palettes. I personally prefer the dark green-orange palette, but the blue-pink one tied in with the theme of fantasy the most.



I tried different characters/positions and chose the one I felt fit best. I also tried making the character hold a ‘leaf umbrella’ (pictured in the latest gif above) like in Totoro, but that didn’t work as well as holding flowers.



Added details — “shadows” and highlights, grass patches, bling blings.



I transferred the illustration from Procreate to Photoshop and adjusted the hues again. I added noise and texture, changed the colour of the masthead to match the highlights and layered it with the leaves. I initially thought of fiddling the leaves through the letters, but felt that it would also fight for too much attention with the rest of the illustration that is already very detailed.  Adjusting the hues and textures were for aesthetic, to give the illustration more warmth, and the slight ruggedness for a ‘vintage’ feel like its been well used/made by hand, much like how gardening (more like turning house plants into a forest) requires a lot of handy work and love.





Google Drive Folder HERE


02 Varoom — Two Detailed Sketches

Concept & Thumbnails

Me Mom’s Fantasy: In a world where Peace Lilies would grow in this hot sun.

Here’s an expectation vs. reality of my mom’s journey in propagating them:
(This is a new batch so they’re not all burnt to a crisp yet)

Image result for peace lily aesthetic


Refreshin’ your memory on the three selected thumbnails to work on:


Detailed Sketch #1

The first sketch is a combination of the first and third thumbnail, with the concept of the ‘dead’ flowers rising up towards the sun, but in the composition of the third tarot card thumbnail.

However, instead of Peace Lilies, I worked with a flower called the Lily of the Valley instead because I found it only fitting to flip this flower that actually grows downwards, upright.

Image result for lily of the valley



Detailed Sketch #2

The second sketch is based on the second thumbnail, of a figure in a giant Peace Lily forest. It’s currently Alice because I needed a reference figure… but I’ll change her appearance if I do end up working on this sketch.

I added another plant called the Euphorbia milii/ Christ plant, which is another species that my mom has actually been able to grow very well. It’s just to add a little variety to the composition.

I haven’t figured out how the composition will be placed, whether it’ll be boxed in the centre, whether there’ll be an imaginary box boxing it in (plants just cut off before hitting the text), or whether it’ll be incorporated into the entire cover.


Image result for christ plantImage result for euphorbia milii

02 — Varoom: User Persona, Mood Boards & Thumbnails



the faculty or activity of imagining impossible or improbable things.

the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change.

For the reason that I just feel like drawing plants for this project, I was torn between doing fantasy and activism because while I wanted to do a fantasy, plants are very easily associated with topics of sustainability. I then thought, why not create an activist’s fantasy? Or… not so much an activist but just an avid plant potter.



With my indecisiveness, I created two user personas. Thankfully I made a decision in the end, going with the second one (Jazzy).

*I’m sorry about the orphan


Again, being indecisive, I created a few mood boards to see which styles would be more fitting for my ideas. After going through my thumbnail sketches, I am most likely going with a tarot card style with a hint of Alice in Wonderland surrealism.

However, I still plan to take inspirations in different parts of the first three mood boards, like colour scheme from the first, art style from the second, and composition from the third. Please don’t @ me if I change my mind.


The general concept that runs across most if not all my thumbnails is simply the story of my mother who has been trying very hard and failing to propagate some Peace Lily plants, because they keep burning in this Singapore weather. Her fantasy would hence be a world where Peace Lilies would grow in this hot sun.

These were the three selected thumbnails to work on. The first one had the strongest concept, while the other two were more visually appealing.

If you look at the potted Peace Lily upright, it would show that the flowers are dying, but as a whole image with the pot upside down, the dead flowers are actually rising up towards the sun.

A small figure in a giant Peace Lily forest.

A sun. And thriving Peace Lilies.

01 — Inanimate Portraits (Process & Final)


Here, is I, represented by a comic book cover of a toy pufferfish in discomfort.
My self portrait illustrates a good number of negative traits and insecurities I have about myself. It is illustrated comically, because on the surface I tend to give people the impression of being very ‘happy go lucky’ or… just… being a comical person. (This definitely doesn’t come across in class hahahahaha).

A bottler (of emotions), exploding
Body dysmorphia (fat)

A toy, not a real fish:
Imposter syndrome! I’m not real.

Bulging eyes, thick lips:
Bulging eyes because the fish is exploding, but I also do have larger eyes and fuller lips than the average Singaporean Chinese. Heh

Rope/finger pulling hoop:
Society/whoever/whatever’s pressure on me
A belt/corset, squishing my fats

Rounded puffer spikes:
I’ve had several people tell me that their first impressions of me were that I seem to be unapproachable, but once they got to know me, I’m quite… harmless.

Comic book cover:
Teri’s interview with me turned into a life-storytelling session where I just went on and on and on about my very visual/graphic stories. Hence I am a comic book, not a storybook, not an auto-biography.

10 cents:
My worth

15 Nov 1997:
My birthday

Free Poster Inside!:
Because who doesn’t want to just be famous and have ~no problems~ other than worrying about looking bad on a poster that people hang up in their rooms! Not me!

Pearl, sea star, pretty shell:
Everything that I want to be. A pretty shiny star.

Sparkles around eyes:
Either: I’m so beat up I’m seeing stars, or to symbolise my tendency of envying others.

Hand holding puffer:
Either: This poor, poor, puffer, is so obviously beat up but is still being presented as perfectly alright! Yeah! This is fine! I am fine! Or: Sometimes I just want to be held, ya kno…


I pretty much have all the negative traits/insecurities about myself etched in my mind, so it was easy to head straight into ideating and sketching those ideas out. I believe I was scrolling through Behance for an art style inspiration, when I came across an image of a pufferfish and it just felt… perfect. Like when you come across an item of clothing at a store and you just know you have to get it.

An idea I played with was with a pufferfish sitting in Cinderella’s glass shoe, symbolising my imposter syndrome. If the shoe fits, I sits. Another would also be having a hand squish the fish instead of a rope/string. I also tried out different looks for the puffer.

Image result for if it fits i sits meme

For consultation, the main feedback that I got was just to make the pufferfish look like it was exploding more by making the head bigger. I did make the head bigger, and I also thought of adding fat rolls to the puff, but I didn’t want the illustration to be overdramatic/ too obvious (with the fat rolls).

I moved the illustration back and forth through Procreate and Adobe Illustrator to vectorise, add text, and re-adjust the composition.



Here is Teri, in a grid.

I asked Teri a million questions rather than just three, so I won’t bother with a whole transcript. I also went through several stages of interpreting her to end up with the elements that I have, hence I’ll go through the relevant information I’d received and referred to whilst interrogating Teri about her life.


“I would definitely rather save to spend on travel and invest on new experiences than to spend on other things” — Teri, 2020

  • Teri would rather spend on experiences than things.
  • Teri’s significant events both had to do with seeing the world, and making her feel small (in a good way) (travelling to NYC by herself from Canada, and climbing a >3000m high “stupid ass mountain” aka Mount Kerinci in Indonesia).
  • Teri “cannot commit” to pen. Must go in with pencil first.
  • Teri is very difficult to put together. I had to ask her a million questions, and every response I got would not be what I was expecting haaa. In a sense she’s a little hard to predict.
  • Teri is a very private person. She does not have any posts or stories on her Instagram.
  • Teri is Singaporean, but grew up in Hong Kong.


Square 1: Money in hand
Teri has money!

Square 2: Vending machine of a galaxy
The galaxy represents how Teri likes to see the world, likes experiences that make her feel small, and also how I really don’t know much about Teri much like how we don’t know a lot about space. The galaxy represents how Teri would rather spend her money on an experience that makes her feel all those ways rather than on capsules (objects).

Square 3: Vending machine coin/ receiving slot
Teri puts her HK$ money in, and receives something random from the machine!
Other than representing Teri’s expenditure, the machine also represents the part about not being able to predict her.

Square 4: Galaxy in hands
Teri’s Got The Galaxy

And finally, everything is in a grid because: Teri has nothing on her Instagram, and these are the bits and pieces of what I can make up of her.


A significant event

While I made Teri explain the whole scenario of her travelling solo for the first time (in general) from Canada to New York all by herself, what really caught my attention were the last three words that she used to describe her takeaway from the experience.

Grow some balls

From then on I knew I wanted to illustrate something with growing balls, because that was the most visual, metaphorical item she had given me. I didn’t want it to be rated balls though, because Teri is quite the innocent (or at least on the surface).

From then on I just kept thinking of what other ways I could represent balls. I randomly thought of a gum ball machine, then a vending machine of capsules. Perfecto!

I played around with different ideas like illustrating her experiences in the capsules, turning the capsules into takoyaki (one of the foods she likes), or showing a collection of her balls (because I had asked her how many balls she had before her experiences, now, and how many she would like to have by the end of her lifetime – the answer was 3, 6, 10).

Then I thought about illustrating a random grid of all the random things I know about her, because I got frustrated that everything I knew about her was all over the place. For example, she brushes her teeth in the shower, she’s insecure about the scars on her legs from excessive mosquito bites, the dachshund is her favourite dog breed of all.

Then I felt like everything was too random, and the one with the vending capsule machine had a whole story in its own square, so I expanded on that, and tada!



It’s been a fun first mini project. I took this course up because I’ve been wanting to pick up illustration for the longest time but have never gotten around to practicing it. Then I thought about giving up on that idea, but then my mom got me an iPad (thanks mom) and I felt the pressure of making full use of it… so here I am. Now I have something to force me to learn the skill and it’s been fun. The last time I illustrated anything was in vectors and in my first year.

Also this assignment made me realise how much I don’t know Teri at all, even though I’ve known her for 2.5 years. What fake friends we are!