Tag Archives: illustrator

GF: Image Making Through Type


  • Final Compositions
  • Process/Artist Inspirations


Starting the project off, I needed an overall concept to help me choose my four jobs. After thinking through several concepts including some like ‘things I will never be (e.g. mathematician)’ and ‘non-existent jobs’, I finally landed on the concept of the four elements: earth, water, air and fire.

So, after scanning through a million lists of jobs that have to do with each of the four elements, I finally decided on a Scarecrow (earth), a Helmsman (water), a Window Cleaner (air) and a Volcanologist (fire).

Moving on, thinking of a message that I wanted to bring across through these compositions, the first thing that popped in my mind was: “You suck!”. Well not really, but I thought of how humorous it would be to explore the ways that I could potentially mess up these jobs.

I do hope that I’m not jinxing myself here, because in my last project (Ego), I did mention that I was going to end up in the hospital with broken bones. And I did in fact, end up in the hospital with a broken pinky. I even considered changing one of my jobs to an artist where my finger would be broken, but decided to stick to the concept.

So, here are four ways of which I may potentially mess up my job in the future:

I was inspired by the many octopus illustrations on Pinterest, and figured that if I were to ever encounter a huge octopus I would, in fact, freak out. I seem to not like things with too many legs (e.g. centipedes) or no legs at all (maggots). While an octopus only has 8 compared to a centipede, you still have to consider that it’s huge, strong, slimy, and can attack you with its suction cups.

I wanted this to be an illustration full of detail, as I seem to find the feeling of fitting in many details very satisfying, as opposed to a minimalist style (that I also like). The excessive detail of the submarine’s mechanisms, water coming in, cracks and invading octopus is to give the feeling of how I would feel like in that situation of driving a submarine: overcrowded with too many things to handle.

Finally, the octopus’ tentacles that are coming through the window and taking over my job as the helmsman are used to form the letter forms ‘D’ and ‘C’ that are my initials. I decided to play on colour, where the red of the octopus can stand out from the monochrome submarine interior, so that a viewer’s attraction is largely drawn to the letter forms (also in the centre) first.

I saw many illustrations and tutorials on the isometric style, and decided to give it a go. I somehow ended up with an isometric style that uses repeated cuboids, much like pixels, or the game Minecraft.

After exploring severals ways of how I could explore a job on individual letters, I decided to use my full first name as I felt that an individual letter’s isometric space did not allow for much storytelling. This composition is probably also the most different one out of the four, as instead of using the elements to form a letter (e.g. tentacles to form ‘DC’), I went with designing the element from the letters.

Here, I used the letters in my name to form a volcano that is inducing smoke/clouds. I decided to go with an ‘abstract’ form of designing the volcano, such that while the volcano does not actually look like a proper-shaped volcano, the colours and placements of specific attributes (i.e. lava, clouds) help to tell viewers that this is in fact, a volcano.

The clouds are coloured white unlike the brown volcano, and the ‘D’ is to show kind of like a ‘halo cloud’ of smoke except that it’s not rounded all the way, while the ‘i’ are the rising smoke clouds. I used the lava to indicate the gaps within the ‘o’ and ‘n’ letters.

Finally, there is a tiny me that has fallen into the lava pool on the ‘o’, where you can see that I’m not even wearing proper volcanologist gear. I’m just in blue pants, playing on complementary colours to orange so that viewers will be able to see the tiny me very clearly, as well as my usual three-strap velcro shoes that I have brought back from my previous project. One of my shoes has even fallen off, to give the distinction between falling in vs. actually diving in on purpose.

Now comes the scarecrow, that isn’t so scary. After the first two compositions, I wanted to attempt one where the letter forms were not so obvious to the viewer.

Here, the attack of the crows are what affects the scarecrow’s stance to then form the letters ‘D’ and ‘C’. The scarecrow was initially dressed in one full colour, but I decided to change its outfit for easier identification of the letters. The yellow parts of the outfit are hence the parts forming the letters.

Letter D: The hat is being pulled by the ‘leader’ crow, marked by the yellow stripes on its beak and tail. The pull causes the hat to form the bend/curve of the ‘D’, while the crow itself helps to complete the ‘D’. The yellow stripes are to help viewers understand that the crow is still part of the letter, since I am playing on colour.

Letter C: Simple enough, the pecking of the crows have caused the scarecrow’s arms to break, thus forming a ‘C’. To further add humour, the broken arms are sort of trying to catch one of the crows who manages to get away, while leaving its mark behind… At least I managed to scare one crow.

I initially tried to place the scarecrow in a field of dead crops, but decided against the design as it was too distracting (process may be viewed later on in the post). Thinking of what background to give to the composition, I then decided to bring back one of the jokes from my previous project, where I designed myself to be an exhibition with a ‘do not touch’ sign (that gets touched anyway), because I dislike people touching me.

So, the diagonal spotlight helps to bring attention to the letter forms that are also placed diagonally, and the brought back ‘do not touch’ sign has been left out in the dark while I get attacked by the crows. 

Similar to the scarecrow, I wanted the composition to show the letter forms in a non-obvious manner, while still being able to be identified once taking a closer look.

I feel as though my progress can be seen through the compositions, as in contrast to the first one where the tentacles are one element forming both letter forms, I have now progressed to using different elements to form the letters.

I wanted this piece to be slightly more minimal than the first, just to explore different ways of illustrating. However, while being minimal, I still wanted there to be drama so as to bring out the message of me messing up my jobs and thus the composition may not be considered ‘minimalist’, but it is still in a way ‘cleaner’ than the submarine.

The letter ‘D’ is formed by three things: The white broken ladder, myself hanging on for dear life as well as the interior’s window blinds lifter string… thing.The letter was initially only formed by the broken ladder. However, taking note of the curve in the ‘D’, I decided to change the way my body was positioned, which also helped with increasing dramatisation in the composition. However (again), since my body is yellow and the ladder is white, the ‘D’ still wasn’t so clear and so I added the blinds lifter on the inside to help complete the letter.

The ‘C’ is simply formed by my long, broken squeegee and is coloured orange, making it stand out clearer as a letter form.

Finally, I wanted there to be some humorous ‘contrast’ between the interior and exterior for dramatisation: While it’s all calm on the inside with the very in-place posters, blinds and succulent, right outside the window is all chaos. I added a half-wipe to show how I was cleaning the window halfway, as well as a ‘realistic’ handprint, in contrast to my ‘cartoonish’ hand, to show how I had smacked on the window before falling away.



The majority of my initial conceptualisation can be found in my visual journal, while I will build on how my final compositions came about in this post.

Starting off the project early, I did not have a message in mind that I wanted to convey through my compositions as I thought that the only point was to show the type. Thus, the initial drafts did not show any sign of myself messing up the jobs.

Here on, I will go through the process of each composition that eventually led to the final:



The initial draft of forming the letter forms by the tentacles, along with a minimalist plan:

I then decided that I did not want to go with minimalism but rather a composition full of detail. This was also when I realised the need for a message:

While I do (still) like the overcrowding mechanisms, I received feedback from some of my peers that it may have been too much. I hence reduced several details such as the wheels, and instead added more details that enhanced the narrative of messing up the job (i.e. cracks, flood, etc.), eventually ending up with my final piece.



I came across many isometric illustrations on Pinterest, with Ranganath Krishnamani’s Alphabet City catching my eyes the most.

I then proceeded to explore the ways that I could perhaps form my name in the isometric style, without having a particular job in mind:

However, after thinking about incorporating the volcanologist job into the isometric forms as well as how I should go about conveying my message, I felt that illustrating the letters in the way that Ranganath Krishnamani did would not have been the best way. For instance, simply illustrating the volcano ON the letter form and then having myself fall into the volcano would not be using the letters to tell the message.

Hence, from there, some way, some how, I managed to come up with the idea of using the letter forms to instead BUILD the volcano.

Seeing that it the forms were very flat, I decided to play around with the cuboids’ levels for more depth within the composition. I also added a thermometer to show that I’m ‘studying’ the volcano – again, this was before I realised the need to convey a message.

After this I realised the need for a message, hence I added the image of myself falling into the lava. I also played more with the levels of the volcano to match up with the clouds.



This was an image found on Pinterest that I decided to use as inspiration.

Going into this composition, I already knew that I wanted to use the body of the scarecrow to form the letter forms by an attack of the crows. This was the first draft where I tried to form the letters D and C. However, I realised how the letter forms could not stand out due to the entire outfit being of the same colour, hence I decided to change the scarecrow’s outfit as seen in the final composition, where the letter forms were only formed by yellow. I also put a nest on the scarecrow’s hay head to cover up the extra yellow, at the same time adding on some extra humour that the crows have set up home there.

As mentioned above, this was where I tried to incorporate a dead farm in the background, which came across as too distracting.



Originally, before I realised the need for a message, I wanted to go with another isometric composition where the windows formed the letters D and C.

Trying to stick to this concept, I tried to add the message of messing up the job by adding dirt and cracks to the windows, but none of them looked appealing. I also thought of illustrating opened windows with heads popped out (in the forms D and C) to look at ‘me’ who’s fallen off the gondola, but thought that it was too much to do. I hence decided to scrap this idea and come up with something completely original, ending up with my final composition 🙂



Here’s some of the other random ideas I came up with at the very start of the project, before I even chose my jobs. I just wanted to explore with vectors, letter forms and potential ideas!



2D Project 3 – ‘Ego’

In this post, you will find:

  • Final
  • Process
  • Reflection




I made a wise decision to go with what I’m comfortable with for this final project, that is, digital illustration. However, as a challenge for myself, the final style that I have gone for for this project is a full vector illustration style with NO outlines, as I am usually only comfortable with outlined illustrations.

I had no limitations to the type of colours I use (e.g. only pastel) apart from using different colour harmonies so as to allow freedom in exploration of colours. Through this project, I also allowed myself to explore different ways of graphic illustration, while still having all the compositions be able to tie in together as one in the end.

There was also an overall attempt at exploring different shot sizes in every equation, to give better depth and understanding of the concepts.

The very first few ideas that came to my head happened to involve negative traits/feelings that I possess… and putting myself in situations, the outcome all happened to be self-destructive/comical. I’m not so sure why, but I went ahead with them anyway.

As I allowed myself the freedom of exploring illustration styles, I decided to attempt different ways of illustrating the main girl character present in every equation. To let the audience know that these ‘girls’ are all supposed to represent me, I added two key features to every girl – my round glasses and my three-strap velcro shoes.



Selected colour harmony: Complementary

To express the juxtaposition between hot and cold, I went with shades of the complementary colours blue and orange, that happen to also make logical sense such that blue represents cold and orange represents heat in general knowledge.


ME: gets hot easily

The main character, me, is drawn towards the front and left – allowing for depth and space for the addition of an extra presence (silhouette) behind.


steps out of shade

While the ‘shade’ here is not represented by a dark colour, the cool tone in comparison to the bright orange suggests that it is, a cooler place than being under the sun. The 1:2 composition of shade:sun gives the impression that the heat is overpowering.


melts into puddle

A wide shot, to give viewers understanding of the whole situation – that is, I stepped under the sun, melted into a puddle, and a passer-by has slipped over me. The puddle. What remains of me are my signature round glasses and velcro sneakers.



Selected colour harmony: Triad

I decided on using the triadic colours of red-orange, blue-purple and green to separate the different elements present in the compositions.

I, personally, have always really disliked the three secondary colours for some reason, but… life is like that (I quote my friend who says this to me all the time), you can’t always stick to doing only what you like, so I decided on using these adjusted tones of the basic secondary colours so as to let myself explore the usage of these colours.


ME: very clumsy

Here is I, with my very wobbly legs, crossing the road. What’s going to happen?



A close up frame to see what actually happens. As you can see, the car is still waiting in the back so no, I did not get into a car accident. I tripped.

I initially wanted to illustrate myself tripping over nothing on a flat surface, but visually, there was no depth and it would have been hard to understand without explanation. I then wanted to show that I tripped over myself (i.e. shoelaces), but I don’t have shoelaces. So… I guess, tripping over this little raised platform/curb will do.


ends up in hospital

Pretty likely to happen one day.

The red tones are now only present in the flower pot, my shoe (that I am still wearing under my cast) and my round glasses – a comical way at signifying where ‘life’ still holds present.



Selected colour harmony: Split complementary

I had initially planned for this to be a full complementary composition to separate the two elements – girl vs. environment. However, I decided to add a tinge of blue for depth, as well as to explore another colour harmony for this project, having already done complementary.

As a challenge for myself, I decided to attempt illustrating this equation with more geometric vectors rather than using the brush tool, as I normally do. As such, I felt that using the exact same illustration of my sneakers as I have in the other compositions would not fit the visuals. Improvising, I put three stripes on the shoes to imply that these are still the same, velcro strapped shoes of mine.


ME: please don’t touch

I like my personal space. The initial composition was just a mid-close-up shot of myself holding up a ‘DO NOT TOUCH’ sign, which I felt was not creative enough. So, I decided that I will be a meditating art installation at the museum, surrounded by barricades and a sign telling visitors not to touch.

The whole art installation is set in the middle of a wide shot, to emphasise the separation of the space within and outside the barricades. Within the barricades are the colours yellow and blue, while purple only exists outside.

Not to mention, yellow is also my favourite colour while I really dislike purple, so in that context, I am using yellow to signify that I am in my own, comfortable (meditating!), personal space, in the midst of all the purple.



A purple-covered hand has come to INTRUDE MY PERSONAL SPACE. Stripes of purple shades are used to decorate the hand’s sleeve to emphasise the jarring intrusion.

I remain meditating, because I am, after all, an art installation that should not be moving…


shrivels into prune

To heavily emphasise on how much I shrivel up when my personal space is intruded, I decided to transform myself into a prune. Again, what remains are my shoes and round glasses, so viewers know that the prune is me.

The sign has fallen over, because it no longer matters. My space has already been intruded. I am no longer meditating because… Well, I don’t really have to say it.

P.S. This was where the real inspiration came from:



Selected colour harmony: Monochromatic

With the concept of this equation being tire, I felt that the use of a muted, monochromatic colour scheme would fit well with the ‘dull’ mood.

Finally, the last equation! This panel shows the development of my entire project, where the art style is a combination of what I have explored – organic and geometric vectors.


ME: perpetually tired

Here is a close up of my very tired face. This was exactly how I looked like while illustrating the frame, and is exactly how I look like now, typing this post.


falls asleep in class

This doesn’t actually happen very often, but I felt that this scenario was only apt for a school project. The initial plan was to put myself asleep in a random place (on the floor, next to a wall, to show that I can fall asleep anywhere at any time), but I wanted to give the situation more visual depth in a proper location.


floods school with drool


Once again, a wide shot to give emphasis on the disaster that I have caused, yet I still remain asleep while everyone else is drowning in the flood that I have caused. There is also the subliminal message that I am literally drowning in school work. sealed




Creative ideations can be found in my visual journal!!! But… generally, I decided on going with a light-hearted comical concept despite the use of negative traits as I felt that a light-hearted theme would allow more freedom for colour harmonies and palettes in comparison to dark themes, which might have limited my ideas to mainly dark colours or monochromatic schemes (in my mind, at least). In addition, a dark concept would have added on to the pain of completing this project as compared to coming up with funny scenarios.

Receiving the brief, I instantly knew that I would be working on Illustrator for this final project as it is the one and only platform that I am rather familiar with.

I have always been a ‘brush’ kind of person, where I illustrate using the brush tool instead of the pen/shapes. As such, my illustrations always end up outlined. This was what my first panel looked like when I first started the project:

Due to the use of lines in incomplete shapes, I could not ‘fill’ in the colours, and the only way that I would have been able to colour my squares would have been with the brush on Photoshop. I tried it. Took ages for a single square. Can’t change the colours or I would have to redo it. Nope.

Photoshop attempt:

As you can tell, I gave up half way.

From this problem, I decided to look for art style inspiration that could serve as a challenge for myself while still remaining on the same digital platform. I initially had many many many tabs opened (3 windows full, to be specific) in search for inspiration and reference, but decided to focus on one artist only so as to not confuse myself with my art direction.

I came with the decision to reference only one artist from Instagram/Etsy, @bethewen.

Here are some of her works:

I took into account her ways of illustration:

  • Use of geometric vectors instead of organic
  • Use of filled shapes vs. outlines here and there for detail
  • Colour palettes
  • Normal-but-abstract style (e.g. small head, large body)

If you’ve not yet realised, the colour harmonies/schemes that I have chosen for my panels are very similar to hers, except for adjusted shades of colours.

I had eye-dropped all the colours from her different compositions to see how she made colours work together, then proceeded to Adobe Color CC to make my own base palettes, which I then further edited on illustrator on the go as I adjusted to what I needed.

And, ta-da! That’s how my panels came about.




Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this final project as well as the entirety of Foundation 2D.

I’ve specifically enjoyed this project, given that we were given the freedom of exploring mediums of our own choice, hence allowing me to explore the art style that I actually want to venture into, that is, on a digital platform. I have always wanted to challenge my digital art style but have never gotten the chance to in my free time, so I was glad that this project allowed me to explore another way of illustrating. sealed

On another note, I’ve now realised how difficult it is to actually coordinate colours in a composition. Not only do we have to think about the colour harmony that we want, we have to find the colours to fit the harmony, then find the perfect shades, then find shades of the shades for depth… What?! I might just become a monochrome illustrator in the future to save myself from sorrow and pain. Just kidding. This project has been a good eye opener to my understanding of colour coordination, and in the future, maybe I could stop referencing real life photos/colours or other works and instead come up with my own creations.

Something I hope I could work on would be being more explorative in my colour choices, in the sense that maybe I could use non-realistic colours for real life objects… like using a colour from the same colour harmony for a person’s skin colour instead of using beige.



After seeing my classmates’ works, I’ve become even more inspired to further explore illustrative styles, despite already having done so for my work. I’ve realised that there are soooo many ways that one can illustrate within the same ‘style’, e.g. there can still be many different styles of illustrating, all while using vectors without outlines. I particularly enjoyed Vanessa’s, Si Hui’s, Esther’s and Clara’s works that were all either done on Illustrator or Photoshop, and I really hope to be able to further explore my own style while drawing inspiration from them and their own inspirations. I guess it’s time to stalk their OSS.

I love 2D.

As long as it doesn’t make me cry. Please let me in to VC!!!!! (Where I may cry, but it’s okay)

Thank you Joy!