2D Assignment 2 Final – What Principle of Design…?

To be very honest, I did not do these compositions with any design principles in mind. I did not study design before and what skills I have with regards to Photoshop, Illustrator and the likes of these softwares, it was gained through a combination of Google, Pinterest and my six month internship at a creative agency. In any case, let’s attempt to break down on what possible design principles I can apply to the following design compositions.

Starting with the first composition, this design is based on the quote from Howl’s Moving Castle, “May all your bacon burn!”. I repeated the bacon image at the bottom part of the composite to create the effect of there being a lot of bacon at the base. The bacon image also serve as a sort of leading line, leading the viewer’s eyes to the oblong shapes above, representing Calcifer’s (the fire demon that utter this line in the movie) eyes. I also used a black background behind the bacon to create some sort of contrast between the bacon and the background.

Moving onto the next design, based on the quote “This time is Kyabetsu?” from If Cats Disappeared from the World. I went with a triangular background that is tilted at an angle to make it more asymmetrical and dynamic. There is a sense of movement as the elements are arranged in such a way that they seemed to be moving out of the triangular “portal”. Also, with most of the elements being squeezed together like so, the emphasis is already in that particular spot where all the elements are as the eyes will be instantly drawn to that particular busy part as compared to the white spaces surrounding the design.

For the second design for the same quote, located just below the “May your bacon burn!” quote design, by layering the cat with a lot of details, over the cabbage print with wider lines and more negative space, the image of the cat pops out, placing an emphasis on the cat. By using images with different degrees of darkness and details, we are also able to create the effect of there being layers to the design.

Finally, the final design based on the quote “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”. The lines in the background are mainly for aesthetic reasons and to create some sort of contrast against the flowers in front. The mountain and the skulls also take up one-third of the space, leaving two-thirds for the flower and the lines, thus utilising the golden ratio theory.

All in all, this project has been a fun one and I got to learn a lot of things, especially about silkscreen printing. Looking forward to assignment 3, whoop!

2D Assignment 2 Process – I am terrible at documenting things.

Are my post titles too cryptic? I will probably go edit them once I am done with the whole of assignment 2 but for now, they shall stay because yes, I am terrible at documenting the process of creating. A little heads-up, this post is going to be mighty long because of the breaking down of the design compositions before a little write-up on the silkscreen printing process. So yeah. Go grab a mug of tea (or whatever preferred beverage of choice) and a snack. Go on. I’ll wait. Ready? Okay, let’s dive straight into my design process.

SO. From the previous ridiculously long list of quotes, I have further narrowed to 3 quotes. How I did decided the elements to be added into my design composition was pretty simple. It was either that the element appeared in the quote itself, the element represented a word that appeared in the quote or it was a part of the movie. For example, here is the thought process I had for my first quote:

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”

So flower. And bloom. I represented it simply by using a picture of flowers blooking. Very literal and maybe a little safe but I feel like that makes sense to me and it could provide a link back to the movie. I decided to use magnolias because fun fact: Mulan’s name translates to magnolia flowers. Her surname Hua (花) is the Chinese character for flower and her name itself (木兰) is the name for magnolia. So yes. Magnolia flowers. Woohoo.

Adversity is defined as “a state or instance of serious or continued difficulty or misfortune.”. Somehow I felt like it could be represented visually by mountains because we always describe a losing situation as fighting an uphill battle and thus mountains can also be seen as representing a difficult situation. Furthermore, in the movie, Mulan’s first battle was in the mountains. With this, I went ahead with the addition of mountains into the composition.

‘Rare and beautiful’. I honestly felt like I ignored these 2 words in the end as I felt that the flowers on their own could signify beauty. Rarity, not so much but I guess that is the flaw in the design. On hindsight, maybe I could have played around more with the lines in the background of my design as well. However, what’s done has been done and so here is the result:

To be honest, the layout was done in Adobe Illustrator instead as I was more familiar with that software as compared to Photoshop. However, the images were edited in photoshop before being saved as PNGs and tossed into Illustrator for the final laying out process. Another confession: I did not do any sketches before hand. Which was probably why my design process took so long. But I felt that I kind of already had very specific images in mind when I sat down to do the compositions for this assignment so I guess it is fine. And this would probably explain why there are no other variations of the design because I played around with the layout for a really long time and did not save any of the compositions until I was really, truly, happy with them.

To me, I felt that the skulls represented adversity as well because from Mulan’s point of view, going to war and having to see the people around you die, that is a challenge in itself. And thus, from the mountains and the skulls, rises the magnolia flowers.

Moving on, my second quote:

“This time is cabbage?”

This is from the 2016 Japanese film, If Cats disappeared from the World. Naturally, the quotes does not make sense, not unless you catch the movie (in which case, let me just put it out there. 10/10, would totally recommend). And plus because the quote is so short, there really is not much for me to work with. I will be creating 2 design compositions based on this quote.

Time is represented using clock. Cliche I know, but the message is clear cut and gets to the viewer straight. In the first design, I used clock hands to represent time while in the second design, I went ahead and used a time piece instead. Cabbage is being shown in the first design, through the print in the background, which is actually the cross-section of  a cabbage. In the second design, it is seen replacing the numbers in the time piece. The cat, silhouette of a person riding a bike, the film strip and the phone are actually elements from the film itself. I decided to include these elements in because if I had just played around with clocks, timepieces and cabbage, the design would not have been very interesting.

Another random thing to point out about my design process: I kind of start off by deciding what kind of general shape I want my design composition to have. This is more obvious in the second design for the cabbage quote and for the last quote.

“May all your bacon burn!”

I don’t know why but I just find this quote so adorable. Similar to the second quote, there really is not much for me to work on. But, instead of adding on a ton of elements from the movie, I decided to try to just stick to words from the quote itself, trying to go for a more minimalistic approach for this final composition. It is the most plain out of the four compositions, and if I had given myself more time to experiment, perhaps the design would have turned out a little better. In the final design, I added in these little oval bumps to represent the character that uttered this line in the movie.

Okay. WE ARE DONE WITH THE FIRST PART. Let’s move on to the second part, which is silkscreen printing. Shoutout to the awesome senior that helped us out for the entire process: Clara. She was really patient, friendly and really looked out for us. I aspire to be like her if I do get to do this 2D silksscreen printing work-study in my second year.

The whole process went like this:

1. Wash the silkscreen, let it dry in the dryer for a little while.

2. Once the screen is dried, apply emulsion onto both sides of the screen. Put it back into the dryer to dry, for approximately 30 minutes. This step is done in the dark room and the emulsion should not be exposed to white light, therefore the screen with the emulsion should not be brought out of the dark room at this point.

3. Once the emulsion is dried, we can start to prep the screen for the exposing of our design onto the screen. To do so, determine how you want the design to appear when printed before attaching it onto the screen. A tip from Clara was to lay out the transparency on a flat surface, in the way we want our design to appear when printed, before putting the screen over it and flipping the whole thing over and securing the transparency down with clear tape. Once done, place the screen into the machine to expose.

4. Once the design is exposed onto the screen, we can proceed to wash off the emulsion. The area exposed to the light will remain on the screen while the area blocked by the transparency will be washed off. Once the excess emulsion is washed off, the screen will have to be dried before it can be used for printing.

Printing gave me a little bit of anxiety because once you do it, there is no turning back and there is no way to go back and fix the whole thing. Overall, I did a few test prints on a sheet of newsprint before doing the actual printing on the tote bag. A tip would be to just do it confidently and to apply even pressure. Shoutout to my classmates Alena, Amber and Athirah for helping me press down the screen throughout the printing process. It was a pretty fun experience and I did learn a lot through this whole process. Below is a picture of 1 of the totes that I printed. Honestly, I need to learn how to take more photos throughout my whole work process.

2D Assignment 2 Research: Translating a Movie Quote into a Single Design. Whew.

I was so excited when the brief for Assignment 2 came out because we were finally getting to use softwares to create design compositions; something that I was a little bit more familiar with. And plus we got to do silkscreen printing. MAJOR POINTS FOR THAT.

The brief was pretty straightforward: produce 4 compositions based off of movie quotes. The 4 different design compositions can either be based on 1 quote or be based on 4 different quotes. Much excites.

Immediately, the quotes that popped into my mind were as followed:

“Curiouser and curiouser!” – Alice, Alice in Wonderland, 2010

“You are entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” – Alice, Alice in Wonderland, 2010

Alice in Wonderland has to be one of my all time favourite movies. While I love both the animated film as well as the real life adaptation, I will always have a soft spot for the real life adaptation because of the hint of darkness brought about by Tim Burton. Quote no. 2 is a personal favourite because for once I felt that being different, being seen as weird and crazy, was a good thing. For a person that always felt as though she never really did fit in with the crowd, this was a comforting thought.

“Alrighty then!” – Ace Ventura, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, 1994

A really old movie but I remembered watching it while I was younger and laughing real hard and Ace Ventura’s antics. Not exactly sure if it is really a quote since it is actually more like a catchphrase for Jim Carrey’s character.

“May all your bacon burn!” – Calcifer, Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004

Studio Ghibli movies are awesome and while my favourite out of the whole lot is Spirited Away, this adorable little line spoken by Calcifer the fire demon jumped out at me. Why so I am not exactly sure but I thought it would be fun to pick a ridiculously straightforward quote like this to work on.

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.” – Emperor of China, Mulan, 1998

“You don’t meet a girl like that every dynasty.” – Emperor of China, Mulan, 1998

“My little baby, off to destroy people.” – Mushu, Mulan, 1998

Mulan was one of my favourite disney princesses growing up and this was probably really encouraged by my parents, especially my dad. He wanted me to grow up being independent and capable of handling things by myself, not at all like the stereotypical girly girl who had to rely on other people or men to step in and do the work for her. Naturally, I have quite a lot of quotes from this movie. And by now, you would have probably already noticed my preference for all the short, almost nonsensical (when taken out of context) quotes.

“This time is cabbage?” – If Cats Disappeared from the World, 2016

A really ridiculously touching movie, I cried like a baby watching this film. Enough said.

Now that I have more of less shortlisted a bunch of quotes, let’s dive into the designs itself. To get a better idea of what the lecturers were looking for, I had actually went ahead and did a little snooping around, looking at our senior’s OSS entries for this particular assignment. Can I please just say that some of them are really really REALLY good?!?!?!?! Like I would legit want to print their designs onto a tote bag or shirt and carry/wear it around.

The start of the research process for the design also meant I had to turn to trusty ol’ Pinterest (#Pinterestislyfe). Keywords used include ‘fan art’, ‘illustrations’, ‘wallpaper’ and ‘tattoo’. I also looked at logo designs to get a bit of inspiration as to how I might want the composition to be shaped. This kind of served as the basis of my designing process which I will talk about in a separate post.