This project is an aim to understand the consciousness of our own identity (hence the title “EGO”) through simple mathematical equations, which were:

__________ + __________ = ME

__________ – __________ = A BETTER ME

__________ x __________ = AN IDEAL ME

__________ +/- __________ = ME IN 5 YEARS

In this project, my main focus was on colour; to create aesthetic value via colour harmonies, and more importantly, using the right colours to convey the intended characteristic or mood.

__________ + __________ = ME




In this photographic image, my objective was to show a more serious side of myself. Many of us experience inexplicable bouts of melancholy and disheartenment, and I feel that these moments, as much as I dislike them, are what gives me the time and mood to think deeper and to reflect on myself. I often end up pondering on the raison d’etre of my very being, and this is not a side that I usually show others because it is hardly called for.

For this photograph, I chose to keep it black and white. Many pictures with serious notes tend to be monochromatic in nature, and with good reason. Humans see the world in colour, and a rendition of the world in monochrome makes us pause and look closely. Removing colour from a picture helps viewers to focus on the emotional state of the photograph, as black and white portraiture lets the audience see faces and read eyes without distraction. The colour black also encourages us to look at the negative side of life, which is the essence of this picture that I am attempting to convey.


RESIZE slothlike

While some people see this as being very ‘zen’, my parents perceive it as me being sluggish and unproductive. Either way, I portrayed a sloth to define my slow and unhurried nature.

I did not want to use any bold or striking colours in this digital painting, nor did I want too fancy a background. From my past research, analogous colours should be used to create a serene and comfortable design. Simplicity and Peacefulness were my targets for this composition, which led me to use colours which are in said harmony.


sad sloth

This was an attempt of a humorous combination of the previous 2 pictures. The pose of this sloth is almost identical to the pose of myself in the first picture.

In this case, the monochromatic colour is used firstly to bear heavy semblance to the first picture, and secondly to create a stark contrast between ‘comical’ and ‘sombre’, especially when viewing the equation as a whole piece.

__________ – __________ = A BETTER ME




During the idle time I had before the semester began, I experimented with landscape digital painting and I decided to have a go at it for this project. I wanted to represent hope in this painting, very much like my ambition to one day be able to create compelling stories through animated films for both young and old. For this composition, I drew a lone figure ready to scale a mountain to convey ambition.

I used primarily warm colours here to evoke energy, optimism and confidence. I was worried that the lack of colour contrast would cause this image to appear dull, so I played with a wide range of tonal value to avoid too much subtlety.


absent minded

This digital painting is left deliberately dark all over, very much like a failing effort to remember something. Casting a black vignette around the image is an attempt to show that the hiking bag has been forgotten on the seats.

Despite the overall dull piece, I decided to choose colours for the bag to have it still stand out despite having similar tonal values to the rest of the image. I therefore used an RGB triadic harmony for the bag.

An Earlier attempt which did not work out too well:

left bag copy
Looks kind of like a cheap flash game


RESIZE a better me

This is one of my favourite pieces which turned out well for me. The subject in question (who remembered his equipment bag this time) is now perched at the top of the mountain, a signifier of success. This is complimented by warm sun-rays greeting him, seemingly congratulating his achievement.

Again, varying tonal range is used conscientiously to create a more impactful digital painting. Here I used both warm and cool colours to create an aesthetically pleasing contrast.

__________ x __________ = AN IDEAL ME




What better way to convey a talkative character than with multiple open mouths? In this piece, I drew inspiration from pop art, which usually use bright, contrasting colours to create a pop-out effect. For this piece, I drew a single mouth with a Wacom tablet and duplicated it 4 times (hooray photoshop) before filling each quarter with solid colours.

While the whole composition is in tetradic harmony, within each quarter, split complementary colours were used. This is to evoke a whimsical and lighthearted disposition; i.e; loud and ‘outspoken’ colours with hardly any depth. All the colours are fighting for attention since they are all a variation of direct harmony. The result is colourful and cheerful, yet messy at the same time.

(Note: For some reason the colour appears a little off when uploaded on this site. E.g; the top left quarter background colour is supposed to have a much more discernible purple tint to it. Here it looks almost bluish.)


RESIZE speaking with depth

Rather than creating a literal image, I drew abstract lines to express the idea of depth. This reminded me of our First 2D project (a line is a dot that went for a walk) for obvious reasons.

Using Gold lines against a black background gave the lines a 3D effect. I also added subtle blue-purple shadow lines (direct harmony of gold, which is yellow-orange) beneath the gold lines to further accentuate the depth of the gold lines.


RESIZE speaking with depth copy

This piece was rather fun to experiment with. Drawing ideas from greeting cards I came across, I attempted to make a ‘3D’ paper card mouth of my own.

I interpreted the multiplication of the previous 2 images as speaking with depth, so I set the “Depth” image as a background and attached the 3D mouth on it. The mouth carries literal depth of its own as a result of being folded at calculated edges.

To me, speaking with depth means that sometimes it is better to imply than to state the obvious. The result is an implied mouth that carries the right colours for a mouth, but does not entirely look like one either. For example, teeth are not drawn on the white strips, but the placement of the strips alone would imply that they represent teeth.

Earlier experimentations and process shots:

  IMG_0982 IMG_0980


__________ +/- __________ = ME IN 5 YEARS



RESIZE work hard

I painted a cartoon image of myself attempting to create a life-sized replica of a stone henge, on a hot day, with a wooden mallet. This is my portrayal of working hard (not smart). The colours are highly saturated with the intention to show that it is a hot and sunny day.

In this composition, I made use of split complementary colour harmony; Blue and green, with a hint of red to stand out. A red shirt is used also to express the uncomfortable heat that this cartoon self is feeling under the sun.


Image (1)

Scanning a pen-drawn image to edit digitally.


work smart

In this drawing I tried to visualise the conditions that Thomas Edison tirelessly worked under in finding the right material for a light bulb filament. Instead of inventing the light bulb (which has already been invented as depicted), this cartoon self is working on inventing a robot drone.Image (2) (1)                      Another pen drawn scan.

Tonal value is played with here to create depth via emitted light and cast shadows. Blueprints are masking taped to a yellow wall to create direct harmony, and the central subject is wearing red to be at the centre of attention.


RESIZE success

The cartoon self here is only shown in a silhouette, gazing out at the drones carving out an endless line of easter heads complete with full bodies. This is to illustrate success from combining the two ideas of working hard and working smart. In 5 years I will most probably have graduated from ADM and I hope that by then I will have found a career doing what I like to do, which is helping to create impactful stories, and hopefully go on to create stories of my own eventually.

Image (3) (1)

                      More scanning.

In this piece, I select colours to subliminally convey emotional values and characteristics. A large portion of this composition are painted with cool colours; Blue represents idealism and order, authority and contemplation. Green evokes growth and rejuvenation. A black silhouette is used here to embody deep strength and sophistication, as well as power and control. The drones are kept white while emitting transient blue light trails to accentuate futurism.

Some initial sketches:


Rendered calculator buttons to attach to the mounting board:

math symbols

Presenting “EGO” 🙂



A colour scheme is the choice of colours used in design for a range of media, and these choices tend to work well in various kinds of colour harmony. Monochrome colours can also be used.


Monochromatic colours are all the colours (tints, tones, and shades) of a single hue. Monochromatic color schemes are derived from a single base hue, and extended using its shades, tones and tints (that is, a hue modified by the addition of black, gray (black + white) and white. As a result, the energy is more subtle and peaceful due to a lack of contrast of hue.



Colour Harmony


There are 5 types of colour harmony:


1)  Direct Harmony: This is the most basic harmony. It is a point opposite to the key colour on the wheel.  This “opposite” colour is referred to as the complementary colour and thus the direct harmony can also be called the complementary harmony. Virtually all colour harmonies (except Analogous) are a variation of the direct harmony.

The high contrast of complementary colours creates a vibrant look especially when used at full saturation but can be jarring if not managed properly. This is the most common colour scheme and is easy to find in all sorts of designs.

Complementary colour schemes are tricky to use in large doses, but work well when you want something to stand out. Complementary colours are really bad for text as both colors have a similar “strength” and will fight for attention.


2) Split Complementary: Rather than the point opposite the key colour on the wheel, the split complementary takes the two colours directly on either side of the complementary colour. This allows for a nicer range of colours while still not deviating from the basic harmony between the key colour and the complementary colour.

This colour scheme has the same strong visual contrast as the complementary colour scheme, but has less tension.  The split complimentary colour scheme is a safe choice for virtually any design as it is near impossible to mess up and always looks good.


3) Triadic Harmony: This refers to the colour two spaces to either side of the key colour’s complement. Essentially, with the triadic harmony, you are using three equally distanced colours on the colour wheel. This harmony is best used with only touches of colour.

Too much of each colour and a design will appear to have too many colours and can be too vibrant.

To use a triadic harmony successfully, the colours should be carefully balanced—let one colour dominate and use the two others for accent. Or, desaturate all colours and only use the triadic colours in small spots or touches.

4) Analogous Harmony: Also referred to as related colours, these are the colours directly on the left and right of your key colour. They usually match up quite well and create a serene and comfortable design. While this colour harmony can be pleasing to the eye, it can also come across as monotone. If  going for a design that’s primarily one colour, this is a good choice.


5) Tetradic Harmony: Similar to the Triadic, except that there are four points, all equally distanced on the colour wheel. It is a design simply using two sets of complementary colours.This harmony is good when you have numerous elements that all need to stand out on their own—such as a poster that features 4 or more characters. By using colours equally distant on the colour wheel, each character gets equal attention.



Visual Examples:



Direct Harmony

direct harmony2

Split Harmony

split harmony7

Triadic Harmony

triadic harmony3

Analogous Harmony

analogous harmony4

Tetradic Harmony

tetradic harmony5

Colour is British, Color is American, but their meaning is universal.

Colour is important because it adds meaning to a design.

Colour carries emotional resonance with it- in that, when we see a colour, we have an emotional response towards that colour. Blue can be sad, calm, and confident while yellow is happy, light, and cautionary. We naturally associate colours with emotions because it is hard to put words to what we are feeling.

Colours connect to our feelings in a unique and memorable way, which make them a powerful marketing tool. Colour is helpful in communicating your message because it draws attention, sets the tone of the message, and guides the eye where it needs to go. It presents a sense of direction and recognition that people can identify and relate to.

Colour is a form of non verbal communication. It is not a static energy and its meaning can change from one day to the next with any individual – it all depends on what energy they are expressing at that point in time.

inside out colour chart



Positive keywords include: action, energy and speed, attention-getting, assertive and confident, energizing, stimulating, exciting, powerful, passionate, stimulating and driven, courageous and strong, spontaneous and determined.

Negative keywords include: aggressive and domineering, over-bearing, tiring, angry and quick-tempered, ruthless, fearful and intolerant, rebellious and obstinate, resentful, violent and brutal.

Effects of Red:

Stimulating: to the physical senses- the sexual and physical appetite. It stimulates the deeper passions within us, such as sex, love, courage, hatred or revenge. If you have a flagging sex life and would like to introduce more passion into it, introduce some red into the bedroom – the more red, the more passion, but don’t overdo it or it will have the opposite effect.

Exciting and Motivating: it excites our emotions and inspires us to take action.

Attention-getting: it demands you to take notice, alerting you to danger. This is why we have red traffic lights and stop signs – it is the universal colour for danger.

Assertive and Aggressive: drivers of red cars should take note! A small survey I did a few years ago showed that drivers of red cars, including females, said they felt quite aggressive behind the wheel of their red car.



Positive keywords include: growth and vitality, renewal and restoration, self-reliance, reliability and dependability, being tactful, emotionally balanced and calm, nature lover and family oriented, practical and down to earth, sympathetic, compassionate and nurturing, generous, kind and loyal with a high moral sense, adaptable, encourages ‘social joining’ of clubs and other groups, a need to belong.

Negative keywords include: being possessive and materialistic, indifferent and over-cautious, envious, selfish, greedy and miserly, devious with money, inconsiderate, inexperienced, a hypochondriac and a do-gooder.

Effects of Green:

Rejuvenating: The colour green revitalizes us when we are physically, mentally or emotionally exhausted.

Nurturing: Because of its link with the heart, green urges us to nurture others. Green is also nurturing to us – another reason why it is the most predominant colour on earth.

Dependable, agreeable and diplomatic: The colour green helps us to see situations clearly from all sides.

Possessiveness: Green is a colour that encourages us to want to own things and people, to collect and possess. Green encourages materialism.

Envy: Green with envy’ is a common phrase and a negative reaction to the colour green.



Positive keywords include: loyalty, trust and integrity, tactful, reliability and responsibility, conservatism and perseverance, caring and concern, idealistic and orderly, authority, devotion and contemplation, peaceful and calm.

Negative keywords include: being rigid, deceitful and spiteful, depressed and sad, too passive, self-righteous, superstitious and emotionally unstable, too conservative and old-fashioned, predictable and weak, unforgiving, aloof and frigid. It can also indicate manipulation, unfaithfulness and being untrustworthy.

Effects of Blue

Conservative: The colour blue is a safe colour – the most universally liked colour of all.

Predictable: Blue is not impulsive or spontaneous and it doesn’t like to be rushed – blue needs to analyse and think things through, and to work to a plan.

Orderly: Blue needs to have direction & order- untidiness and unpredictability overwhelms it.

Rigid: Blue likes familiarity. It doesn’t like change and will stubbornly do things its own way, even if there is a better way.





Positive keywords include: optimism, cheerfulness, enthusiasm, fun, good-humored, confidence, originality, creativity, challenging, academic and analytical, wisdom and logic.

Negative keywords include: being critical and judgmental, being overly analytical, being impatient and impulsive, being egotistical, pessimistic, an inferiority complex, spiteful, cowardly, deceitful, non-emotional and lacking compassion.

Effects of Yellow:

Creative: The color of new ideas, yellow helps us find new ways of doing things.

Quick decisions: Yellow helps with clear thinking and quick decision-making but it can also be impulsive.

Anxiety producing: Yellow is fast moving so too much time in its presence can agitate and lead to nervousness and emotional instability.

Critical: Yellow makes people more mentally analytical and self critical of both themselves and others.

Non-emotional: Yellow relates to the head not the heart.



Positive keywords include: universal harmony and love, emotional balance, helps our spirit soar, spiritual yet practical, encourages common sense, loving, compassionate, supportive and kind, imaginative, innovative, creative and artistic, non-conformist, negotiator.

Negative keywords include: impulsive, domineering, impatient, intolerant, avoids challenges, too relaxing, feeling disconnected to others, can be bossy and demanding.

Effects of Magenta:

Emotional Balance: spiritual yet practical, it helps to create emotional, physical and spiritual balance.

Compassion: gentle and caring in its approach, it generates acceptance, tolerance, support and patience.

Inspiration: inspires cheerfulness and optimism, creativity and innovation, dream activity, positive change and negotiating skills.




Positive keywords include communication, clarity of thought, balance and harmony, idealism, calmness, creativity, compassion, healing and self-sufficiency.

Negative keywords include boastfulness, secrecy, unreliability and reticence, fence-sitting, aloofness, deception and off-handedness.

Effects of Cyan:

Clarity of Thought: It enhances the ability to focus and concentrate, assisting with clear thinking and decision-making, and the development of good organizational skills.

Calming: It is calming yet invigorating, restoring depleted energies.

Non-emotional: A negative effect of turquoise is that it can cause people to be too aloof and to hide their emotional reactions.





Positive keywords include: sociable, optimistic, enthusiastic, cheerful, self-confident, independent, flamboyant, extroverted and uninhibited, adventurous, the risk-taker, creative flair, warm-hearted, agreeable and informal.

Negative keywords include: superficial and insincere, dependent, over-bearing, self-indulgent, the exhibitionist, pessimistic, inexpensive, unsociable, and overly proud.

Effects of Orange

Enthusiasm: Orange is optimistic and extroverted – the color of the uninhibited.

Rejuvenation: Orange helps to restore balance to our physical energies.

Stimulation: Orange is not as passionate or as excitable as red, but it is stimulating, particularly to the appetite – the worst color to have in the kitchen if you want to lose weight.

Courage: Orange helps us to take account of our lives, to face the consequences, to take action and make appropriate changes, and then to move onward and upward.

Vitality: Orange has a more balanced energy than red, not as passionate and aggressive, but full of vitality.



Positive keywords include: unusual and individual, creative and inventive, psychic and intuitive, humanitarian, selfless and unlimited, mystery, fantasy and the future.

Negative keywords include:immaturity, being impractical, cynical and aloof, pompous and arrogant, fraudulent and corrupt, delusions of grandeur and the social climber.

Effects of Purple/Violet:

Empathy: Compassion, kindness and a love of humanity are positive qualities of Violet.

Controlled emotion: Violet is passionate, like red, but inclined to display it in private only.

Respectable & distinguished: The darker shades of violet particularly are linked to the origins of purple where it was only available to royalty and the wealthy.

Impractical: Violet can be impractical, with its head in the clouds rather than having its feet on the ground. It tends to see life as it imagines it, rather than how it is.

Immature: Violet can be immature, encouraging fantasy and an idealism that is often difficult to achieve in real life.

Dignity: Violet exudes a quiet modest form of dignity which is often appealing to others.

Cynical: This is a negative side of violet.



Positive keywords include integrity and sincerity, structure and regulations, highly responsible, idealism, obedience, highly intuitive, practical visionary, faithful, devotion to the truth and selflessness.

Negative keywords include being fanatical, judgmental, impractical, intolerant and inconsiderate, depressed, fearful, self-righteous, a conformist, addictive, bigoted and avoiding conflict.

Effects of The Color Indigo:

Introspection: promotes deep concentration during times of introspection and meditation – can lead to feelings of being spaced out.

Idealistic: an ability to plan for the future.

Addiction: can support an addictive personality into maintaining their addictions – don’t use it if you are trying to overcome an addiction – it is associated with the religious fanatic – the colour of the workaholic who thinks they are indispensable – can also be related to those who are addicted to getting qualifications.

The Dramatist: relates to the acting profession – can cause people to ‘make a mountain out of a molehill’.

Conformity: a love of ritual – conformity to the things that have worked in the past, not just for the sake of conforming.




Positive keywords include: unconditional and romantic love, compassion and understanding, nurturing, romance, warmth, hope, calming, sweetness, naiveté, feminine and intuitive energy.

Negative keywords include: being physically weak, over-emotional and over-cautious, having emotional neediness or unrealistic expectations, being naive, immature and girlish, lack of will power and lack of self worth.

Effects of the Color Pink:

Calming: Pink calms our emotional energies.

Non-threatening: Pink lacks any aggression or anger, although the deeper pinks can be more assertive and confident.

Affectionate: Pink offers warmth and tenderness to friends and family.

Caring: Sensitivity and tender loving care relate to pink’s feminine and intuitive energies.

Immature: Pink is the color of the sweet young girl, before life’s experiences take over.



Positive keywords include: down-to-earth, wholesome, practical, approachable, friendly, stable, structured, supportive, comforting, reliable, protective, strength, quietly confident, sensual, sensitive, warm, reassured, honest, sincere, quality.

Negative keywords include: dull, boring, frugal, materialistic, lack of humour, lack of sophistication, predictable, cheap and stingy.

Effects of Brown:

Comforting: Sensual and warm, friendly and approachable, brown engulfs one in a feeling of calm and safety

Protective: creates a safe haven of support for family and friends

Materialistic: it encourages material security and the accumulation of possessions




Positive keywords include: reliable, conservative, dignified, neutral, impartial, professional, mature, intelligent, classic, solid, stable, calming, subdued, reserved, elegant, formal and dependable.

Negative keywords include:indecisive, non-emotional, indifferent, boring, sad, depressed, lifeless, lonely, isolated

Effects of Grey:

Indecision: Grey prefers to sit in the middle, not making a decision either way, sitting on the fence.

Detached: being non-emotional, grey can appear indifferent, uncaring, cold and aloof.

Depression: grey can stifle and depress energy but it is also the stable base from which the new and positive can come.

Unemotional: grey can appear neutral, disinterested, objective or impartial.



Positive keywords include: illumination, reflection, feminine power, balancing, calming, soothing, dignity, glamour, self control, responsibility, organization, insight, wisdom, modern, sleek, hi-tech and scientific.

Negative keywords include:dull, melancholy, lonely, lifeless and colorless, rigid, negative, neutral, indecisive, insincere, deceptive.

Effects of Silver:

Calming and soothing: its gentle and comforting qualities relate to the sensitivity of the moon’s cycle of ebb and flow.

Lifeless: the colourless energy of silver can lead to negative feelings of coldness, indecision and being non-committal.

Dignified and responsible: silver is respectable and courteous, mature and determined, wise and organised.



Positive keywords include: Success, abundance, wealth, understanding, self-worth, wisdom, compassion, love, passion, charisma, winning, optimistic, positive, and masculine.

Negative keywords: Fear of success, fear of wealth, self-centred, demanding, mean spirited, lack of trust, falseness.

Effects of Gold:

Enlightenment: gold, at its highest level, inspires knowledge, spirituality and a deep understanding of the self and the soul.

Compassion: caring, loving, generous and giving, gold is the benefactor or patron.

Generosity: gold loves to share its wisdom, knowledge and wealth with others.


WHITE (hahaha)

Positive keywords include: innocence, purity, cleanliness, equality, complete and whole, simplicity, immaculate and neat, self-sufficient, pristine and open, new beginnings.

Negative keywords include: sterile, stark, fastidious, empty, isolated, cautious, plain, distant, unimaginative, critical and boring.



Effects of White:

Impartial: White suggests fairness and neutrality because of the balance and equality of all the colors contained within it.

Rescuer: White rescues us from the dark. It is the white knight, rescuing the damsel in distress.

Futuristic: Symbolizing a clean slate, we can envisage anything with white.

Efficient: White is clean and clinical, giving an impression of efficiency and organization.




Positive keywords include protection and comfort, strong, contained, formal, sophisticated, seductive, mysterious, endings & beginnings.

Negative keywords include aloof, depressing and pessimistic, secretive and withholding, conservative and serious, power & control, sadness and negativity.

Effects of Black:

Formal, dignified and sophisticated: As in the little black dress and the formal dinner suit.

Aloof: Black sets itself aside from others with its heavy and intense energy. It keeps others at arm’s length.

Depressing: Black can close us to the positive aspects of life, forcing us to look at our disappointments and the black or negative aspects of our life. It can create a fear of the future.

Pessimistic: Too much black encourages us to look at the negative side of life.




Colour is a complex subject with many strands and it has the power to subliminally convey values and stories.

By stopping to consider what each colour represents and is linked to in the ‘real world’ we can make informed design decisions that ensure we appeal to our target audience.
















For this project, we were tasked to create designs with our personal interpretations on Nursery Rhymes, namely: Hey Diddle Diddle, Humpty Dumpty & The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe. This project was introduced to us after we did our research on the Elements and Principles of Design to give us an opportunity to apply what we have learnt.

I chose to go with Hey Diddle Diddle, primarily because I was in a group tasked to create image compositions for Hey Diddle Diddle. While creating the compositions, I developed some ideas for the Rhyme and chose to go along with them. The rhyme goes as follows:


Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle diddle,

The cat and the fiddle,

The cow jumped over the moon.

The little dog laughed to see such sport,

And the Dish ran away with the spoon.


Editing Stock Images

For the first part of our research, we were taught how to use Photoshop to edit stock images, firstly to convert them into halftone images, and then to recreate them to become more visually unique compositions. Here are some experimentations:

IMG_0360IMG_0361rsz_img_0363      IMG_0365IMG_0366

IMG_0367 IMG_0369      rsz_img_0371rsz_1img_0377

rsz_img_0381rsz_img_0383      rsz_img_0386rsz_img_0387



Playing around for compositional ideas

This is the part where it gets fun. Applying what I have understood on the Principles of Design, I began on creating a compositional image for each verse of “Hey Diddle Diddle”.


Hey Diddle Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle

Referencing from a dictionary, the word ‘ Diddle’ can be a verb – to swindle or hoax. The mood of my composition is therefore interpreted as such; with themes of untrustworthiness and illusion.

This composition is a combination of various images related to the whole rhyme (eg; whiskers are cows’ skulls, the face of the cat is a dish, it’s mouth is a moon, and it’s eyes are dog paw prints.) It can be seen as the cat actually being tucked away within every part of the rhyme, just like any preying swindler would naturally be behind the scenes of his target/s.

I tried to create a background themed to the stanza “the Cat and the Fiddle”, so I constructed a background wallpaper with negative hello kitty images and the Er Hu (a Chinese variant for a fiddle). However, the use of repetition did not work well for this composition, and the Hello Kitty images served little purpose except to distract the viewer from the main cat image. The only redeeming factor was the black ‘X’ that allows the eyes to be guided back to the main cat face.


        The use of Hello Kitties is questionable.



I therefore chose to keep the main cat face image as it carried the sinister feel that I intended, but scrapped the background. Multiple cat images are counteractive.


rsz_the_cat_and_the_fiddle                     Final Composition
         Avoid prolonged eye contact  @.@


The above image is my final composition for the first stanza of the rhyme. This background, in my opinion, reflected my newly acquired knowledge of applying the Principles of Design much more than the previous version. By placing concentric circles centred on the cat face, as well as adding more straight negative lines merging towards the centre of the image, it becomes easier for a viewer to see the emphasis on the cat face. As an added bonus, there is a heavier sinister impact. The various types of fiddles are placed along the circumference of the concentric circles, very much like a clock. This is reminiscent of how hypnotists employ the use of watches to hypnotise their subjects.

This was a deliberate attempt to ignore the rule of thirds by placing the primary subject in the centre of the composition, to allow everything else to revolve around and be directed towards it.




The Cow Jumped Over the Moon

My first interpretation of this stanza was that of a literal translation. I tried to replicate the zodiac of Taurus, jumping through the night sky and out of the sky via the cow patches. While this was an interesting perspective, the composition seemed extremely detached, and didn’t flow well despite attempting to incorporate certain design principles (i.e; repetition, movement). The use of movement in the moons drew attention away from the cow, which already had some difficulty being the dominant image due to it’s camouflage with the cow patches background. There was also a lack of balance and unity. I decided to discard this piece altogether.


cowpeh draft 0

   Unnecessary crescents streak across the sky.


My further research to create a new composition led me to themes of asian culture. The cow in this sense was conveyed with the Chinese character ‘niu’, which means cow in Mandarin. The yin yang symbol is also synonymous with the moon in some asian cultures. The use of repetition worked really well in this image. I attempted to make it seem like the characters were jumping out from behind the photoshopped ‘moon’ towards the viewer. The additional skewing of the characters gave the composition a greater depth and harmony as well. The Chinese characters were given a difference clouds effect to resonate with the fact that the moon is seen in the sky. However, it still seemed a bit plain.

Cowpeh draft 1

Moon’s central placement seems boring

The final piece was then created by displacing the dominant object (the yin yang moon) from the centre and adding the concentric hexagons. The hexagons were inspired by oriental pagodas and as a result, the theme for this composition is clear and harmonious. It also becomes very easy on the eyes.


                           Final Composition                                    Rule of Thirds: Much more visual appeal.


With only 3 types of images, the composition becomes far more sophisticated and that allowed me to appreciate the importance of the various principles of design. There is also an air of mysticism about this image that I like.




The Little Dog Laughed to see such Sport

For this interpretation, I revolved my idea around the literal meaning of Sport. The dog in this image is a assembly of various types of sporting equipment (The ears are tennis rackets, the torso is a rugby ball, the head is a baseball helmet, and the eye is a tennis ball, just to name a few.)  I then constructed a collage wallpaper from a multitude of sports-related logos before slightly skewing it to add depth and place as a background.


The Little dog draft 1


I found that there was a lack of movement (not that it was completely necessary) in this composition, so I added a curved track bearing semblance to a 400m olympic race track. The stars signified the dog’s laughter. This came about when my friend and I were amused with eating popping candy that crackled and popped upon contact with the tongue.  Besides, the stars used in such a manner would hardly be associated with any negative emotions, so it was a safe bet to relate it to ‘Laughed’.

The Little dog draft 2

                A rather messy composition.

This would have been my final composition if I didn’t have the niggling feeling that the high amount of detail in the sports logos background constantly drew some attention away from the primary subject (the dog). The whole frame seemed rather messy and a little difficult to follow. I therefore simplified the background.



             Final Composition: Much cleaner.


The final composition has a faded raceflag as the background. It was much less convoluted as opposed to the previous composition. A raceflag also bears heavy connotations to sports, especially in F1 and Grand Prix events. In fact, it can almost be seen as a visual synonym of ‘racing’. Because it is much more visually subtle as well, attention is not driven (pun unintended) away from the intended dominant dog construction. The dog and track are kept in the foreground easily also because dark objects appear to have more weight when placed with lighter images. The race track is kept because it adds movement to the composition.



And the Dish ran away with the Spoon.

A common visualisation would be to display a personification of both dish and spoon running off together. I therefore decided to keep the dish and spoon simply as what they are: a dish and a spoon. However, I depicted the dish being used as a wheel for a unicycle.  I thought it was an interesting composition on its own. I really loved the sophistication of this image in all its simplicity. However, it did not address the stanza of having the dish RUN off with the spoon. It merely resembled a balancing act.

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Plus it looked like a minimal effort kind of work.


Adding diagonal movement lines of varying tonal value gave a better visual effect of hurrying off quickly.

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Now it looks like they are indeed speeding off .

I felt that it wasn’t enough still. I tried to displace it from the centre again and added more movement lines.

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Decentralised unicyclist is more visually                                           comfortable.

However, I still wanted to give it a much greater sense of movement to really capture the idea of the word ‘run’.



     Final Composition: The Flash on a unicycle

Adding the alternating wedges as a background gave the varied tonal lines a more pronounced 3 dimensional effect. The residual apparitions of the unicyclist also added emphasis on the speed of the unicyclist. Playing around with this composition really value-added my experience of working with compositing images for design.

Balance, unity, scale, dominance, movement, repetition and contrast. These methods in a designer’s arsenal can make or break a composition. When used correctly, the collective use of these methods can give an image far more visual depth and interest.

Before understanding the principles of design, it is important to first know the elements of design. They can be encompassed by the following:

  • LINE
    Line can be considered in two ways. The linear marks made with a pen or brush or the edge created when two shapes meet. (I think we all have had enough of line from Project 1.)



    A shape is a self contained defined area of geometric or organic form. A positive shape in a painting automatically creates a negative shape.



    All lines have direction – Horizontal, Vertical or Oblique. Horizontal suggests calmness, stability and tranquillity. Vertical gives a feeling of balance, formality and alertness. Oblique suggests movement and action. There is much more than One Direction.



  • SIZE
    Size matters, and is “simply” the relationship of the area occupied by one shape to that of another.



    Texture is the surface quality of a shape – rough, smooth, soft hard glossy etc. Texture can be physical (tactile) or visual.



    Also called Hue.



    Value is the lightness or darkness of a colour. It can also be used to create a three-dimensional effect. Value is also called Tone. Remember Chiaroscuro guys?




Now for the serious stuff.

Principles applied to the Elements of Design bring them together into one design.

How one applies these principles determines how successful a design may be!

The Principles of Design can be summarised as follows:

  1. BALANCE is a state of equalized tension and equilibrium, which may not always be calm.
    For example, A large shape close to the center can be balanced by a small shape close to the edge. A large light toned shape will be balanced by a small dark toned shape (the darker the shape the heavier it appears to be).balance
  2. UNITY is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which creates a sense of completeness. A good balance between unity and variety must be established to avoid a chaotic or a lifeless design.
  3. PROPORTION is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate well with each other.
    Using the relative size of elements against each other can attract attention to a focal point. When elements are designed larger than life, scale is being used to show drama.
  4. DOMINANCE gives a painting interest, counteracting confusion and monotony. Dominance can be applied to one or more of the elements to give emphasis.
  5. CONTRAST is the juxtaposition of opposing elements eg. opposite colours on the colour wheel – red / green, blue / orange etc. Contrast in tone or value – light / dark. Contrast in direction – horizontal / vertical.
    An image without contrast is uneventful so the key is to find the balance between similarity and contrast.
  6. MOVEMENT is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the artwork, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines edges, shape and colour within the artwork.
  7. REPETITION can sometimes be categorised under a method to establish unity, since the repetition of elements of design creates unity within the work of art.
    Any repeating element should include a degree of variation to create interest.


Visual Design elements and principles describe fundamental ideas about the practice of good visual design.However, as stated by William Lidwell (a professor and consultant on matters of design), the best designers sometimes disregard the principles of design. Yet, there is usually some compensating merit attained at the cost of the violation. Unless you are certain of doing as well, it is best to abide by the principles.



An A1 frame was used for the final submission.



A thick, unkempt line is streaked across the strip, with barely any effort displayed. A black marker is used as the medium to cover a bigger and darker area in a short time.

In this case the process is also a defining statement to the concept of the given emotion.


A uniform string of two-dimensional dots is uncomfortably broken by a 3D square which stands out untactfully in terms of its size, shape and position relative to the dots.

A black micron pen is used to show clarity and allow the neat design to enhance the awkward situation attempted.


From a single point or dot pierced through a white strip of paper, the strip is quickly torn apart halfway in different directions.

The same is done with a black strip which then overlaps the white strip to give a protruding physical 3D effect. The raw, physical tears are intentional to exude an air of an outward-lashing aggressiveness, like a wild beast clawing it’s way out of incarceration.


Turbulence never feels flat, which is why a 3D strip was constructed from kitchen paper soaked in a mixture of glue and black Chinese ink.  It is then molded in a rocky structure and stuck on the strip to dry. More black paint is then swathed over the dried product to give it a bumpier gravel effect.


Swirly lines that weave and intertwine with each other show the fluidity of a lyrical mood. This is further emphasized with varying loops that the lines make and their varying gradual thickness. Micron pen used.



A bizarre line would be far from uniform or calm. Without giving my marks too much intention, I made the lines with jumpy, quick and erratic movements.

The contrast of negative space is then used in the diagonal halves of the strip to make the design even odder.


A medium-sized paintbrush is immersed into a mixture of Chinese ink and water, and then flicked onto a white strip in random directions.


I envisioned psychotic as someone whose brain has snapped like a frayed rope tearing apart from overload. I used deep, dark, jagged lines to intensify the malevolence of this strip. Outstretched roots and veins are portrayed to seem like they are desperately trying to grab hold of whatever they can in order to feel complete again.


Measuring every grid down to the millimeter, Tetris-inspired blocks are added and fitted to each other such that every block fits perfectly with one another.


This strip is deliberately placed beside ‘Systematic’ to juxtapose how being indecisive does not work well with being systematic. The result would be a poor attempt to fit everything nicely, just like how decisive planning in life is also crucial.


I used oval shaped dots to assimilate footprints walking to and fro continuously. I myself am guilty of pacing about whenever I feel anxious or excited. I was satisfied with this version because they also bore some resemblance to crawling ants, which give a good number of individuals an uneasy feeling.



A very thin vine is drawn with a trembling hand, which splits and curls away from the sheer lack of thickness every now and then.


Two interwoven lines are illustrated, both with fading thickness, one smothering the other from above and below. Whenever the two faded regions meet, it creates a deeper contrast to the rest of the strip.


Character is given to the graphite strokes, as if it requires immense effort to simply create a constant dark tone. Numerous attempts are made to create as many dark tones as it can with minimal success.


This was supposed to carry the same idea as that of Draft 2, whereby a series of horizontally aligned squares would lose its linear focus and trail off. However, a genuine mistake was made due to a lack of focus where the supposed pencil-marked squares were supposed to be outlined by a marker. Instead, the empty spaces between the squares were outlined into squares, thus leaving a pencil-marked square without a marker outline.


This pattern is an optical illusion-inspired piece, where it is seemingly a solid object, perhaps the legs of a table. Yet, on closer scrutiny, there is a flaw in every repetition.


Concentric circles are still used just like in the first 2 drafts, but the lines are now solid instead of perforated and not symmetrical. This is to give the design an inward sliding effect, as if to plunge into a never ending pit to escape from the embarrassment of a situation.


Odd and simple objects are used in this minimalist approach. The objects all possess little to no relation to each other to effect a queer and undecided atmosphere.

It can mean something, or it can mean nothing.


The panels were arranged for aesthetic tidiness by pairing them horizontally: The darker strips side by side, and the 3D strips adjacent to one another. They were also paired with like mediums used.

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.”.


This was the guiding quote by artist Paul Klee that got us all started on our very first 2D assignment. This single statement is simple enough to understand; you get a line from moving a dot and allowing it to leave a trail which ultimately becomes your line. Understanding what it means was easy. Executing it to evoke emotion is the tricky part.


This project incited immense frustration in me, yet by the end of it I gained a sense of appreciation for this simple, yet sophisticated project. There was only so much one could do with abstract lines. How is it that one can express emotion without facial expressions or body gestures, but only through mere lines?





I started my first draft by attempting to immerse myself in a particular emotion before allowing my hand to guide my pencil (the only medium I used for my first draft) to create marks on a piece of paper.



Before beginning with each strip, I searched the meaning of each word on the dictionary. I knew most of the words, but perhaps the concise definitions given would give me deeper insight into each emotion.





Most Singaporeans use Whatsapp, a messaging app on smartphones which display different indications that can signify if one has received, or even read your particular text. The infamous blue double-ticks serve to notify you should the receiver open your text to read it. I was in a conversation with my mother, regarding why I was not home even after spending a night out without informing her. She was clearly irate, so I felt rather uneasy throughout the whole conversation, and each time I received the double-ticks my heart pumped a little harder.

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In hindsight and after reviewing it with my professor, embellishing the strip labelled ‘Anxious’ with double-ticks turned out to be a poor representation of anxiety. Ticks are generally associated with positivity. You get a tick for a right answer. You mark a tick next to something you have completed on a to-do list. Contentment and satisfaction were more relatable to the ticks I drew. A complete revamp on this rejected design was called for.





Embarrassment is not a nice feeling to have. For myself and probably many others, this emotion causes one to want to run away or disappear from the particular situation that incites this emotion.  I drew concentric circles with perforated lines to signify obstacles that impede me from quickly crawling into the hole in the centre and hide from the rest of the world until it was safe for my ego to emerge again.

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For this strip, I tried to imagine a situation where nothing really made sense and everything was whimsical and quirky. An overturned landscape. A black lake floating in mid-air. A grinning Cheshire cat fading into oblivion. A bizarre line would be far from uniform or calm. Without giving my marks too much intention, I made the lines with jumpy, quick and erratic movements.


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I deliberately saved this for last. It was already late, so after finishing seventeen strips and writing an essay for another module, I returned to this work, mentally drained. It was the perfect feeling for this task. I didn’t even want to hold my pencil upright anymore. I held it on its side, like how one would hold a pencil to shade larger areas. It was quicker this way and I could go to bed faster. I recalled how my pen would drift off on my paper whenever I was writing something and fell asleep midway. The marks would get lighter and lighter until I wasn’t really creating any more marks. This was the driving concept for my strip of Exhaustion.

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Glass, cracks, and smooth porcelain. These were all well for representing fragility. What struck me as fragile, however, was witnessing a millimeter-thin vine creeping up a tree trunk. As if it wasn’t thin enough, it split off into two like a vein. It needed the support of the gargantuan tree trunk to reach higher and taste the sunlight that ironically, the tree was blocking it from.




One of my favourite games, Tetris, came to mind. Falling blocks of different shapes would have to be methodically arranged for all the blocks to fit snugly without any jarring holes created from wrong block placements. In fact, this OCD-inducing game would temporarily change the way I saw my surroundings. Furniture or items on the table would be watered down to simple blocks and arranged to fit nicely to each other: It was addictive, and it was systematic.

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Poems. Rhymes. Music. Flow is paramount in evoking a lyrical effect. It can be fast or slow, and it can calm or exciting, but ultimately it brings one on a journey where there are twists and turns, loops and dips. These thoughts were then made physical into the lines that I scribed onto the strip.

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This word is arguably most commonly heard in context of a plane flight. Experiencing turbulence feels similar to how one would feel when on a raging sea complete with colossal waves that crest in the skies and trough in the valleys. The Great Wave off Kanagawa by the Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai showed just that, so I tried to replicate some of that on the strip of turbulence. And then I thought how this would impact an otherwise neutral line. I guess messy sine curves was my interpretation.

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Curly scribbles and going around in messy loops was how I portrayed Nonsensical. I made a deliberate attempt not to be uniform or have a sense of direction like how I did “Lyrical”. Some parts were made darker, some were made more concentrated; all for no good reason at all. Wouldn’t that be the essence of nonsense?

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For this draft, I drew a thin line across the strip, and then covered it with chaotic loops over and over again until the line could hardly be seen. The line was intended to represent the sanity of a human brain, and the loops signify all the troubles and frustrations that weigh down on someone. With enough mass, the singular line can hardly be seen anymore, or even be made out and that was how I decided to show how one can lose his or her sanity.

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Unfortunately, this idea of portrayal turned out to be a little too abstract for viewers’ understanding. One might even guess the emotion to be turbulent or ambiguous.




Taking a minimalistic stance on this approach, I imagined a white room with a button or a joystick, without any instruction or sign, a la the architect’s room as seen in The Matrix. I then asked a friend to decipher what emotion I was trying to portray. He shrugged his shoulders and I knew this was the response I wanted.

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I began on this strip after searching for a movie to watch online. The movie played and I started to sketch a random pattern.

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However, I ended up focusing on completing the pattern more than actually watching the movie. It was like I was distracted from the movie instead. This attempt needed an overhaul.





When one is more sensitive to his or her surroundings, even the lightest touch or breath will ignite the nerves and send sparks down the spine. This was the notion that I wanted to manifest in this strip, that no hard or definite lines were necessary to evoke arousal.

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 I felt that I had to add a little more to prevent it from appearing too sloven.


I had to search up this word on the dictionary. What I understood of this word was that it is used to describe negligence and being slipshod. To execute this in my strip, I drew some scrawny, could-not-care-less pathetic lines. I attempted to feel the meaning of the word. Sloven, sloven, sloven.

The more I enunciate the word, the more it bore semblance to an onomatopoeia. The lack of effort and thought in this given strip should produce the same effect.

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Finally, another positive emotion after Lyrical, even if it isn’t explicitly positive. I was beginning to get a little depressed from this project so beginning on spontaneity definitely gave me some breathing room. Being spontaneous to me would be defined as acting happily on impulse, combusting from one action to another without pausing to give much thought. Given that this was my defining statement, I tried to replicate it in the strokes of my lines. From each dot, I stroked outwards quickly, spontaneously, until I ended up with a series of quick, short strokes angled at various directions.

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And once again I was hurtled away from any cheerful expression and into a very bold, spiky emotion. I thought I had this down. Using a 6B graphite pencil instead of 2B, I lashed out on the strip, creating deep, dark horizontal streaks. I confidently showed this to my professor, only to find out that it wasn’t fierce enough. It was true. I needed something more. I needed something aggressive.

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How do you make something like a dot or a line awkward? By making it stand out, by making it different in an uncomfortable manner. In human relations, awkward situations arise from saying or doing something that lacked social grace or tact. FullSizeRender 7




“Maybe I’ll start off with polka dots. Perhaps a trail of dots increasing in size would make more sense. Should I cluster the circles together instead? Make them smaller, no, bigger.” I tried to capture the essence of indecisiveness in this manner. With each change in the pattern, I made deliberate cancellation marks to enhance the indeterminate nature of this strip.

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However, I felt that this attempt was so fixed and purposeful that the intention backfired on itself. Aptly, this strip was left unresolved.






For the second draft, I realized that while scribbling whatever I felt on paper was effective in displaying the particular emotion for my own understanding, some emotions were simply too similar to another emotion or too enigmatic for the next viewer to understand or grasp the emotion I was attempting to evoke.


I understood that I did not have to change my concept; there was no right or wrong in art, but I wanted my viewers to appreciate the lines I produced and bring out whatever emotion from them that I was tasked to create in each strip. My approach changed from purely creating lines with raw emotion to making sense with more relatable lines. Thus began my tweaking process and further experimentation with various lines in various mediums.





This time, I used oval shaped dots to assimilate footprints walking to and fro continuously. I myself am guilty of pacing about whenever I feel anxious or excited. I was satisfied with this version because they also bore some resemblance to crawling ants, which give a good number of individuals an uneasy feeling.

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No change except to make the concentric circles an even more realistic ripple effect.

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This version was pretty similar to the first draft, but I used two different mediums instead (Micron pen and H pencil) to give it a more contrasting and almost creepy character.

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Instead of a single gradient fade, I depicted a shading that faded in and out of oblivion to enhance the display of exhaustion despite numerous attempts to have a constant dark shade.

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Made the vine-looking line less straight and drawn even lighter to really bring out its fragile nature.

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While the idea was the same as my first draft, I added pencil grids to make the strip look even neater and ultimately more systematic.




The same design was used, but this time the lines were given varying thickness to add to the expressive flair of the produced line.

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Unchanged. However, I felt that I could do better in the next attempt. While thinking about how I could go about doing this after finishing the second draft, I stumbled upon the tissue I used to wipe black ink off my hands…

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No change, except to create a slightly bigger contrast between dark and light marks.

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This time, I envisioned psychotic as someone whose brain has snapped like a frayed rope tearing apart from overload. I used deep, dark, jagged lines to intensify the malevolence of this strip. Outstretched roots and veins are portrayed to seem like they are desperately trying to grab hold of whatever they can in order to feel complete again. I was satisfied with this interpretation of Psychoticism.

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The minimalist approach was still kept, but the figures drawn in the strip were adjusted to bear even less relation to one another to give the viewer an utter lack of finding any link or meaning in said figures.

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Initially uniform squares are then slowly losing their linear focus and start to overlap each other. While this pattern was just as deliberate as the last, it made much more viewership sense. People who see it now have a higher likelihood of guessing the emotion accurately.

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This time I created two gradients, both soft, ebbing and flowing with each other. I believe that having two beings together increased the level of arousal.

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Instead of a few lines, this next draft only included a single lazy and pathetic line. I felt that while I probably gave too little effort into this strip, it made the line even more fitting to the task.

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The design for spontaneous remained relatively similar. The only difference is that some of the streaks were made thicker and bolder, to signify that spontaneity doesn’t just stop at making single marks out on a whim, but can vary in thickness and contrast just as quickly and as easily. It is deliberate, but at the same time not calculated.

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I tried, this time, drawing a rock like surface cracking from the sheer power of a lesser pencil mark spearing through. I still could not get this emotion down, and to think I thought of this as the easiest when I first started on this project.

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No change from Draft 1.

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No change as well, but to vary the cancelled out patterns even more instead of using only circles. After all, with greater choice comes greater decisions.

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Some of the designs made it into my final work. Others required tweaking or a complete overhaul which can be seen in my Line Work post, especially those that lacked enough relativity for viewers to have a rough concept or understanding of each strip. The completion of this second draft gave me many ideas in execution and style for my final work.