And so it begins.

I began this project with hesitation as I felt that there was no aim and goals as the letter forms were barely shown. Upon receiving the brief, I knew however, what art direction I wanted to take : Fashion Magazine Editorial.

Garance Dore

Megan Hess

My sad attempt.

I began most of my work with a composition setting as seen below and I tried to sketch a form to fit the typeface composition that I have created. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a good move.


Harper’s Bazaar 2013

Harper’s Bazaar Mexico 2013 January 

I decided to try another approach, drawing silhouettes onto the typographical compositions that I have created and then fill it in later.

The interaction seems to fit well and the letterforms are being fitted well. But after various consultation with Joy and attempting to fit clothings on the figure, I discovered it was a horrendous failure.

Looks like grandma clothes instead of being a model.

Slowly, I ended going back to my first love, Malika Favre.

Malika Favre, Vanity Fair

But I have already took her as an inspiration last semester… So I decided to create a different take of this style. Adapting the use of negative space but bringing my own hide-and-seek sexy twist. Since clothings do not fit well, I have completely omitted it and let the androgynous silhouettes take precedence in the work.

It’s really not easy to think of ways to play with these compositions but I didn’t want to make the letters of my name JEN too obscured. I wanted to promote the job and the person at the same time. If you cannot read the letters, then how would you know who’s the beautiful person behind the job?

Based on the above, after consultation, I felt like the barista and the art critic wasn’t sexy enough. Joy also commented that I should play more with the shadows and the silhouettes. Since my characters were already not meant to be proportionate but to be irresistibly salacious, here begins the grand edit.

At the end of the day, I made the Taitai do more Taitai things, like pedicure, the model be in a photoshoot, the art critic studying a work, having a pile of books and trying to update the ART TRENDS website and for the barista to look like a seduction curvaceous bombshell making that latte art for the customer.

Overall, I felt that I stayed true to what I wanted to do. The main challenge I had was to keep it minimalistic, but salacious and sexy. I felt that I managed to do it, but during consultations, my frustration would be between adding more secondary elements to interact with the letterforms or to stop and remove.

The use of Didot (typeface) was a smart move to me because Bodoni, a popular fashion magazine typeface, was too bulbous and Didot had a good balance between the thick and thin and transits very well to allow me to form a composition with the characters.

Truthfully, I do want to be as sexy as my characters and try all 4 jobs at least once in a lifetime. Okay, maybe not barista because I risk dropping the coffee.

2D – Ego

My ego creative process can only be described as one thing : excruciating.

In a nut shell, this was my art board on illustrator. I will be going in depth on work flow and creative process.


When I first conceptualised my “Me” I knew that I wanted my style to be reminiscent of Malika Favre.

I wanted the minimalist and gestalt look and style. This was something I never done before in my 5 years doing graphic design and illustration. Usually my illustration style is very lifelike and very ostentatious.

My First Set.

When I did my first set, I wanted to talk about my obsession with staying relatively in size.

On illustrating me, I wanted it to look chic, because to be a beauty, you need to be chic and beautiful.

From my first set, I wanted to play with patterns and make it a recurring motif across all my sets. I used the triad colour harmony and for my first set, I used fuchsia, cyan and yellow.

On the left was my initial illustration. I referenced this from Malika Favre.

I wanted the very chic, fashion beauty that Malika Favre’s work shows.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t very satisfied with my initial work, that’s why I added shadows to my neck and coloured my lips. This use of subtle shadows allows me to create depth to my work and allows my bright colours to pop.

For feeling fat. Initially I thought of using a darker deeper colour. But I ended up keeping the colours consistently and made use of the line motifs. To play on the gestalt motif I changed the colour of my character and certain elements to match the background to increase the negative space effect.

Upon my consultation with my tutor, she told me to work on my proportions and therefore I ended up with another panel. where my character is shorter.

I also ended up working on shadows. Shadows to me allows me show my prowess in choosing colour. Because the shadows are essentially toggling the brightness over individual lines.

For going for a run. I wanted to keep it simple. I thought that I could make a running on a track character. But I thought, running to the horizon was more interesting, because it made me feel like I’m running away from my problems.

Set Two

For me, I knew what I wanted. I wanted a happy adventurous look.

This was my reference image. I loved how she used the red to insinuate the hair.

For this set, I wanted to focus on polka dots and carried this motif throughout my set. Furthermore, I used the same colour motif as the previous set, because, triad doesn’t have much to choose from anyway.

Firstly, I thought of talking about off peak hours as 3 o-clock. I canvassed a few people to see if they under stood what my image meant. Unfortunately not everyone did and someone suggested ERP. Because, ERP only off when it’s off peak! Get it? haha.

The next was going to the museum. I did the one on the left at first and didn’t like how it looked. It looked too sterile and had no dimensions. I got inspired by this.

I wanted my character to blend in more to the surroundings because it emulated my thoughts on blending into the background when I am at the museum. Also, I added the blue portion walls to create a dimensional effect to make it seem like there are walls in front and at the back. Doing so this would allow me to play with the colours.

Third Set

My third set, I wanted to look FASHUN. I wanted to show how much I love luxury clothes and runway.

The “me” I portrayed was a dark, slightly hippy a bit preppy me, but I don’t really dress like this actually. I used the checkered pattern and the dark cool colours, green and purple with the darker orange.

I used these as my reference to be more chic and stylish.

For Payday, I used the idea of the calendar at first. However, I felt that no one gets it. I then tried to make a calendar with an ATM but people still didn’t get the idea of Payday!

So after consultation with my tutor on finding the imagery of payday, I decided to make a person holding an envelope with money. Because it can mean more than just payday. It could mean allowance, or getting cash.

and that leads me to the last one, my favourite of all 12 panels.

When I first did it, I was half awake and trying to make some ends meet. When I finished, I was barely awake, but I fell in love with it. It looked so drippy and minimalistic. The use of gestalt and minimalism supplemented with the checkered flooring to make it look like a carpet, while the darker checkered pattern above looked like ceiling lights. It was just an incredible accident that made this work cohesive and I decided to just leave it.

Last but not least,

Fourth Set

The last set, I wanted me to look like this,

I guess I managed to get that effect and look! Instead of a fedora, I gave my “me” a spotlight To make the shadows and the character pop against a darker background as the green I selected was quite pastel in tone.

Also, doing this set, I decided I wanted to use blocks of colours. Meaning, no more patterns but just full on details. At this point, it was also when my Macbook crashed on me (boohoo).

I used the United Square Starbucks as a reference.

and recreated this cafe look. I wanted to ensure that my cafe looked… like a cafe.

Last but not least, I did the people watching frame. I basically used my cafe frame and inserted people inside and make a character watch it through the lens.

I used this framing at first, but I thought the focus should be people watching, not the cafe. So I should be focused on the people instead of the scene in the cafe.

Finally, I explained all my 12 panels.

I think, I could’ve done better by pushing myself in details and lighting, but I have much to learn and this project only further teaches me how to use a cohesive colour palette to make my work more attractive and helps to make certain parts POP!

2D – More artist references

I have been a fan of Malika Favre since forever. Seeing her work decorate the walls of Sephora is such an awe.

I love how she can be so minimal and so detail at the same time. Her work while vector, is so expressive with the use of colour. I really love her work. Teehee.

Yusuke Nakamura is another vector artist known for his album covers for the Japanese Rock band, ASIAN KUNGFU GENERATION. His distincstyle is his character design juxtaposed by detailed and complex illustrations. I love his use of that black outline mixed with the vibrant colours and well-composed artwork.

Another artist which I have been following very closely is Marumiyan, who has been moving towards 3D works lately. His 2D works are well illustrated vector works supplemented with stock vectors of flowers. The stylistic beauty of it lies with the composition and the bright vibrant use of colours. He also uses the idea of gestalt to create a high contrast figure combined with vibrant colours for facial details.

Another artist I like is Yukari Terakado.

She has a strong sense of portrait works which I enjoy the feminine qualities of of her work.

Another artist which I love and want to try to emulate is Tran Nguyen.

She has well composed portraits which she supplements with unrelated objects and it creates a different setting. I love the expression of her characters. There is an idea of forlorn and strength and her sense of scale is amazing as well, composing figures that are just unimaginably striking.

Victo is an award winning illustrator known for her simple and striking graphics, the great use of perspective, colour, and composition. She uses this to her advantage to create complex, yet well composed images to sell her story. I really like her works because there’s a very good use of colour palette and she is able to go the gradient work so well without making it look too metallic.

2D – And another bites the dust.

My last quote to explore,

So, my little Amélie, you don’t have bones of glass. You can take life’s knocks.

This was when Mr Dufayel told Amelie that she would need to get out of her comfort zone to pursue the man she loves. She cannot wait anymore and she can take it because she isn’t made of glass like Mr Dufayel.

Draft 1. The most literal and banal. Literally you are made of bones, the world will knock you but you won’t break. Obviously it looked too simple.

Draft 2, I then explored the idea of knocking on a skull and what better way to illustrate this than a door knocker. It seemed a little too plain, so I added “people” to knock the door after.

Draft 3, I really liked that this work wasn’t as symmetrical as my previous few works and there was interaction and movement to it. I do feel however, it does not encapsulate the quote anymore.

Out of whim, I created a draft 4, which was a wine glass that was made of bones. It looked more like a chalice, but you get the drift. I did this because I thought wine glasses were fragile and that it being made of bones would augment the idea. However, I did not take into account that I need to show life knocking.

It brings me to draft 5. However, this then makes me feel like “Amelie” personified by the bone wine glass is hurting the glass objects when knocked onto it. It then reverses the idea to Amelie being to strong and hurting Dufayel, which is… incorrect.

Draft 6, I then recalled an idea of repetition to show strength and emphasis. I decided to repeat the broken wine glasses around the bone-glass. In the it shows that no matter what, the glass shatters but the bones remain intact. I guess I made my point here.

After consulting Mimi, she said that my chalice looks too photoshopped and I should make it more crafted instead of a human body. I should also make the glasses smaller to make the chalice stand out.

Using segments of a human skeletal system, I re-crafted the chalice to look more like a glass than a skeletal system. I also used the idea of emphasis to augment the intention of strength. Overall I am quite happy how this turned out. It’s not my usual route to do something like this. I would either go full illustrative or full pattern, but this is a simple idea which resulted from me editing concept execution to be concise.

Post-assignment. I really learnt how to be concise with myself. I need to keep doing that so that I can be a stronger designer, balancing ostentatiousness with good design. I think the pit fall of many people is that they want their works to look pretty and grandeur, but their concept breaks apart and their work needs to be heavily explained. The design no longer speaks for itself.

Overall, I want to reach the level in which people get my work without the need of explanation. They get my intentions and they get my designs.

Inspiration for My Strange Encounter

Taken from Q-TA’s website. Click here for website.

Japanese Artist Q-TA uses multiple images to construct images for his clients. These images fit his clients such as Majolica Majorca, and ISETAN JP by demonstrating a quirky and whimsical visual language for their brand. His work captivates through usage of human figures and distortion of form by combining it with elements and colours that fit his intended mood. He mainly distorts perception through the enlarging of his figures and displacing them with a cosmic background or a warped landscape and uses a centred composition to capture attention.

Many of his other works have a fashion focus and relates to the audience by putting the figure at the foreground, creating a ‘breaking the fourth wall” effect.

Work by Amsyar Ashaary. Click Here for Portfolio.

Amsyar Ashaary captivates by storytelling through collages. He uses vintage character images, dystopian landscapes with vector graphics to create fresh settings, in which he distorts the viewers perception of time and place. He also uses a mainly cool colours like purple and cyan that are pleasing to the eye and does not force attention to the audience. While most collage artists would work with found images, Amsyar Ashaary does not hesitate to create his own graphics to fit into his narrative and to expand his image vocabulary. Doing so, it gives him more flexibility in crafting his image to augment his narrative.

Unlike Q-Ta, who has a more fashion focus, Amsyar Ashaary creates with no client in mind, thus it gives him the freedom to create settings that are more odd and unexpected.