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01 My Line is Emo: Final

This is my final post for Project 1: My Line is Emo! Here are some links to my process and research.

Part (1/3) Mark Making Research 

Part (2/3) Process/Experimental Stage

Part (3/3) Final Outcome (This post)

After the consultation, I worked on my theme and my 6 chosen emotions.



I named my project “Vivid Dreams” as my concept was to explore and understand how dreams and the subconscious mind can relate to emotions. I picked significant moments in my life which was impactful to the point where I actually dreamt about them.

“Dreams” is an interesting theme. By studying how the subconscious mind and dreams work, I hope to be able to amplify certain emotions and express myself even better – conceptually and visually.


LOVE ; they say ‘love is like a drug’, I say that’s true.

With the use of paintbrushes and diluted ink, I drew thin and light brush strokes intersecting. It looks like strings intertwined, a symbol of love, and that they are floating rhythmically. I used pen and pencils to draw over the water colour brush strokes to accentuate the direction. These lines altogether, guide the eyes – left being the starting point and to the right, where it seems as though it is floating freely. In my opinion, love and happiness coincide. One can view this as love and the feeling of ecstasy because you’re in love.


CONTENTMENT ; I found happiness in the simplest things in life.

Sometimes, it’s the small things in life that truly brings us happiness. If we keep wanting more, then there will never be an end to when we will be satisfied with what we have. I portrayed contentment as full circles of different sizes and gradients – representing how individuals perceive contentment differently. Rounder shapes tend to give off a lighter and happier mood. Mixed with shapes of different scales, it creates a sense of depth, movement and unity.


FEAR ; I fear losing my happiness.

Although I do not show what I fear, deep down inside, I am constantly worried about the unfortunate things that might happen. Being jaded, I would want to cling onto my happiness as much as possible – but life is never fair. I represent my fear with rounder and softer shapes as compared to distinctive sharp ones as I feel that my kind of fear is subtle yet it can accumulate to become overwhelming. Although I used more organic shapes, which may sometimes contradict the emotion of fear, the uneven edges of the watercolour patches and lines represent uncertainty and uneasiness. The water colour spreads out on the paper unevenly with a gradient, representing the fear (the darkest portion) and how it slowly gets to me (represented by the thin contour lines, showing a spreading movement as well), until I hit the point of extreme anxiety.


INSECURITY ; Trapped in an abyss of negative thoughts, when will I ever get out?

To portray insecurity, the act of repetitive negatives thoughts, I used brushes and circled them on the paper, creating layers. In this particular emotion, I felt that the cropping was extremely important – whether to centralise the circular patterns or not. I finally decided on centralizing it as it was more balanced and that it gave a sense of direction inwards.

Inspired by Sol Lewitt’s Scribbles, I felt that insecurity and the automatic technique used with different densities go well together.

Earlier versions: Made with brushes, crushed paper and crushed news paper. (Left to right)

My earlier versions of insecurity were mainly experimenting with layers of paint, using crushed paper, tissue paper, etc. My aim was to create a radial gradient that showed layers of ink.


RAGE ; Chaos from within.

These marks started off as experimental marks made with knives/sharp carving tools on paper. I liked the cuts on the paper because of its texture and how expressive and meaningful the marks were. I made several versions and finally decided on one with had more depth. I painted the background black and made scratch marks by using different kinds of sharp tools, some with white paint on them. If you were to look (or feel) closely, the final piece had a horizontal gradient of black in the background and also in the textures (top being the most concentrated).

Earlier versions: Black ink on white paper, black ink on black background (2nd and 3rd) and black and white ink on black background. (Left to right)

I started of scratching up the white paper with black ink, but I felt that it lacked expression. Thus, I made more versions with a black background and played with different sharp tools.


SURPRISE ; Expect the unexpected.          

Inspired by the masking tape layering technique by Ed Moses, I used masking tape in the middle as I splattered paint onto the paper. I wanted to emphasise on the contrast between the blank space and the marks – representing ambiguity. It was also interesting to me as the focus point was actually the blank space, rather than the marks.



Comments from Joy:

Overall, it was good

  • how I considered using different types of paper to create the marks
  • how I emphasized cropping (for insecurity)
  • how I used lines, contour lines (even though subtle), in my work (love & fear) and explained it with how it had a sense of direction and flow.
  • if I were to split my emotions into 2 boards (love, happiness, fear & insecurity, rage, surprise) – one has more deliberate shapes, the other has more of an automatic approach.

Comments from my classmates:

  • Nicely done and well thought through.
  • Loved the explanation and emotions
  • Liked the compositions
  • Some mentioned favorites were fear, surprise, contentment and insecurity.



Upon completing “My Line is Emo”, I felt that this project had a great potential to explore how I am able to express my emotions on paper – using various mediums, tools and materials. Although these may seem insignificant at the start (I mean, black paint and black water colour, newsprint paper and watercolour paper, how much can they differ right?), but the varied results surprised me. Through the experimental stage, I had the opportunity to explore the properties and therefore, I was able to push myself further to create lines with meaning and how the interaction of design elements can bring about a certain expressive quality/emotion.

This project led me to discover more about myself and assessed my emotions and translate them into visuals – something which I found difficult to do before this project. If I were to recall, I could barely express how I feel most of the time.

Looking at the rest of my classmate’s projects has also shown me that with just 6 different emotions, we are able to come up with so many different ideas and expressions. Overall, this project was fruitful and very enjoyable.


01 My Line is Emo: Process/Experimental Stage

After I have done my research, I was given more time to experiment and explore as many mark making techniques as possible during the subsequent classes.

In this stage, I was primarily trying out different and unique methods of mark making. To achieve as many different results as possible, I varied the medium used, the type of paper and the mark making tools. With every variable changed, there was a great difference. For example, a brush with normal black paint on paper as compared to a brush with diluted calligraphy Chinese ink (less viscous/thick) on water colour paper would differ. (As shown in the next 4 pictures)

1 Brushes

I started with very basic tools, such as brushes of different bristle hardness. I used brush strokes of different density and directions.

These were created using soft calligraphy brushes. I diluted the ink to allow the paint to flow freely onto the paper and to achieve a softer look to it. As I noticed that the diluted ink crumpled the paper, I tried the same technique onto water colour paper instead.

The water colour paper gave way better results and I really love how the ink spreads out with a gradient. Materials really DO MATTER.

2 Knives and Sharp Tools

In this piece, I wanted to portray anger. I started off with slicing up and scratching the surface of the paper. However, the results were not that good – a bunch of holes and torn up edges. In my other versions, I applied black paint for the background and then scratched up the surface. Surprisingly, when the paint dried up, the cuts and scratches made an interesting texture and an aesthetically pleasing yet chaotic look, which I really loved. Perhaps, for my future versions, I would like to consider more about what design elements I could deliberately relate this to so that it would not just be a random scratched up piece of paper.

3 Playing with Fire

For this piece, I was just curious and started playing with fire. Although I did not have much consideration of what emotion this would be, I thought that maybe “Longing” would be something interesting to think about.

4 Cling Wrap

I happened to chance upon the cling wrap in the classroom so I went about experimenting with what I could do with it. I applied paint with different viscosity and got many results – the more diluted ones had this “web” effect while dryer and thicker paint had almost no effect. From the top to the bottom in this picture, I applied a decreasing amount of pressure on my brush.

5 Strings & Press Machine

This was made using ink and the press machine. I always make 2 versions whenever I placed my mark making materials into the machine as I felt that the positive and negative outcome was very interesting and both had its own unique look. One seemed clear, with higher contrast, while the other one, made by pressing it the second time on the paper after it went through the machine, had an x-ray look to it, with gradient patches around.

6 Styrofoam

This is similar to the one above, where I used the press machine. I did a little pressed marks manually as well.

7 Round Objects

For my “happiness” emotion, I wanted to make round, circular marks that looked as if they were floating. Thus, I tried different container sizes and pressed them down with some paint. I mixed white paint onto the containers to break off the monotonous black circle pattern.


Some patterns made by my mark making tools did not turn out the way I expected it to be. This could be both good and bad – It is good because interesting marks can be made but it is also bad because the marks may contradict the intended emotion that I wish to convey. Another interesting thing that I realised through various experimental methods was that these emotions overlap and coincide with one another. Perhaps, this was why some emotions looked similar or gave the same kind of “feel”.  This was a challenge to me as I wanted each emotion to be expressed clearly with just the use of visual qualities.

Here are some examples of contradictory marks.

8 Fingers

For “happiness”, I tried using my fingers to create these round ovals. However, I felt that the scale was not suitable for the emotion strip as they were too small and would result in a very congested look when being seen from afar. In addition, if the circles were to be further apart, it may come across as “sadness, isolation, neglected” instead of “happiness”.

In this piece, I drew contour lines using a pen to break off the monotonous look. Although I loved the mix medium idea, it did not bring much meaning to this piece as “happiness”.

9 Bubble Wrap

The bubble wrap was intended to create round circles and a bubbly effect, suggesting “happiness”. However, if I were to manipulate it, dragging it across the paper and blurring it, the marks made would come across as “fear” or “sadness” to me due to the distortions and lack of clarity.

This sums up most of my mark making during the experimental stage. Moving forward, I would like to come up with a concept that links up the 6 emotions which I chose.

01 My Line is Emo: Mark Marking Research

As an introduction to mark making this week, we did several basic mark making using markers and pencils. We were also advised to conduct research on iconic mark making artists. These are just some interesting artists which I wish to highlight and learn something from.


I did some of my research in my visual journal as well.