Category Archives: Process

Project ZOO OF ODDS – Ideation

YES! Welcome to the documentation of my final project of the sem. For applied illustration, the theme which I will be focusing on is……. ZOO OF ODDS! Clearly, the name suggests animals and oddities! So excited, I can’t wait to start. 

Let’s begin on some design inspirations first. I really want to explore the old school tattoo illustration style and I personally feel that this particular theme is so unique and bold – something that holds so many strong characteristics that makes it so distinguishable as a style. I looooove.  

There are quite some interesting artworks I found on and here are some of the examples that are available for my tattoo illustration studies: 

Now on to moodboard execution:

Illustration Style: Thick, define lines, and 2-dimensional illustrations are what represents old school art best, in my opinion. 

Color Scheme: Leaning towards the almost dull, muted tones, I feel like this carries a prominent vintagey vibe to it. Since most old school tattoos are defined by thick, solid lines that encapsulates the traditional ink colours, such palette would be a good reflection of my selected topic. 

Typography: Something that will go well with the graphics will be prominent and loud typography that screams old school. I am thinking of using blackletter/decorative typefaces to compliment the theme.

For my final deliverables, I am looking at a Poster design for advertisement of the event, Lanyard tag for guests, Tote bag (merchandise product), a Gift Box that comes with every souvenir purchased and finally, the event Ticket Stud that grants admission for guests.



Logo for the event is as follow: I chose an edgy looking typeface that foreshadows the ominousity that awaits. 

Color scheme: I imagine my poster to have a dark, if not black background. To make colors more apparent, I decided to use colours like royal blue, crimson red, and dustier schemes to go against the dark-toned background. 


Illustrating Process:


More on completed characters to finish off my poster and collateral design! There was quite some bit of trial and error process to get the style nailed down. I had to experiment on the strokes as well as the shadings on the animals to enable more character on each illustration.



The next post will be on Final Collaterals! Stay tuned. 

VAROOM – Research and Ideation

HELLO EVERYONE and hello to very next assignment (aka ‘Varoom Cover Design’). Well, I have definitely heard of Varoom publishing before but I haven’t actually taken notice of their content/layout style. So I got curious and attempted a quick search on google! So here are some of the existing cover design/style I found on google. Pretty interesting, very simple graphics and at times, very abstract too. I was surprised cause it was nothing like I imagined a design magazine cover to be. Varoom’s layout is surprisingly quirky and “freestyled” almost. Did another quick search on their branding and here’s what I found: “Varoom magazine is renowned as a hub of discussion for the illustration community, and an advocate for innovative approaches to the practice.”

Their new editor, Olivia Ahmad, describes the intention for each issue as being “a live reflection of what is happening in illustration at any given moment… presenting new work and giving insight into how it’s done, but also asking questions about it – why make it? – what does it mean to people?” – Cool stuff. It’s really more than just an aesthetically pleasing cover, there’s more to it. Okay with that, let us move on to our process! 

Now, I selected “obsession” amongst the two other topics and let’s start. What does obsession mean? As on, they defined the state of obsession as being:

Obsessed with someone or something – “She cared for him with a devotion bordering on obsession”
An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind 
Some of its synonyms also include fixation, compulsion and passion.  My understanding of obsession goes in two different way, one being a positive feeling, the other being the opposite. When someone is overly obsessed, their interest has become compulsive, they begin to lose control over themselves. I decided to focus on Yayoi Kusama and her obsession over dots. I am pretty sure this is quite a famous household name by now, but what does it truly mean to be a Yayoi kind of obsession? 
With some research, I found out that her obsession over dots visually approximates the hallucinations Kusama reportedly suffered as a child, in which the entirety of her surrounding space was covered with repeating patterns. Besides being very instagrammable and photogenic (her installations), many people failed to see that it comes from a very tragic place – her childhood, a period of her life less than idyllic. 
When Kusama began to see hallucinations as a child, her way of coping with the bizarre phenomena was to paint what she saw. She says that art became her way to express her mental disease. This most notably is seen in Infinity Net – a painting based on repetitive patterns. 
This is what Yayoi has to say based on her very painting – Infinity Net: “With just one polka dot, nothing can be achieved. In the universe, there is the sun, the moon, the earth, and hundreds of millions of stars. All of us live in the unfathomable mystery and infinitude of the universe. Pursuing philosophy of the universe through art under such circumstances has led me to what I call stereotypical repetition.”  
With repetition of dots, it gives us a sense of the boundless and endlessness of our infinite universe. To Yayoi, when we are born on this planet we call home, all in all, everything around us is to be represented in circles. The moon is a polka dot, the sun is a polka dot, the earth where we live in is also a polka dot. Yayoi also suggests that everything that makes up of this entirety of the universe can be represented in dots/circles. I found this information to be truly intriguing, as to how a “mentally ill” artist views the world to be as blatantly honest yet a realistic realisation of an idea I have never thought about. Cool. 
With this piece of new found information, I decided that my layout on obsession will focus on the above concept of circles and dots as space. With that settled, we can now move on to our target audience!!! 
Let’s go! 
Say hello to our first persona, Leanne! She’s a graphic design graduate and has an absolute free-spirit. Read on more about the details of her below. 

PERSONA #2 – Caithlyn!

Essentially, when it comes to who I think will be attracted to my magazine design, I think of these qualities

  1. Design enthusiast/ Art students (someone who collects/looks upon design editorials & magazines for inspiration)
  2. Love for bright colours! 
  3. Youngsters aged 21 to 35 

Moving on further, we’ll look at the mood boards I have created for my final concept.

Illustration style: Stylised, colour blocking technique

Colour scheme: Mainly I am looking into primary colours like deep blue, red and yellow perhaps. The mood board below is pretty much self-explanatory!

Finally, here’s what I have for my quick thumbnail sketches (x16): 

Among all these sketches, I put a star beside some of the idea/concepts which I prefer! Try and spot them, haha.

Finally, here are my 3 quick sketches before I move on to finalising my concept for “Obsession” for Varoom. I will also include a short write up on the scenarios that you see below! Read on if you want to find out 🙂 

Layout 1:

This is Yayoi Kusama the great peering into the mirror which diverts her to an alternate universe which she calls reality. In this layout, the idea revolves around her not being able to find a sense of belonging in the world where she belongs – her miserable childhood was of no help, her detrimental parents – especially the mother who does not support her artistry passion/dream. She longs to move away and get out of the “hell hole” which is why I thought of this concept. A place where she finds comfort in – an alternative reality of Kusama. Trippy.

Layout 2:

This is Yayoi Kusama morphing into a planet. As mentioned in the short introduction of her above, I wrote about her vision of the world. A place where everything is in form of a dot – this includes the Sun, Moon and earth. As well as everything and anything that constitutes the entirety of this galaxy/universe/milky way etc. I was very inspired by this revelation during my research phase because I never thought much about her works at first. To me, it was just a compilation of many dots – something that fascinates the youth because it is very “instagrammable”. Now after I found out there was actually more to it, I wanted to create a piece of work in a reflection of her ideology. So here it is. 

Behind her is many other planets as well which I feel helps to better frame the composition of the cover. Instead of putting circles and dots on everything, I wanted to tell a story, something that is a good representation of Yayoi Kusama herself. Yup!!! 

Layout 3:

Finally, this is her on a road trip. A documentation of her escaping her home, her family because she found it extremely suffocating to be a part of them. All the expectations she had to live up, and people trying to tell her what is right and what is not. In this layout, Yayoi is on a getaway to the wonderland of dots – a world uniquely hers to live. I mean, instead of replicating her works, I want to share a piece of what I learnt about her as an artist and the life before she was famous and actually “made it”. So that is that! 

Click “here” for my final documentation, and last but not least, thanks for reading! (to be updated, stay tuned)


Research & Conceptualisation – Self Portrait

Actualising a Self-Portrait

Welcome to Part 1 of the Project, where I will write about the inspiration behind the very project I have here with me: Stylised Self Portrait. Once I got home, I started drawing a basic mind map about myself – which includes my hobbies & (food) interests. Personally, I would very much describe myself as a HUUUuuuUuUGe FooOoooooooOdie – Cause food is life, right? Who can resist a bowl of piping hot noodles? Or a cone of beautiful, milky soft-serve plonked atop a crispy waffle cone. NOT ME!! I’d choose food over anything, anytime. Thank you, next.

Here’s an overview of my thought process recorded in the form of a mind map: In essence, the image below speaks about the 2 concepts I have in mind and wish to execute. It includes the type of colour scheme I want to implement and as well as the medium & style for the portrait illustration. 

Conceptualising the first idea: “Bingsoo Face”

Bing soo is a type of Korean dessert, typically made from shaven ice + a myriad of saucy toppings and a bunch of freshly cut fruits. This is one of my favourite desserts and I ever dreamt of reincarnating to this perfect bowl of icy goodness. Below is an image of how it looks like! 

I thought it would be interesting if I were to break up my facial features and build the anatomy of the Bingsoo structure. Below is a rough sketch of how I imagined the split section to look like: 

By splitting up my facial features (e.g. eyes, nose, lips, ears) and simplifying them into basic shapes like oval and circle, to build the structure of this yummy tower. I thought I would go full on abstract with this one to avoid being overly literal and representational of an actual face but at the same time describes my favourite food. 

Artist References:

Jack Smith has a few ranges of works which I adore, in terms of his interpretations to abstraction really fascinates me. His works are often greatly influenced by the Bauhaus movement, and one of his remarkable creation of David Bowie’s Portrait resonated with me. 


The choice of colours used was fantastic and well-coordinated throughout. I especially like the contrast between the primary colours, which is what made this piece stood out. The mix of geometric shapes kind of hint at the influence of Futurism and Bauhaus combine. The almost “random” placement of his deconstructed face gives it more depth which is able to peak interests amongst people. The smack centre composition and the tiny white space around the border frame up the structure of this albeit simple looking but well thought through piece. With all the playful “thoughtless” placement of objects, the art piece made David Bowie seems like a free-spirited person. I am mainly inspired by the thought that was placed behind the creation of this portrait, a rather anarchic approach to making art that perhaps not many can agree on.

Besides Jack Smith, there is also another artist/designer whom I adore. She goes by the name of “Alarah” on social media. Her style is super minimalist, usually accompanied by a few strokes of lines to illustrate dynamism and shapes. Her is her Instagram account which documents some of her works.


I am not usually attracted to minimalism but her clean style caught my eyes. It’s funny how a few simple strokes can portray so much meaning, just as much as a maximalist work. Sometimes, less really is more. Lines are so powerful they have the ability to provoke thoughts. 

‘REFLECTIONS’ 2017 (Coal on A2 Eco paper)


With all these artist references, I came up with my first draft for Concept #1 – The Bingsoo Face. 

I employed a set of deeply contrasted bunch of colours to reflect the creaminess of an Iced Bingsoo dessert, and more so, the multi-sensory dimension that it has! You may have also noticed that each individual piece of shape has an accompanying texture which hints at the feature it was based on. For example, the light blue piece with zigzag lines reflects the flow of my hair. I wanted this layout to appear haphazard and anarchic, a way to reflect my free-spirited nature as I prefer to discover things along the way than to stick to a well thought through path. All these bits and pieces of vector shapes formed the anatomy of my favourite dessert! I thought it would be a straight-forward and interesting way to represent myself. The need to uncover each and every feature kind of provide an extra bit of fun for people to unravel/decode the meaning behind this piece. After sitting through the first consultation with Lisa, I realise that perhaps this is a little way too abstract! So I proceeded to hon on my (hopefully better) second concept. 

Okay, let’s move on to concept 2! 

Circle Food by Chris David

YES, MORE ON FOOD! The title of this work will be THE advent calendar (HAHA how uncreative). Essentially, it will be a collage of all the food I love, but at the same time, these food items form a silhouette of myself. 

Artist Inspirations

Unlike the previous concept, I plan on illustrating this on the Ipad, perhaps with a mix of media!  Here are a few of my all-time favourite concept works:

Works of: We are out of office

Can I just say I much I love their choice of colours?! These cards are actually risograph prints, that explains why the colours are so vibrant and poppish. The style of illustration is one big factor as to what makes their works stand out from the ordinary.  It kind of reminds me of the ever iconic Andy Warhol’s works.

Works of May Van Millingen

May’s work often contains numerous drawings that come together to form a series. Her style has been influenced by old botanical and scientific drawings, which she often studies. She also combines hand drawing with digital processes and uses ink, pencil and watercolours to create her work. Her process usually combines mark-making, strong graphic lines, cross-hatched shading and bold use of colour which is what makes her work remarkably unique. 


Here is my initial composition of how I visualise my artwork to be:

Listed below are some of my most most most bought snack/junk food that I absolutely cannot live without. Like chocolates, instant noodles, chips and cheese, tangy tomato soup, and fruit jams!! LOVE THEM TO BITS. Following through, I went on to create some illustrations based on the inspiration above. I want it to be stylised in a manner it doesn’t reflect too much realism, so it has a customise So here they are: 

Colours are one of the most important aspects of design – The make or break perhaps. So when it comes to colour picking, The colours used were primary and secondary colours as I personally feel that selecting the right colour scheme can create the suitable kind of ambience and set the mood right. I gave the illustration a fine, blue outline and a similar set of colour treatment so all of them look consistent and overall the sketchy effect gives it a very personal touch. Here’s some of the behind the scene compilation of how I work with my layers:


I wanted the portrait to be of central focus, therefore, the placement of the portrait. The background colour (a strong contrast of red) that goes in harmony with the selected colour scheme compliments the vibe that I am aiming for, which also, resonates my cultural background – one that comes from a Chinese family amongst the Multiculturalism of Singapore. This gives my layout a stronger sense of rationality apart from my love for food. I also have repeated prints that resemble the traditional textile patterns that is almost representative of the culture – one that many can relate to automatically.  When consulting Lisa, she noticed that perhaps the overall visual interest can be further peaked with the image of myself superimposed against the food collage. I tried it out and indeed, it looks brilliant!

This is one of the many attempts on creating a better visual interest instead of using the entire image as an overlay. The whole idea behind the concept of this is to illustrate the facade I put on, when deep inside, I am actually just a food junkie. The masquerade concept didn’t really work out the way I imagined so I decided to drop that and continue fostering on the current idea I have.

This is the pre-final layout that I (almost) settled for, but still, I find that there are still ways that I can improve the layout further. I guess it would require a few more layers so that it helps to tell a more compelling story visually. Read the next post to check out the final changes I made to the self-portrait.

Click here for the final reflection. I’ll see you there.

Thanks for reading! Ciaos.