Assessment 1: Process + Final for ‘Self Portrait’ of me

For this project, we are creating stylised portraits of ourselves and a partner we chose to pair up with in class, using inanimate objects to represent our personalities.  It is interesting as we dive into more experimentation into different stylisations, instead of making the portraits realistic.

PROCESS: My self-portrait

I talked to myself and asked myself some questions about what I feel most passionate about as a human being. I like to go into the deeper aspects of things and some of it was this:

  • My spirit animal: Deer

Simply because of it’s humble outward look. Soft and graceful when eating the grass or resting in a field. So sometimes maybe I see myself as that. But yet the horns of a deer could kill or fight any too – for self-defence. And I would like to think that is bravery, something I force myself to have when need be. And I would like to think that in the recent years of my life I have been brave and that I still am.

But I also see myself as a Black Panther at times. Due to its fierceness and it’s intimidation, that sometimes I would say I have when I am not in the mood to be kind. Something about that animal calls to me, spiritually, I guess.

  • I am drawn to fantasy. Specifically dark fantasy. Movies like Pan’s Labyrinth catches my attention and emotion the most because of how a girl got braver in every situation amid the chaos with the help of the forest faun. Even if that means having to kill herself to save her baby sister. But there’s more questioning in the movie and I love it – because there is always this “what if?” or “is it true, or was it just in her dreams she’s seeing these things?” because the people around her couldn’t see it.
  • I love nature. My soul feels at peace and I feel grounded every time I surround myself in nature. I would say it’s my safe space, my calm place.
  • I do love the idea of growth, I am quite obsessed with it lately. I think the fear of staying stuck in the same position is stronger than blooming. That is why I begin to embrace the non-comfort, to grow.

With this information I collected, I then began to form ideas and put them into rough sketches so I wouldn’t forget.

I fell in love with the idea above as I felt that I could see the ‘growth’ through plants and flowers here, and their movement spiralling with droplets of water thus showing my growth, and also my love for nature. Here I found a way to make use of my love for fantasy/dark fantasy, thus drawing the skull of a deer instead of a deer itself to show a darker theme. The bones of a human to show that I am in love with the growing pains of a human. I am in love with all that I am made of – hands, skin, bones. With being human. The entangled double moon symbol also further expresses my love for fantasy – for the meaning behind the moon – where it’s beautiful that even in the darkness it shines the brightest. A form of purity. Or even a cycle towards new beginnings (like the moon cycle).

So I decided to further explore it. I drew and erased and draw again till I liked my composition and then inked them before transferring to Illustrator.

My finished result before transferring to Ilustrator
My finished result before transferring to Illustrator

The reason why I decided to continue doing the traditional way before digitising it is that I feel comfortable doing so. It is my way of saying “this style is me”. I play a lot with lines because even though it is simple, you can turn it into curves and shades and it becomes a ‘look’ for your drawing/illustration. Using a pen to do it could even add on a texture. Hence why you see a lot of line works here – through the creeper strands, the deer’s horns.

I was very inspired by the things I search up on Pinterest. They were mainly illustrations of dark magic or revolving around dark fantasy. Below are some examples.


The Great Horned Goat by Noelia Torres
ThreePoint Design by Parin Cashmony ©

But I was also inspired by most of Victo Ngai’s works because of his line works, and the theme of fantasy/surrealism he has in his works (and also use of colour but that’s not what we’re headed for here).

By Victo Ngai

After getting all that inspiration, I went to further develop my work on Illustrator.

During the process, I was still trying out different ways to get the texture out of my work. So I tried doing it traditionally again by adding pen work into the background of my bones. I purposely leave tiny spaces to create a certain grainy texture.

Before that, I was playing around taking photos of my process. But I downloaded this when I saw that the grainy effect off from a film filter on Instagram gave me this look out of my work – I DIG IT.

So I decided to put a grain effect on my work:

I liked both I showed below. The half black half white on the right gave it a more abstract feel. But if I have to really pick one, it would have to be the one with a fully black background as it looked more whole.

FINAL: My self-portrait

Here’s me.

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