Assignment 1: Creative Industry Report – Bill Viola

Bill Viola is a pioneer new media artist who is well-known for his artistic expression that is dependent on sound, electronic and image technology.

Bill Viola - Opéra national de Paris
American contemporary video and installation artist.

He is famously known for his large scale installations that uses up the entire room-sized environment, enveloping viewers with sound and multiple screens of moving images.


Deichtorhallen Hamburg
The size of the human on the left compared to the size of the installation.

The large scale plays a part in drawing viewers attention, but the content in it allows viewers to have a personal intimate time connecting with the work. By having his works being both large as well as having content that shows deep spiritual art, it further engulfs the viewer in it.

Bill Viola: Installations at Deichtorhallen Hamburg
His works can easily be looked at as classical traditional painting but in a radically new digital media format.

Viola has been an artist I admired since I first studied his works for A level Art. I was immediately attracted to his works as a lot of them were based on universal human experiences such as birth, death and the unfolding of consciousness. He managed to show that through moving mediums using elements of nature such as fire, water, earth and air and has roots in both Eastern and Western art as well as spiritual traditions. All that resonated with me as I am fond of the deep topics in life such as spirituality and how elements of nature play a special part in it or could make us feel a certain way deeply and emotionally. An example of his work is shown below called Tristan’s Ascension (The Sound of a Mountain Under a Waterfall), 2005:

He was always able to allow viewers to experience the work directly and in their own personal way, as he smartly uses the inner language of subjective thoughts and collective memories of human beings. It forces you to dive deep into your emotions and thoughts, to be in the moment to experience his artworks and immerse yourself in it. That’s the true beauty of his works.


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Illustration For Designers: Birth of the Moonspring Fairies event (PROCESS + FINAL)

We are into the final project for illustrations! I had fun ideating and creating deliverables for this project so without further ado, let’s begin.

I grew up watching numerous Disney movies, be it animated or the latter. But my favourite, the one that I could watch over and over again even at this age, would be Peter Pan! And Tinkerbell. Anything to do with either one of them, I adore the most. So I decided this final ‘event’ we have to create illustration designs for, would be fitting for me to come up with something to do with the Tinkerbell world! A SMALL WORLD INDEED.

If you had a childhood watching these Disney movies, then I hope you’ve watched Tinkerbell movie and know what Pixie Hollow is! If not, below is the brief explanation of the place I was inspired from (which is Pixie Hollow) and what this event is all about. I briefly described my ideation too 🙂

So based on the above pictures, my inspiration for my sketches are detailed works yet minimal. Some are inspired by designs of medieval and vintage designs. This is the look I want to go for! Minimal yet medieval.

Here are a few initial sketches.

Like King Midas (haha), I turned these sketches into gold.

I made 2 new sketches that will be part of my designs as well 🙂 Turned them into gold too.

My geometric-styled version of a full moon
A flower made out of the wings drawing I did

Then I made my first deliverable:

  1. Invitation card along with an envelope to the Birth of Moonspring fairies

Here’s a close-up – I put my design on the envelope and the wax seal too.

My next deliverable is

2. Pouches for the new fairies much needed pixie-dusts – for day and night

Needing the pixie-dust for day time

And for night time if needed to run errands or work late – get that pixie-dust from the night-time pouch for that extra boost!

I created 2 different pouches so maybe the pixie-dust can be rationed just enough for them!

3. Minimal design on potion jars for each Moonspring fairies who need to catch their ‘moonlight’, their ‘spring flowers’, and one extra for themselves (the middle one)

The process behind this was to also create minimal medieval borders (the ones to see below) to make everything look sleek.

This is actually the end for this submission sadly (what I could offer in due time but know I could do more). If there’s one thing I’d like to work on more is definitely coming up with patterns and a few more illustrations for this event, because I like this event and maybe when I have more time I’ll do so for my own creation!  🙂 (soon hopefully)

Thank you for your guidance Lisa, as always it is much appreciated.

Illustration for Designers: Varoom Magazine Cover (PROCESS + RESEARCH)

*My long-overdue process but still hoping it will be looked into to get graded (bless my soul I hope so)*

Hello! For this project, we dived into the cover design of a globally leading illustration magazine that features a unique combination of industry insight and critical analysis of the field of illustration. This magazine is non-other than VAROOM.

We are given 3 different choices of which theme to pick for the magazine cover design – Activism, Fantasy or Play. I picked Fantasy! Here are just some thought processes on why I picked Fantasy and who would be keen to take up a magazine on the issue.

But before diving into my process, I did some research to understand better what Varoom magazine is about.


They have an intention for each issue: “[to convey] 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?”

Varoom 36 – Rhythm
Varoom 38 – Activism

Varoom’s subject-matter helps us understand that all wider-world ideas are equally as pertinent to illustration as other creative disciplines.

Whether the work is personal or commissioned, an illustrator’s unique voice is always embedded in the work, “even a tight brief to advertise a product can tell us a lot about society and what’s considered ‘desirable’”.

Like their editor, Olivia Ahmad, said: “Illustrators have a toolkit of largely unrecognised skills that are essential for coming up with the images for which they are commissioned” and what better way than to have Varoom be a hub of discussion for the illustration community and advocate their innovative approaches to these discussions? I, as a growing creative, strongly support this.


Now we will go onto my initial stages/processes of my creation behind a Fantasy-themed cover for the magazine.

Firstly, to better showcase who my target audience is for my magazine, I created a few user personas – 1 on a negative user, 2 on ideal users of my Fantasy-themed magazine, as shown below. This was inspired and was given as a good suggestion by Lisa.

I had to narrow down and focus entirely on one user so I picked Connor as my ideal user instead. This is because I wanted to lean more towards fantasy designs for kids his age, and things related to science (but also including other weird elements) so ideas are made based on adolescents like him!

I was very inspired by the show Rick & Morty because of their bright colour palettes used in the cartoon, and the crazy bacteria elements that I love. I love weird things.

When will Rick and Morty season 4 return in 2020? | TechRadar

I have always been into body movements as well – how the human body works. So some of my inspiration came from that too as seen in the images below – even the fetus position is something worth pondering for me. There’s a beauty in the way we move and unfold ourselves.

Gefällt 1,543 Mal, 39 Kommentare - Stepha Lawson (@thelanguageofbirth) auf Instagram: „A high holy project I was commissioned for by @harvardcommon, birthed by Mrs. Lindsey Bliss over at…“

so I looked more into figure drawings, just for inspirations.

I then decided to do 12 note-pad sketches for ideation and further explore my choices.


Looking back at my scribbled sketches, I realised I lean more towards things that include germs and bacterias along with the human body as well. (The one that’s purposely sized bigger than the other 3 above!) Surrealistic, in a way. And this brings me to my overarching theme for Fantasy: a world that drug users would probably see – psychedelic human melting-bacteria.  Weird, I know.

I even did a few simple illustrations to push my idea further.

I then went on to draw what I visioned in my mind:

I went to further digitize it and then think about the colours there:

And hence, just to recap, my final! You can look into the previous post to see more as a final submission. I apologise again for this late process post but I wanted it to be close to perfect and unfortunately didn’t have time to do so before. So here you go, thank you for reading all the way if you did!


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


PROCESS: Aster’s self-portrait

I partnered up with Aster and we began interviewing each other. These are the few questions I asked her:

Me: When was the last time you felt sad? Why?

Aster: It was over the death of my hamster. To certain people, maybe dogs are more important than hamster but I rely a lot on my hamster for emotional support. Hamster’s life usually lasts for about 2-3 years but mine died after 1 year 8 months – it was a difficult time but yeah. I couldn’t get a hamster ever since then. But only recently I got a bird 🙂

Me: Your biggest dream?

Aster: I’m hoping to hold down graphic design as a day job, more outside of that on publishing webcomics – looking to publish them! I’m starting to promote it this year, going to comic conventions and all to gather a following to get readers and have funds for my comics.

Me: What are some of the things people do, or what makes you feel like “oh my god, this is so touching” and makes you feel touched internally?

Aster: Animal! Films! I think the small things that people do. I used to be less receptive on what people do but as I age I become more sensitive. With things people do. Or even films that used to not make me cry, I watch them now and instead I feel more emotional. And even after reading a really good book or a good film – because ah shit it feels like the journey ended.

…..(after continuing convo and thoughts – this is something she said that kept ringing in my head too) and I think being vulnerable is more honest.

Me: What are the kinds of movies draws you in?

Aster: Psychological stuff. But now I like watching a lot of wholesome movies. Like fantasy movies! I like steampunk movies, like Hugo! Like a very mechanical fantasy world, with airships and such.

Me: If you could pick an animal as your spirit animal to relate to your inner personality, what would it be?

Aster: I could see myself as a bird, more specifically a chicken. It puts forward as something/someone important but yet an animal of prey. Or a lemur as it is fun, cheeky and playful.


So from the snippet of the interview above, you could see that I highlighted some of her words that gave me inspiration for my ideation. I drew out a few rough sketches.

I decided to stick to the first and further develop on it. It has the qualities I see in Aster when we were talking. It didn’t feel like I was interviewing her but more of getting to know more about my friend. I know now she has a big heart and soft at times (just like me!) and that is okay. She loves fantasy things but mainly into the cooler mechanical aspect such as Steampunk, hence I use that as one of my biggest inspiration for the sketch. (see below to know what stuff makes ‘Steampunk’ – complicated machinery and such)

Steampunk Tendencies | Steampunk Beverage Dispenser designed by Kevin FlynI made this for this year’s Steampunk World’s Fair which just passed in May. I also made a Steampunk rifle which I will be writing about in a separate post. So I got the idea for this backpack a wh… #steampunkarchitecture #steampunktendencies #steampunkdiy #whatissteampunk #steampunkwomenfashion #steampunkdiyideas

Les machines steampunk de Burton J. Sears

Aster also showed me some of her favourite works. Most of them are comics, graphical novels such as the ones below.

Image result for maus art spiegelman
From ‘The Complete Maus’ by Art Spiegelman

Some are really cool animes.

Image result for ogure ito
By Oh! Great (Ito Ōgure)

And even interactive illustrations which you can check here:

What I notice from all of her favourites is that they have a similar touch to their styles: and it is the focus on shadings, as well as lines. That became another inspiration to my stylised drawing of her portrait.

So I began drawing before inking them. The reason why I decided to do traditional for hers was that I could then easily create texture/shade with ink. I wanted to create shading using the dotting method and lines.

What I meant by ‘dotting’

More process work:

More dotting to create the necessary shades, like how you’d see in machines of steampunk

As seen below, I use lines as well to create the shades in certain parts of the ‘machine-bird’.

In the end, it resulted in this:

I created a big machine heart with a machine-like bird/chicken because I saw that Aster saw herself as the “fierce chicken” that she told me about because sometimes it’s aggressive and moves fast. But I also gave it wings because Aster saw herself as a bird too as a reflection of her inner personality. I gave it a big heart in the middle because of how she is sensitive and that is what makes her a wonderful human being. She is into the cool mechanic-fantasy and I wanted to portray that part of her in here. The reason for the tied up books the bird is carrying is to show that she is into books, into a world of her own when she reads something or watches something. The leaves were an added touch to show how in fantasies there is always nature in it and so I thought it would be nice to draw some in it.

FINAL: Aster’s self-portrait

Here’s Aster.

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.

Week 2 Activities – Portrait-drawing of the other + Random geometric shapes


We’re welcoming the New Year by breaking the awkward human barrier. We drew the portrait of a person in class we’re not close to within 15 mins (hence having to look at every part of their precious facial features so that’s why it was slightly awkward but it was nice drawing Daphne)!

We had to consider stylisation while trying to capture their personality in the drawing.

I dig. Loved this activity.

Everyone has very different styles in their portraits and that’s why it was fun. Everyone had different ways of seeing and creating.

Onto Activity 2

We were told to draw any one of the geometric shapes (circle, square, triangle). Then, draw it again with rules of touching the other geometric shapes. And this goes on until we had to draw a huge shape that touches the ends of the paper.

I somewhat recalled that this activity had something to do with the Bauhaus movement – “simple but elegant geometric shapes were designed based on the intended function or purpose of a building or an object.”

I clearly do not know what I was drawing but I think the same goes for my classmates. But the outcome was weirdly extraordinary. What started off as a simple shape, became a unique form of architecture on paper.

More to create in the few weeks for our Self-portrait & Portrait of your partner. See you then!

VC: Process for final brochure project

For this final project, we were tasked to do some folding exercises from useful websites such as

But I found my idea from a youtube video and decided it was by far the most fitting idea that can easily relate to my Black Panther’s poster:

Like an accordion fold, but a different one. I’ll explain along with the pictures of my processes.

Following my previous poster mood board and colours:

This was my brochure mock-up:

I like the sharp ends it gives, representing the claws or teeth of the panther when you open up the simple-to-hold brochure.  Then I made that one of the prominent aspects of my brochure using bright teal colour for the sharp edge of each square. Below is as it shows. The rest is simply following how my poster looked like, but this time with the coloured foliage sticking out of the edges.

Following some grid lines as well

Some challenges were definitely the printing. The background colour was supposed to be dark blue and not black, and the sharp edges were supposed to be teal not blue. It came out like the ones shown below. But this is still part of my processes to show that before the folding, I needed 3 squares of 15×15 cm sizes first to be pasted on top of one another. The blacks are simply for the outer layer of the brochure. BUT it was the wrong printing because my illustration for the panther’s eye wasn’t supposed to be as big as that and should only take up a small square portion (1/4) of my initial big square below.

I also printed on a 350gsm thickness kind of a paper. Which is the worse idea ever because of the folding lines it gave me below.

So I reprinted (thank you Lisa for this chance to do so) and it gave a much better result. I will post that in my next ‘Final’ post.