Animal sketching

We did some sketching of animals (copied from a book). Through studying the sketches and trying to make out of the main blocks that make up the body, I gained a better understanding of how to construct an animal figure (even though it still depends on which animal). This simple exercise was more helpful than I thought.

Here are some of my sketches:


Prof also taught us a method of constructing hands and arms which I thought was a really great method

To draw the hand, mark out all the curves in their respective locations first (e.g. the curve of the knuckle, the curve of the wrist). Then, join the curve with lines and the hand is formed!

As for the arm, further away of the arm, it adopts a more cylindrical shape, which gradually becomes more like a rectangular block as it approaches the wrist. Always take note of where the thumb starts — it starts where the wrist ends. Hence the thumb block will start from the same edge as the palm block.

This is just for personal record ya :)

2D Presentation: Dot Line Shape

Here are the slides Charmaine and I used for our 2D presentation on Dot, line and shape :)

dot line shape.compressed

If you’re lazy to download the file, here are some important points from our research:

General Introduction:

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  • Dot, line, and shape are the basic elements of design
  • Elements are components or parts which can be isolated and defined in any visual design or work of art. They are the structure of the work, and can carry a wide variety of messages.


  • A point is that of which there is no part — No part = no width, length, or breadth
  • In pure geometric terms, a point is a pair of x, y coordinates.

Use of points:

  • Vanishing point
    • The spot on the horizon line to which the receding parallel lines diminish
    • Creates depth
  • In art: Yayoi Kusama, Benday dots (in comic illustration), Neo-impressionism movement (A Sunday on la grande jatte)
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  • A line is a length without breadth.
  • Graphically, lines exist in many weights; the thickness and texture as well as the path of the mark determine its visual presence.

Use of Line

  • In composition or image
    • Lines are important to guide your eyes.
    • Horizontal lines suggest a feeling of rest
    • Vertical lines often communicate a sense of height
    • Diagonal lines convey a feeling of movement
    • Curve lines can convey energy
    • Use of line to create optical illusions
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  • Use of line in Fine Art: Chua Ek Kay
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  • Use of line in fine art: Gene Davis
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  • A surface is that which has length and breadth
  • Shapes are planes with edges.
  • When a form or shape has regular contours, when internal and external measurements are mathematically similar in multiple directions, we think of the form or shape as geometric.
  • Organic shapes and forms are typically irregular or asymmetrical.

Use of Shape:

  • We see shapes every day in logos, flags, books, clothes etc.
  • TV test screen
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  • Local Artist Yeo Chee Kiong: “Series #02, ‘A Yoga and Pedicure DIY Session on the Beach’“
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  • Use of shape in Architecture: Louvre
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Point, Line and shape

  • All 3 elements combine Patterns, Compositions (Art)
  • Pattern: A regular repetition of lines, shapes, colours, or values in a composition.
  • Henry Moore’s Wallpaper Design
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  • Kandinsky Composition viii
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4D project 1: Image and Meaning

Hello! I realise I have no updates for 4D at all (since Joel didn’t require us to upload anything to OSS so far) so here’s just some stuff for personal record :)

For project 1, we had to create 3 original digital artworks based on the theme Strange New World. By manipulating visual images, three artworks containing landscape, figure and object (one each) have to be created, be it by addition, subtraction, and/or substitution.

For this project, I started out having two very vivid images of people standing on lamp posts as well as people squatting on lily pads intently gazing at something. These images were just random, but when I started to properly brainstorm for an overarching theme for my works, these images somehow fitted seamlessly with what I had in mind, which was an exploration of human traits that corrupt and dictate our actions.

Our Puppeteers

This work endeavours to explore the human condition. Man, by nature, is inherently self-interested. We have never been spared the company of our puppeteers – our greed, ignorance, and vanity – who subconsciously dictate our actions, permeate our thoughts, and blind our visions. All around us, we see a parasitical manifestation of egotism. In midst of our furious pursuit to feed our already inflated sense of self, we ironically become more and more detached with ourselves. At the end of the day, behind all that grandiose façade, do we know who we truly are? Do we dare to bare our soul to ourselves? Greed, ignorance, and vanity – to which do we own our conscience?


  • Lampposts: a phantom of knowledge, a feeble imitation of knowledge
  • Men on lampposts: people blinded by ignorance. Pompously put themselves on a pedestal, in a bid to lead others, and people actually follow
  • People on the road: Wandering, lost, lured and misled by those on lampposts. They are trying to assert their importance, but have yet find a foothold, i.e. they are finding their own lamp posts, meanwhile they look up to those who are standing on the lamp posts, believing them to be wise and knowledgeable
  • Switch on lampposts: symbolise that the pretence of raising yourself up to a status higher than you deserve is fundamentally voluntary and intentional
  • Fallen lamp and Orange man: switch of lamp is turned off. One can only realise one’s shortcoming by introspection – it is not something that external forces can achieve. Hence, the switch is turned off by the ones who finally acknowledge their flaws
  • Illuminated glow of orange man, he leaves the lamp and heads towards the moon: the light from the lamp posts blinded those who stood on it. Only when one admits to oneself his/her deficiency and is eager to change, can he regain his vision. Then, he would have realise that the moon was there all along. This is an allusion to Plato’s cave. Instead of the Sun, the moonlight – juxtapose against the artificial lamp light – represents knowledge and wisdom.
  • Thus begin the journey towards the moon
  • Use of Gollum in substitute of all people’s faces:
    • Blanket use of Gollum in substitute of everyone’s faces symbolises the loss of individuality as everyone is trapped in the blind chase for wealth
    • Gollum’s significance in LOTR: Gollum was obsessed over the One Ring and was corrupted under its influence – greed has no end
    • The ring became his sole purpose of living, analogous to how people are obsessed with earning money in their lives.
    • The destiny of Gollum foreshadows the consequence of being too greedy
    • Also symbolises how pointless the pursuit is – you accumulate wealth, but it means nothing once you depart from this world
  • Gold that drop out of the basket became rocks, in actual fact the rocks are illuminated by the firefly, thus giving rise to the appearance of gold – reiterates the previous point, that money by itself has no intrinsic value
  • Frogs:
    • Nonchalant to the gold and the firefly
    • What I hoped to convey here is that money is pretty much a social construct, reiterates the point that it has no intrinsic value. We go head over heels for money, yet it holds no significance for the frogs
    • Ignores the firefly: because fireflies are toxic to frogs – symbolises that the firefly and the gold that is carrying is corrupting and essentially a poison to the human soul
    • Floating in the air: humans are weighed down by their greed, whereas the frogs are unbounded
    • Traditionally, frogs are associated with the water element and its cleansing attributes. Its symbolisms include: spiritual cleansing and ancient wisdom, essentially what the people on the lily pads lack. Use of frogs provide a contrast against the humans.
  • Quite straightforward
  • Skeletons, but their reflections in the mirror are beautiful: beauty and physical appearance is a very superficial concept. Being preoccupied with physical appearance means nothing if you don’t enrich yourself spiritually and intellectually
  • Mirror: symbolises self-perception and fantasy
    • Difference in colour: the actual palette is desaturated, while the mirror image is flushed with vivid colours– expectations vs reality
    • Objects appear superior and more ideal in the reflections, do not reflect reality, but an impression of our desires
  • Make up brushes at the side are demonized and appear threatening.
  • Use of poisonous insects and animals: alludes to the malignant nature of the beauty industry, the menace of the insects and animals also suggests that giving up the brush (in other words, stop being obsessed over physical appearance) is forbidden once you picked it up = there is no way out


  • Definitely technical problems. Being unfamiliar with photoshop (because I use AI more), I can’t get the effect I wanted in my mind
  • Also, I was limited by the images I can find online (e.g. when I want to find a particular posture/particular angle of a scene but there just isn’t any)
  • Perspective gave me many problems
  • Gollum faces could have been better imposed on the people,
  • Harmonizing the colours (especially for greed!) and having a unifying theme throughout all three images

These 3 artworks are arranged in sequence of its creation, which explains why the first looks so much more amateurish than the last.


Overall, I really enjoyed the process of creation in this project: you start with a vague idea and walk the journey with it, curiously observing how your idea develops and how inspirations jump at you at the most unexpected moments. In aspects of semiotics, it was interesting to actually seriously consider why you use a certain element; what does it represent in this context; how can I use a certain symbol to my advantage; and how does the symbols changes the interpretation of my work. As a non-frequent user of digital media, working with digital images was a fresh experience – there are a lot of things that can be manipulated in digital media but not in traditional. For example, I can be a lot more adventurous in digital media because the actions are reversible, and thus I am empowered to be vastly more experimental :)

Outdoor Sketching

In the afternoon following the figure drawing lesson, we headed to HASS to do some outdoor sketching and to understand the theories of perspective better. Prof demonstrated how he construct a sketch using one-point and two-point perspectives.

For one-point perspectives, there are two pairs of parallel lines, each pair established by joining the lines extended from the vanishing point; for two-point, there is one pair.

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By determining the lines of building structures that are parallel, we can leverage on that foundation to draw the basic structures of the building.

Prof told us to always focus on the big picture first: draw out the general structure before filling in the details. Should we rush into the details and the details aren’t drawn accurately, this will subsequently affect all other structures.

Prof also mentioned that in the scenario where the perspective is particularly hard to construct (or if we are simply lazy or bad at perspective drawing), we can make use of space to cover up our weakness by placing smaller structures in front of bigger ones so that the edges of the buildings are obscured.

These are some sketches that I made that day:

I wasn’t overly rigid in my drawing in the sense that I was quite loose with plotting the construction lines. I merely got a general sense of the direction of the line and went ahead to draw it out. I guess judging by the conceptual (focus more on form) vs perceptual (focus more on what you see) distinction that Prof mentioned, I belong to the latter.

2D Project 1 My Line is Emo — Final

And it comes! The day of final submission! Three weeks of mark-making and it’s now over!

My work:

Top down: Amazement, exasperation, affection, melancholy, mortification, bliss

Infancy — Amazement
  • the marks, while representing amazement, have a touch of inquisitiveness in them
  • the bubble-like marks encapsulates the curiosity and wonder a child feels as he/she interacts with the world for the first time
  • questions and wonders pop up like bubbles in their minds spontaneously
  • every ink blot/circle is unique -> every child interprets our world differently, but their interpretations are all equally mesmerising and filled with precious innocence
Adolescence — Exasperation
  • The marks record our rebellious years where our fluctuating moods and identity confusion causes us to be dissatisfied with and exasperated at many things, be it towards our peers, our family or our parents
  • use of palette knife to slash paint onto the paper is just like how one feels like ‘killing’/’strangling’ a person when that person simply does not understand what you’re driving at
  • the thicker smears of paint is just like the huge SIGHs we make after each gradual build-up of exasperation
  • expresses the uninhibited aggression and frustration a teenager feels at that stage
  • It also portrays teenagers’ urgency to make an impression and assert their identity and importance in this world
Love — affection
  • As we move through our teenage years into adulthood, we start looking for our other ‘half’ (the symmetry in this mark alludes to this)
  • the dreamy and fantasy-like feeling suggests intimacy and sweetness —illustrates our hopes and ideals for our partner
  • the emergence of love-birds-like figures from hazy fumes shows how the search for our true love often begins without us knowing what we are looking for, but it eventually reveals itself to us
  • Notice how the images are similar but not identical -> what I am trying to convey here is that we will find flaws in even our perfect fit, but we must learn to embrace them and accept them for who they are

Mid-Life crisis — Melancholy
  • Looming spectres and the use of lines of different weights and intensity creates the illusion of depth — some of our troubles are further away while others are right in our face
  • Hazy background -> melancholy feelings do not usually have an identifiable source of sadness, yet the feeling is pervasive and omnipresent
  • Sparse marks help to convey the idea of hollowness and emptiness
  • Using the palette knife to slash the paper with ink exemplifies how pangs of grief strike a melancholic person
Illness/the approach to old age — Mortification
  • Paper marche effect created by using newspaper with glue and water
  • The marks were made by crumpling the paper, and then rolling the roller across the creases
  • memory fades, vision darkens, creases appear
  • the use of newspaper: words giving themselves up to the void, along with all the meaning they used to contain
  • fragmentation: highlights the dissonance/ confused state of mind one is in as you grow frail
  • Death looms, close enough to be weighing on your chest
Before the final end — bliss
  • This mark presents a strong juxtaposition to the ‘mortification’ strip
  • One learns to find peace with oneself and finally achieve a sense of serenity and solidarity
  • The cloudy/ dreamy mark prompts one to reminisce about one’s childhood and life experience
  • Death becomes a relief from suffering
  • the soft outlines represents how death is like a restful/gentle sleep


I really love the museum-style presentation — we lay out our works just like how they’ll look in a gallery and we are walked through the works one by one. It was really intriguing to learn about what my peers did and how they interpreted different emotions differently from me.

Thanks friends for the encouraging comments :D

Some Reflections

Overall I’m rather proud of my work but I feel that I could have explored even more with different mediums and materials. I initially thought that this project would be easy, but that was not true at all — it was only through tireless experimentation that I am able to generate my final pieces. But it was only through this process that I came to realise the importance of experimentation as an indispensable part of the creative process because there were so many inspirations that only revealed themselves to me along the way. All in all, mark-making is a highly therapeutic activity. I really had a lot of fun working on this project :)

2D Project 1 My Line is Emo — process

Here are some documentation of the process I’ve been through for mark-making. I realise I’m not a person who can multitask very well, and so I kept on forgetting to whip out my phone to record down my experimentation process.

Initial emotions research:

I wanted to get a clear idea of what each emotions represented. Hence I did several small mind-maps for each emotion category and researched on each specific emotion to ensure that my understanding of that emotion is correct.

Experimentation for melancholy:

The feeling of melancholy is something that I believe everyone can instinctively understand as the wrenching throb in the heart but troubles to eloquently put the emotion into words.  And so when I tried to express melancholy in my marks, I tried to keep the the marks to a minimum so that the empty space (the paper) gives a more pervasive feeling of hollowness and emptiness.

I made this by spreading glue around the paper first, and then sprinkling charcoal crumbs previously crushed. When the glue dries, only the charcoal is left behind, obediently following the trail of glue. I thought the idea was interesting, but I didn’t have any use for it in my final 6 emotions

To see more of my process, please refer to my visual journal :DD

This was what I had after a week of experimentation:

Consultation with Mimi

  • Mimi said that my works were too symmetrical (I agree!!!). I actually did try making some strips that were asymmetrical but I discarded them because they looked too bad. But I should really experiment more with having asymmetrical designs or having the idea of gradual up of emotions in order to make my works more exciting
  • Mimi also mentioned that I shouldn’t be working on newsprint alone. I took her advice and experimented with canvas, watercolour paper and newspaper later on :) I also tried to vary my medium by using acrylic and watercolour (wanted to use oil but it wouldn’t dry in time)
  • Can try collaging the works! See if anything interesting comes out of it!
  • There has to be an overarching theme that can hold the separate emotions together (can be in the form of songs, stories, phenomenon, or just anything)
  • Even though Mimi said that I have a wide variations of line work, she said to be careful when choosing my final 6 strips to prevent having the works looking too similar (especially since I seem to have the tendency to product mark-making that fills up the entire page)

Working on my learning points from the consult, I continued experimenting with more emotions, specifically working on points raised during the consultation.

Working with asymmetry

Working with different medium:

Initial idea was to simply roll a roller over crumpled paper

I decided to work on this idea by introducing newspaper as a medium to create a paper mache effect.

I brainstormed for a suitable theme to make my emotions cohesive and coherent when seen in a certain sequence. I had a few ideas off the top of my mind but they were somewhat random. At the end, since we are dealing with emotions in this project, I started to think about what emotions themselves signify. I felt that emotions are something very ‘raw’ and very ‘unique’ to humans. Yes, some animals can feel emotions as well, but they’re not as varied nor can they reach the same depth as human emotions can. Along this line of thought, I decided that I wanted to do something that ties in very closely to what makes a human human, which is how I arrived at my theme “life”.


With this as my starting point, I started to narrow down emotions that I want to deal with. I identified the different stages of life and the emotions one most probably would have felt at that point in time:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Teenager – Adulthood
  • Mid-life Crisis
  • Illness/ approaching old age
  • Before the final end

(Check out the journal for the full description for each stage :> )

From my huge pile of emotions, I picked out 6 emotions most representative of what one would have felt at the six identified stages of life:

  • Infancy — Amazement
  • Adolescence — Exasperation
  • Teenager – Adulthood — Lust
  • Mid-life Crisis — Melancholy
  • Illness/ approaching old age — Mortification
  • Before the final end — Bliss

I went on making the final emotions used for submission. However, I realised that the same marks can never be replicated. Even subtle differences can make a big difference to the general mood the marks elicit.

In particular, I couldn’t get ‘Lust’ the way I wanted at all even after multiple, numerous, countless number of tries and kilos of paint wasted (just kidding). In a spurt of frustration, I folded a strip that I was doing halfway, intending to discard it. However, when I opened the strip, it dawned on me how perfect Warhol’s Rorscharch technique can be applied. I started experimenting more with this technique, constantly being pleasantly surprised whenever I open the folded paper.

And so, one day before submission, I changed “Lust” to “Affection”, an emotion I thought best described the ink blot I made.

In the end, my final six emotions were:

  • Infancy — Amazement
  • Adolescence — Exasperation
  • Teenager – Adulthood — Affection
  • Mid-life Crisis — Melancholy
  • Illness/ approaching old age — Mortification
  • Before the final end — Bliss



2D Project 1 My Line is Emo – first experimentaion

This week’s lesson was thoroughly enjoyable as I tried my hand at mark making. This was my first attempt at mono-printing and the printing machine, which were immensely interesting and fun!

Some mark making tools I brought to experiment:

  • leaves, tree bark, rocks, sea shells
  • aluminium foil, corrugated cardboard, cling wrap, non-slip mat
  • bottle cap, tissue, syringe
  • velcro, thick rubber band, buttons
  • my fingers

Mimi told us not to bother about the aesthetics of our prints and to explore freely — which was what I did. Here are some prints I made:

I managed to get the bold lines by using the handle of the roller. These lines feel very raw and strong — potential marks for the more intense emotions. Also, the mono-printing method is almost unpredictable because I’m just making the marks blindly without being able to see what I’m doing.

Printed a leaf! Can only vaguely see the shape and veins. And it’s too obvious that it’s a leaf — probably not very suitable here since we want to stay away from very literal/ representative marks.

Experimented with the use of combs here. The neat rows of lines produces a very nice effect. The thick rows of lines were created with corrugated cardboard.

Prints of crushed aluminium foil! The effect is really cool if enlarged, but since it’s very condensed and crammed, it doesn’t look very nice from far.

Marks made by dipping a rock into ink and rolling it around the paper. It’s quite beautiful, especially how the ink is concentrated and sparse in different areas.

Linocut! First time working around with the tools. It wasn’t hard to cut the linoleum, but getting the shape/line I wanted was hard. The lines I cut also looked rather similar — the edges are all rounded.

A linocut I made at the end of the class! I didn’t have anything in mind and was just cutting based on instincts. I’m very satisfied with this print :)  (though mildly annoyed that the print I rushed through with minimal thought turned out the nicest)

Some other prints:

With this round of exploration, I’m more familiar with the tools and materials and how we can create different kinds of marks. I have a better idea of what this project is about and I’m ready to experiment and explore a lot more. Excited for the weeks to come! :D


Figure drawing 2

Second figure drawing session!

Today we dealt with Chiaroscuro, learning to deal with light and shadows and knowing how to demarcate edges of a form just by playing around with tone.

Some quick sketches we did as warm up to try portraying the figure using different tones:

There isn’t quite enough tonal ranges in these sketches, but I did get a rough idea of what we are supposed to learn here.

1.5h sketch:Here, we first smeared the background with charcoal so that it is mid-tone black and then brought out the human form by using an eraser. This exercise helps us to identify the brightest and darkest parts of the human figure, and this aids us in elucidating the form accurately.

My figure is too small again….. Somehow I cannot visualise how the figure will translate on the paper, and so I couldn’t estimate the size of the drawing. Here I think I managed to mark out the form of the body quite clearly (other than the hands which I casually skipped). Some shadows are too sharp (like the one at the model’s right shadow) and some edges are rather weird (e.g. the left arm). I am very happy with the model’s left leg though!! I thought it turned out quite well :>

However, I wasn’t very successful with capturing the mood. Even though the background shades vary in tone, they don’t really give you the idea that there is some sort of air flow or movement at the back. They literally just look like different blocks of different shades in the background. I should work on this more in the future.


Figure Drawing 1

In the third week of school, we are already working on nude figure drawing! I was quite surprised as I thought we would be working more on still-life setups as well as learn the human anatomy before actual moving on to real life models.

I thought that Prof’s method of teaching was quite effective. For basics, he instructed us to focus on the torso and taught us to construct its shape by using two boxes — one representing the upper body while the other representing the pelvis.

For the upper body box, the upper edge is to be extended from the hollow located along the clavicles (collarbone) at the top of the shoulder while the bottom edge is to be aligned with the ends of the ribcage.

For the pelvis box, three points are to be first identified: two points at the ends of the iliac crest and one at the pubic bone.

Iliac crest:

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Interestingly, when a human is standing, the upper box will be tilting backwards instead of being upright or inclining forward. This is often overlooked, even when I tried to sketch later on.

Easier said than done! Even though the theory sounds extremely simple, when I tried applying it I found that just getting the proportions of the boxes right is a big enough headache. It is difficult to pinpoint from the nude model where the boxes starts and ends and what their orientation in space is.

Quick sketches I did:

Proportions feel rather off here. Also, I did not know that the boxes should be rectangular instead of taking a trapezium shape. In the bottom right sketch, I was confused by the twisted torso of the model and thought that my boxes should be distorted as well. However, Prof told us later that we should be thinking of the boxes themselves as representing immovable blocks (we can’t twist our ribcage or pelvis after all). What gives rise to the idea of the ‘twist’ is by displacing the alignment of the top and bottom box.

We sketched for longer periods after:


I realise I have this very bad habit of sketching the model too small…

I hope there’s a lot more figure drawing sessions to come because it feels like it is very hard to master and will require loads of practice. Hopefully, through better understanding of the human anatomy and techniques to figure drawing, I will get better and faster and more confident at it :)