Graphic Novel

Scene: The man, furious at the fact that the tree is no longer producing fruits with precious pearls, came to cut the tree down.



Review & Critique:

Did the storyboard / story turn out as you hoped?

Yes, I am quite satisfied with the final page layout, especially because it has went through a lot of revisions. I am happy with the colours as well as I think it brings out the slightly gloomy/ foreshadowing feeling without being overly dark. However, this layout has differed from my initial expectations in the sense that I initially wanted to include the depiction of the felling of the tree as well. However, as I worked on the each panel, I realised that the story will be too condensed if I were to to include both the cutting and falling of the tree. Hence, I left this page as purely illustrating the scene where the man arrives at the tree and starts chopping it with his axe. I believe this gives the reader more room to breathe and assimilate the content.

What would you do to improve it?

I think the top few panels are not dynamic enough. The part where the shoe steps into the grass should have way more power and strength to it, as if the man is stomping down. I initially included a frog jumping away in shock, which I think would have helped to bring out the stomping effect but I couldn’t draw the frog well so.. ? Also, I think that panel transitions could be better in the cluster of panels on top as well. Perhaps this could be helped if I chose to draw from other perspectives, e.g. I feel that the snarling/smirking mouth doesn’t fit that into the big picture right now.

What skills do you need to improve?

I need to be able to draw objects from various perspectives better. In the bottom panels, drawing the axe actually took me way way longer than expected because I just couldn’t get the shape of the axe to be right.

Also, I want to improve on my background design because I am always at a lost of how to fill in the background. I have resolved the problem here by opting a simpler way of filling in colour gradients and simple foliage here and there. I do hope I can learn to draw trees and grass and bushes better.

On top of that, I hope to improve panel transitions. I didn’t include the above page layout in the final work because I feel that the transitions are not done well and seem too repetitive. I only realised this after colouring the comic and seeing it from the big picture. The repetitive chopping of the tree coupled with the tree swaying back and forth (which itself isn’t illustrated clearly) made the layout look very boring. I wonder what can be done to make the falling of the tree more dramatic and clearer to the viewer.

What are the most significant things you have learned so far?

This project was really quite challenging for me, and so it was very enriching. Firstly, I’ve learned about panel design. Deciding panel arrangement, their sizes, how close they are to the next, how they serve the story etc., these were more complicated than I thought and a lot of experimentation was done. I think it probably comes with experience to know how arrange and sequence the drawings and panels so that it tells a seamless story that readers can follow easily. I have also learned to play around with perspectives so that the panels are more interesting.

In addition, I have learned to incorporate comic elements which I was rather unfamiliar with since I don’t read much comics. Stuff like sound effects or motion lines or panel-to-panel transition were really unintuitive. For example, just figuring out how to draw motion lines in Photoshop took me hours long already…



Drawing tool sets + Artist references

Drawing tool sets


  • A3 sketchbook for figure drawings
  • A4 sketchbook
  • A5 sketchbook for convenience/ quick sketching outdoors
  • Watercolour sketchbook
  • Kraft sketchbook to study the use of highlights on toned paper

Currently, I intend improve my pencil and charcoal sketches. Thus, I am limiting myself with dry media materials and get myself to establish a stronger foundation before moving onto other mediums. At the same time, I hope to becoming faster and more confident in drawing — I work very slowly at the moment.

Tool sets:

Pencils of different softness — aiming to work on my shading techniques and to incorporate more tones in my drawings. Hoping to improve my line quality as well as be more precise with each stroke instead of roughly estimating several times.

Charcoal sticks from previous semester — hoping to achieve more confidence in handling charcoals as well as obtain a wide range of tones.

Brush pens (old and new) — have little experience working with them. I would like to use them to explore light and shading, as well as variations in line weights and how this affects the drawing

Watercolour set — not intending to use watercolour in the near future, but would love to explore and master this medium. Using watercolour for outdoor sketching/ figure drawing is really appealing to me.

Artist references
  1. Chinese classical artist Liu Bin

Asian faces tend to have gentler curves and shadows that rests more subtly on the faces. Liu Bin manages to capture this and portray Asian portraits in a realistic manner. I am interested in studying the way he handles light and shadow to achieve this effect.

2. Kim Jung Gi

Kim Jung Gi’s mastery of form is insane. Watching his sketching videos are pretty unbelievable because he seems to have the entire picture in his mind and draws straightaway without any need for construction lines/sketch. I would like to study his drawing of human forms from different angles as well as his brushwork.

3. Paul Heaston (@paulheaston on Instagram)


I want to study his inking and crosshatching techniques. Even though he often sketch the interior of rooms, the drawings are neat and not boring in any way. His perspective of rooms are very interesting, especially with the warp effect.

4.  Dennis Brown (@bags43)

I like his brushwork and bold use of line. He can bring out a form with a few simple strokes — something that I would want to emulate.

5. General artworks

(Sabin Howard)



Andrew Loomis

As you can tell, I am focusing on studying the different ways of using line and light/shadows. My drawings tend to be very flat and 2D – so I’m hoping that through learning from these works, I will better understand form and tones.

May this semester be a fruitful learning journey!



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 :)

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:

Accessed from

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 :)