Hello everyone! This will be my process post for this project. In this post, I will be talking about the overall theme, illustration process, photoshopping, using InDesign, binding, type of paper used and difficulties faced (:
My concept for this assignment is based on my ‘darker side’. I wanted to use this Zine as a demonstration of my negative aspects, namely my fears and things I dislike. I chose to go for this theme because I felt that my previous works, whether in semester one or two, have mostly highlighted positive things when it came to representing myself. Therefore, I wanted to challenge myself and try something different.
Another reason was that my projects from semester two have been especially based on photography, setting up, and photo editing. Although it’s what I enjoy doing, I acknowledged that I could try different styles, even more so after reading comments or hearing what my classmates had to say, which was to try something new.
Additionally, because I knew this project should ideally be combined, an extension or a rearrangement of our previous works, I decided to make it relative to my work from semester one’s Ego project. My Ego project was done by illustrating in pencils, outlining in pens and then colouring in with watercolour pencils. You can see it below!
In order to keep the whimsical and child-like nature of the Ego project, I decided to go for a sort of book that would be for adults, however, look like it’s for children. I kind of liked the idea of an illustrated book based on my inspirations like Tim Burton, Happy Tree Friends, and Fran Krause (who did the Deep Dark Fears series, one of my faves). So the style would be dark, eerie, and maybe even slightly sadistic, but look sort of cute at the same time.
I also went along to continue drawing paus, because I’m represented by a pau. So this assignment is full of paus as well. However, in some illustrations, I adapted to pau to have a body.
After consultations, I also decided to go with content that were ‘not so normal’ – things that others would envision to be good things, but to me, they have a negative connotation. For example, things like children, coffee, balloons, high heeled shoes, etc. Joy mentioned that it would be more interesting and less expected, and I’m glad I heeded her advice! I tried as best I could to think of and illustrate less expected ideas, and to follow this direction throughout the Zine.
I planned out the content I wanted to generate in my Zine, and then took to trying out the calligraphy (? not sure if it can be called that hahaha) and doodling. I wanted my details to be all in the drawings, instead of being scattered around the pages and focused on the layout.
My planned 8 pages were:
- Front cover
- Pau standing in the dark, looking afraid.
- Has title ‘Are You Afraid Of The Dark?’ – Inspired because I personally dislike the feeling of being in the dark. I also wanted to keep the front cover more general, so that people would pick it up if it resonated with them.
- Has author’s name.
- Initially, my front cover also had a white background, but then I changed it to a black background, so that it would look more like a cover, and stand out more from the pages inside the Zine.
- Second page
- Balloons – I’ve had a phobia of balloons since I was a child, after one exploded in my face. Ever since then, I’ve seen people loving balloons and thinking they’re so pretty, but they still freak me out.
- Illustration of balloons, with one bursting in the pau’s direction.
- Shows the pau’s skin being peeled and flaking off from the blast.
- Has words ‘What if a balloon exploded near your face and ripped your skin out?’ to encompass what I was afraid of.
- Third page
- Children – When I was younger, I used to love children, and enjoyed being around them and playing with them. However, as I grew older, I realised I didn’t like children as much, especially when I had to spend more than two hours with them. Or if they started crying, or asking questions. Needless to say, I dislike children.
- Illustration of three tiny pau children at the older pau’s feet (me), because of the height. I’m shooting myself because I’m surrounded by them.
- Black lines amasses together in the background and shooting out in this particular direction in order to guide the viewer’s eyes to converge onto what’s taking place in the middle.
- Words are ‘ Children are horrible little creatures’.
- Fourth page
- Pores – Up till now, sometimes if I stare long and hard at my skin, I wonder what would happen if my pores suddenly shrunk into my skin painfully, leaving indents, like little holes. My skin would then sizzle as the pores retreat deeper into my flesh.
- Illustration of the pau’s arm with its pores sinking in. Shows the stages of pores leaving holes – some have fully sunk in, while others are halfway through sinking in, on the verge of sinking, or are still regular pores.
- Words are ‘Pores. One day your pores will expand and sink painfully into your skin. Forever.’
- Fifth page
- Dentist – I’ve had braces in the past, and it was quite a painful process, as I had a severe underbite, which had to be rectified by pushing my lower jaw backwards (as a result, it made my face even rounder LOL so it all links). Since then, I’ve had a phobia of dentists, quite irrationally too, as dentists only want to help their patients.
- Illustration of a pau with straps on its face, pulling back its eyes, and pulling apart its lips to stretch the skin and show the disgustingly crooked and sharp, jagged teeth. Because of the stress created by the straps, the mouth area has begun to crack and pull apart.
- Words are ‘The dentist puts straps on my face to look at my horribly decayed teeth’
- Sixth page
- Stitches – When I was nine, i climbed up a water slide by running upwards. I slipped, fell and landed on my jaw. Because water slides are build by attaching separate pieces together, the entire slide is not actually 100% smooth. My jaw slid against the uneven plastic pieces, and then my flesh got ripped out. There was a hole deep enough to see my jaw bone from the outside, and yes, ever since then, I’ve hated stitches. I went to the hospital immediately and got an anaesthetic jab right in the middle of the hole, and got 16 stitches. I’ve also been afraid of having stitches on my mouth so I cannot speak.
- Illustration of a pau with stitches all over the mouth, with the needle and thread still attached. Stitches also scattered around the pau’s ribbon and has cracks that are sewn shut.
- Spools of thread lie beside the pau.
- Words are ‘Sometimes, I worry that if I have to get stitches again, I’ll be stitched up in all the wrong places’.
- Seventh page
- Ageing – To me, there is a very big difference between ageing and death. I don’t want to age and become dependent on other people, not being able to do mundane things like eat food, brush my teeth, stand up or walk. I think ageing comes hand in hand with horrible things like dementia and osteoperosis, and thinking ahead, ageing is something I’d rather not face, as compared to death. Some may want to grow up, and achieve things, and even look forward to ageing, but I don’t.
- Illustration of six small boxes of paus, each depicting a life phase – from young and unmarred, to old and rotting.
- Words are ‘Ageing’ and ‘To die would be an awfully big adventure. – J.M. Barrie’. I love the second quote, taken from Peter Pan, the children’s book, and thought it was very apt to put inside my Zine.
- Back cover
- Plain and simple, with the text ‘Don’t look under the bed’
- In lieu with cover page. I wanted them to be inclusive of the theme of a child’s room, hence, the dark and the reference of not looking under the bed.
After illustration, I scanned the drawings into softcopy version at 300dpi, so I could edit them on Photoshop and InDesign.
Photoshop and indesign:
After scanning the illustrations into images, I began arranging them on Photoshop, such as putting the text and main image together, and finalising my compositions.
I also edited certain parts, like erasing some details, or vice versa. The biggest thing I edited on Photoshop would be the back and front covers. I switched the colours around so that the illustrated parts would be in white, while the background would be in black.
Then, I moved on to InDesign. I finalised some things on the software, and mainly used it to look at my pages as a whole, to see if they fit well together. I felt InDesign was good to look at the entire spread and layout, because it shows you all the pages put together so I could envision what it would look like after being printed out.
I also exported it from InDesign.
Binding, type of paper selected & printing:
I knew I wanted something slightly shiny but matte. This is because I wanted it to look as close to a children’s book as possible. However, what I learnt at the printing shop was that the thicker the paper, the harder it would be to bind, given the number of pages the Zine consisted of. The staff informed me that thinner paper would be better, and recommended a few.
I thought this was interesting as I always thought thicker paper would be better, since there were only 8 pages. So eventually, I settled for thinner paper. I’m not sure of the exact gsm as it wasn’t stated, and I forgot to ask the staff, so next time, I will definitely remember to!
Binding wise, I asked for perfect binding. I selected perfect binding as I was thinking of if the Zine could be mass produced in the future. This was also the reason why I chose to scan in my illustrations instead of directly drawing on the Zine. If it were ever mass produced, I would like the Zine to have a hard cover, while the pages inside would be kept thin.
I think the most difficult thing about this project was actually printing! Because my printing initially was really bad, I had to go get it done again. But although it was really tedious and rather upsetting at the moment, I’m glad it happened.
I learnt a lot from it, and now I know the importance of sourcing for a good printing shop, as well as choosing the right paper, etc.
Other parts would be the time spent on illustrating, as well as learning how to use InDesign.