Tag Archives: ink

Textures of Abandonment│Process

I wanted a very abstract-y, super textured zine from the start but as I progress I kind of want a lonely, longing feeling to it too. I didn’t want a narrative but maybe some words to imply the feelings of abandonment and longing?

After consulting, a new idea of placing Dakota’s abandoned cats in the zine emerged. The new zine will be developed from the cats’ point of view, where the repeated questions ‘when will you be coming home?’ are their thoughts.

To begin, I photoshopped textures on the buildings:

I also tried making my own textures from Lino-cut. I got a packet of circle pads instead so I can try out different cuts.

Click here for Painting/rolling process


and paint/Ink:

I tried using plastic too to make marks


Page 1: Cover page

This was before the cat idea. I didn’t know what I wanted for the cover page but I didn’t think of adding words at first. This was my first idea:

This was a balcony shot of one of the blocks:

I used threshold to get only the skeletal of the block out. Then I used the texture I made as background:


I also tried using textured background from one of the photos I took while I was there.

But then I got feedback that the chosen picture doesn’t scream Dakota enough. So in the end I used the Dakota block number as a front cover since it says ‘Dakota Crescent'(which can nicely serve as my title).

Worked on illustrator. Used the rectangle tool to outline the windows etc:

Then I got on photoshop to threshold the windows and imported the windows to illustrator:

This is the end product:

After the introduction of the cat idea, I gave the cover page a little colour, so that the ‘black’ won’t overpower the cat. I tried this first but it felt too much ‘photography’:

So I minimised the colours to only the block sign:

I picture the cat to be siting quietly at a window, looking far away and waiting for the residents to come back. I used very cartoonish/line drawing for the cats so that they contrast from the realistic details of the textures.


Page 2: Bird's eye view of Dakota

What makes Dakota special is the unique arrangement of the blocks— how the face each other and are very closely built. This promotes and encourages the residents to interact with their neighbours. That’s something we don’t see in our modern HDB flats. So I wanted to show that uniqueness in my zine.

Blk 14,20,22

Used rectangle and pen tool to outline the blocks:

For the fill, I decided to use different photographed textures:

Trying different backgrounds:

Page 3: Corridor Staircase

I decided I want to dedicate a page to the corridor staircases because they’re so dirty and secluded. They also lead up straight to the people’s homes(so cool). The gates are people’s homes!!! Normal HDB flats would’t have that:

On illustrator, I used the rectangle tool to make out the graphic shape of the staircase, then I tried different backgrounds:


Since I wanted page 2 and 3 to be more ‘linked’, I extended the roads from page 2 onto page 3:

After the ‘cat consultation’, I added the cat to be walking along the ‘roads’. I also used a darker background to seamlessly join the pages together and make it seem more of a spread.

Page 4-5: Block Windows

For the middle section, I decided to do a spread. Since Dakota is known for having low rise buildings of 7 storeys, I wanted to show that. Also, their window arrangement is really cute and unique:

I started on illustrator and traced out the windows:

I added a fill of textures and tried different backgrounds

The solid colours were too jarring so Ms Mimi suggested I use an abstract close up of the textures I took:

I added the cats in the windows (or on the windows), or jumping through the windows. Though its a sad portrayal of the lonely cats wandering from window to window, I think it also ironically shows the playfulness and loyalty of the Dakota cats.

Page 6: Brick Wall

The brick also caught my eye because the bricks used were of different sizes, unlike HDB bricks, where its very well put and organised alternately.

Traced it out on illustrator:

I tried using different textured background to better represent the brick wall as Dakota’s:

Page 7

At first I only thought of editing a corridor on photoshop, adjusting the levels, colour etc:

This was what it looked like next to pg 6:

It didn’t quite match the the pages so I tried to make it a spread:

I added the cat, (standing??) and perching itself up on the brick to make it look impatient, and finally searching instead of wandering.

Page 8

From the start I knew I wanted to connect the first page and last page. So I reused the ‘When are you coming back home’. At first I tried using a picture I took of the rusting railings. But I felt that it didn’t end my zine nicely.

I wanted to end my zine on an ’empty’ and kind of sad note. So I thought the best thing was to leave it empty. Didn’t work out.

So an idea struck. Since my zine was going to be about the sad wandering cats, I will conclude the zine with cats.

I think a sitting cat at the corner concludes my zine nicely— how in the beginning the cats are actively searching, wandering about the estate. In the end, the sitting cat looks sad and defeated, but at the same time there is ambiguity in the conclusion. Are the cats still going to wait? Or have they given up and realise the residents have gone for good?

Stay tuned for my FINAL!!!












Project #1 4D: FINAL (suffering is over)


The state of undergoing immense pain, distress or hardship.

If I were to visualise ‘suffering’ in my head, I’d picture sharp thin tangents intersecting and cutting through one other. Maybe there’d be splatters of blood too.

To get those ‘splatters’ in the middle of the strip, I used soap. From my experimenting, soap makes great dry brush texture.

The splatters also act as a ‘connecting’ medium that connects the two ends of the strip, so that the two masses of ink are not seen as separate.

To get the sharp tangents/lines, I use a pointed palette knife. I got some tears along the process.

Clumsy me accidentally ripped the right end of the paper off but I guess the effect pushed the definition of suffering even more HAHA.

So here are the close ups:


Accumulated desire for someone or something.

Longing is a feeling that builds up over time, and with each passing day it grows stronger. Like flower petals, they grow and bud, only to be dispersed and face eternal disappointment in the end.  I used dried baby breaths to create this.

Often used at weddings, Baby breaths symbolize everlasting love, pureness, and innocence. Ironically, I will be using it to portray marks of sadness and yearning.

I used the bunch of petals to create wispy lines.

As I approach the end of the strip, I apply more pressure so that the marks gradually get visually ‘heavier’.

To create the ‘spots’, I shake the bouquet vigorously and allow small splatters of ink to drop.




Strong disapproval aroused by something unpleasant.

It’s a strong repulsive emotion but one gets used to it- over time it just disappears or fades.  I used glue to get this effect.

Scooped glue onto paper and mixed ink with a palette knife.


Used the palette knife to even out the glue and create a ‘fade’ at the end. The glue dries glossy so the end product looks wet and ew undecided (yay, disgusting!)




Viewing things in a positive or calm light.

Circles, round and enclosed, are comforting and suggest completeness. I cut up aluminium foil into different sizes of circles and pasted them on white paper. I chose aluminium due to its sheen and I like the fact that the aluminium reflects light off. It’s just really calming to stare at.

At first, I used black paper as I thought black would really bring out contrast and accentuate the shine of the foil. However, I find that black paper makes the work quite depressing so I switched to white.

Using an ‘open composition’ where some circles are cropped out of the frame. This creates a more fun and interesting composition.

Adding more circles to complete.

Close up:



Unexpected and uncontrollable feeling, sudden without warning.

Nothing beats SURPRISE(!!!) like random splats of white against a black backdrop.  The splatters extend out of the frame, without boundary or control. Compared to the other works, this technique was left to chance (I had to re-do the splats a lot of times because they didn’t turn out nice). I used string dipped in white ink to create this.

I used two bundles of string- one long and one short.

Short bundle of string

Short strings don’t really create a SPLAT effect, but more of a elaborate pattern. So, for the most part of the work, I used the long strings.

All I really did was a lot of flinging, so there’s nothing much to explain….So let the pictures do the talking-


The final product^




Growing anxiety, aggravated over time.

I picture nervousness like countless tiny organisms building up and attacking your gut. Sometimes they combine and grow into big blotches of monsters and gnaw you from the inside.


I used string and ink to create this work. I did not fling the string like I did for ‘Surprise’.

Using less ink at the start, then more ink as I work along the strip to ‘build up’:






Project #1: Everyday materials


The sponge was the first material I used. The rough part of the sponge made more sketchy, thin and broken lines. They look a bit like dry brush effect. 

Blotching the sponge on newsprint

The effect I got was more haphazard. Next, I tried the smoother side of the sponge. More of a bold, strong stroke as this side of the sponge was able to absorb more ink.

Strong diagonal bold stroke, as if there is upward movement

I also tried soaking the sponge into the container of ink, and then squeezing the sponge over the paper. This time, I diluted the ink with a little water.

The result was just black drips of ink. Nothing spectacular. I tried to make something more positive(?) and clean cut. I diluted the ink too.

I didn’t like the idea of it being faded so I used saturated ink next.

I prefer it saturated as it comes out bolder and more eye-catching.

Next, palette knife.

I used the sharp edges of the palette knife first and scraped it roughly onto the newsprint. Occasionally there were some tears on the newsprint but I liked the concept of the little tears. Again, the thin sketchy lines along with the tears gave a haphazard effect.

After which, I used the flatter side of the palette knife. A thick, bold straight line was created.

Next I dipped a piece of kook crunch into ink. It has a rough surface and it can’t absorb ink very well so I had trouble even creating ink marks on the newsprint.

So I let the koko crunch soak in the ink for a few minutes and tried again.

The ink came off richer and looked like a crayon effect. The kook crunch became way too soggy to even hold later on so I threw it away.

So I guess these ‘materials’ are more personal to me compared to the above daily items. I see the marks as ‘self-portraits’ as they’re products/results of my bodily parts. But whatever it is, I had fun!!!

The first thing I did was to play with hair. It was quite tricky as I only collected so little strands(mistake no.1), and it didn’t really leave any prominent marks. So I really dipped the whole bunch of hair into the tub of ink, to the point that there was too much ink to even create intricate ‘hair’ marks(mistake no. 2):

Too little strands 🙁
Too much ink, so the marks were just big awkward blobs of ink
Much regrets

Thus I don’t think hair would be of much use to me. I didn’t really fancy the bog blobs, so I moved on to use my hands.

I dipped my palms and fingers into ink and wiped the excess onto tissue. I wouldn’t want dark obvious hand prints.

I first smudged my finger tips, as if I’m ‘wiping’ off the ink and cleaning my hands
I moved my hands from left to right whilst wiping
As I continued wiping, the ink became more faded and became wispy

I like the wispy and faded effect created so I might consider having this element in my final work.

String timeeeee!!

Next, I dipped string into the container of ink. I flung the string onto the paper to leave everything to chance(lol). Surprisingly the effect came out pretty cool, having some overlaps and even creating weird organic marks.

I continued this fun process of constant flinging and picking till I was satisfied with the effect:



Splattered effect
Allowing drops of ink to drip from the string
Cool random patterns made

I started dragging the string around. It was quite therapeutic. Do watch this therapeutic process!: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_PH7w-k9pGzLXZnZU96My1jMUU

I also tried making repetitive patterns with the string. They turned out like flowers and I LOVE IT!!! I’m probably going to implement this element in one of my final emotions.

I then tried pressing the string on a black painted Lino pad using a roller.

I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone. I tainted the roller with black paint too, so that both sides of the paper had marks. This is the top:

This is the bottom:

I personally like the bottom one more cause it’s interesting with the intersecting lines and varied textures.


So then I tried making marks with soap. I first dipped a small part into the ink, then dragged the bar of soap across the paper. I find that the soap makes great dry brush texture:

Dry-brush texture

After a few strokes and messing up the paper, I find parts of the soap starting to dissolve into the ink. This made the ink on paper develop a chalky effect. The paper also smelled nice.

Chalky effect

If I press hard enough, bits of the soap will come off and dry with the ink. This creates a kind of bumpy texture.

Finally, I dipped the whole bar into the container of ink. This resulted in wider and bolder dry brush strokes.

More defined and bolder strokes

I combined the different techniques above. I tried to make haphazard marks to suit a negative emotion. Feel free to watch the short clip below(click the link) of me having fun with the soap!

Video: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_PH7w-k9pGzNTlLb1VnSTRtUjQ

Next, glue.

I first squeezed glue onto a palette and slowly added the ink. I used a palette knife to mix both and apply on paper, but I realised this process was too slow for me. So I just squeezed glue straight onto the newsprint.

Using a palette knife to spread
Added more ink to darken

The ink became super shiny and made abstract ‘marble’ patterns. The palette knife didn’t give me the thick, blotchy effect that I expected so I used my hands.

The more glue I added, the more faded and translucent the ink.

Next, I took some dry flowers. I dipped the flowers into ink and dotted it onto the newsprint. Tiny cute organic spots are made!

Next, I dragged the dried bouquet across the paper. They appear very tangled and give a strong sense of direction.

I dipped the bouquet in ink again and rattled it over the newsprint, so that the ink will drip and fling off. The spots created are smaller and random, as compared to the manual, careful dotting. I prefer this effect more.

Next I tried making marks on aluminium foil.

Using dried flowers to create splatters
Creating tears along the foil
Pasting foil onto black paper to see contrast
Ink dries shiny on foil

That’s all for now!sealed