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!!!












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