2D: “Hello”


Hello! I am now in a new semester with new exciting projects lined up!

In our first 2D class we were assigned this fun mini ‘project’- to decorate our name cards in 3 ways- abstract, conceptual, or using typography. We were supposed to present out name cards to the class in Week 2 but I couldn’t make it for class so here are my presentation notes that I had prepared beforehand!

I decided to focus on three aspects on myself based on the nature of each requirement.



Name card 1: Typography (Obsessive compulsive/ ‘perfectionist’/ Conformist?)

In the brief it said to pay attention to the type of font, the spacing, the overlap, the positive and negative space, use of capital alphabets etc.I went with a simple drawing which said ‘W i d a d’.

I did everything ‘right’ in the sense that I followed the proper ‘rules’ and the norm for writing your name. This was to show how I was very much an obedient rule follower in life as well as in design. I also wanted to show the so called ‘perfectionist’/ obsessive compulsive side of me, so the spacing had to be exactly equal between each alphabet, and each letter is drawn out as perfectly as I could. I’m the type of person who always colours within the lines.

The main medium I used throughout all the name cards was pencil. This was mainly to reflect the lack of confidence and the self-doubt that I carry with me. Using pencil symbolises how I always need a safety net- to be able to erase my mistakes to achieve ‘perfection’, or to be able to erase what I do in case I change my mind. This is different than having the confidence to use pen straight away.


Name card 2: Abstract (Scatterbrain/ Absentmindedness ) 

Of all the 3 cards, I think this is pretty straightforward.

  1. I really love henna designs
  2. The crazy mix of designs show how ‘scattered’ my thoughts are (I always have too many tabs open on one window, I am frequently scolded for jumping from one topic to another, I forget where I left my phone/bottle at least 3 times a day/ )

(Abstract Henna designs flowing and going crazy-to represent scattered thoughts


Name card 3: Conceptual (Lack of independence and self-reliance) 

It probably sounds as if I view myself really negatively (which may be true just sometimes!), but really, I find that it’s so much more interesting to explore your own flaws and maybe sometime discover why you have them and what you need to do to fix them. The last name card, I wanted to convey my lack of independence. As I grew older, I realised I wasn’t as independent and self-reliant as I should be.

Following the rules and having someone to show me the way often leads me to ‘success’- because I’m good at following orders, but it doesn’t lead me to somewhere new neither causes change.

You may be wondering why all 3 name cards have more or less the same font and same style. I did this to show what happens when you get too comfortable in your own bubble, play safe and rely and expect others to guide you and show you the way. I can achieve ‘success’ but the outcome is nothing outstanding or special each time. I confine myself by creating a template by following others but the result is really nothing new or exciting each time. I need to be independent and take risks to be able to create new experiences and achieve my own success- to create my ‘own font’.


I think that was somewhat deep for name cards.



2D: “Typographic Portrait” Process Part 1


Hello all!

I’m extremely excited to be working on the first 2D project for Semester 2! It is somewhat similar to the last project we did last semester (on ‘Self’), but I feel like this makes it slightly more difficult because now this project really pushes you even more explore aspects of yourself.

To recap, the 3 attributed I covered in the ‘Hello’ project were: Being a ‘perfectionist’, scatterbrained and lacking independence.

Because I’m indecisive and still cannot decide which 6 to choose:

Some characteristics I’d like to portray about myself

  1. Meticulous/ Obsessive Compulsive
  2. Conformist/ Following the rules/ Colouring in the lines
  3. Lack of independence
  4. Revealing too much (being too open?)
  5. Indecisive
  6. Clumsy
  7. Absentminded/ Scatter brained
  8. Procrastinator/ Unfocused

How can your 6 attributes be best represented typographically?

I’m not very sure,I’m still in the process of deciding which concept I want to choose.

I have a few concepts I have in mind:

  1.  I’ve read several pages of Barbara Emanuel thesis on “Rhetoric in Graphic Design”, and it is extremely enlightening. Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 10.13.09 PM

I never thought as my artwork that I’m making in ADM as a means of persuasion. But in reality, we are unintentionally making choices as we design in order to portray a certain image of ourselves/ our beliefs to the audience.

  1. My first concept idea would be emphasising rhetoric in my composition. I thought of playing with the idea of opposites/antonyms of attributes (Flaws VS Strengths). As humans we always want to hide our flaws and show people only our good side. So I thought that I could create pieces where my flaws would be disguised as strengths.

2. My second concept idea is ‘Dreams VS Fears’. Rather than focusing on what we are, I thought it would be interesting to represent our attributes in an indirect way by looking merging the extreme ends of the spectrum (what we aspire to be and what we fear / what is stopping us).

For instance,

Dream: “My name is Widad and I’m healthy and fit.

Worst Fear: “My name is Widad and I eat brownies for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My reasoning for this is that I feel like I am always in the middle of these two extremes and I always aspire to become this dream while fearing the worst. So it would be very intriguing to explore this balance.

3. My third idea for my concept was looking at my relationships with others. This concept would be process driven, involving the other person in each relationship.


An idea I had for the medium was to focus on environmental typography- to bring in the relevance of my major- product design. As I want to learn to design sustainable products, the typography/ fonts/ types I make could be limited to natural/ recycled materials.

That’s all I have for now!










1st equation:

Meticulous + Friendly = Me

Meticulous         Meticulous

In the first equation I wanted to convey this sense of enclosure and a little bubble of my world that I live in. I am meticulous because I am someone who is very detail oriented and am concerned with the little things rather that sometimes I miss the big picture. Because I am so concerned and preoccupied with the littlest of details my vision of the big picture, or rather the more important things/purpose is blocked out. Therefore, to symbolise this I created a delicate papercut design and layered it over green paper with this area of white space in the middle. We don’t know what lies behind this white area, so in that sense, the detailed papercut design acts as a ‘filter’? I also forgot to mention that my family is symbolised by the presence of yellow, and I used it throughout my compositions to show their signifcance and how they are a constant in my life.



For the attribute ‘friendly’, I wanted to bring in what June observed about me- she said that I was ‘socially selective’. I knew I wanted to use circles to represent this but I didn’t know how. So I looked to different artist for reference, and I came across Kandinsky’s ‘Circles in a circle’. I used that and interpreted it in a different way. I created many circles overlapping each other and only in certain circles are there these few small circular confetti, which symbolises people who I am close to. Hence I also wanted to convey how in the aspect of my social life, it is narrow and not too wide as well.




The first two added together essentially equates to who I am. I am this girl who is detail oriented, finds her family extremely important to her and has a few very close and dear friends. With all of these elements, this creates a little bubble of ‘Widad’s World’ where all these things revolve around my life and the only issues and problems that I face are concerning these and the problems I create myself because of being too meticulous.



2nd equation:

Proactive – Indecisive = A Better Me



In the second equation, I show how I wanted to break out from this little bubble/ world that I was in to create ‘A Better Me’. This better version of myself is someone who is no longer confined by her little, narrow world she is in. She is aware of what is going on around her and the global issues in the world. She realises what issues in the world are important to address.


Being proactive is defined as someone who is ready before something happens. Proactive people initiate things and act before anyone tells them to do anything. I feel that waves is an apt symbol, as waves are lively, full of energy and zeal. There is a sense of power and strength in its movements as it comes roaring down the shore. Waves are constantly in motion. I was inspired by the quote: Time and tide wait for none. I decided to do a cut out of this as well because I wanted the yellow circle from behind peek through, to show how it is something I learnt from being in a big family. (I really regret forgetting mentioning this in the presentation- I was so nervous!)


Being proactive towards gaining this knowledge is a big step for me to break away from this bubble.




One of the many traits I’d like to change about myself is being ‘Indecisive’. I often find myself having to decide between two things and having an extremely hard time choosing. It’s ridiculous how indecisive I am. This is a really bad thing because I spend so much time going back and forth deciding which option to do before doing the task. That’s why I decided to represent it through geometric shapes- to represent how fragmented and weak my decisions are because I can can never seem to fully decide and be confident in what I do.


A  Better Me

A Better Me

From what I’ve explained, ‘Proactive’ and ‘Indecisive’ may seem like a contradiction. But the way it works is I always get great ideas, but I procrastinate in doing it because I am indecisive and I waste time deciding what I actually want to do. In the ‘Better Me’, I wanted to depict this bubble/circle representing my world breaking as I become fully aware of global issues.

As we move on to the more abstract pieces, it become slightly more trickier and difficult for me to explain them, because when creating each of this pieces, I get into the ‘mood’ of this traits to evoke this feeling/trait in the piece.



Hardworking x Creative = An Ideal Me



For ‘hardworking’, I was struggling, thinking how I should represent it. Then I remembered our first project, where we used line to express emotions. After getting that inspiration and revisiting my work, I felt that strong, bold dark lines could represent the effort and energy to be hardworking.




For creative, I wanted a relatively colourful piece to represent the creativity. I added in blue and pinks to accentuate and make the piece more colourful. I really love how colourful it is. This is essentially how I imagine a creative mind would be.



An Ideal Me

An Ideal Me

The ‘Ideal Me’ is someone who creates eco-friendly products, providing solutions to environmental problems. So for the design of this, I wanted to marry both styles to create this.




Conscientious + Passionate = Me In 5 Years



I am someone who does her tasks as best as I can, even if it is something small. And the way I do this is through a systematic, organised way. I got inspired by Mondrian and reinterpreted his famous painting. I have to admit, this was a more easy painting to do compared to other, because there are is a sense of order that soothes my controlling self haha.




intense, impassioned, ardent, fervent, zealous, vehement, fiery, heated,feverish, emotional, heartfelt, eager, excited, animated, spirited, vigorous

These are the synonyms for ‘Passionate’. And I feel that my painting embodies this energy.I really found myself enjoying doing this which I feel was important in order to really convey this trait of mine.


Me In 5 YearsMe In 5 Years

Because I am uncertain as to how my future will be and don’t know what career I want to pursue, I decided to make this last composition ambiguous. But one thing I know is that whatever it is that I do as a job, I will be conscientious and passionate about what I’m doing. I am thinking positively and hope that my future will be as colourful and vivd as this painting is.




Colour Theory

Another thing I didn’t really fully elaborate on was my choice of colour theory. The first 2 equations represent the old me. I used complementary colours- purple and green (with yellow accents) but I used soft pastel colours. From this I move onto bolder triadic colours with the introduction of orange in addition to purple and green, all in more saturated and vibrant bold hues. I even added more accent colours (like blue, pink) which don’t follow the theory but even goes to show how I am breaking the rules even in the colour theory but it pays off, to create a beautiful colourful piece.

This signifies my desire to change and break out from this sheltered, ignorant, safe, mundane, traditional me to a risk taking, spontaneous, bold, self aware, globally aware and socially responsible human being.



A few things I wish I did better:

  1. The presentation itself. There were many things i forgot to mention and I wasn’t very coherent or clear in explaining my concept and each composition. I think what Joy said about preparing a template for future presentations is actually really great advice because I always am so bad at presentations and this would help me relay my thoughts in a more orderly manner and make me less nervous.
  2. The abstract pieces- Joy mentioned that ‘hardworking’ and ‘creative’ look somewhat similar. I agree. But I still feel like at the same time it is distinct in its own way- ‘hardworking’ has longer, bolder dark strokes whereas ‘creative’ has a plethora of colours and shorter stroked. However, I can appreciate that what I had in mind probably didn’t translate to what I created or was obvious enough. Also, I wish that I had given more symbolism and meaning to my abstract pieces- honestly because I didn’t really know how to.
  3. Bringing in more solid artist references- not only their style and method but their beliefs and thinking as well. On that topic, I recall Joy telling Hsin Wei to read up more about these difference movements/ artists and their ideologies and write them down to create a bank to apply it for next term. I think this was another really really good piece of advice and I really really hope I can do this because I’m not the type of person to read these non-fiction, intellectual type of books. This is mainly because: a) I find them really confusing and difficult to understand. And therefore b) I find them boring. But looking when I see how people like Hsin Wei and Andrew who read these books and apply them to their work, I can see how it really supports their concepts and generally makes them more knowledgeable, open and well read as a person.







Overall reflection

Despite these regrets, I am still proud of what I’ve done and what I’ve discovered in myself as a person. I am now more aware of what I have become and what I need to change to get to that ideal me. I am hoping to use this break to work towards that change. Through Joy’s readings I’ve learned many things- from abstract art to the significance of flowers in cultures. I just wish that I brought that into my project.





I have steered my concept to a slightly different angle. It is still about change of self though.This time in relation to the world around me.


-a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance

-a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought

-your consciousness of your own identity

In a nutshell, my concept is: the consciousness of my own self, of my own identity in relation to what is around me.


Update: Also, because I am indecisive, I have changed my mind and have decided that I will be using just 2 mediums: acrylic and paper. Why? You’ll find out in my last post! Hehe.


On another note, I made more ‘abstract art’ today.

I got inspiration from a few modernists artists,namely Kandinsky and Mondrian.

So for my abstract compositions I have taken inspiration from artists in the past and the present!










Pictures of my progress and attempts! I’m really sorry if some of the photos are unfocused. It’s tricky to take photos when your hands are covered with paint.

Abstract art is still very difficult to do well haha.




Left: 1st attempt   Right: 2nd attempt










I later added streaks of yellow. I might have ruined it.










Left: 1st attempt Right: 2nd attempt





Biggest disaster of the day:



2D Project 3 (Ego): Part 3


Making abstract art is not as easy as it seems.

(It makes it even harder when you accidentally buy poor quality acrylic paints)

It is very difficult, as you can see below by my several attempts.






Seriously, what is this mess???






However, I did try making several compositions, which are not as vibrant as I hoped, but I’m somewhat pleased with them as I was ready to give up.

Attempt 1

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Attempt 2

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Attempt 3







Just for fun

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I know you’re probably thinking why this looks very different than my previous compositions that I posted before.

I decided to have a different medium for each of the 4 equations. The reason I chose this was again because of the medium= message. I will elaborate further on the next post.

Stay tuned!

2D Project 3 (Ego) : Part 2







Before say anything…..

I’ve made progress!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I’ve done 2 compositions for the first equation.

Meticulous + Friendly= Me









(I haven’t done ‘Friendly’ yet)



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I know it doesn’t seem much, but to me this is good progress.

For the past whole week I’ve been having a mental block to the extent where I just couldn’t comprehend my own original concept, and wanted to change it to a new concept.

What did I discuss with Joy during last week’s consultation?

  1. Like I said, I was stuck. I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to do a new concept- and I talked to Joy about having the symbolism of flowers as my concept. Joy mentioned something that really stuck to me. She reminded me that I was at a tertiary level, and that basically my work/ concept had to be at par with these expectations. This made me even more motivated to really push my concept and compositions visually, whether literal or abstract. I couldn’t just be satisfied with mediocre work.

2. I’m not sure if I’m phrasing this correctly,  but she talked about the auxiliary counterpart (?) of a flower- like to think about how a rose had thorns. She also mentioned anthropomorphism (the attribution of human characteristics or behaviours to a god, animal, or object.).

3. She also suggested thinking about how seasons affect flowers. And also how artists interacted with flowers.

As you can see, she gave me a lot to think about. Maybe that’s why my brain feels like it has exploded. Haha just joking.



After a lot of thinking during the week, and travelling to Malaysia to see my parents, something my dad said got me thinking again. He mentioned that all of us (i.e me and my sisters) were living in a bubble and we don’t have basic general knowledge (yes shameful I know 🙁 ) and don’t read the news. Going to university and getting a degree doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re educated. You still need to know what’s going on around you, around the world- what pressing global issues are happening.

After leaving the dinner table red faced and embarrassed, I realised that I was so cooped up in my own little bubble, and so concerned with my own self.  I was also reminded of what Andrew mentioned in his concept- how we are all not as unique and original as we would like to be.

So my concept has developed and grown into something bigger. I will be addressing how I have changed as a person.But this is not merely about the ego. This is about the myself as a person in the world. Without going into too much detail, I’ve always been somewhat environmentally conscious. Somewhat. So, essentially, I will be looking at how I interact with the environment around me- which also defines me as a person. Being unaware of what is around you can make you ignorant. Therefore, I feel that this is something that I can finally relate to, and am passionate about- what with my on and off history of trying to become ‘eco-friendly’.


(Even though I will be sticking to my original concept, the consultation was definitely helpful as I will be applying symbolism of flowers in one of my compositions.)






2D Project 3 (Ego) : Part 1



My concept for this project will be “Change of Self“.

Moving from Malaysia to Singapore, I realised that I didn’t just change where I lived but who I was as well.

There were constant and variable elements in this change, some of which I attribute to family, friends and the environment.


After my consult with Joy, she helped me figure out my layout.


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You can view my Weekly Consult form in the pdf below:

Ego Week 11


The layout above was supposed to be posted last week, I had it saved already ready to publish but I completely forgot, so Im just going to combine both posts for the past 2 weeks into one.


I’ve made quite a lot of progress in my visual journal in terms of finalising my equations and realllly thinking everything through- from colour theories to my whole concept of change and how my actual compositions would look like.

For my second consult with Joy, I showed her rough sketches (thumbnail form) of my compositions, what worked and what didn’t work. Honestly in terms of executing my work I’m kind of stuck still and I’m not sure why. I’m hoping I’ll get over this by this week and have concrete compositions to show Joy for this weeks consult.


My finalised equations:

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Here is my progress in my visual journal! There are more words than there are photos or drawings, but that is because Im still figuring out a lot of things and trying to organise my thoughts. Maybe I think in words? Some people are more visual than text based- I guess Im better at translating my thoughts into words than visual images…


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I found out about this “Big 5 Personality Traits” and decided to do it to help me contain myself into these categories:

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I added in more reference images from my reference artists to convey how my style has changed, reflecting my the change in who I am as well.

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I also delved into my choices for color theories but stopped halfway because I realised that I was limiting myself by thinking in this manner


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The colours I would choose for each colour theory:Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 11.17.19 PM

I experimented with some patterns using the colour theories- it was quite fun actually!

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Consultation with Joy in Week 12

  1.  I told Joy that I wanted to use patterns in all of my compositions.
  2. I updated her on the fact that I will make all my compositions handmade, and use digital media to combine my handmade compositions into the end of the equations. She suggested making use of scanning as an art? This was pretty interesting- I think I will look further into that.

2. She also told me to think about how far can you push using digital means to your advantage?

3. I told her about my idea of using kaleidoscopes, which I’m not sure whether I will be using. I have to see if it can tie in to my concept well.

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My failed attempt at a kaleidoscope 🙁

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So what’s next?


Introducing…. 2D Project 3: Ego!


Hello! I’m extremely excited to be starting a new project!

Let’s get started!

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We started off with a simple class activity which honestly required some deep contemplation of myself and my future.

Class activity 1

We were told to write adjectives that described our personalities/traits/ attributes. This was a form of primary research- doing fieldwork right there in the classroom! Then we passed our paper around in our circle of ten, each of us adding in traits we thought our friends had.


Some things I wrote about myself: friendly, funny (some people may beg to differ) organised, meticulous, detail oriented.

My classmates added in: creative, hardworking, artistic,intellectual, good taste in graphics and good aesthetics! Thanks guys! (:

Class activity 2

This was the activity that stumped me a bit. We were told to write what we imagined ourselves to be/ or be doing in 2020 (in 5 years time). That was a bit tough for me, since I am very uncertain of what specific career I want to pursue.


But there is one thing I know for sure- that I definitely want to ‘invest’ in myself by taking classes and gaining new skills like calligraphy, henna, making sugar flowers, watercolour. I’m not very sure where Im headed, but I know that the path I want to take is one fill with lots of flowers!

Class Activity 3

The last activity wrapped up everything together. We were told to create mathematical equations to get us where we imagine ourselves to be in 2020.

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Attributes I’d like to:




Overall reflection?

I need to take a deep look at myself again. I used to be able to easily write down my attributes so surely but this time around I was more hesitant and had trouble finding words to describe myself. Maybe I’ve changed? I will be elaborating on this further in my second post and my visual journal.

I feel like this project is going to involve a lot of self-discovery and deep thinking haha.

Anyways, we were told to do research on 5 colour theories:

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This is actually the first time in 2D where we will be using colour, so I’ve done some research to see which theory/theories would be most useful to me in this project.

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-It is basically a palette where there the different shades (colours) share a single hue, but they are different in terms of brightness and saturation

-Having this monochromatic palette makes the composition cohesive visually






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-This palette consists of 3 colours that are situated next to each other on the colour wheel, creating sort of a gradient which is harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

-You usually choose one dominating colour, one supporting colour and an accent colour.

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-This is an extension of the second colour theory, except that this takes into consideration the warm and cool colours on the colour wheel.

-Each temperature conveys a certain mood/vibe.

-Warm: Energetic, bright


-Cool: calm, soothing, peaceful




Screen Shot 2015-10-25 at 10.23.26 PM-This colour scheme makes use of opposite colours on the colour wheel paired together, which makes a statement with the high contrast.

-The juxtaposition works well to draw attention to something. It can often create a very bold effect if done well, but can also clash if the wrong tones of the colours are used.





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-This is a spin off of complementary hues, two colours adjacent to the base complement colour are used, mainly to ease the stark contrast.



I’m quite amazed at the science behind colours. I honestly thought that this would be rather boring, but it is quite the opposite- this knowledge opens up your eyes to a whole new world of colours.

Now that I’ve explored all the 5 different theories, how will I be applying it to my project?

I personally feel that each colour theory is a reflection of a personality. Someone who chooses the Complementary Hues is rather bold, daring and unconventional, likes to take risks, whereas someone who chooses the Monochromatic Harmony is someone who likes to play on the safe side, and likes things to be organised. So I think I might not be sticking to just one colour theory. I think it will depend on what traits I want to use, and I still have to finalise my concept.

Also, so far I think I am the sort of person who usually has the monochromatic harmony, mainly because I’m not sure how to pair colours together and what makes them work. To think about it, it is reflected in what I wear, the colours of the flower I pick etc. I usually stick with the safe choices: black scarf or dark blue scarf everyday hahaha, pink flowers with green leaves. Now that I’ve had an understood how all of this works, I’m extremely excited to apply this to real life! You might even see me wearing a colourful outfit (one day…)!

PS. Joy was so sweet and gave us all a colour wheel each !(Thank you so much Joy!)


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I have so many amazing artists to share but I’ll try to restrain myself by sharing only 2 for now. I’ll share more in my visual journal.

The first artist is Amira Rahim.

Her artwork is simply beautiful. Much of it is abstract, which is rather surprising- I think I’ve developed an appreciation and love for abstract art. Each art piece is like an explosion of colours that is simply breathtaking. I could stare at one picture for hours, studying how she cleverly applies paint and pairs certain hues. I can’t really describe her work and do it justice, so you’ll have to see it yourself.

She definitely understands colours so I’m hoping to be able to study her paintings and apply her techniques to my compositions.

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I know that we are supposed to be following one of the colour theories, and each of her works probably has the whole colour wheel in it, but when I study it closely, she does make use of certain ‘rules’ in certain areas and layering which makes it all together a successive piece.

I also feel like her style is extremely expressive and she lets the colours speak for itself without having to draw anything literal, and I’d like to use this as an inspiration in my works, because I definitely would like to include abstract compositions!

The second artist is Yao Cheng. 

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Yao Cheng mainly dabbles in watercolour, like how Amira specialises in acrylic /oil painting. Her work encompasses quite a range of my favourites-abstract and literal, flowers and fruits (and even vegetables) to geometric shapes!


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You can see here that there is a more obvious choice of colour palette, and in the picture above, she is in her own way being a florist- painting her own flowers and arranging them in a certain way, according to the colour scheme.



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As you can see, the my reference artists all have extremely colourful and bright artworks, which I feel is a reflection of what I like- floral, bright colours. It is also, in a way, a reflection of who I am- a mix of everything.

The artists I chose will definitely inspire me not only in their colours of the works, but their style as well.

I’m trying my very best not to pour everything out onto OSS so that I have something to start off my visual journal for this project! It’s going to be different this time! More colours!

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  1. To re-evaluate myself. I think I will do more fieldwork and ask my family and friends what attributes they see in me.
  2. To start off my visual journal with many colourful reference photos to keep me inspired and create a ‘mood board’. I know its quality over quantity, but I’ve been neglecting my journal, so I aim to do at least 6 pages! Let’s see how that goes hehe.
  3. To experiment with the colour wheel and get more familiar with it and using the proper terms.
  4. Come up with a concept AND the mathematical equations ready for consultation with Joy on Thursday.

All images are taken from each artist’s websites.



2D Project 2 Final Wrap Up!



This is the final post for Project 2!

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My concept is based on each of the 4 lines of the nursery rhyme “There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe”. It explores the 4 different types of mothers, each dysfunctional in their own ways.

Throughout the 4 compositions you will see little minion children, and in each composition they behave differently, reflecting the type of mother they have.


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I actually forgot to mention this during my presentation, but I decided to arrange the compositions in a square because I felt that the ‘eye compositions’ should be diagonal opposites, as well as both ‘chaotic compositions’ being the other diagonal (like a criss -cross). This would create an overall sense of balance for the viewer, showing that even though I deconstructed the nursery rhyme and interpreted each line rather differently, when you see the whole picture, ultimately they all make and belong to the same one nursery rhyme.

I was wondering whether I should have arranged it that both ‘eye compositions’ were on the top- but then I realised it wouldn’t really make sense visually and conceptually.


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As you go through each of these compositions, before you read the explanations, the question you should be asking is this: What kind of a mom do these children have?

Why? Because it’s much more interesting to let you draw the conclusions yourself. Instead of showing you the mom’s facial expression yourself by using obvious visual compositions (eg. using a dingbat that shows a distressed woman to show that she can’t control her children), you can judge for yourself what the personality of the mom is by the way her children behave. 

Let’s begin!





Composition 1: “There was once an old woman who lived in a shoe”

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Dingbats used:

-Shoe (mine)

-Balloons (mine)

– 2 different dingbats of children (all mine)

-Mary skipping (Hsin Wei’s)

-Pony (Andrew’s )

-Barbie doll (Andrew’s )

-Kitten (Justin’s )

-Lollipop (Pei Yi’s)



-What kind of a mother lives in a shoe with her children? A fun mother! She lets chaos reign, therefore you see children everywhere and there is no central focus. I chose to design the composition this way as to invite the viewer to look close and see the different fun activities the little minion children are doing.

Speaking of which, if you look closer, you will be able to see that in reality, the activities the children are doing rather unsafe and risky- and they are doing the most ridiculous things! You can see a baby hanging off the balloon or climbing up the shoe on a pony!

-The dingbats I chose are to create a whimsical atmosphere and add elements of excitement by exaggerating them to amplify or skew the function of the dingbat. For instance, the lollipop is enlarged into a colossal lollipop– every child’s dream.

-Kittens are generally harmless, but when it is ten times bigger than the children, there is a sense of danger here that the mother has put the children in. It is almost like she lets her children play with a baby tiger!

-Also, when you see the illustrations of the nursery rhyme you see the mother living in a beat up man’s shoe, tattered and chunky. But when you see the high heel– you think, this must be one stylish, fashion conscious mom! In another sense it is also rather impractical as the high heel is extremely unstable as a house. The choice of the shoe reflects the mother’s personality as well- impractical, fun, easy going mother.





Composition 2: “She had so many children she didn’t know what to do”

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Dingbats used:

-Scared eye (mine)

– Boy laughing (mine)

-Woman sitting in the chair (mine)



Nursery rhymes usually talk about a mothers love to their children. But here I wanted to change the perception completely. I wanted to show a mother who has is in a state of helplessness due to her mental illness. She has lost her mind and lost control over her child/children. But one thing remains ambiguous- perhaps she has many children or maybe she just has one and she sees the same one being ‘multiplied’- we can’t really tell since her perception is distorted. Her child/children have become alien to her. There is no love, but fear and disturbance because of what her state of mind is.

This whole composition is to reflect her psychotic mind and to give an eerie, vibe as the mother feels her child/children are mocking her. Also, this was largely inspired by Hannah Hoch’s dada style- the use of exaggeration and collage style like compositions.

-The scared eye is enlarged to hide her face. We don’t need to see her face to know what is going on with her. The startling eye almost jumps out at you to suggest bewilderment, contrasting the cool composure she is taking on, sitting on the chair.

-To further enhance the eeriness and psychotic feel, I created ‘eyelashes’ out of the same dingbat of the laughing child. The repetition of the dingbat in the eyelashes and the background is to show how her world is ‘closing in’ on her and her child/ children seems to be the source of her discomfort, unease and anxiety.

The dingbat is actually meant to be really happy and bright but using it in this composition now distorts my feeling towards it- it seems more dark and twisted and slightly creepy.



^A gif I made on Joy’s suggestion. (Thanks Joy! They’re pretty cool!) The different pictures show my experiments for this composition.

Here’s another one that I made but didn’t make the cut. It also didn’t make sense that the children were on her eyeball haha.






Composition 3: “She gave them some broth without any bread”

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Dingbats used:

-Eye (mine)

– 2 different dingbats of children (all mine)

-Mary skipping (Hsin Wei’s)

-Sniper (Jordan’s)



– I used the eye here again, but this time to convey an opposite, contrasting personality: the rigidness of the strict tiger mom who wants to enforce discipline. She has everything under control. Because of her personality, I wanted to convey her as a military officer, therefore using straight lines and ‘war’ imagery. The fact that the eye is central to the composition is to suggest that she has a 360 degree control and that she watches her children carefully, ‘keeping an eye’ on them.

-You can see the little minion children here making an appearance again. However, this time they are arranged in straight, strict lines to mimic the military rows soldiers make. They are ‘kept in line’ and are under control- very orderly.

-The use of Jordan’s sniper is to reinforce how she she keeps her guard up at all times. The sniper is placed all around the eye, rotated at different positions to convey movement like how someone with a gun is alert and will ‘pan left and right’ as he moved around the room to detect any suspicious activity.


^ A gif of my work-in-progress in creating this composition





Composition 4: “And whipped them all soundly and put them to bed”


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Dingbats used:

-Woman lying down (mine)

– 2 different dingbats of children (all mine)

-Bulldozer (mine)

-Train (Brenda’s)

-Mary skipping (Hsin Wei’s)

Barbie doll (Andrew’s)

The first question you should ask when you see this is: Why are these children doing this to their mother?


– This mother is the abusive step-mother. Here, we see that the children get their revenge- they send HER to bed. One idea I had was to use the concept of Hansel & Gretel pushing the witch in the oven, but I liked the Gulliver’s Travels concept wayy better!

-I purposely made composition 4 similar to composition 1 in terms of layout. Many of the same dingbats are used. The children are riding the ponies in composition 1, but it is to have fun and adventure. Here, it they use the ponies almost like soldiers ‘waging war’ haha. You have children everywhere to convey chaos. In this composition, the children have a revolution and chain their step-mother.

-I decided to add in the bulldozer and the train to suggest the creativity of the children in using their toys to make their way to the sandbox and to dig the sand. I find it quite humorous actually!



Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 11.58.58 PMDespite having no knowledge of Photoshop whatsoever, I am extremely happy that I am able to learn a lot just by doing this project. All those hours spent with trial and error and playing around with tones, cropping etc was totally worth it! Again, just like other previous project, this definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone but I am definitely pleased with the outcome and that I went through this whole process!

But most importantly, one main thing I should takeaway from this project is that you should be flexible and open. Take those curveballs thrown at you to push your creativity and potential and you will definitely be pleasantly surprised by the results!




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For this project, I find that it was much more easier to document my progress on OSS, however I still have some sketches and research done in my visual journal albeit considerably less than the previous project!







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Instructors feedback:

  • Joy liked the manipulation of the ‘child laughing’ dingbat to create eyelashes- she felt that it was creative.
  • She liked that it wasn’t too literal
  • Most importantly, she especially likes the fact that there was no need to depict the mother to show what kind of mother it is.

Classmates’ feedback: