‘You’re Not Alone’ Project

I want to let other people know that they are not alone in facing mental health issues in University and it is very common because everyone has different threshold to managing stress and ways of coping. And sometimes when things get rough, we forget to take care of ourselves and are too hard up on ourselves. I want the deliverable to help University students manage and alleviate their stress levels by providing resources through design to manage their mental health in their own time.

Deliverable Zine, Mindfulness coloring page, Encouragement cards, Key chain


  • To show the categorisation of content, I used colours and motifs. Using the colour Pink as the colour of negative energy, and Yellow as the colour of resolution and hope. I depicted the stories of despair shared by the target audiences, and the big yarn ball that rolls through the stories in pink. And depicted the words of encouragement reaching out towards these stories, and the ending spread with helplines and advice in yellow.

To see the process behind this project, CLICK HERE.

For this project, we are tasked to look into potential FYP Proposal topics, and I decided that I wanted to work on Mental Health and wellness among youths in tertiary education, especially University students.

Personally, I chose this specific age group as that it is the age where most students would face existential crisis. And sometimes, our thoughts can be rather toxic if we do not know how to deal with these feelings and things can go south if our state of mental health is not handled well. Hence, I wanted to work on using design to create resources for the mental well-being of students in University.

My intended outcome of how my deliverable may be eventually be used or applied is via a mental health kit/welfare pack like this:

With that, lets begin with the research and drafts for this project! 🙂



Target audience:  Youths in tertiary education (University students: 18~24 y/o)

I want to let other people know that they are not alone in facing mental health issues in University and it is very common because everyone has different threshold to managing stress and ways of coping. And sometimes when things get rough, we forget to take care of ourselves and are too hard up on ourselves. I want the deliverable to help University students manage and alleviate their stress levels by providing resources through design to manage their mental health in their own time.

5 Keywords:
List no more than 5 keywords that related strongly to your research interests.

Mental Health, Self-care, Youth (University Students), Stories, Illustration

Possible Research Questions:

  • How can I re-design the necessary resources required for youths to want to take care of their own mental health?
  • What can I do with illustrations to breach the topic on mental health to youths?
  • How can I bring participatory design to make the topic of mental health in youth more relatable so they can voluntarily reach out for help when needed?

My research objectives:

  • To inculcate ways to cope with stress levels of tertiary students, by using design to create resources.
  • Breach the topic through illustrations on ways to manage mental health and prevent the onset of potential mental health issues.
  • To educate target audiences through short-stories and encouragements that Mental Health awareness is for everyone.
  • Using design to attract target users to be receptive to self-care and awareness of their mental health.
  • Using illustrated stories of target audiences to show relatability and build rapport in mental health community in university.

Research and Findings:
Convince with findings why is this needed? Why is it important for you to do this? Why this target audience? What they might be going through? How do they feel? What is the statistics of University students going through mental health issues?

  • More than 1 in 10 people in Singapore have suffered from a mental disease at least once in their lifetime.
  • More than 75% of all mental health conditions begin before the age of 24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness in USA.
  • Youths aged 18-24 have the greatest incidence of mental disorders among all age groups, with the first onset of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) often recognized in their twenties.
  • More than 60% of youths feel uncomfortable seeking help regarding their mental health.
  • Young people have a lower probability of seeking help, comprehend treatment options less and are more prone to reject the existence of depression as compared to elders.

Thus, mental health intervention in University is such a critical time as there is lack of information on the importance and education among tertiary education students to start taking care of their own mental health.

What are the consequences and statistics when their mental health needs are not addressed?

  • If left untreated, mental health symptoms may last for a long time and worsen, making it harder to treat.
  • Mental health symptoms may grow more prominently and affect multiple aspect in their life.
  • Character development of young adults may be affected when symptoms are not addressed.

It is important to equip members of society with relevant information to cope with their stress and negativity by taking care of their mental health.

What can we do to help?

  • As individuals we all have a personal responsibility to learn about good mental health and to build up mental resilience, in order to seek help early if necessary.
  • Prof Kwok, who is also Associate Provost (Student Life) at NTU, said that tertiary students could be a “target population for certain kinds of intervention”. These interventions could include building a more supportive culture in tertiary institutions and workplaces, he added. For example, peers could look out for friends who are grappling with “extraordinary pressures”, and encourage them to seek help from counsellors.

Bibliography of findings:

Project Output Methodology:
This project will focus on providing resources through design for target audiences. To educate youths (University) about the importance of their mental health via illustrations, provide emotional rapport and affirmation through relatability using story-telling, and where they can look for help.

  1. Collect target audience’s stories by conducting a survey, whereby target audiences describe their mental health encounters and how they coped with it.
    (Purpose: To make visible the state of mental health of university students through real-life experiences. It is also a form of engagement.)
  2. Select the stories to illustrate based on relatable experiences or feelings of target audiences.
    (Purpose: To make anonymise the surveyee’s story and make it relatable to target audiences who might face the same scenario.)
  3. Illustrate the stories into a short-story zine and have a resolution to problem.
    (Purpose: Relatable issues faced by target audiences can have a way to cope with the issue, regardless if it’s to change their perspective or next call of action.)
  4. Insert quotes of encouragement from surveyees who had gone through that feeling and overcame it. At the back include helplines to get in touch with when the reader decides to seek help.
    (Example: “There are times where I feel like I fell apart.”
    Illustrated Comic: 4 quadrants of metaphorical scenes where student is broken and gets back up stronger.
    Resolution Quote: ‘You can fall, but don’t stay broken for too long. Pick yourself up and start again! You can do it!’)


T-shirt, Comic Zine, Postcard, Keychain, Mindfulness colouring page..

Potential application of Deliverables (Who can I work with?):

  • Mental Health Campaign or Workshop products for University students.
  • Promotional material for University Student well-being centre.
  • Co-branding with an existing youth fashion line to raise publicity and mental health awareness amongst buyers.


The following are the exploration of how I would like my deliverable to turn out.

To see the final outcome of how this project turned out, CLICK HERE.



One of the many things I have learnt through consultations and experimenting with my mock-ups was that
If I were to do any pop-up mechanisms, it should be a highlight. The book is a tool and story about myself as a designer. Any embellishments should be a highlight and complements the portfolio, and not distract and take away the main point, which is to show that I am an illustrator that goes beyond pages.

The quote ‘Less is more.’ became a reoccurring mantra during my experimentation as I was a little too caught up with making the design fun, and missed out how my executions could make me lose the essence of my portfolio. The portfolio forest book is the internal mind that I want to showcase and bring the readers on an adventure.

Reflecting upon my final presentation work, it would have been better and so much clearer if my portfolio package was bigger ( instead of 13cm x 13cm) had more extensions so I have more space to show more close-ups and talk about my works. This is a project I would revisit again to improve on the output. 🙂




I was very keen with character design, and experimenting on textures of illustrations as I am especially drawn to children’s’ book illustrations.

I personally enjoy going on hikes or nature walks as it is comforting. Nature walks delights me and makes me feel free. I was heavily inspired by the story telling concept of ‘Winnie The Pooh and The Hundred Acre Woods’ picture book that I have read as a kid.


Each of the characters had a role to play in the hundred acre woods. Just like how Pooh took the reader on a trail to visit his friends of multiple personalities and character in the woods, I wanted to bring my viewer into my version of a hundred acre woods where my category of illustrative works have their own unique personality as well.


I changed the environment from a woods into a forest as it is more realistic of our tropical country, Singapore. I would like to show that I am an illustrator that goes beyond pages. Hence, by using a trail into a forest I can bring my viewers on a visual journey on how I have applied my illustrations on multiple surfaces.

I wanted to capture the essence of being an illustrator that can go beyond pages in my accordion fold portfolio, applying illustrations as skins to multiple surfaces. And by incorporating my existing works of various styles into elements in the forest, I would like my viewers to see that I am an imaginative illustrator and I aim to delight.

One of the most yet challenging aspects that I had to consider was how to tie projects of varying styles together, since they are quite different. I made use of the forms and shapes of the artworks to pair it with an element of the forest to tell a story. For instance, my 4m long banner as the tree trunk, the weaved cockroach installation as an insect on a branch, and the Dugong packaging as a aquatic creature in the lake of my forest.



Introducing my 4 main characters and user persona for my couch potato support group kit!

From left to right, we have Bludger Bob, Shortcut Sarah, Deadbeat Danny and Loafer Laura! 🙂

Photoshop mock ups and items

Box design of the kit!

A welcome card upon opening the kit!

Deadbeat Danny energy drink and convenient pee bottle!

Loafer Laura’s personalised sleeping eye mask!

Bludger Bob’s high cut socks he can wear to and fro from work and to work without ever changing!

Ankle socks are available too if Bludger Bob has a preference

Cup noodles for Shortcut Sarah in the kit so she would never ever have to cook again!

Reflection Post:

Through this semester in Illustration for Designers, I am glad to know that I have progressed as an artist as well as an individual in this module.

I started off with an art direction that I am very familiar with and branched out slowly to other methodologies and art styles I wanted to experiment with. Though my progress is slow, I am very proud to have tried something new to me instead of sticking with something I am very familiar with. For instance, task 2’s editorial illustration which I explored a clean layering kind of art style; and for task 3, illustrating using minimal colour pallete and a quirky hand drawn art style. Both of which I used a Wacom tablet to illustrate which is something I don’t do often. Having Ms Lisa’s guidance and our lovely classmate’s comments and feedback, it made the learning and exploring process less daunting.

The lessons I felt were the most valuable and new to me are the idea brainstorming ones. Through the activities in class, I have learnt new ways to generate creative ideas and that ideas are not a one off thing, but something that can be built on and generated with inspirations all around us. I really liked the use of creating a user persona as my potential target audience and how to create an effective mood board.

Thank you everyone for the lovely time in this elective! I had a great time and I hope you guys too! ;D

Click the link below to see the process work that goes behind the making of these items!

DV2002: Assessment #3 – Applied Illustration (Process)


After that 15 min brain storming activity Ms Lisa had us try during class I felt was really useful, not only do i get to look around and have greater inspiration for ideas, i get to move around instead of sitting down!

From that walk, i generated this idea where i can do a fictional event like a Couch Potato Support group! A Couch Potato Party where we congratulating failure and have a very Tongue in Cheek approach to it! 😀

According to Cambridge dictionary, ‘Couch Potato’ describes a person who watches a lot of TV and does not have an active life.

The reason as to why I chose this topic is because I am pretty sure everyone of us has this ‘Couch Potato’ moments once… well… twice… OKAY FINE PERHAPS EVERYDAY OF OUR LIVES. AHEM. Okay and so I thought it’ll be fun to celebrate and encourage this unproductive behavior which is highly discouraged, by ENCOURAGING IT through this fictional event.

Instead of using literal metaphors of a couch and a potato, I thought of illustrating the characters for this project through exaggeration and relatability with the audiences.

Style & User Personas

One of the things that I struggled with this assignment was to convey the tone of voice.

My ‘Couch Potato Support Group’ kit is for lazy people who don’t want to get off the couch to CONTINUE being at their hibernative mode.

And to create a loud and packaging design for it to attract buyers seems to be a little contrasting with the theme… Hopefully it turns out well!

The idea I have is to illustrate 5 characters of varying age groups and gender who are representations of this couch-potato behaviour in everyone.

1st up, we have Bludger Bob

2nd , we have Shortcut Sarah

3rd, we have Loafer Laura

Lastly we have Deadbeat Danny.

The common traits that all of them have are that they are lazy and avoids doing any form of work.

The characters are also the user persona audiences as well.


I tried to illustrate my characters using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to compare first. Learning from my previous assignment 2 incident, I made a sudden switch from 3 weeks worth of Adobe Illustrator progress to work in Adobe Photoshop instead just days before the submission, mainly because working on Illustrator was not going very well for me and I was not willing to give up. Hence, I thought it’ll be a good lesson learnt to try out both software to see which would bring about more convenience and which would bring about the best form of illustration I wanted to achieve.

I sketched them out on paper first, and then I brought it to both software. Afterwards, I decreased the opacity of the image and used it as like a tracing paper for me to use my Wacom pen to draw over.

The first character I illustrated was Bludger Bob.

As you can see, the way it was illustrated varies a lot on both software.

Adobe Illustrator


I liked how clean the lines are and that I can transform the paths or toggle each vector points to my liking

I can resize the character without having to worry it will be pixelated or not.


Colouring was not easy as ‘Live Paint’ only worked for closed paths and using a brush tool to colour behind the lines resulted in very clean bulbous shapes that did not fit within the spaces I wanted to.

I did not have very good control over the outlines when I drew it out with a Wacom pen as they ‘round off’ to a certain shape I did not ask for. And the paths are not closed which I have to manually find the paths and close it. Which was much of an inconvenience.

I don’t like how Bludger Bob looks like here, he looks like a melted plastic blob..

Adobe Photoshop


It is easier to colour because there is more control over the paint bucket and brush.

Line work has more character.

Layers made it easier to try different kinds of colours


I cannot change the outline color once I fill in the colors via paint because they are all in 1 layer. Such that if I have to erased and make amendments to the outline after coloring it in, I cannot.

One of the issues I faced was that when I filled the colours in using bucket tool, there are spaces left uncoloured or that the lines has this white outline, which i resolved by painting it over in a separate layer below

Eventually I chose Photoshop to illustrate my characters and these are the 4 i have created.


  • These 4 are the main characters that i have illustrated based off the user persona i have created above!
  • Their colors are based off the mood board colors I have chosen as they seem bright and fun on packagings!
  • I varied the tone of each color for each character because it is easier to work on, and it gives the subject matter more character and personality.
  • Each character has a little bit of color from the following one so that each character is not that isolated, but cohesive with the rest as well. For instance, the orange on the Loafer Laura (Pink Girl) brings our attention to Deadbeat Danny (Orange boy) and so on 🙂


I did a mock up of the box kit design and a welcome card just to tie the whole Lazibones Kit together.

I came up with 4 different sleeping eye mask designs for Loafer Laura who loves to sleep.

The pieces with names are customizable to the customer’s request! Making it a very personalized gift for the ones who need to catch some shut-eye

Idea for this drink comes from fictional characters in games where they take potions to regain their ‘health’.

Deadbeat Daniel who is addicted to games would regain his ‘health’ through this drink and conveniently pee back into this bottle when he is done because the game he is playing cannot end and the toilet is too far.

Oh and don’t forget to place the sticker on the lid to remind himself that his newly filled bottle is no longer pomegranate juice! 🙂

And for Bludger Bob who sits on his couch the moment he reaches home from work, fret not as he can wear these socks back home from work and to work the next day without changing!

These socks keep feet from sweating in Bob’s work shoes and keeps his feet warm at home while watching TV!

Socks are available in different designs as well in the case if Loafer Laura or Deadbeat Danny wants to wear them as well!

Critique Session + Feedback and Edits

After the feedback, it was suggested that I make amendments to the box design such that the characters’ face don’t get cut off at the edges, and change the colour on the sides of the box.

And also, for the drink and pee bottle for Deadbeat Daniel, it would have been more convincing to change the colour of the liquid to yellow to be more convincing. 😉

The middle drink is still left red to show that Pomegranate juice is still inside unlike the bottle on the right that is newly filled with pee.

I gave out some stickers I printed for fun and I was very touched to see that my classmates like them :’) It is one of the best feelings in the world when they paste it on their laptops and even their phone <3

Click the link below to the final post for this final assignment!

DV2002: Assessment #3 – Applied Illustration (FINAL + My Reflection)

Lets get on with the process of making the cover editorial illustration!

I drew out my designs on paper first and I tried using transparencies to create individual elements to play around with layers.

And then I scanned my designs in and tried to image trace it, however, because I used pencil, the lines were not very clear which resulted in unjointed lines.

I resulted to vectoring the area, and ‘clipping masked’ the designs I wanted to be in.

I set up the tonal values of the colour schemes to create depth for layering.

This is the progress I had when I vectored the designs, and I used the image on the extreme right for atmospheric perspective reference, and a constant reminder to my absent minded brain that “THE DARKER IT IS THE CLOSER IT IS TO THE FRONT”.

Miss Lisa introduced to me Johnny Duddle’s Gigantausaurus which uses the creation of atmospheric perspective with plants. *Inner voice “THE DARKER IT IS THE CLOSER IT IS TO THE FRONT”.

Johnny Duddle’s Gigantausaurus

UPDATE 23/3/2018

I am about to make a very big risk, and that is to restart this again.

Halfway through the illustration I feel that the progress is very forced and something is amiss.

The vectoring and masking of the patterns did not carry out a raw and crisp feel that I wanted, and using Adobe Illustrator made it harder for me to bring forth the aerial perspective that I wanted to achieve. Layering was very tedious on Adobe Illustrator.

Because looking my composition as a whole and after some analysis and feedback from more people, my illustrations did not make a lot of sense as the huge cathead waterfall was very domineering and evoked a more cat-centraled message than the ‘Empathy- self love’ message that I wanted to evoke.

Hence, I totally discarded my vector progress and outlines that were done in Adobe Illustrator, and restarted an updated design.

I am moving to Photoshop and drawing everything from scratch again. 🙂

This is a more up close view on the new designs I did on Photoshop, the layering done via Photoshop was so much easier than Adobe Illustrator. The art direction as closer to the reference image that I wanted to achieve and I am very pleased with it. 🙂

I replaced the initial cat head with the mountains to create more depth and a more tranquil environment for relaxation in the Terrarium, using the image on the right for reference.

After layering and drawing out the illustrations through my Wacom tablet, i ended up with this!

I decided to have the background to be purple and orange to create a sun-set mood and also to create more contrast against the paler and more earthy colors.

I  then clipping masked the shape of the terrarium onto the illustration.

Trying out different background colours for the varoom magazine for submission!

Magazine mock up look and feel

Magazine mock up look and feel

Magazine mock up look and feel

After presenting the work to the class on submission day, some feed backs were given and i made necessary amendments to the work!

  1. Glass reflection was suggested to be added onto the terrarium to create a more 3D look.
  2. Shadows for the ladder and changing the perspective more will give the ladder more depth
  3. Changing the background color of the magazine to blue will bring about a more relaxed and tranquil feeling.

I found the feedbacks given to be very useful and really aided in bringing out the best in my work! 🙂
Stay tuned for the final post to see the final submission piece for this assignment!

Click the link below to see the FINAL post for Task 2!



Theme: Empathy

I chose the Empathy as the theme.
And Self-love as the topic.
Because many of the times we are so caught up with our hectic daily life schedule, we tend to forget doing what we love. Genuinely caring for ourselves physically and mentally, such that we detach ourselves from the world and retreat to our safe haven to recharge.

User Persona

  Mood boards

Art/Style Direction

Thumbnail sketches

  1. Idea of a Bonsai plant, self love is like a growing plant, illustrated by the fusion of the girl as the plant, and the leaves as the hair.
  2. Tree layers as the compartments in a house!
  3. Girl rests in the hollow of a tree, recuperating under the embrace of nature.
  4. Girl waters herself, her hair consisting of plants and cats.
  5. Girl and cat leans back to back each other and looks at the floating plants and motifs they like ( Eg. Tea, cat food).
  6. Girl rests on a giant flying cat in the hectic external life.
  7. Girl rests inside a terrarium with a cat waterfall behind. External patterns act as noise and distractions. She is in her safe haven
  8. ‘Me-Thyme’. Cat throws ingredients into boiling soup pot which acts as a bath tub for the girl.
  9. Girl wanders off into a mystical forest (Alice in wonderland concept) from her city life.

Welcome to the second assignment posting for Illustration for Designers! 🙂
So stoked to be able to be able to work on an editorial illustration, which I find that would be greatly practical for future use!

The brief states that…

We are commissioned to create an illustration for the front cover of The Associate of Illustrators bi-annual magazine, ‘Varoom’. Each of the edition is themed and we are to choose one of the following 3 themes.

  1. Style
  2. Empathy
  3. Obsession

Before I jump into the task, let me do some research as to know what ‘Varoom’ is all about!

Varoom is the globally leading illustration magazine featuring a unique combination of industry insight and critical analysis of the field of illustration.

Varoom probes audiences to  comment and discuss on the contemporary illustrated image in depth. It features: Interviews with illustrators, image-makers and designers as well as critical articles by leading commentators.

This is just some of the cover issues of the magazine.
I realized that every issue varies so much in style and form of illustration. This may be due the fact that the illustrators are not fixed.
The brand seemed very versatile and open to various forms of editorial illustrations.
I think that as long as the illustration fits the theme and probes the audience to think in depth, it sends an indirect message on contemporary articles.

What is editorial illustration?

Every day, print media such as  newspapers and magazines print illustrations alongside their articles to illuminate some element of the concepts for the reader. Essentially, an editorial illustration is based on a theme that may  not be explicitly written out. But the contextual meaning and theme is prominent through the visuals.

Source: http://payload21.cargocollective.com/1/3/97647/2733141/irina_yudina_rencor2.jpg

Sarah McIntyre on David Roberts’ His Royal Tinyness written by Sally Lloyd Jones.

Activating your left and right brain.