Entry #02: Story about a Thing

For our second project for Foundation 4D I: Story about a Thing, we are supposed to choose… well, a THING as a theme and create a visual narrative surrounding it using sequential images. In class, we also learned about narrative structure and story-telling techniques using images such as scene-to-scene and action-to-action closure to fill in the blood in the gutter.


My first task was to select a thing (as if it wasn’t the hardest task ever; sometimes the simplest briefs are the hardest). I decided to use something wacky and bizarre because solemn stories aren’t really my thing.

So, I chose a wig.


Yes, a wig.


My initial story plan was inspired by this game that I found on Kongregate.com a long time ago, The Visitor by James Ziebarth. It follows the storyline of this alien worm-looking creature that starts off really small, but goes around people’s houses devouring larger and larger prey until it grows to maximum size. The plan was a horror genre and I wanted to make my wig consume people, but I felt that the horror genre is a tad bit grotesque to do and doesn’t really have an interesting storyline to it, so I decided to change it to a comedic story instead.

Instead of having a completely evil wig that murders people, I decided to change it into a yandere wig. ‘Yandere’ is a character archetype in a lot of Japanese animated films that are often girls that are so obsessed with a boy that they would kill for them, or just carry out violent acts in general that also endangers the lives of everyone around them.

Popular examples of ‘yandere’ girls:

Gasai Yuno from Mirai Nikki (Future Diary).
Lucy from Elfen Lied.
Kotonoha from School Days!

Yes, I wanted to make my wig an obsessive protagonist.

So here is my rough storyline using the monomyth structure:

A CEO of a company who starts off with a head full of luscious thick hair starts to bald for unknown reasons (presumably stress or old age), and since maintaining his image and his dignity is really important to him, he thinks of the immediate solution of getting a toupee (as inspired by the Principal in Captain Underpants). He hesitates for a bit when he thinks that it might fall off and his colleagues would laugh at him, but he decides that his image is much more important so he goes to get the toupee anyway.

Little does he know, the toupee has a mind of its own and develops a liking for its owner. They spend time together as the protagonist goes about his days concealing his bald spot with his newly bought toupee.

One fine day, he sees an advertisement on the television for a hair growth cream and has an epiphany. He purchases the cream and successfully manages to grow back a full head of hair, much to the obsessed toupee’s dismay.

The now desperate toupee decides to take superglue and put it on …itself (?? shall not assume gender here) and awaits its master’s arrival.

When the protagonist puts the sticky toupee onto his head, he is appalled to find out that he can’t take it out again. Left with no other choice, he decides to shave off all his hair. The ending twist is that he buys another toupee which has a life of its own. And so the cycle continues.


Now I know what you’re thinking after you’ve just read this.


Good, that’s the intended effect.

Now it was obviously a terribly hard task to find a bald man to act for me so I decided to substitute the human protagonist to a squash instead. I was inspired by PotterPuppetPal’s Neville Longbottom (below):

Neville the squash (vegetable) compared to a more human-like Harry Potter.

I supposed this would create a much more comical effect since the story itself is pretty silly.


Below was my rough plan for the sequence of my images:

1- Potato going to work, show status at work

has full head of hair (gelled backwards) (end of a day at work)

2-Potato puts down bag at home and goes to toilet

3- Toilet: Potato discovers that its hair is falling out (more and more hair on the floor/clogged in sink)

4- Potato’s distress over hair (bald spot)

5- Potato thinks of solution (toupee)

6- Consider: Colleagues laughing at toupee dropping off (Captain Underpants)

7- Potato says no

8- Potato goes to the toupee store to get a toupee

9- Potato goes to work with new head of toupee (show life of its own with oogly eyes with heart)

Show laptop time

10- toupee time with owner (afternoon)

11- toupee time with owner (night)

12- toupee time with owner (morning)

13- potato watching TV

14- TV shows hair cream

15- potato is amazed (bright light at the front)

16- show hair cream beside potato as he does stuff to his bald head

17- next day at work with full head of hair

18- sad and angry toupee at home

19- toupee goes to get super glue and puts it on himself

20- potato goes to work with toupee the next day

21- in bathroom he can’t get it out

22-another attempt to get it out

23- gives up

24- shaves off

25- returns to work with new toupee

26- toupee thumbs up



Story plan:

Storyline plan


Storyboard plan (arrangement not confirmed yet)


|| The Obsessive Love of a Wig || I made some tweaks to the storyline; instead of the wig superglue-ing itself to Philip (yes he has a name now, I’m overly attached) and forcing him into eternal baldness, the wig now switches the hair growth cream Philip bought for superglue (muahaha!) and forces him to wear a the evil wig forever. Initially, I wanted to try a circular arrangement to imply the structure of the hero’s monomyth, but then I saw an opportunity to arrange my photos in a heart-shape to echo the theme of the story (definitely romance, or at least one-sided)! They are also read in an anti-clockwise direction because it’s easier, reading clockwise sort of feels like you’re reading the story backwards. The file size uploaded here is pretty small so the images are probably pretty hard to see so I’ve added a link below to a .pdf file with much better quality!





~ Drawing Log ~

Collation of my decent works from drawing class! 😀


Still life from the first drawing lesson with Calvin! (Charcoal)
Thumbnails for first piece of homework! (Graphite pencil)
First assignment! (Charcoal, conte and white chalk)
From live drawing session with Eddie! (Conte)

From live drawing session with Eddie! (Charcoal) [Long time no see.. myself?? + Sam drawing on an easel]
From live drawing session with Eddie! (charcoal) [A consultation with… himself + Jiaqi drawing)
From live drawing session with Eddie! (charcoal) [Mate why are you holding that pole?]

Thumbnails for second piece of homework! (graphite pencil)
Second piece of homework! (conte + charcoal) [My dad’s bike in the carpark]

That one time I drew Steven [01]
Steven [02]
Steven [03]

Steven [04]

Hand training before drawing a bunch of stools! (graphite pencil) [Cross-hatching…but looks like some kind of abstract art]
Planar and Proportion drawing with stools and a bunch of other things! (graphite pencil) [So difficult 8’D]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [01] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [02] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [03] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [04] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [05] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [06] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]
NTI Foodcourt Adventure! (graphite pencil) [07] [on-site drawing @ NTI canteen]

(At least) one-hour drawing! (graphite pencil)
Hand posture correction study! (graphite pencil)
Another hand correction study! (graphite pencil)


Jack solo
Jack and Nina compositional live drawing
The drawing I did after our intense stool drawing session where I actually put 4 stools in my room and drew them
Narrative drawing assignment: CHILD’S PLAY pg. 1
Drawing of Kim
Tonal Study
Compositional drawing of Nina and Marla with tonal study
Final A1 Diptych drawing 1: Construction site Ever-changing
Final A1 Diptych drawing 2: Horse statue in Grandma’s house Frozen in time.





Entry #02: Making an imPRINT on this planet.

|| F O R R E S T G U M P ||

Shortly after making marks, I’m making prints!!

For Project 2: “Forrest Gump”, I have to pick movie quotes, translate them into abstract visual language like symbols, pictograms, dingbats, icons and engravings and apply techniques such as hyperbole, metaphor, caricature, parody, anthropomorphism etc. to express the narrative quality of the quote. I also have to make use of design principles from the various class presentations to create my final design. (dots, lines, shapes, planes, value, texture, balance, gradation, symmetry, repetition, pattern, rhythm, unity, harmony, size, proportion, dimension, contrast etc.)


Personally, I realise that I have not watched a lot of mainstream Hollywood movies, but my taste and preference for movies lies a lot more in Disney/Pixar animated films, as well as Japanese movies and animated films, which have pretty memorable and unique quotes as well.


Below are some of my favourite quotes that I have gathered:

 Movie  Quote
*Paprika  “Don’t you think dreams and the Internet are similar? They are both areas where the repressed conscious mind vents. “
 Mulan  “The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.”
 Grave of the Fireflies  “Why do fireflies die so young?”
 1 Litre of Tears  “When I look up as I fall down, I see how limitless the azure sky above is as it smiles down upon me.”
* End of Evangelion  “If you wish for others to exist, the walls of their hearts will separate them again.”
 *Sherlock (bam, the only mainstream series I watch) “Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the whole street.”
*Peter Pan “To live would be an awfully big adventure.”


(* starred quotes are the four that I have chosen.)

Taking a pick out of this list was quite the feat, but I figured that was a wise decision not to pick quotes that were either too literal or too figurative because it leaves little room for imagination and abstraction.

===Quote 1:Paprika===




“Don’t you think dreams and the Internet are similar? They are both areas where the repressed conscious mind vents. “


Context in movie:

Paprika is a relatively contemporary, sci-fi Japanese animated movie that is in a futuristic, alternative universe and is about dreams and reality. To put it simply, an organisation creates a device that allows people to jump from reality into the dream world and that is used as a prototype for treatment at a hospital (later revealed to be malfunctional but I’m just going to stop here because this movie is a masterpiece and I don’t want to spoil it). Paprika is the name of the avatar of the main female protagonist. The quote is said by Paprika herself as she draws a comparison between the characteristics of dreams and the Internet.


Keywords: Dreams, Internet, similar, repressed conscious mind, vents


Imagery ideas:

  • Dreams

– a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.

-Surreal alternate space that we transiently experience when we sleep. Normally has a lot of crazy, bizarre things going on that will almost never happen in real life.

-Has a sense of lightness since we have a lot more freedom to imagine what we want to in our dreams.

-A sense of movement can also be created as well since the scenes that we imagine are often overwhelming and hard to comprehend, leaving us in confusion (which, with reference to observations from the previous project, can be expressed with spirally lines radiating outwards)

Possible imagery: hot air balloon, water, anything to do with space or distorted reality

  • Internet

-a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities, consisting of interconnected networks using standardized communication protocols.

– cloud, data, wifi signal, hotspot, can be sea as well

  • similar

    – show the contrast between dreams and the internet, yet feature the main similarity between them

  • repressed

    – (form of restriction) treasure/Pandora’s box, lock, chain, handcuff, torn wing, cage

  • conscious mind

    – burning flame, open eye (window to the soul)

  • vents

    – (outpour) waterfall, volcano, soil erosion, avalanche, tsunami, some sort of a crack and spill situation


Composition idea #1a:

I’m going to use hot air balloons to represent ‘dreams’ since they are a means of transport to a place that is “high up”, as if almost going into another realm; just like how we are transported into dreams when we are asleep. A random variety of hot air balloon designs can help to depict how unpredictable dreams are. When put together, they create a very bizarre and surreal effect.

I made a black and white collage of small hot air balloons.


As for the ‘Internet’, I chose to use a relatively larger-scaled cloud icon. To me, the Internet is a vast space with many users, just like how the water droplets aggregate in the air to from one massive cloud.


I turned this cloud from coloured to black and white (some people may recognise this)

To represent the ‘conscious mind’, I’m using an open eye since it implies being awake and aware of your surroundings. After looking through icons and symbols, I decided that using a more realistic-looking eye was better since it gives a stronger sense of consciousness (“the eyes are the windows to your soul”). Using simple icons felt very dead.

I converted an image of someone’s actual eye and turned it black and white.

1st Draft:

My initial composition idea (Paprika)

I separated the singular massive cloud and the layer of hot air balloons into distinctive layers. I wanted to place eyeballs on all of the hot air balloons and the cloud, then have something come out of them (expressing ‘vent’) but I felt like it did not do a good job of conveying the quote since it did not make much sense for dreams and the Internet to have conscious minds of their own. Plus, I was also intending to put a broken chain on the eyes to represent ‘repressed’ (but no longer). However, after attempting to put chains on each of the eyeballs on the hot air balloons, it proved to be an editing disaster.


2nd Draft:

My new composition idea (Paprika).


Now, instead of slapping eyeballs everywhere, I decided to put a picture of an eyeball that was relatively larger than the other elements to show that it was the dominant subject of the piece. However, it is still concealed behind the cloud to create a sense of depth (hiding behind the clouds, more subtle way of representing ‘repressed’), and the black background also enhances the feeling of a void which reminds me of the dark we see when sleeping; it is a strong contrast with the white parts of the eyeball which is supposed to symbolise consciousness and being awake.


To express the element of ‘venting’, I wanted to use rhythm to show an erupting action, sort of like lava from a volcano, or bubbles coming out from a underwater vent. The use of a variety of shapes was abstract enough to show the idea of “anything”, parallel to how we like to post anything on the Internet, and how we can literally dream up anything when we are asleep. Initially, I used a regular rhythm of shapes everywhere but it proved to be much too rigid. After some tweaking, I managed to come up with the design below:

Distorted shapes


In this version, I used progressive rhythm, where the shapes got bigger from the eyeball to the cloud and hot air balloons. The warp effect that I added also enhances the illusion of depth as we can sense that these shapes are in motion and travelling a distance from the eye to the cloud and hot air balloons. This is paralleled with how our thoughts are transferred from our minds to the Internet and our dreams.


3rd Draft:

For my final-ish concept, I further enlarged the scale of the eyeball so that it was hidden under both the hot air balloons and the cloud to express how the conscious mind is being repressed. I added more shapes near the centre of the iris as well to show that the shapes are originating from the eyeball and moving outwards and as a result, their distribution becomes more sparse as they go outwards towards the clouds and the hot air balloons.


4th Draft:

For my 4th draft, I cleaned up the design a bit by replacing the single eye (representing the conscious mind) with two eyes for better clarity. I removed the shapes as well as it was too messy. Instead, I used a spiralling op-art background that indicates movement outwards, showing the action of ‘venting’. I replaced the “Chinese cloud” from the previous design with a clearer icon of a cloud, and the multiple hot air balloons with just one, respecting the internet and dreams respectively.

-With the cleaning up of my design, I realized that had unintentionally created some sort of a symmetry which was really effective since symmetry grabs people’s attention by instinct. It also makes my entire composition look like a face. (TvT)

This accompanied with the meaning of eyes as ‘windows to a soul’, plus the op-art background, this projects a hallucinatory effect on the viewer’s mind, which is a literal invasion of the consciousness, or inside of the mind, as I have interpreted for this quote.


Final Draft:

For my final design, I decided to keep the background since it creates a hypnotic effect and feels like your own mind is being intruded into. The splat effect in the middle depicts a violent eruption/the act of venting. The cloud icon and hot air balloon take up the same amount of space since neither of them hold dominance over each other.

==Quote 2: End of Evangelion==




“If you wish for others to exist, the walls of their hearts will separate them again.”


Context in movie:

Evangelion is one of the most well-known and oldest Japanese animated films that is ever so enigmatic and philosophical. There is so much hidden symbolism in this movie that might just reveal themselves to you… if you rewatch the movie like 1093420384032 times and consciously try to catch them. At first, the Evangelion series just seems to be a normal Gundam (they call them Evas) action show, but it gets so exponentially complex towards the end that it is almost impossible to fully comprehend what is going on.  The main philosophy that the End of Evangelion is trying to express is that humanity essentially belongs to a common pool of ‘primordial soup’ where all our souls linger even after death. There, we can be reborn again, but when we turn back into human form, there will undoubtedly be conflict and unhappiness, as compared to staying in primordial form where everyone lives in unity and there will be guaranteed peace (it’s almost like the philosophy for Buddhism). The main protagonist, Shinji has to make a choice between this two options, and this quote comes from Rei (another Eva pilot), who instigates Shinji to make a choice at the end of the movie. (One of my absolute favourite series ever)


Keywords: Others, exist, walls of their hearts, separate

Composition idea #2:

Imagery ideas:

Others– masses of people, masses of monsters/aliens, simple dots, faces (kaleidoscope effect)

(kaleidoscope tutorial – http://www.creativebloq.com/photoshop/kaleidoscopic-collage-effect-5132671/2)

walls – barricade, fence, brick wall, thorny bramble bush (inspired by Sleeping Beauty), clam shut tight

hearts– heart, differences (different colour), life, tree


It was difficult trying to think of what could symbolise the heart, but I decided to make a collage in the shape of an heart instead so that it could be more comprehensible!


To represent segregation of humans from each other, I planned to put them into different segments and have them sparsely positioned away from each other. The idea of an ant farm came to mind when I found that human beings are sort of like ants, busy out and about doing their daily tasks, and living as a community.
It was terribly hard trying to find a high quality image for a clear picture of the interior design of an ant farm, so I substituted the idea for a construction site that adapted a similar idea instead (and it looked clearer)!
I warped the pattern of the construction site into the shape of the heart.
A senior actually gave me the inspiration to use toilet signs to represent human beings 8’D
And here I inverted the colours and painted black over some areas because there were too many visible details in the background and it was hard to see the human figures. I then turned the human figures from black to white.
I decided to use a wavy pattern to convey motion and a sense of liquidity, as I would like to represent the souls of humans as ‘primordial soup’.

1st draft:

For initial composition, I had placed the heart smack in the middle and an enlarged background of the swirls in the background (which made for quite a boring composition). After receiving feedback from consultation, I decided to shift the heart shape to the bottom right side of the page and increase the number of swirls. The people are in different segments of the heart to depict the separation of human souls from the pool of primordial soup.

Final Draft:

For my final composition, I increased the intensity of the swirls and brought out the shape of the heart out a bit more for clarity. With a repeated pattern of swirls, and increase in repetition, it increases the uniformity of the background, and the flowing rhythm created essentially becomes a quicker motion. The difference in texture between the background and the heart also really contrasts and draws the heart out of the background despite the amount of swirling going on back there. The contrast in the interior of the heart and human symbols also draw out the human beings a lot more. The bottom right placement of the heart might also suggest an inflow downwards through the valves into the heart, rather than if the heart was placed smack in the middle or in the upper half of the design. Gestalt’s rule of similarity between repeated patterns in this composition also helps to give it a sense of unity.


===Quote 3: Sherlock===




“Anderson, don’t talk out loud. You lower the IQ of the whole street.”



Context in movie: 

I barely watch any mainstream film series but my friend insisted that I watched Sherlock and boyyy did I marathon this ENTIRE series (with no regrets). Sherlock is “not a psychopath, but a high-functioning sociopath” as he always reminds everyone and extremely intelligent. While on a case, Sherlock shows obvious disdain for the lowly intellectual likes of Inspector Lestrade who works for the official police team when he keeps trying to interrupt Sherlock’s inspection of the crime scene. Having the sharp tongue he does, Sherlock subtlely throws this insult (the quote) at Lestrade, essentially telling him to shut the hell up.


Keywords: don’t talk, loud, lower the IQ, whole street


Imagery ideas:

don’t talk – silence sign, mask covering up mouth, tape at mouth, zip at mouth

loud – megaphone, forte symbol

lower the IQ (kind of literal version) – lowering bucket into a well, pulley system (can use principles of design to express downward motion)

lower the IQ (essentially stupidity) – broken glasses, scarlet geranium, bag over head, skull (empty head)

whole street – streetlights, zebra crossing, junctions, crossroads, traffic lights, electricity poles, directions


Composition idea #3a:

Subject ideas:

I chose to use an open mouth to represent the act of speaking.
To represent the action of ‘lowering’, I thought of using a person using a pulley system in a well to lower something. I ended up replacing this person’s head with a mouth.


This person was going to represent the subject matter being lowered (which in this case is the IQ of the street)…
which I thought of representing as a brain because the source of intelligence is the brain!


1st Draft:

For my first draft, I decided to personify the characteristic of being talkative, and the IQ of the street. To represent someone who spouts a lot of nonsense, I put a gigantic open mouth onto a human’s body, and an alternating zigzag pattern at the back to show that what they’re saying might have a logic of its own but ultimately there’s no one point to what they’re saying. To represent the IQ of the street, I put a brain with a picture of a street onto the body of another human being which is being lowered from a well into water, which is depicted by polka dots. This represents the act of lowering and eventually drowning.



Final Draft:

For my final draft, I decreased the area of the alternating pattern and increased the area of the polka dots to create the effect of the Rule of Thirds so that it would look better in terms of composition. I also cropped off the leg of the human representing the IQ of the street to imply that he/she/it is sinking into water. There is also a slight play on perspective here since the top third is rather frontal while the bottom looks a lot more top-down. The increase of the size of the polka dots down the page also pull visual weight downwards and thus enhances the ‘lowering’ effect.

=====Quote 4: Peter Pan=====




“To live would be an awfully big adventure.”


Context from movie:

Peter Pan has to be my favourite Disney movie (totally not because I was obsessed with Huggy Pan for a while (Billy Murray playing Peter Pan in Disneyland) (yes I will link you to a video because his sass needs to be shared). I love Peter Pan because of how relatable it is, with me being a teenager (YES I’M STILL 19) and the whole never-wanting-to-grow-up theme. This quote basically resounds this theme, with ‘to live’ being a metaphor for growing and maturing (in contrast to staying a child in Neverland), and ‘an awfully big adventure’ implying that growing up will be both a very foreign experience and a daunting feat for Peter Pan. (and you are RIGHT, Peter! Please take me to Neverland.)


Watch this from 0:21 8’DDD

P.S.: I <3 HUGGY PAN (he’s not working as Peter Pan anymore ;v;)


Keywords: Live, awfully big, adventure


Imagery ideas:

live (essentially growing up and maturing, not stuck in time) – clock, watch, hourglass

awfully big – blue whale, elephant, cosmos, magnifying lens (zoom in), infinite

adventure – (travel) bag pack, ship, aeroplane, map, mountain, compass, parachuting, biking, car

Composition #4a:

Subject ideas:

For my first and final composition, I tried to work with diagonals a lot more to create dynamism in the composition. The splat of paint creates an explosive effect, similar to when rockets take off. The radiating lines at the back also create an outward and energetic movement. The crack in the hourglass (which I had to edit in) shows that the rocket is breaking out of a contained space and ready to launch on an adventure! The high contrast between subject matter and background also draws out the foreground a lot more. The use of diagonals in this composition also helps to give a sense of movement and unity.



In the darkroom!!
A blinding blast of light descends upon our framed transparencies and transfers their shade onto the emulsion on the silkscreen to be used as a stencil for printing 😀
Exposing the silkscreen!
Exposed silkscreen!

(didn’t document the printing part because I was busy working like a factory. Yes I sold shirts to my friends so I had to handprint around 10. If you want profits, think again! 8’D)

Here’s a white-on-black shirt that I printed using expensive ink ($5 for one small bottle) I used 3/4 of the bottle on ONE shirt. So if you’re mass producing for black shirts, think again! Eventually, I managed to get cheaper ink, $5 for sizeable jar of white, but the colour didn’t turn out as vibrant and defined. SO YOU CHOOSE THE LESSER EVIL–



One difficulty that I faced with this project was when I was trying to edit the pictures (more on the technical side). When I added a colour invert filter to a layer, the ENTIRE composition inverted itself, and it was SUPERRR frustrating to work with, BUT!! I found out I could isolate the layer so that the filter only affects one layer :DDDD PS still does some wonky stuff once in a while but I have it under control now ;D

I think I’ve fulfilled the objectives of this project, which is to use symbolic images/subject matter to express a concept. I’ve learned how to expand my visual vocabulary; for example using hot-air balloon to represent dreams in my Paprika quote design.

The way the representative subject matter is orientated in relation to the other subject matter should also be carefully considered! Their relationship is very important in conveying certain ideas that cannot just be condensed into one object itself, especially for movement; for example having the rocket oriented diagonally away from the hourglass and the radiating lines really helped to give a sense of movement in my Peter Pan design!

AND I really enjoyed doing this project because

  1. I didn’t have to gather so many materials because everything was digital kekekek
  3. Got to print T-SHIRTS too! (if anyone sees this you can venture into a mini shirt-printing business!! If you’re doing another colour other than black, you have to choose between price and quality ;v;) Might consider starting Youthful Printing & Co. in Malaysia or somewhere else where the startup and rental cost isn’t so high HAHAHHA (one can dream)
  4. I FINALLY found out how to use the pen tool on Photoshop!! For years, I had been wondering how the heck do you control it.
  5. I learned about the standards of a good quality print!
  6. I learned about how to use colour half-tone and threshold!
  7. I learned how to group my layers into a folder so my PS document won’t look like a complete mess!
  8. Editing is fun!!
  9. No colours to worry about… YET. (suspenseful foreshadowing of Project 3)



–Project 3 post incominggg den den dennnnn—