My Line is Emo: Development


Concept: I want to show the feeling of being loved by another. The love you feel in a hug; being embraced when you feel down. There is this ‘warmth’ that feels up inside you as if transferring from the hugger to the hugged. The phrase ‘Love brings light into your life’.

Idea: I am thinking of using the contrast in texture to represent the troubled soul and the ‘love flame’. Textured or crushed paper to represent the troubled soul. Smoothness of paint to represent the ‘love’ flame. In this case, I could try to make my own paper as suggested during consultation! The problem is that with the gloomy weather going on, I am not sure it is going to dry in time for submission… (i could also pressed the paper onto some coins or something to create creases?)


Crepe and tissue

I pressed twisted black crepe paper into the damp paper before it dried. But the colour ran and turned blue.


I tried dyeing the eggshells black with Chinese ink but because it was water base the ink was washed away; barely even stained it.

Peanut Shells (black)
Peanut Shells (white)

I chose the peanut shells because out of the three, the peanut shells came out the most bumpy and rough. Also the texture is reflected on the back. So even though the peanut shells are not black/white, I can use the back of the paper.

Testing 1

At first I wanted to use a single colour ( white on white)  and focus on the texture difference. Since I only have one white handmade paper, I did a black only test.

Testing 2

Then I tried colour mixing.

Testing 3

Then i realised that when I rolled the acrylic paint over the paper I could lift the pulp – texturizing it even more.


Concept: I rarely get surprised but when I do, I feel it in an instant and then its gone. It is an explosive feeling and you scream. After the moment of shock everything is back to normal. One BAM! and then nothing.

Idea: In translation it would be 1 big splatter on a smooth surface. Is this where I can use transparency??? I could use different objects to create the splatter. Water balloon? Plastic bag?


Black Splatter on white paper

Single colour spat looks quite boring.

Black and white splatter on white paper

Mixed of black and white because I felt perhaps surprise is not always ‘bad’ (black). It is more like a mixture of both positive and negative feelings.

Black and white splatter on transparency

To emphasize the “One BAM! and then nothing.” feeling. I decided to use transparency.


Concept: If surprise is one big explosion, Joy/ecstatic would be many tiny explosions. Or explosions of various degrees. Feeling ecstatic is when you feel so much joy and excitement you want to do a little victory dance.

Idea: This emotion is not violent – gentle explosions. I could make tiny burst of paint with the use of bubbles. It explains the emotion but is not special or anything because I have seen others done it already.

I could directly translate the victory dance though. That sounds interesting. With something that looks like feet??? Toy feet. Fingers. Toes. An object related to victory? A trophy or medal. Something I am ecstatic about? My figurine! But I rather not ink it though… Or you know I could do both! 🙂


In the end I did not try to create a ‘Victory Dance’ piece but I did try to incorporate rhythm to the arrangement of bubbles to make it look as if  its ‘dancing’.

Iteration 1
Iteration 2
Iteration 3


Concept: When I feel regret I desperately want to travel back in time and fix my mistake. But since time travel is impossible, I try to fix it the best I can but it does not work and it’ll never be the same. It is like taping torn paper together. The paper is still torn; the tear cannot be mended back to the way it was before.

Idea: Naturally the idea is to tear up a print and put it back together. Creating empty spaces on purpose to patch up later. So the question is -what kind of print? I could use fabric, it also cannot be mended even after you sew it back together. (too simple to just sew fabric back together? not interesting.) Maybe something structured, something regular. After it is destroyed and patched up it becomes irregular… Perhaps a grid will work? It would make it looks distinctly wrong than just a random paint smear. Possibly combine the two?


I thought maybe patching up a grid would make the message more apparent – mending a ‘perfect’ structure.

Grid patching with solid lines
Grid patching with lines of varying gradient

However, I did not feel the regret in the results. It looked more like confusion. The previous strip I did had much more impact than these two.


Concept: Fear when watching a horror movie. The moment the music indicate a jump-scare is coming up I get scared, my heart beat increases and I cover my eyes.  At the same time I want to know what the ghost or demon looks like. So in the end I cover my eyes and watch the movie at the same time; peeking through the holes between my fingers.

The other kind of fear that I want to portray is phobia, such as trypophobia – a proposed phobia (intense, irrational fear, or anxiety) of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes or bumps. When I see a trypophobia triggering image or object, shivers run down my spine, I get goosebumps and my hair stands.

(I am going to try both and see which is looks more interesting)

Idea:  irregular horizontal lines? But horizontal lines means peaceful, even. Jaggered horizontal lines? Fan out lines to represent peeking out through fingers? For the second interpretation I could include the basic shapes – cluster of circles, trembling lines and vertical lines.


I was trying to depict my fear of worms. Using strings dipped in ink to create the curve squiggles and satay stick to make the ‘handprints’. Iteration 1 looks quite interesting but it does not go along with my story.

Iteration 1
Iteration 2
Iteration 3
Iteration 4
Iteration 5


Concept: Natural reaction of anger is to lash out. The image of parents disciplining their child is what comes to mind. It is a form of ‘love’ but many would agree it is mostly out of anger and disappointment than love. It is a destructive and controlling emotion. When you are angry you are not in the right set of mind. You urge to shout, scream, punch etc to vent your rage.

Idea: My first thought to translate this feeling is to just directly do the same on paper. To cane the paper. Use hanger or belt? Feather duster. Ruler. Then the medium would have a hazy background representing the absence of common sense. The point would also result in a textured surface? Instead of using paper I could use tender fabric? Is there even such a thing? Tissue paper perhaps? Butter paper? No butter paper is not white/black. Tracing paper. I could use some crepe paper; they are easily torn.


Caning on crepe paper on the floor
Caning on crepe paper suspended
Caning on tracing paper suspended


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My Line is Emo: Some Idealization and more Experimentation

At this stage I was still pretty confused with what I wanted to do. So I made multiple patterns with different objects that I found around my home. Thus almost all of them look like ‘fabric prints’, with no actual narrative and composition. 


During consultation everyone agreed that this depicts the feeling of Tenseness. To portray the emotion, I used satay sticks dipped in Chinese ink then carefully press it onto the paper at different angles. It looks like war zone with spears sticking out of the ground everywhere or a laser security system. We interpret the diagonal lines as twisted or warp state of mind; something is not right kind of feeling.

Surprise (Rejected)

I see surprises as an explosive emotion. The shock you feel happens in an instant; then it fades away. The second piece was rejected as it does not fit the description as well as the first.


When I feel regret, I desperately want to turn back time and amend my mistakes. But since there is no such thing as time travelling, the only thing that I could do is patch things up the best I can. However no matter how well you try to fix it, it’ll never be the same again.

I tore a piece of print I made smearing Acrylic paint with a plastic bag. Then paste it onto the strip while purposely leaving empty spaces to be patch up with bigger pieces.


I made this piece with the intention of positive emotions. Using a satay stick, I spread the paint in a wavy motion diagonally. Mixing the black and white, sometime more black and sometimes more white to show the happiness and disappointments in love.

Attraction (Not really)

I tried connecting two blotch of paint from different ends to depict attraction. Maybe it is too direct? Too simple? There is no narrative behind it thus it is somewhat boring.

Disgust (Rejected), Love (Suggested)
Disgust (Rejected), Love (Suggested)

I thought these pieces described Disgust because of the veins and holes in the paint. But others do not agree because of the fluidity of the veins, how gentle it looks and the gradient from the mixed paint.

Disgust (Rejected), Joy (Suggested)
Joy (Not sure)

At first I thought this could show disgust because of the multiple ‘holes’; trypophobia triggering. But I guess the concept is not strong enough because normally we associate bubbles with joy and happy children trying to pop them. I also think the bubbles create a dreamy effect which could also show Tranquility.

Irritated (Rejected)
Annoyance (Rejected)

These are what I imagine my mind to look like when I feel irritated or annoyed. Being irritated is like hearing this continuous buzzing that would not stop and would keep building up in your head until you burst out in anger. Being annoy is also the same concept but much stronger than being irritated. Both were rejected because of the lack of dynamics, narrative and composition.

Next course of action: 

The next step I am going to take is to think about the narrative and composition of the emotions. What is the story behind my strip? How does it describe the emotion? What part of anger do I want to represent in my strip?

Also the use of materials/ medium in my concept. Maybe explore the different kinds of paper? Handmade paper was suggested in the consultation to achieve a very textured paper. For anger perhaps I could just texturize the paper by beating the crap out of it?

Other rejects:

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My Line is Emo: Research and Experimentation

“The notion of origins, the promotion of inexpert forms of expression, as well as the “discovery” of the uncharted subconscious realm as unveiled by Sigmund Freud, unleashed a creative frenzy in the era of surrealism and resulted in the invention (or reinvention) of many drawings and drawing-based techniques: Automatic drawing, …” (Jones, 10)

English translation by Hollo from “On The Veiled Swings” by Jean Arp

The book ‘talks’ about chance drawings and collages with the example of Jeans (born Hans) Arp, a German-French poet, artist etc. He had a peculiar way of writing his poems where he would “close his eyes and randomly underline words and sentences in newspaper articles and advertisements that would become the foundations for his poems.” (Jones, 19)

Jeans (born Hans) Arp, Germany, 1886-1966, active France and Switzerland, Automatic Drawing, 1917-18, Ink and Graphite, 16 3/4 x 21 1/4 in. (42.6 x 54 cm), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, given anonymously

“For Arp, chance manifested the order (or disorder) of nature to which he aimed to connect, rather than his unconscious. His so-called automatic drawing beginning in 1917, for example, are derived from his wanderings in nature, not from the wanderings of his mind. Drawn after his habitual nature walks, the works capture Arp’s recollection of trees, branches, and other plant life.” (Jones, 19)

“Essential to the process was speed. “When one goes very quickly, the drawing is mediumistic. as if dictated by the unconscious.”” (Jones, 25) So the faster you draw, the less you think. Therefore the drawing is more from one’s sub-conscious.

The Birth of the World, Joan Miró, Spanish,1925. Oil on canvas, 8′ 2 3/4″ x 6′ 6 3/4″ (250.8 x 200 cm),

In the same page it also mentions Joan Miro. The “loosely drawn and schematic nature functions like multivalent pictograms or signs; that is a single form may connote several different meanings.” (Jones, 27)

After gaining some knowledge of automatic techniques, I became very eager to try them all out.


This is the first mono-printing I did. I just played around and see what effects it would create.

I tried putting crochet flowers in to see if the ink would penetrate the tiny openings. They did not; perhaps because the strings were knotted too tightly.

Here I tried with strings of different thickness.

… and strings of a single width…


I thought mono-printing a net would result in a print of a net because the ink would have passed through the holes of the net. But that did not happened; with and without the printing-press.

 I was able to achieve the print of the net only by inking it and pressing it under the printing-press.



Bubbles bring about a dreamy effect. They are related to positive emotions; I could use them for Joy, Love or Surprise.


I did not expect the stamping of a fork would look this terrifying and intense.


These are prints made from the stamping of seashells that I picked from a beach in New Zealand long ago.

Automatic Techniques:


I made an attempt with pressing paint between papers that mixes the paint and creating interesting vein-like texture.


I was very interested in the Fumage technique and wanted to try it for myself.


Here I tried to make the impasto textured effect with acrylic paint and a fork. The attempt to keep the swirls of black and white was a failure; and it was not as textured as I liked it to be.

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Jones, Leslie, 2012, Drawing Surrealism, Los Angeles, CA : Los Angeles County Museum of Art ; Munich : Prestel, [2012]