Graphic Design and Animation Graduates 2012

Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.

Fei (Fay) Liu


TITLE: Graphic Novel – Blood Red Vanity
SUBTITLE: Investigate how the graphic novel can be used to explore fears through 
the process of illustration, how a human reactions to fear can be explored in a through graphic means.

The reason why I have chosen to make a graphic novel as a showcase was to display my illustrative ability.  Apart from the story, I have created advertisements for different comics in different styles to further illustrate my interest in hand drawn illustration, it also it makes the whole graphic novel more fun and visually interesting.

Why are graphic novel so popular? I believe many people will ask the same question. Is it about the storyline or is it because of the artwork? Over the past generation, horror graphic novel have become more and more popular with younger and older generations around the world. It appears the truth of life. It seems nowadays horror comics are becoming more and more popular amongst the young.In my survey research, I am primarily focusing on a target audience that ranges from 16-30 years old, both male and female, as both constitute the main consumers of graphic novels.I asked them about why they like to read horror comics and why they like to being scared. The general reply, they love the dystopian illustration, the more scared they are the more interested they are in the story. Since the younger generations have a different connection with horror than older generations. I have noticed when I am reading a graphic novel; i am not only intrigued by the storyline but the style of artwork and the technique the artist used. Every piece of artwork has its own unique style. I believe the style of drawing reflects the artist’s emotion and personality. If we can understand the artwork, then we can understand more about the story that we are reading. In my opinion, the artwork is very key to a good comic, it helps the reader visualize the story and it shows the artists interpretation of the narrative, however, a comic book is lacking without a good storyline. It’s importance not only looking cool but also to act as a visual emotional outburst.


Graphic Novel Research

some sketches

My favorite genre of movie is horror, in the movies, every frame is a wonderful composition. The movies express help me to transform my emotions into pictures, every time I watch a movie, a lot of images and ideas come into my head, and push me to be more and more creative in my artworks and ideas development.

horror doll movie

My graphic novel would be 250gsm hard cover, perfect bound so as to make my work stand out and imply legitimacy in tactility and weight, as well as to make the comic book publishing standard.
A well bound comic has the substantiality a book, many bespoke comic artists are now binding their works into book formats because it makes them more permanent and precious, I felt it would be the best way to also display my work. For the pages, I have used a 120 gsm gloss paper. It’s a common paper type used in comic books.

The style I decided on to make all the pages have black backgrounds with all the block text and images in the front, in order to unify the whole layout and contents. I used the black space for the background, in order to get as much vital information on to the page as possible and it created a mystery and horror feel. It was very important to me that the readers knows it has one style of illustration with one story and another with the other story, the difference is subtle but just evident.

with white background

with black background (better and more horror feeling)

The reason why I choose to do a comic book is because I believe graphic novels provide an vehicle to explore both art and drawing, but also the storyline, which allows you to focus on the character movement and development and not so much the whole scene With comics the story line tends to be exciting to that appeal to a certain type of personality. I have loved drawing since I was a child. I have always been into dystopia illustrations such as skulls, undead and bloody and sadistic themes. I was inspired by lots of great artist such as God Machine and Flexi Laflamme. Both their style are meaningful, heavy and dark with a strong visual impact. When I look at their work I feel amazed, there is so much going on in the artwork they have created.

Art work research – Godmachine

Art work research – Felix LaFlamme

Black&white graphic novel research – The Crow

Black&white graphic novel research – The Walking Dead

I have created one piece of artwork for the next issue of my graphic novel and three pieces of artwork for the advertisings in my graphic novel.

the little girl in the cape (the next issue)

advertisings in my graphic novel

I have researched illustration books such as Juxtapoz dark arts (M. Revelli, pricco, Evan. Juxtapoz dark arts, Berkeley, CA: Gingko, 2009.). The artist in this collection use unique drawing styles to explore themes such as disturbing imagery or bittersweet. 30 days of night (Templesmith, Ben, Niles, Steve and Robbins, Robbie. 30 Days of Night. San Diego, CA: Idea & Design Works, LLC, c2003.) is one of my favorite graphic novels. The artist has used traditional comic framing such as rectangle, square and for some large senses no framing at all. He has given power to the actions of his characters and action sense by using different styles of text outside speech bubbles. I have learnt about how to improve my drawing by changing the tone, shape and compositions. The key contextual references in my work are based on the black and white film noir, fear and how limited colour allows the viewer to focus on the comic’s story. The using of black ink to create black and white colour contrast and the scale of the images are important.

Working process

For the whole graphic novel I have applied the dip pen with black calligraphy ink to draw the outlines of every subjects such as the characters and the background, I also used brush to do the shadow as in grey tone.

Black and white can show the disturb theme as well as the contrast which attracts the eye. The shadow, light and the angels are important because the color palette is so restricted. The most fun thing that black and white does is it provokes emotion. In the past I have always employed a vast range of colours, in this project I wanted to try something new as well as challenge myself. The shape I have used are geometric shapes such as rectangles for my image blocks which I have employed the rectangles to crop my images in an interesting way. I have used the circles for my text blocks for the characters conversations. The natural shapes such as my characters are irregular and they are not blocky. The size was an important decision in making a layout functional of my publication. The image size and the text size help to fit the layout together such as when the character screams or the subject moves, the size of the text would be larger and scale the word to oblique, in order to attract the readers attention. On some pages, I put the characters head outside the rectangles instead of inside, for the purpose of contrasting two elements to create interest.

The main genre I have chosen is horror. A key feature of my comic is the introduction in the beginning of my comic book. It’s two girls having a sleepover and they are telling each other a horror story. One of the girls tells her story first., I used this methodology to move into the main storyline. The main character is a cute little girl around 8 years old who possess a second hand dummy doll. When I was creating the doll, I have an image of the doll in my head, which was a pretty doll with no eyebrows and some cracks in her head. However I didn’t feel it was creepy enough so I researched dummy dolls and redrew my doll character as a ventriloquist dummy with a pair of big eyes and a creepy open talking mouth.

creepy doll

ventriloquist doll

To emphasize space I incorporated my design decision of using black space around some images to give the eye a visual rest and to lead the reader on. In some point, I have created ties between picture and picture such as a picture on top of another picture, in order to create a visual impact. This can be seen in the introduction where I applied black lines to separate the two main images of the girls talking on the phone. Line has been used to create the shadows and to show the darker parts. Lines are good for emphasizing action such as a dropping glass. Tone has been used for the shadow parts, from dark grey to lighter grey, which gave the whole image contrast. I have employed some different camera angles in my comic to build visual interest and emphasize dramatic tension, such as high, birds-eye, low, eye level, canted, and worms-eye. The doll character has allowed me to explore how someone might be beautiful on the outside but evil inside. The ventriloquist dummy seems more alive but is also creepy because it is so human. I have used camera angles to emphasize her double-sided personality. The whole story is basically slowly expose from brightness to the darkness which as same as the most graphic novels, the story leads the readers into the darkness. When the first main story is finished, it goes back to the girls in the introduction, it’s the other girls turn to tell her story and it’s to be continued as it will be in the next graphic novel that I am going to create. “I will throw all my best efforts into it, my thoughts and political observations, but ultimately I want to create a narrative that keeps you turning the pages and leaves you with a sense that this thing has a reason for being there.” – Frank Miller. His work is so inspired and I agree with him wholeheartedly. That is also what i was trying to achieve. It’s just like my artwork, I need to show that there is a reason why the picture is presented the way it is. “The means have changed, but the message hasn’t.” – Tony Moore. Yes, he is right. This is a good quote to explain my work. For my graphic novel, There are a few matters that change from page to page such as the characters and the background or layout, but the message that I am giving out is still the same. It’s still the same story, same genre. I have planned that this comic is a continuing series; this way the reader has something to look forward to in the next issue if they are interesting in the first issue. After graduating, I will do my best to become a freelancer and I will not stop making illustrations and I would love to be a graphic novel artist.

Check out my work on:




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