Category Archives: 2013 portfolio assessment

Illustration Portfolio 2013


Elena Lam Illustration Portfolio 2013



For the theme of ‘Eden’ I explored the concept of personifying the realm of Eden as a character instead of a physical space. Similar to the garden paradise in the bible, the Eden character was once ‘perfect’ but eventually became corrupted and tainted by ‘sin’. Eden is portrayed as a flower and a predator at once in order to parallel human evolution and simultaneous deterioration from ‘purity’ throughout the ages.

(Online)EdenFinal Illustration (Digital, 30cm X 30cm)

(Online)(Sketch)Eden01Developmental Drawings

woland scanFinal drawing used for the final illustration.

(Process) Eden (GIF)Digital Painting Process

Drawing Exercise (Drawing Machines, Interventions & Experiments)

Drawing Exercise (Drawing Machines)

Video of the Drawing Machine in use.elena 12photo 3I transformed the resulting artwork into cubes which I named Cosmic Cubes as they resemble star maps and star constellations.

(Process) Drawing Machines Constellation Cube


Drawing Exercise (Drawing Interventions)

For the Drawing Intervention project I folded a bouquet of origami lilies and planted them in bushes barren of flowers as well as the large staircase that connects Perth Road to the Industrial Park in front of Riverside drive.

(Process) Origami Lily (GIF)IMG_8221 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

(Online)DrawingIntervention(Lily)07(Online)DrawingIntervention(Lily)02To continue with the them of using paper origami, I also made paper butterflies, crows and fishes. The intervention takes place in my back garden which is has almost no flowers and is overgrown with grass. The brightly coloured animals help bring a sense of life to an otherwise dreary and plain garden that is traditionally a place of beauty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA(Online)DrawingIntervention(Butterfly)01(Online)DrawingIntervention(Misc)

Drawing Exercise (Drawing Experiments)

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)03Non-Dominant Hand Drawing

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)02Life Drawing with Non-Dominant Hand

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)01Life Drawing with Non-Dominant Hand Drawing

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)(Frottage)(BlindDrawing)02Blind and Non-Dominant Hand Drawing with Frottage of a partial skull of a fallow deer.

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)(Frottage)(BlindDrawing)01Blind  and Non-Dominant Hand Drawing with Frottage of a statue in George Square, Glasgow.

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)(Frottage)Non-Dominant Hand Drawing with Frottage of a leaf.

(Online)DrawingExperiments(LeftHand)(ContinousDrawing) Continuous Line Drawing and Left Hand Colouring of the Magdalen Green Gazebo

(Online)DrawingExperiments(Frottage) Frottage Drawing of a partial skull of a fallow deer.

(Online)DrawingExperiments(ContinousLineDrawing)Continuous Line Drawing of a Moose Skull In Charcoal

Ishtar : An Immortal (Narrative Book Project)


 Ishtar An Immortal Book Jacket (210mm X 145mm)

For the Narrative book project I designed a short illustrated book entitled Ishtar. It is written as a poem in the first person narrative of Ishtar, Goddess of war and love. Each illustration is originally drawn in pencil, scanned and then taken into photoshop to be make into a digital collage. The book is sixteen pages long bound into a hardback book with a cover jacket. Eight pages are laid out to fit onto a single sheet of  A3 or A2 sized paper and later folded and cut to size.

(Mock Up) Ishtar Celestial Maiden (Mock-Up)-Ishtar-Celestial-Maiden-BackDigital Mock Ups.

Video of the completed book.

photo 1 photo 2

I also designed a symbol/sigil motif unique to the character of Ishtar. It is employed  in the creation of a pattern of two different colours in different variations for the book wrap covering and inner binding of the book. These can be seen in the inside cover.



The motif is also used in the different illustrations  inside the book.

(Online)IshtarAnImmortalPages01-08 Pages One to Eight.

(Online)IshtarAnImmortalPages09-15Pages Nine to Fifteen


(Online)(Sketch)IshtarAnImmortal02 (Online)(Sketch)IshtarAnImmortal03Developmental Drawings

After settling on which of the original drawings to use I edited the colour, composition and texture of each illustration in Photoshop. Below is an animated Gif of page 10 and 11 showing the process I used to create the illustrations.


(Process) Ishtar An Immortal

Heart Of Darkness (Book Cover & Internal Illustrations)

(Online)HeartOfDarkness(Cover)Heart Of Darkness Cover Binding (Front, Back & Spine)


Mock up of the final book jacket design.


The cover design went through a few variations before I settled on image tracing the original image into vector art in Adobe Illustrator and finalising the colour of the final image there.


The first illustration entry from Part I of the novella in London and the unnamed first narrator is describing Charles Marlow’s physical appearance.

“Marlow sat cross-legged right aft, leaning against the mizzen-mast. He had sunken cheeks, a yellow complexion, a straight back, an ascetic aspect, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of hands outwards, resembled an idol. “


The second illustration entry is also from Part I of the novella, when Marlow arrives in the Central Station and is told that the steamer under his charge had been sunk two days before his arrival.

“The steamer was sunk. They had started two days before in a sudden hurry up the river with the manager on board, in charge of some volunteer skipper, and before they had been out three hours they tore the bottom out of her on stones, and she sank near the south bank.”


Third illustration entry from Part III of the novella, when Marlow arrives at the Inner Station and realises that the posts of the fence are topped with decapitated and grotesque heads.

“They would have been even more impressive, those heads on the stakes, if their faces had not been turned to the house. Only one, the first I had made out, was facing my way. “

(Online)(Sketch)HeartofDarkness01 (Online)(Sketch)HeartofDarkness02 (Online)(Sketch)HeartofDarkness03

Various sketches exploring different scenes from the novella. I had tried to illustrate the scene where Marlow encounters the chain of prisoners carrying baskets of dirt on their heads, the attack of the steamboat by the native tribe as well the first appearance of Kutz African mistress; “the wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman.

(Process)HeartOfDarkness(Illustrations)After settling on which sketches to use I edited the colour and composition of it in Photoshop first before importing it into Illustrator where I image traced the image into vector art. I deliberately kept the illustrations unrefined as I wanted to maintain the watercolor appearance of the original sketch.

Space Wire (Illustrated Maps and Information Graphics)

(Online)SpaceWireGaiaInfographic03The Illustrated Map/Infographic that I designed for the ESA’s Gaia Mission scheduled to launch this month. Gaia is an orbiting satellite that will make the largest, most precise three-dimensional map of our Galaxy by surveying more than a thousand million stars. It will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times over a five-year period. It will precisely chart their positions, distances, movements, and changes in brightness. It is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs, and observe hundreds of thousands of asteroids within our own Solar System.

(Online)SpaceWireGaiaInfographicGaia Illustrated Map (First Draft)