In Sink/Swim I wanted to emphasize Ah Mui’s constant daydreaming. The need to escape from the banality of her everyday life dominates her thoughts. In the first page where she stares out onto the busy street through a water bottle, I wanted to distort reality from Ah Mui’s perception. The second page also jumps back and forth from Ah Mui’s thoughts and what she is actually doing. I tried to address time in the most realistic way by showing her working while thinking of something else. I also wanted to show the absent-mindedness of Ah Mui by showing how she even drifts out of reality while her friend, Mimi, is talking to her. Repetition is something I want to continue to explore, as seen throughout the pages. In the third page I wanted the goldfish store to be repeated with minimal movement from Ah Mui and Mimi.
Each page has a strong colour scheme because I wanted to emphasize a certain object/subject. In the first page, the green water bottle is shown in each panel. For the second page it is the muted violet in the shading. I decided to add shadows to help give a distinctive pallet in each page. I tried to keep with a muted pallet, especially when rendering Ah Mui. There is only shading on her face meanwhile her surroundings are all shaded. I also added a bit of texture onto her hair because the solid black was too eye-catching. In the third page where Mimi and Ah Mui’s eyes are emphasized, I wanted to show the unfocused look Ah Mui often has. The composition of the second page has distinctive columns: in the first column she is cleaning the fish tank, in the second it is her daydreaming, and the last column is back to her working. I also wanted the panels to be read row-by-row because it jumps back and forth from Ah Mui’s thoughts to what she is actually doing. The cover page is much more cutout and graphic. The line between her perception and reality is something I wanted to address in this project.
I wanted to try and keep the drawing style I have in my sketches, but I somehow lose it when I outline and colour them. It was a struggle for me to keep the drawing style meanwhile making it outlined. In the end I decided to first sketch it all out, then outline with tracing paper, which I would then scan into my computer to colour. I also made different versions of the pages because I wasn’t sure at first if I wanted shading in the pages.
My process throughout the pages:
The final pages, click to see larger image: