Jake Tan's profile


Novena Church, or Church of St. Alphonsus, the highlight of my zine. The Church, filled with history and culture, was destroyed recently for renovation purposes. The project, costing 55 million dollars, was planned for years but when executed also meant that the followers that called the Church their second home would be essentially, homeless.
I want to explore the feeling of knowing and feeling the destruction of your own home that people have grown up and gotten used it. Are the years of suffering worth it in the end? So, what is a home?

i. Self +/ Exploration

When I drew out Novena I was sorely disappointed as I really wanted to do my own home town, Yishun. I had many crazy ideas for Yishun but was glad Daryl was the one who got it. 
So Novena, the only impression I had about it was that it was very much a sporty and medical town. It was quite an identity for them after some interview with friends. But they also suggested me to check out Novena Church as many couples from all walks of life would gather to get married in their great Cathedral. 
Being a wedding photographer and videographer myself, I was naturally curious as I’ve mostly been shooting hotel weddings. After research, I found out that they’ve been undergoing renovations for awhile and would be reopening this year. 
Excited, I emailed and facebook messaged Novena Church but did not receive any response for over a week. I tried to do my own research and explore different angles of how I want to portray Novena Church whilst messaging the Redemptorist Singapore group which was incharge of Novena Church. They were not the most responsive group but they provided much information about what I needed to know.

ii. Communication & Research

I was referred to the head of Novena Church’s library and communication department but they were not very responsive and I had to engage in my own angle and take of the Church without too much consultation.
I explored various ways to portray the Church such as: Renovation and Reopening, The Old Novena Church, The Cathedral of Novena Church, Redevelopment Prayers, The People of Novena Church, Death & Rebirth.
The current theme of the Zine was a mixture of a few of the above themes and I tried to give a narrative to it as well. It would be a simple 3 act structure, establish obstacle resolution. 

iii. Proposal


iv. Narrative

After deciding on the theme, I went to write the narrative of the entire zine. ¹I wanted to start the story with what it is now, a desolate wasteland from the renovation. ²From there I wanted to show that beyond the destruction, there are the people who were affected, the followers and their state after the lost of their homes. ³But beyond that, I wanted to show that there is a silver lining behind everything.

v. Art

For the proposal, i drew a logo and I thought it would be branding material for the actual zine but that logo never came to be used in the end.

Usually people would plan out their layouts before engaging in drawing anything. I kinda lacked the inspiration to start because of the responsiveness so I just went to do some doodles and sketch ups of what I think would be a cool 2 page spread. That doodle kind of became a 1 page spread and kinda evolved into the cover page you see now.

From pencil, ink, photoshop clean up, primary color scheme before final one you see on coverpage.
It was supposed to represent Novena Church’s most prominent aspect, the Grand Cathedral. I worked with several low resolution pictures on the internet to map out what exactly is where and how a “renovation” might look like in a more dramatic context.

I also penciled and inked some cool people to be our lost christians
I wanted an abstract tone to this page to break the formality of the zine. Kinda wanted it to stand out and give a confused feeling to the reader, which is exactly what the people of Novena Church are feeling.

vi. Layout

Now with the materials I kind of had with me, I could decide properly the layout I wanted. Instead of just typing everything out it’ll be better if you just see the amounts of revisions I had for each version and how they slowly changed and evolved.

There were certain spreads that I was going quite experimental and pushing boundaries with what I could do. A lot of my ideas involved cutting and printing on transparent paper to achieve a stained glass look.

vii. Reflections & Finale

Technical feedback wise, I’ve learnt that book fonts can go up to size 8 and it would still be legible. Previously I thought it was 11.
For paper choice, I think I made the right decision to go to RJ Paper at Kovan to slowly pick and choose the appropriate paper I wanted to bring out my zine. A classy cotton paper of A2 size was cut down by the staff to aid my printing needs.
And for printing wise, I had to print a few times because it turned out too dark. I upped the overall exposure on Photoshop after exporting it from Illustrator to get the exact colors I wanted. In the future, I’ll be taking the advice from Daryl and will be printing with RGB setting as it makes the colors much more vibrant and less dark.
Received a bunch of feedback regarding my middle spread page and how it could’ve been clearer. I now understand that abstraction in art should be left in Fine Arts(or at least not in a zine) as the primary goal of a zine is to inform the readers of its contents and not let them think through visual references.
Overall, I felt I pushed myself a lot in this semester as compared to the previous one as I really wanted to do graphic design (seriously) one last time before streaming into my major.
It was a blast learning and being taught by the famous Mimi and thank you, most importantly, for inspiring me to think out of the box!