“Every adventure requires a first step.”
“Would you like an adventure now, or shall we have our tea first?”
Alice In Wonderland
“Actually, the best gift you could have given her is a lifetime of adventures…”
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice In Wonderland
“It would be so nice if something made sense for a change.”
Lewis Carroll, author of Alice In Wonderland
“I knew who I was this morning but I’ve changed a few times since then.”
“Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?”
Alice In Wonderland
The theme for Hayeon’s birthday artwork this year was decided around the same time when I made the Alice In Wonderland calligraphy quote book for Green Day earlier this month. In fact, before I went into the concept of Alice In Wonderland this whole August, I had done a fair bit of research about it. I, who was previously new to the story, managed to grab some time to watch the original 1951 Disney film on YouTube to get the gist of what it is about.
During an opportune moment, I also came across a Chinese book that compiled all the learning points from Alice In Wonderland that we could apply in our lives and read it.
That’s when I realised Alice In Wonderland is a really wonderful spellbinding story that contains loads of meaningful quotes that teach us life lessons. And I noticed Alice, the main character of the story who was portrayed as a young little girl, has a lot of similarities to the impression that Taenggu’s little sister, Hayeon gives me. I became very certain that if last year she was the Little Red Riding Hood (see post: FOR HAYEON: LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD), then this year she has got to be Alice now. The Alice who is getting curiouser and curiouser, eager to step into the real world, ready to throw away her mysterious red hood and come face-to-face to the cunning wolves lurking in the society. After all, life is all about taking adventures, isn’t it?
Although I was 100 percent sure Hayeon’s birthday artwork was going to surround the concept of Alice, I found it hard to make up my mind on how I was going to make it. Like, what kind of technique and approach should I use? Should I do paper art again like I did for her last year? And what size is my artwork going to be? Is it the same 6 x 6 inch square card that I used for her last year? Or should I scale it up to a 12 x 12 inch scrapbook paper that I used for most Girls’ Generation members? Or maybe a standard A4 size will be good enough? It took me one whole afternoon visiting various art shops to source for materials and explore the possibilities, and long brainstorming process to sort out and put together my thoughts that were all over the place before I finally nailed down on what I was going to do.
First, I decided I would use this following photo of Alice that I found online as my reference picture. I chose it because of the words “Curiouser And Curiouser”, arguably the most iconic, memorable line from Alice at the start of the story. And I think it fits the current state of Hayeon who is turning 21, at the age when she starts to get curious about everything and make her first step into the adult world.
And the technique I am going to use this time is also a form of paper art but is different from what I did last year. This time, I am going to explore the use of negative space (in art terms) through paper cutting with a penknife. It’s similar to what I did for my recent Spiderman Taeng artwork for my 54th monthsary last month where I cut out the windows of the buildings in several regular rectangles with a penknife. But Hayeon’s one is definitely going to be more challenging as there are several irregular shapes and floral patterns. And the size of the artwork will be A4.
To begin, I traced out the silhouette of Alice from my reference picture and transferred the pencil markings onto a blue paper that is of a similar colour to Alice’s dress.
Next, instead of using the original floral background on my reference picture which honestly would be too difficult for me to cut with a penknife, I used a stencil that I found at Artfriend that has much broader floral patterns. So I traced out the patterns from the stencil, avoiding the centre silhouette of Alice with a pencil first.
Now it’s time to summon all your arm muscles and wrist strength to cut out the pieces one by one! Definitely required lots of force and determination to do this continuously. Fortunately I was surrounded by lots of positive energy that day! So it didn’t feel like a chore or a pain to do this at all.
Making progress bit by bit.
The edges may appear rough after being cut, but it would look much smoother, neater and presentable when I flipped over to the other side.
Next, I pasted it on top of a white paper with glistening surface. YASSSSS, this is the kind of effect that I want!!
Up next was the writing of the words “Curiouser & Curiouser”. I made use of an alphabet stencil of a suitable font of my liking which I also got from Artfriend and traced out the words in pencil first. Then I used a metallic gold pen to colour over each alphabet one by one.
I found a couple of these leather pieces from Artfriend too, one in the shape of a rabbit and the other a watch. They remind me of the herald white rabbit with his watch which appeared in Alice In Wonderland. So I pasted them onto my artwork using wet glue to enrich it with more contents.
Next, in order to give my Alice a real human face of Hayeon (this is significant because I want to portray Hayeon as no longer hiding her face in her red hood like in my last year’s artwork), I chose this perfect photo from her instagram where she had her face positioned at the exact same angle as my paper-cut Alice.
Then I had to edit the photo a little on Photoshop because part of her blue cap that she wore was cut off in the original photo.
Then I copied her face and placed it on the soft copy document of my reference photo, printed it out on paper and cut it out. I also did the same for the red mushroom too – found an image of it from Google, printed it and cut it out. (I had been trying to look for a red mushroom charm during my shopping trips but couldn’t find any suitable ones so I had to resort to doing this.)
First I framed it up in a simple frame that I got from Daiso, then using sticky dots, I stuck the paper pieces of Hayeon’s face and the red mushroom onto the plastic film of the frame, instead of directly onto my paper artwork itself. My rationale for doing this was that you can observe my original paper cutting that lies beneath when you remove the frame and plastic film.
Finally the artwork is complete! Time was really tight when I made this. I had to get right onto it almost immediately after I completed my 55th monthsary artwork along with the writing of the blog post
#55 MONTHSARY: I LOVE YOU 3000, IRON MAN TAENG just 3 days before Hayeon’s birthday.
Time for more detailed photos of my final artpiece of Little Alice!
I also got Hayeon this cute figurine of Alice from Tokyu Hands as a gift too. Hope she would like it.
This whole August felt like a month dedicated to the theme of Alice In Wonderland. Not only did I make Alice In Wonderland themed artworks for Green Day and Hayeon’s birthday this same month, I also recently found out that there is an ongoing Alice In Wonderland exhibition happening at our ArtScience Museum in Singapore until September. I will definitely grab the chance to experience Alice’s magic of wonders first-hand at the exhibition before it ends!
As for Hayeon the Little Alice in my eyes, I heard she is no longer a SM trainee now. But her curiosity and passion in singing like her sister Taenggu have moved her on to make several covers on the YouTube channel, Conveyor Sounds. Hope her curiosity will continue to lead her to many more unexpected places full of surprises like Alice did in her Wonderland!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, KIM HAYEON! 🎉💕👧🏻🐇🍄⏱
How were Tofu’s reactions to my latest artwork “Little Alice”? He sure looked as excited as when he saw my previous Iron Man Taeng artwork! (or actually he was just desperately wanting me to get him out of his cage to play with him lol) 😝😂