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I am Sena!


Symmetrical Universe

Image Harvest Book binding

Flip book of Praying Girl

Paper Engineering


Sewing Project t

Lethargic Doll


In the Swamp

Self- Publishing Art Market

United Kinkies Chop, chop, Squeeze

Words on Wheels

Where I am from


I want to scream


Little bunny, baby chicken and me

Handlettering Self-directed Project Sketchbook Project

Let's go to bed The island Gaia Strange Neighbors

My name is Sena Kwon, editorial illustrator from South Korea. Growing up in different countries like Japan, Canada, Australia, and the United States has cultivated in me a multicultural, visual interpretation of art, cinema, and politics. My interest in becoming a narrative illustrator budded from an early age, and after studying graphic design in Kyunghee University in Korea, I came to U.S. to improve and refine my illustrative practices. I specialize in intricate brush line work, along with digital postprocessing and animation. I am currently investigating the reiteration of mythological and religious narratives in a contemporary context to highlight social issues.

Image Harvest Symmetrical Universe Reincarnation - the eternal cycles of birth and death. I believe that people are born with fate and bodies as vessels, and those bodies are all decided by karma determined in their previous lives. We each have fractions of the past on our faces, and that’s why our faces are hardly symmetrical. Using the principles of Image Harvest, I was inspired by the different characteristics in faces. I evolved my observations further, visualizing them as a symmetrical Mandala, representing the symbolic wholeness of eternal truth. My incomplete human figure with ideally balanced faces build a symmetrical structure and complete a perfect universe.

Final image of Symmetrical Universe

Book Binding Flip book of praying girl Based on the Image Harvest project, I used the central part of the drawing “The symmetrical faces in Mandala”: the praying girl. Much of the inspiration stems from my faith and memories of my church and community. While it wasn’t always easy to sit tight for hours, once the sermon started I would become lost in the stories and dream of another imaginative world. I moved these memories into the praying girl: the tongued snatching of the butterfly or leaking viewers across page. The bookbinding workshop was indeed a useful exercise in flipbook animation: at first I attempted a Japanese-style binding with thick threads, but the mechanics of large holes and a thick stack of paper made it difficult; I pivoted to “Perfect binding.” In the end I was thrilled to see it all come together, both the medium and the concept. Having worked mostly in two dimensions, adding the third succesfully -- time -- gave me confidence to explore animation in more depth, a pursuit I had been leery of in the past but now look forward to.

Paper Engineering Haetae Haetae, the traditional animal of Korea, is a source of inspiration I’m particularly fond. It is a benevolent creature that guards kingdoms, especially against fire and bad luck. The faithful canine companion is often found in asian mythological lore, and Haetae exhibits many Korean virtues: crude bravery, faithfulness, vitality. (In short, my father’s traits.) The Haetae makes appearances in my work in different ways and this project was one of them.

Although I was satisfied with the outcome in the end, there were a couple of external and internal critiques that highlighted difficulties I had with the project. The cutting process was far more painful and time consuming than I had predicted, along with the irrevocable choice of colors that I committed to, instead of exercising careful usage of white. I look forward to using this medium in the future, when I wish I to deliver illustrations that require fine details.

Sewing Project Lethargic Doll I was a bit daunted going into the sewing project, having very little fabric and sewing machine experience, but still excited at the prospect of bringing a concept to life in the tangible, fabric-based world. I felt clumsy at first, not used the interplay of fabric materials and stitching, but thoroughly enjoyed the learning process. While I worked to improve my technique, I made the focus of my project a relatable, honest story, and away from what I felt were amateur hem-aesthetics. I was a kid who could sleep. Anywhere. Anytime. No matter how important and serious the obstacles in my way. And while it might sound cute, it was to the point of medical evaluation. Not cute. I was sleeping too deeply, too early; often falling asleep shortly after dinner only to wake at 3-4am. While the condition went into remission as I entered puberty, I can’t help but feel there is still some part of that lethargic lemur inside me. With this project, I saw the 3D materials as an opportunity to convey the emotion of this lethargy. In the end, it became my droopy-drowsy doll -- who can sleep anytime, anywhere with the small magnets contained in the hands and legs.

While it would have been nice to experiment with more versions by trying different patterns and facial expressions, I am happy with the overall outcome of project, especially after overcoming the technique difficulties with the fabrics and sewing machine.

Letter Press In the swamp I looked forward to the Letter Pressing workshop with nervous excitement. I’ve always recognized the depth of craftsmanship involved in printing, along with it my own perceived shortcomings. I feel a gap between my digital products and the tangible, real-world prints they become. A lack of control. Precision. It was an eye opening exercise to observe the pressing curved plate on a heavy, smoothly rotating cylinder. It felt raw, archaic and timeless. Once we got the plate carved to the negative space, it was satisfying to print as much as we wanted, over and over, consistently. The concept of my letterpress illustration is a drowning couple. In the swamp where the sun and moon coexists, the couple grasps eachother’s hands before death. It could imply a dramatic, sudden death or perpetual love, at the same time. I wanted to use the trick of iemboss and its inverse, either black or white space can explicit tragic emotions toward each other.

Self Publishing United Kinkies Publishing was our first class with Whitney Sherman, the chairman of Illustration Practice, and our task this project -- our duty to her -- was a set of three zines centered around six characters we made in a day-long workshop: Round, long, little, tiny, wide, and giant. My characters took human (body part) form with twisted humor and tragedy. The little brain is the leader who dreams to become fierce and powerful monster but shortcoming of its size. So it asks other body parts -- tiny teeth, wide boobs, giant toe, long dick and big butt -- to unite together. Although they all succeed becoming one figure monster, the infinitesimally small flu virus sabotages their ambitions, and dismantles them. I liked most the poster the unfolded zine transformed into, it meshed well with the story in good cinematic-poster style, but the overall plan changed several times along the way. Pressure from language translation and delivering a storyline with concise characteristics in so few pages was difficult. I don’t believe this was one of my top projects, but the exercise in succinct character development was a useful lesson.

Art Market Chop, chop, squeeze This project was about producing illustrations and releasing them to the market and world, via one of MICA’s largest public events. The project began with my wish to use a Japanese-style binding for flip-book calendar: “Time flies fast like the naked man running in the woods.� I created the calendar for adults interested in decorative illustrations aside from typical prints. Using 12 small images for each month, I half-trimmed pages so that customers could use the old pages as post cards. Along with a brief story on the second page, the rest performed as a wordless picture book. The keystone print for the project was the land of the goddess and her busy, small, imperfect children, running about to avoid a careless, arbitrary death.

I felt rushed for time as I translated digital work into printed products. I would have liked to try more materials and modified the layout of the calendar. However the illustrations turned out nicely and I shipped. It was a good chance to learn how grafting my illustration onto different materials and formats takes considerable time and planning, and cost consumption is a necessary evil to be accommodated.

In the la nd where milk and honey flows, there is a goddess who gives birth and death to her children.

When she lies down, her breasts wet the ground making the river. Her new born children born out of this. They must run and hide as soon as they are born, not to get caught by the mother goddess. Otherwise, she will grab their faces and squeeze them off with her fingers. They hide by climbing up trees or diving into river.

She doesn’t feel sympathy for her children, Her milky river creates children perpetually. One of her children escapes from her sight runs and hides to survive, but soon enough misses the light and kisses the ground.

For Everything, T

by Paul Wellington

For every When? T

For every push, th

For every truth, th

For every fall, ther For every Where?

For every Heaven,

For every moment

For every nose, the

For every foe, ther

For every smile, th

For every good, th

For every start, th

Fallstaff Elementary/

Teacher: Kristina Go

Words on Wheels For Everything, There is Something

There is Something

n, Grade 8

There is a Why?

here is a pull

here is a lie

re is a fool There is a How?

, there is a Hell

t, there is a now

ere is a smell

re is a friend

here are many tears.

here is a bad

here is an end.


olden Ventre

As our first commissioned project, we collaborated with Baltimore-regional high school students as part of a continued relationship between ILP and the Baltimore the last several years. The final products -- poems accompanied by illustrations -- were set to be displayed inside several popular bus routes in Baltimore. We were tasked with providing the background illustrations that wrapped the poem with a child’s perspective and purity, a challenge I wrestled with as I worked to integrate my collaborators’ poems and my own work.

The Garden of Destiny I dove headfirst into a concept I thought matched the request, but in the end my head was down and I didn’t embrace the spirit of the task -- my illustration’s background role to the poem. My illustrations were not selected on this basis, and I was given a third poem and chance.

The Garden of Destiny by Charlie Holt, Grade 12 In the realm of infinite Dreams, There lies a vast garden, A garden that stretches beyond the horizon. In the garden walks Destiny, He has walked from the beginning of time, And will walk till the end of time. The garden is full of twist and turns and changes, Forks and divides and splits, Destiny is forced to make a decision. At the end of time, Destiny will look back and see just a straight path. No twists. No turns. Only memories. Baltimore School for the Arts Teacher: Joy Bacon

My illustration conveys dichotomies, from happiness coming from love to the loneliness that everyone endures. I had a tough time wading through this failure of correctly applying my illustrations. Like most of the other workshops, it gave me new experience and lessons, but I nevertheless consider this project a useful, memorable scar, with as much work and love I put into it.

Animation I want to scream Animation was our first and only project where we were required to work in preassigned pairs, with selections our class later agreed was an equal mix of professional practice and reality-TV design. My partner Mengyang and I proved to be an excellent duo together, combining well our personalities where they agreed and translating our work well when we disagreed. After exercising with various mediums and discussing scenarios and concepts, we evaluated our strengths and wants, and settled excitedly on an animation we could both embrace.

With a running time of 30 seconds, we used the time to tell a story about a stressed girl who wants to release anger out in the middle of bridge (Any resemblance to real persons, things, or places is purely coincidental.) She gets disturbed by passing cars and their honking, and this boosts her anger to scream loudly to collapse the bridge at the end. One of our goals for this project was to combine two different illustrators’ style into one. Mengyang and I were slower than other teams due to the way we constructed, but we slogged through it with honest and profound discussion and support. I would like to say many thanks to Mengyang, who’s participated I enjoyed and couldn’t have done without.

Handlettering Let's go to bed! Hand lettering was our second class with Whitney as faculty swap. The theme and exercise were about breaking the mold and stereotypes, with a typed alphabet based on diverse concepts.

I designed my alphabet around the mundane yet intimate scenes of a couple’s bedroom living, using their legs and pajamas. Inspiration came from personal experience, a lover’s legs, skin, glimpses of goofy underwear beneath formal attire. In the beginning I tried to incorporate lyrics from an acoustic Korean band with cute and honest stories - but I found it challenging to translate the correct meaning with limited space. I opted to change phrase to ‘Life is better in pajamas’ or ‘Let’s go to bed’ in more obvious way. I enjoyed making small illustrations into each alphabet, with the opportunity to vary the pattern a lot. Next time I might experiment with bolder gestures to break the silhouettes of the letters.

Patterns Little bunny, baby chicken and me The concept behind this project was about a young girl who ties up all the animals she sees with red knots. She learns about power and empathy through these semi-playful acts. Such powerplaying dynamics are often found in children in puberty, their inaccurate and bountiful emotions and anger pouring out with physical activities and pretending they are above weaker people and things. Through this lens, I wanted to observe the selfishness and unforgettable mistakes that young children brazenly perform to catch people’s attention using twisted, convoluted senses of humor. The balance between learning the extent of one’s own will on others, and learning about the boundaries that can be crossed but shouldn’t.

Self-directed Project The island Gaia As I embarked on deciding a theme, a path, for my self-directed project, I found myself hitting many emotional highs and lows. Not only am I deciding the future of my thesis, the work I will dedicate myself to next year, but also deciding on a series that will highlight my style, my message, my talents. Although it often seems I’m part of a shrinking minority that believes in a higher power, I’ve always harbored questions, doubts and criticisms on taboos and behaviors that religions have imparted over their thousands and thousands of years. Religion has often served as a means for people and communities to pass-on narrative stories that teach the current and future generations the past follies and life lessons of mankind. Through this project I wanted to deliver my belief that faith is a dependable, pervasive life philosophy that can provide important lessons if people are willing to listen.

Everyone experiences trauma over the course of their life, or at the very least painful experiences that in turn produce painful memories. Early on people turned to legend and mythological stories to find solace in matters they couldn’t solve, and in many of these stories we find mention of “Gaia� and other supreme beings credited with bringing forth existence and the cycle of life. I wish to combine these stories into a unified series, a neo-mythological realm where the gods reflect ourselves, our choices, and our fates. What happens when we look to the gods and goddesses for answers, only to find our own follies in the reflection?

I’ve produced many sketches related to mythology in recent months to help myself imagine the stories I would recount in such a land.

I would like to further explore the creation of character archetypes through form, bringing the life-lessons of lore into contemporary context. Although I face an uphill battle with the animation requirements and my current skill and experience, my plan is to deliver an ebook animation that transcends traditional one-way interaction and infuse life into the characters and the viewer. Such a series will require lots of time and effort to master certain animation industry practices that highlight my style, but I am excited to work and share my story and message with the world using such an interactive, increasingly “familiar� medium.

Sketbook Project Strange Neighbors

Sena's Idea Book  

Hello, I am one of the first year student in Illustration Practice Program in MICA.

Sena's Idea Book  

Hello, I am one of the first year student in Illustration Practice Program in MICA.