Jennifer Lee
Exploring the Universe

10.5″ x 8″


Deepti Menon
Teaching Assistant
Filmmaker & Animator

“I am aspiring to be an illustrator. I currently go to an arts high school in Canada and that is where this project began. This pencil drawing is from a collage made with photographs from National Geographic. This plays an important role in the theme of my work because it portrays making something out of nothing, similar to the big bang that created the universe. This study was further translated into an etching (a plexiglass

I contrast the old with the new, and highlight the unknown through the boys jumping into the vast space and the children playing checkers. I illustrate the theme of exploration through the uses of paper fragments, both in the background literally, and conceptually, if you knew this was based on a collage. The reason I have this scene against a white background is to illustrate an element of uncertainty and fear. As we explore our lives and the universe, mentioned in the title, we may find uncertain things that our mind cannot make sense of, and only in art can we portray it.”

Related: Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo CabretChris van Allsburg, Julie HeffernanShaun Tan, Hieronymus Bosch, William Blake, M.C. Escher, Paul Noble, Sir John Tenniel’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, David Wiesner, Paula Rego

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2 responses on "Jennifer Lee"

  1. Profile photo of Clara Lieu

    This is a really ambitious composition! It’s wonderful the way that you’ve combined so many complex images together to create a very exciting and dynamic composition. This is a drawing that keeps the viewer fully engaged, every single section of this drawing offers something new to explore. The fact that so much is going on visually can be a curse and blessing; while the piece definitely grabs my attention, to a certain degree, it’s challenging to find any direction or focus, primarily because everything has been rendered to the same level of focus.

    I would consider what parts of the drawing you want to leap forward, and what parts of the drawing you can to push back into space. For example, the fact that the white paper fragments are located behind the 2 children playing checkers suggests that they should be further back in space. However, the paper fragments are so crisply articulated and so high in contrast that I actually bypass the children initially and go straight to the paper fragments. If you can think more deliberately about the depth you want to convey in this drawing, I think that would create a greater sense of depth in the piece. Not every part of your piece needs to be described in so much detail! Let yourself be an editor and select which parts you want to emphasize, and which parts you want to receded in space.

  2. Profile photo of Lauryn Welch

    This drawing is fun to look at. You have great contrast between lights and darks, and I feel as if this universe is being created and expanded upon directly from the minds of the children playing checkers. My eyes bounce around the entire composition, starting from the checkers game, climbing up the spotlights, jumping into the abyss with the time lapsed figure into the city scene below. I don’t get the sense of fear at all from the white. To me, the white coupled with the lights makes that area look like a flat set. You could have gotten that apprehension of the unknown better by expanding the black to the edges of the paper and strengthening the variation of dark tones across that spatial expanse. I do think working with paper collage and translating it to drawing is a good technique for you, and I’d love to see you continue using this method, maybe even by taking some of your own photographs of subjects, environments, and textures that interest you!

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