Pratt BFA Communications Design Thesis

Pei Qi Liew Illustration


Concept Art

My findings about “Hell” in Chinese/Buddhist culture made me realize that there are a number of terrains that a spirit has to go through in order to be punished as means for the possibility of reincarnation. After gaining more knowledge about the afterlife in Chinese/Buddhist culture, I noticed that a number of traditional artworks display the death realm in a burning, chaotic, gorey way. I mean, that goes without saying since “Hell” is usually depicted being engulfed in flames with this red-black color scheme. In short, the “Hell aesthetic” has been well established in various types of media (movies, literature, artwork, etc.). This information made me wonder if there is another approach to the portrayal of the death realm and how an individual would go through such trials and tribulation. This project aims to use conceptual illustrations as a means of telling the story of the character and the world that they explore in. I would also like to try different ways to interpret this realm while still maintaining its known characteristics and functions.

Little Mei stumbles upon her cousin’s grave in the middle of the forest. While digging through to find him, she finds herself in Diyu, the Chinese Underworld. There, she spots her cousin’s passed spirit who goes through various trials and levels of Diyu and follows him. On this journey, she learns more about her beloved cousin’s questionable past life.