On Colour in South-East Asia: From Songkran to Singapore’s Jewel

by The Adobe Blog team

posted on 04-25-2019

Asia-Pacific is one of the most vibrant and diverse regions on the planet and there’s no better way to showcase this diversity than through the local community, local moments and local colour palettes. Last month we launched our #AdobeOnColour series in India as local photographer @aawaari shared her creative process as part of Holi Festival – one of the biggest celebrations of colour in India.

This month we turn to South-East Asia, partnering with a diverse range of creators across Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, showing their creative process and how they have chosen to represent the colours of their homelands.


Pazut Wutigornsombatkul (@tuagomstudio)

Thai Illustrator Pazut is known for his characters Tuagom & Bingsu, and had previously worked with Adobe to create a series of fun illustrations for the Lunar New Year. For the recent Thai New Year celebrations, Songkran (also known as the Water Festival), Pazut switched up his usual illustration style – in stark contrast to the softer palettes often seen in his drawings, the first colours he thought of for these Songkran pieces were bold blue and purple.

‘My inspiration for this piece came from the Songkran water fight. Major streets are closed and become arenas for water fights as people wear colourful outfits, and everything around is colourful and vibrant! There’s always a lot of water and splashing involved, but what would happen if we added coloured powder and tinted water? It becomes a whole lot more exciting!’

‘I like the colours blue, purple and yellow. When all these colours get mixed together in one single illustration, it looks so fresh and fun. I don’t tend to use too many colours in my works but in this case, you can see how my illustrations stand out from the norm. I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed working on these colourful pieces.’

Follow Pazut’s creative process on Instagram and his stories highlights.

Torwong Salwala (@2how)

Photographer Torwong Salwala doesn’t normally have a set framework for his output, instead he uses different colours to reflect different feelings. As such, Songkran gave him the freedom to create a range of vibrant photos which were totally in the moment and representative of the spontaneous celebrations that occur throughout the festivities.

‘Songkran is one festival where all the colours can be amazingly assembled with the harmony of the celebrations. Blue is always the first colour I associate with Songkran, and while there’s a variety of colours combined in each photo for this series, the blue tones stand out in all images, and you can feel it from the overall vibe even when you can’t see any blue in the photo. It is reflected in the water and that exudes a cool vibe.’

Follow Torwong’s creative process on Instagram and Facebook.


Rames Harikrishnasamy (@ramesstudios)

Self-taught digital artist Rames literally went ‘outside the box’ for this concept as he showcased the colours of Malaysia via his phone screen, which can only contain so many elements within such a small space!

‘Growing up here in Malaysia has exposed me to diverse cultures. The result of this is my Colours of Malaysia artwork. You can see the many different types of colours represented in many different forms. From the endangered animals to the famous Lion Dance, to famous landmarks in Malaysia – all of which speaks via colours to me.

The first colours that came to my mind were blue, yellow, red and white – colours that form the Malaysian flag. But since the concept is to showcase Malaysia in one frame, I decided to explore beyond my initial inspirations. Malaysia is so rich with cultures, you can literally see COLOURS in each of the states you go. The different ethnicities that currently exist in Malaysia have their own unique and distinctive identities.

In this concept piece, I’ve tried to showcase colour as much as I can from all different cultural perspectives – from traditional arts and crafts, to modern architectures. Usually, my colours are quite toned down; that is to relate back to the story I am trying to convey through my artwork. This time, I got to apply as many colours as I wanted, showcasing the different elements that make up Malaysia. It was a challenge, but I had so much fun executing it!

Follow Rames’s creative process on Instagram and his stories highlights.


Jeryl Tan (@smilewithJeryl)

For #AdobeOnColour, Singapore photographer Jeryl Tan instantly thought of the national flag when conceptualising his photographs. The result being two contrasting photos united by the colour red.

‘I love to capture places that have a pop of colour within a moody setting, as it brings the viewer’s attention directly to the subject that pops. The Jewel Changi Airport is Singapore’s latest and newest gem – literally! This shot was taken using a fisheye lens at 12mm to showcase as much façade of the Rain Vortex as I can in one photo.’

The zoomed-in shot at 200mm was taken to capture the street moments at Singapore’s Chinatown. It was challenging and requires patience waiting for the right moment and the right colour to appear.

I focused on enhancing the reds a little more and decreasing the intensity of other colours, so the overall image has a pop of the red instead of being drowned out by other colours. It’s all about capturing precious memories that may never be relived again.’

Follow Jeryl’s creative process on Instagram and his stories highlights,.

Eleanor Tay (@geekyelephant)

Tech marketer by day, photographer and business enthusiast by night, Eleanor Tay has a constant craving for not only desserts, but creative projects. As such, this project was the perfect opportunity for her to combine her sweet-tooth with her love of photography and colour.

‘To me, desserts are always the most colourful items as they’re the perfect end to any meal and appeal to kids and kids at heart with their appearance. Popular Singaporean dishes Laksa, Curry and Rojak are colourful in flavour, but not always necessarily in appearance; whereas all of the colourful food items that came to mind were dessert items – from gem biscuits to all sorts of local ‘kueh’. I realised they were all also my childhood favourites and always made me happy when I got to eat them. From there, I went around collecting a range of local sweet treats I could find for this shoot, foods that make me happy!

In this case, I’ve tried to bring out the colours by using a darker, neutral background. I’ve carefully tried to incorporate more striking colours and ensured that most colours were represented.

I love the striking orange colour of the palm sugar. As I was growing up in Australia, I never really got to have this but now that I’m back in Singapore, I can’t resist going for food that I can eat with this condiment. The colourful iced gem biscuits also bring back memories of kindergarten where I would sneak these sweet snacks into class and share them with my table buddies.’

Follow Eleanor’s creative process on Instagram and her stories highlights,.

Follow #AdobeOnColour on social for more colourful inspirations and stay tuned to the Adobe blog as we share the colours of Australia, Korea and China next in May.

Topics: Creativity, Design, APAC