Tag Archive | danadonajr

fate and destiny or destiny and fate

#suliktad #ambigram #danadonajr #imagefoundry

tadhana suliktad danadonajr2016 ambigram

 

tadhana suliktad danadonajr2016 ambigram

kapalaran suliktad danadonajr2016 ambigram

It’s nearly Halloween! And so, this month’s brew is laced thick with Filipino-style mysticism.

Twice a year, in my largely superstitious country of origin, these topics resurface like clockwork – around Lent (especially Holy Friday) and All Saints/All Souls Day. So in keeping with tradition I have conjured these two suliktads (ambigrams)… Tadhana and Kapalaran. Both words are interchangeable translations for Destiny and Fate. Kapalaran tends to be more positive of the two and could be a surrogate for Luck but we use the Spanish lent “Suwerte” more often in the vernacular.

As I am so fascinated with Filipino Mythology, folklore and brand of occult, that I have once again chosen to go that route… although leaning a bit towards our Spanish influenced aesthetics. The first image (Tadhana) was actually intentionally posted upside-down with a clearer general image coming to fro once turned right side up. It incorporates the ancient Tagalog script Baybayin in place of western runes as casted spell. The third image draws inspiration from a scene from the third act of the Constantine movie.

In both cases the suliktads were drawn based on Blackletters. Other letterforms were explored, and while I was consciously hoping for a good serif type turn out for the Kapalaran chain, I saw that going Blackletter would serve these designs better.

I would have produced more skin art related images but other obligations that require greater attention had me setting them aside… til next time maybe.

in the beginning…

UPDATE! (11 July 2019)
The website http://ambigr.am hosted one of its ongoing monthly ambigram competition – this one themed “beginnings”, and the Graces smiled upon my entry: BIG BANG, this very ambigram featured here! Well, thanks to everyone involved for the honor. Do look the site up for some wonderful ambigrams created by some very talented designers. Cheers!

bigbang ambigram danadonajr2016

With a mental picture of the word “BANG” in ambigram, I initially thought there was no reason to see it through especially without an exclamation mark to cap it. But the character type style I had in mind was a break away from the usual Blackletter type or the mixed Formal/Serif type I do, that I had to see if it’s actually doable. It’s almost a cross between Geometric type Sanserif and a Slab Serif, a very rare ambigram style, at least in my folio.

Anyway, with an almost finished form of the word done in CorelDraw, It just presented itself to me. Like having two particles colliding then creating all sorts of sparks and light inside my head. BIG BANG. The “B” and the “G” was already there and all I needed was a natural ambigram character… the “I”. But I thought it would even be better if I set the type in a heavier weight – very apt for the word I was going for… and have the word “Bang” lay over it (and I’m all about layers!)

I had no intention of providing a crossbar for the “A”, which I thought in this case would make the “N” less recognizable, but as it stands the form could also be read as “N-V, I-W or M-I”, so I know I had to do something other than the usual “safe trick” of a small glyph between the legs (that usually works with Blackletters and Serifs) as on the onset I knew it would not go well with the type style I had set the ambigram in.

Taking full in, what now had become a new concept, I cheated. I went to my unpublished work (for Ambiverse2) and reinterpreted the atom illustration that I used for a similar purpose. And I think it fits well here. Serving both as the “A” crossbar and an appropriate illustrative element (no pun intended).

Add a couple more instances of “BIG” in different sizes to simulate or suggest radial motion and a starburst behind… voila! The beginning of a new universe.

This piece debuted a couple of months back on the wall of the Fellow Ambigrammist Facebook page.

Trivia

While Edwin Hubble was first to observe the expanding universe, it was actually Georges Lemaitre who proposed the hypothesis we now call The Big Bang Theory (not the sitcom) built upon Albert Einstein’s General Relativity. He was an astronomer, mathematician, physics professor… and an ordained priest, Jesuit, I think.

It was said that Einstein brushed this theory off initially because it did not conform to his (Einstein’s) static universe belief, but almost immediately after Hubble’s discovery was published, Einstein openly endorsed Lemaitre’s hypothesis. Einstein then denounced his own “cosmological constant” modifications on his equations allegedly referring to it as his “greatest blunder”… which, as it now turns out, astronomers believe could possibly explain the theoretical Dark Energy… but that’s another story.

Got that from watching a whole lot of Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson etal Youtube videos and BBC docus.

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#danadonajr #ambigram #imagefoundry

st. elmo’s fire!

st elmo's fire circular chain ambigram by danadonajr 2016Take me where my future’s lyin’…

I’m just going to come out and say that although it was not the song – nor the movie – that inspired me to create this ambigram, it, however, kept on playing non-stop in my mind all the while I was in the process. And I will bet John Parr’s voice is taking up space inside your head and between your ears right now as you read these first few lines.

I don’t blame you.

sketch by danadonajr 2016
From a monotype sketch comes this fully digital vector. And while I was adamant on anchoring the chain on the “S” I was pleasantly surprised at how the dot on the “St.” abbreviation flipped over to be an apostrophe. As a whole my only concern with this is if the overturned “t” will be too much of an eyesore as it basically has nothing to do there but hang. But really looking at it (especially the full chain version) I thought it did not stick out too much like a sore thumb as I really had to look for that over turned glyph. And I thought to myself that if I even had to look for it, then it probably would not take much away from the whole picture.
st elmo's fire chain strip ambigram by danadonajr 2016st elmo's fire circular chain ambigram reversed by danadonajr 2016

I don’t really have much of an essay to write here as this is one of those spur of the moment ideas… I suddenly thought of it (a couple of months back) and somehow managed to finalize the artwork in about two days. Unlike my other ambigrams that I could go on with stories of wracking my brain to find a solution and finding little time to vectorize it- I am happy with this one, this was essentially an easy one for me.

Unfortunately though I could not think of a less obvious title for this post.

I can see the new horizon underneath the blazin’ sky
I’ll be where the eagle’s flying higher and higher...

komiks 2: ang panday

ang panday ambigram by danadonajr 2016

Panday is arguably the most popular Filipino male comic book hero, and second most iconic, next to Darna. (Ang) Panday ( (The) Blacksmith in English) was created in the late 70’s and fleshed out in to the big screen in the early 80s by Philippine Cinema’s Action King, Fernando Poe Jr., which most likely gave the character just the right amount “creds” for it to be catapulted and cemented to its place in Philippine pop culture.

Although the original cinematic version of Panday, presented ala fantasy adventure period flick, slightly differ from the source material which has a more contemporary flavor to it, all the basic premise are pretty much the same, wherein the blacksmith Flavio forges a dagger from a meteorite and uses it to vanquish evil despot Lizardo and his horde of Orc-like creatures, engkantos and plain clothes henchmen.

The final ambigram above is the third version in a series of sketches and redraws with play on either just Panday and Ang Panday. I went with Ang Panday as Flavio is most often referred to with his title within or outside the story. The other two versions are below.

panday ambigram by danadonajr 2016

ang panday ambigram ver01 by danadonajr 2016

Initial sketches go as far back as 4-5 years ago.

I decided to present the final art the same way I did the Darna ambigram in hopes of being able to continue on and create a series of homage pieces on Filipino comics characters, similar to what I intended with the DC Ambiverse series.

r+l=j …or meanwhile in Westeros

While I like the television series very much, I do not consider myself that big of a Game of Thrones fan or A Song of Fire and Ice for that matter, having yet to read any of the books, but I know enough to get me through the mythologies and politics per season – I think. Up until season 3, I mixed up who’s who, mistakenly renamed and mispronounced a lot of the places and characters in the show – except probably the main ones and Hodor, I always get Hodor right.

Going through Youtube season 6 trailer reactions a couple of weeks back, I began scribbling what I thought to be an easy flip – Lannister. From a simple monotype sketch, I began constructing from previously created Blackletter characters on my PC the first iteration of the ambigram, which was finished just as soon as started with it.

After that, came Stark, which was also easy. I would have left it at that if – I thought – Baratheon turns out to be a hard flip using the same glyphs. But it wasn’t that bad… so I pushed on.

Main concerns that I had to think around with were making enough distinction between capital and lowercase T and the varying nuances of the Ls and the Rs with respect to their correlating flips. As much as possible I don’t like mixing up caps and lows but with Baratheon I had to let it slide, because using a lowercase r will force me to use a lowercase T with the crossbar at the center or a lower case T glyph with crossbars at both end, which to me did not look good either way.

ambigrams by danadonajr

At the last minute I changed up the e/a flip of Lannister as well as the a/r combo of Stark to retain a streamlined face where all the characters look fairly the same throughout the set of ambigrams. All in all I thought the hardest one to pull off was the u/ll flip of Tully, but I thought I made enough compromise to make it work within the “constraints” I set in place.

And with that I present my Game of Thrones ambigram set.

arryn ambigram by danadonajr 2016
baratheon ambigram by danadonajr 2016
lannister ambigram by danadonajr 2016

martell ambigram by danadonajr 2016
stark ambigram by danadonajr 2016
targaryen ambigram by danadonajr 2016
tully ambigram by danadonajr 2016
tyrell ambigram by danadonajr 2016

And lastly… you may find it interesting that the last piece created (and I had thought of making) was this Game of Thrones ambigram, below, seemingly counter intuitive since it’s the show’s title and would make a great capper. With most of the characters and glyphs done it was a fairly quick edit. The main puzzle to be solved were center characters but largely what to do with the capital T. Incorporating the fleur de lis was a clever (or at least I thought it was clever) solution which wouldn’t be too much out of place since it’s found in the other pieces that kind of ties it all nicely together.

game of thrones by danadonajr 2016

oratio paganus

According to Philippine urban legends, it is around Semana Santa (holy week) when the power of talismans (or agimat or anting-anting) manifests itself fully. Especially on Good Friday.

When I was young, I hear of tales told of men and women largely from the Southern Tagalog provinces, testing (or showing off) their talismans, which by the way is pronounced talis-man as opposed to the western tal-is-man, in what could be described as a grand fiesta or parade.agimat-talisman danadonajrAfter an oracion – a prayer spoken in “Latin” – was made, usually around 3pm, to a revered piece of rustic coin-sized smelted metal engraved or cast with either pagan symbol or Catholic imagery, that is either folded inside a similarly venerated cloth or worn around the neck tied to a crude leather twine as a jewelry, the test begin. Since my Latin is limited to those I learned in Biology, I cannot attest to the veracity of any Latin prayer in the stories, ‘tho I think that it’s mostly broken Castellano. Sporting a big grin, participants would hack themselves with a recently sharpened bolo (or any similarly fashioned exhibition) showing the bewildered spectators that indeed the power of prayer and faith in their talisman of choice prevent any harmful affliction.

Supposedly there are number of different specialized agimat. The one I described above is a typical one that block any harmful physical effect. There is also a tagabulag (bulag = blind, blindness) which renders the wearer invisible, and there are those that prevent sickness or poisoning. There are those that are supposed to enhance one’s virility and endowment, and there are those that increase chances of instant financial gratification, yes, a charm for gambling.

This pagan exercise has become intertwined with our Catholic faith, wherein a number of proliferating agimat now bear Christian iconography and mostly all of the deities prayed upon were replaced with names of Catholic cast of characters, however, our version is tied to our South-East Asian (Malay) roots. While the west have just as much rich narrative in their versions of the talisman, I think that the innate nature of Filipinos being a superstitious society made the amalgamation of multiple influences seamless. We are very much welcoming of other nations superstition and brew them in with ours.

Our pop culture is littered with references to heroes owing their powers to such items. A usual story would be of young men seeking hermits and after proving their worth were presented with a highly sought after talisman. While most agimat now can be commercially bought along the side streets of old churches, it used to be that amulets and charms were handed down by elders in their death beds- these are supposed to be the more powerful ones. Although, I remember that talismans provided by nature are even more powerful. Most popular is the Mutya ng Puso ng Saging, where one would need to religiously wait at midnight for it to drip from the tip of the banana blossom and catch it with their tongue. The actual power gained from this ritual seems vague as most story present the hero with whatever the storyteller come up with or as maybe required, ie, plot convenience. But the Mutya has got to be the most romanticized story of the agimat ever.

Personally, my draw to the agaimat is a result of me being a writer/dreamer/artist/creator and I celebrate its place and hold in my culture. But to its efficacy?… nah, maybe when I was 10. Although Manila is a very techie world now, to a certain degree a lot of Filipinos still swear by the agimat, which again I attribute to our superstitious nature. And admit it or not a lot of our historical (and present political) figures and leaders as well believe in the agimat.

talisman danadonajr

talisman only carve3danadonajrdanadonajrThe talisman and agimat suliktad were created a few years apart. While I have sketched agimat sometime 2008-9, it was only finished early 2015 to what it currently appear after a series of re-designs. Talisman was sketched early 2016 and was finished to the current style just recently, after a series of re-designs as well, which was an afterthought to make it similar to the style of agimat after realizing that I should put these two together since they are basically the same thing.

Although in creating talisman, I have the option of designing it to a fairly doable rotational ambigram, I opted to create a chain instead as I wanted to preserve the “s” flip more than anything and I really intended for it to form a ring around a symbol, which in the final design turned out to be the word agimat.

The coin and the oracion page were recent edits. However, the coin was a poor scan of the 70’s Jose Rizal peso coin that I had made around the same time in 2008-9. The distressed oracion paper is the same one I have used as background material for other ambigrams you might find in this blog. Finally, the generic pagan prayer in the oracion is a quick English to Google Latin translation, which I found out, oddly translates back to English quite differently.

shootin’ at the walls of heartache…

This ambigram was first posted last year at the wall of the Fellow Ambigrammist Facebook page.

danadonajr

Made to emulate rough paint strokes or war-paint, I created this by first making a series of freehand strokes for each character and possible ligatures or extensions with a ballpoint. Original concept was for it to be done with actual red paint, but being without access to the medium at that time, I went for the blue ballpen. I would have preferred red but that’s what I had handy then, which wouldn’t have mattered anyway since I decided to vectorize the sketch so I could do more tweaks digitally.

Somewhere in the comment section of that FB post, an observation of the “s” made me reassess the ambigram. I thought taking it out  – though would make it singular – would be a nice amendment in making the “w” more legible. So a “new” ambigram came out of that based on the first version (I, however, did not post the altered version below).

danadonajr

With that done, I tried again to create a new take with a more fluid plural ambigram version. So I once again took out a ballpoint (a black one, this time – for no special reason) and began scribbling away.

danadonajr

While the original iterations were more paint-ish, the last one (to me) seemed more savage. Probably when I get back home I’d dust off my paint set and scrap canvasses and try this one out with it. It’d be interesting how it would translate to a traditional medium.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Props to anyone who got the title reference… you’ve got to be around my age to get that and be afflicted with LSS or nostalgia by now.

love potion

ambigram by danadonajr

This suliktad (ambigram) took me  years to make.

It’s one of the first words I tried out back when I started doing ambigrams. I think I may have saved the old sketches back home but I remember setting aside the idea since I did not like what I had done then. (I found one of the initial design exploration! See below.) I tried using different “font” style that would fit in with the essence of the word, but nothing seems to fit.danadonajrI’d come back to the word now and then but I’d set it aside in favor of other more cooperative words.

And while NOW it seem that I had arrived at a “no-brainer” solution, I only was able to visualize it in my mind and put it on paper a few months ago. Makes me feel stupid trying to flip the “U” for over four years. And also probably because I stubbornly wanted to retain the em-width of the “M”. The trick I found was to keep the initial stroke of the “U” detached from the next stem and add a tail that when once inverted- would form the “Y” with its ascender just casually resting over the initial stroke of “U”. GENIUS! I think… The vector process took a while to be done as well because… you know… procrastination. Hehe…

danadonajr

The final vector was a result of multiple revisions and form exploration.

magayumainitial

While I felt the letterform in the sketch was great, the initial vector output was not really working for me so I made changes that I felt was warranted. I replaced the small individual crossbars of all the “A’s” with a longer ribbon as crossbar to sweep across two characters, and instead of having the initial stroke of the “U” tilted, I just italicized the whole word. The “G/A” flip looked forced and droopy so some node edits were done.

And here’s the result.danadonajr

GAYUMA.

Gayuma is as you may have guessed, love potion in Filipino. Similar to most western pop culture references it it supposed to be ingested (unwittingly) to rouse up some sort of blind affection(?) to someone’s object of infatuation. Come to think of it, in today’s setting such a thing would definitely be considered illegal.

Anyway, I already have something ready for my next post, so just stay tuned, if you will. Happy Valentines!

not from around here

Welcome my first post of the year!ambigram by danadonajr

This ambigram is supposed to be sent in as a competition piece for this contest in ambigr.am, a new ambigram dedicated website. “Supposed to be sent in” because I totally forgot to. Hehe.

Anyway, I created this piece around the same time I created the other “villains” pieces in 2013, that I then submitted to a competition in ambigramsrevealed.com. So yeah, this is an old one. I submitted four in total wherein I had to choose between sending in “SITH” or this one. I decided to send in “SITH” as my fourth entry and this was left in the “to be revisited” pile. I thought it didn’t look vile enough.

(The other entry to that Villains Challenge was posted late last year with the title “chapter 52, page 624”, if you’re interested. Also I might post the other two entries some other time.)

While excited to see the outcome of this new hosted competition, I initially had to regretfully tell Kai Hammond, of ambigr.am, that I might not be able to join in the fun. Work stuff. But then, going over some of my files for leftover glyphs and symbols for an unrelated project – I saw the ambigram file again and it fit the theme of the new competition. I took it out of “the pile” and dusted it off and as I said above, totally forgot to send it in before deadline.

So I thought I should just post the piece here instead. It’s called ALIENS. just in case it’s not as legible as I thought it to be . 😉 And here’s a radially zoomed in version.

ambigram by danadonajr

The original sketch design, I remember (I wanted to post it here but I cannot find it anywhere), form these glyphs like long alien fingers with suction cup-like ends, at least that’s what I was going for. But thought it looked more like a blob of nasal excretion so I tried out other letter forms in CorelDraw from scratch.

And before finally deciding to put 12 different crop circle-ish glyphs around the finished ambigram, I had initially thought to layer in various alien-ish characters on top or below it but scrapped it because I felt it might be too distracting.

And there you have it, my first 2016 ambigram post. Be sure to check back in a couple of days as I’ll be posting a newly finished piece in time for Valentines. Well I did not create it for Valentines exactly but thematically (is that a word?) it fits!

Thanks for stopping by!