Tag Archive | tattoo ambigrams

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.


This ambigram has been collecting digital dust on my hard drive, for quite some time now. Ever since I was able to create ambigrams, I have been trying to crack this word. And boy!.. it was not easy. The initial attempts on this word were poor rotationals. How on Earth can I flip a “T” into an “O” and be convincing enough to look similar to the next “O” which should be an “A” when flipped? Add the challenge of finding an appropriate font style for the final design.

During one of my sketching sessions I realized that the only (probable) way  of turning the word into an ambigram is by doing a chain. Trouble is: I have not done any of that sort yet, so I don’t really have a set technique to get through with the process. But I’m not one to give up on a puzzle ( it might take me long to figure it out but I’ll keep at it).

tattoosketch  tattoosketch2  tattoosketch3

The key to the chain, I found out is the “A-T” flip, as the rest of the glyph fall snugly in place (thank God!). It took a while to find a good style as well, but I think I managed to do that. Now, making it oscillate is another challenge. I used to edit each glyph until it forms an arc that I can duplicate over and over. But I was able to pick up on a trick (thanks, Carl Mehling) by a fellow ambigrammist. It’s something I should have thought of because I’ve been using that Photoshop technique as well, only on images, never realized it’d be perfect for ambigram work. Two words: Polar Coordinates. (Wink, wink.) So I laid out the glyphs as I would on a regular rotational ambigram and made a continuous chain of about six sets.

tattoo oscillate2tattoo oscillate1

The final stage (which took the longest) was creating a suitable design for the word. It seemed easy finding just about any tattoo clad guy with my personal connections but I just was not happy with what they had on their skins. So I guess either I tattoo the design on me or do an image manipulation. Decisions, decisions.

I think you guessed as much that, that guy up there is not me.

I’m not afraid of needles, but I just can’t find a good enough reason for me to do skin art. Even with my ambigrams.

I hope you like this week’s design feature as much as I enjoyed doing it. Every day it took to finally come out with it was well worth it for me. After all this was my first attempt at an oscillating chain, and because of this I was able to come up with a couple more, which will be featured here really soon. By the way, the image I used for the illustration was downloaded from istockphoto.com using credits I got from an online contest I joined. (Will be featuring that soon as well!)

Thank you and please drop back in next time!