Saturday, January 24, 2009

Logo Design: Eden Park

"Enjoy stress-free, maintenance-free living in a beautiful active adult community in West Nyack, New York… With its incredibly convenient location, Eden Park is the perfect place for the active adult to call home. Why wait?" I was tapped to create logo concepts for Eden Park Homes, LLC by the same people I worked with in the Fairfax Park logo project. The client provided a preliminary brochure with information regarding the community, and from the get-go, they wanted something like a tree (ala Garden of Eden), a park, a green scene to represent them. Here are sample images from the brochure they provided:

The information they provided were more than enough, and it seemed natural to go for the tree concept. The challenge here was to create a tree image that would stand out from thousands of logos of similar communities featuring trees in their designs. The tree should also be able to evoke the almost magical and sacred dignity associated with that tree of Eden. I drew these preliminary designs and somehow, I stayed away from the use of realistic silhouettes of real trees (I actually reviewed the common trees present in the West Nyack vicinity) and endowed my tree concepts with a more flowing element. Here are the designs:

I was secretly wishing that the client would choose the topmost versions, because somehow I was quite excited with the color possibilities for this design. However, the client chose the lowermost version. This was still an exciting design to do follow-up work on, because the challenge in this design is how to create the ethereal flow in the branches of this tree. For the text, I used a pretty common font (Copperplate Gothic) which I admit is already an overused and dated font, but I felt when used properly in tandem with the graphic can still work pretty well. I provided 2 versions of this concept. One with just the branches and the other populated with leaves. Here's the vector work:

Color options were limited, and using the colors of the brochure, which I assumed were the colors they liked, and besides, it works well with the logo, I worked on the logo. Dark green background brings out the golden yellows of the main logo. Here's the final design:

The client was satisfied with the final design, and this was one of the few projects I worked on which required little or no revisions at all. I don't know, but the tree in the design and all this Eden paradise idea, makes me sing "This Nearly Was Mine…"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

When One Is Down…


I have this corner with dolls and puppets staring at me as I work on my table... Here they are reminding me of a prayer:

Prayer When One is Down

I know, Lord, that you believe in me

Dear Lord,
There are decisions
that must be made
and obligations
that must be fulfilled.
There are deadlines to be met
and duties to be performed.
But I know, Lord,
that you will lead me
to the right path.

I do have bad days
and I make stupid mistakes;
I know I sometimes fail
to live up to people's expectations.
But, Lord, despite my shortcomings
I know you have not given up on me.

I am not as beautiful
as I want to be;
I am not as young
as I used to be;
I am not as talented
as I wish to be;
I am not as strong
as I strive to be.

But Lord, you make me feel
I am someone great
because you choose me
to be your servant.

I know I am special
and important in your eyes:
you gave up your life
to save me
and set me free. Amen.

by Msgr. Ruperto C. Santos, STL

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

ForgetfulRainn and Angel Dogs…

I got interviewed by one of my friends from deviantArt, Nicolas (ForgetfulRainn), one of the most faithful and supportive readers of my Moleskine Art which I regularly post in my Flickr and deviantArt accounts. He classifies my art as representative of Remodernism, "a term promulgated in an attempt to introduce a period of new spirituality into art, culture and society." In fact, I'm currently working with him on concept illustrations for a novel. He gave me questions that are quite interesting, such as when I started drawing, my artistic influences, my relationship with God among others… So head over his blogsite to read it (click on the link below):

My Interview at ForgetfulRainn's Chapters

On other note, I'll just show you a very early preview of one of my upcoming personal projects. I doodled this while waiting at Starbucks, contemplating on what goes on in the minds of lost toy dogs…

Hehe, what is this pug thinking about?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Creative Retrospective on the Year 2008…

The Year 2008 was quite a special and exciting year for me. Not only did it mark a new venture for me professionally (from assistant professor to clinical director), but it also featured some achievements in my creative department. Most of my time of course was invested in clinical and administrative tasks in Quality Life Discoveries (which more or less had a successful first year since its soft launch), but I make sure that I devote time for my art. Most of my personal free time out of the clinic is spent in the "drawing board". If there was something really fantastic I could really wish for, I'd really wish I had the power to freeze time (or bend space-time continuum ala Hiro Nakamura), or be able to clone myself, and command each of my clones to do whatever I want them to… But we have to face reality: with the limited time that we have, we can only do so much…

Here are only some of the logos I produced last year. Quite a colorful bunch and full of variety, most of which I'm really proud of.

Sadly, I only produced 3 major ambigrams last year. I had to turn down or ignore a lot of commission requests due to lack of time. Although I was able to find solutions for some requests, producing them into final products will simply take too much time and energy. Hopefully, I will go back to these requests and make things work out. I'll make more ambigrams this coming year!

Most of my layout design work was done for Quality Life Discoveries, but I accepted some requests from other companies.

My Moleskine Art was able to gather some followers through my deviantART and Flickr accounts demanding I produce more regular entries. For year 2008, I was only able to post 13 entries (compared to more than 50 in 2007), so that's only almost one entry per month! I'm just past the halfway point, but hopefully I'll finish the whole notebook by the next year filling it up with a variety of conceptual sketches, introspection and dream logs.

I also worked on a 12-page comic entitled "Raisinhead: A Tale of a Modern-Day Tiyanak," a fantasy story about a baby's survival of an attempted abortion and his quest for his mother and purpose in life. It is quite introspective. I think I infused a lot of my own personality and insights on Raisin, the main character of the story. This was the first time I worked on a comic this long and I've worked on comic strips before (the short lived Goodness Bites, which managed to find its way in some Christian web portals) but I never thought it could be this difficult, especially if you want to fit your story within the panels of the 12-page. Sometimes, I feel the story could work as a serial, but it's something to think about. I also found this new found respect for local comic writers and artists, and found myself stuffing my library with works of Arnold Arre (The Mythology Class, Ang Mundo ni Andong Agimat and Martial Law Babies), Gerry Alanguilan (Elmer) and others, which I could proudly say is at par with international standards. Note… I'm just trying my wings in this media and it's quite far-fetched to rightly call myself a comic artist already. Anyway, let's see. The year 2009 will mark the development of comic-related projects.

The artwork for Spinning, an upcoming book dedicated to kids with autism and their families is already completed. Quite excited how it will look in the final lay-out. Hopefully, it will be published within February.

In music, I only found myself composing a very short psalm piece for the Mass celebrating the 1st Anniversary of the Community Health Development Program of the University of the Philippines Manila in San Juan, Batangas. There's already a wonderful "Ito Ang Araw" piece by Arnel Aquino, SJ but it was insisted that a new one be made. I got to sing it too. I'm really proud of the parish choir of San Juan because they were able to learn and sing the piece almost extemporaneously.

Of course, this only recounts achievements in my creative endeavors. The past year featured some of my most joyous moments but also the most heartbreaking – a subtle mix of successes and failures, advances and retreats, satisfaction and regrets. I just hope that the year 2009 be a more productive one both professionally and creatively, without frustrating and burning myself up. I may be scatter-brained and it always seems I need to do everything... should I slow down, when I feel I'm not moving fast enough? I realize I am my own worst slave-driver and critic, but I promise to respect my own limitations, stop beating myself and choose to be happier. I pray that all the projects brewing in my mind find themselves into fruition, and some of them materialize reasonably within the new year. I sincerely wish everyone success in all their own endeavors, and may 2009 be a good year for all! Happy New Year!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Rose Among Weeds…

I just thought of writing here this wonderful message that was sent to me, in the hope that someone else may be inspired by it…


"I noticed a beautiful flower standing in the midst of all the weeds. It was so colorful, so vivid and amazingly it had blossomed right there in the midst of those drab, dreary weeds. I thought that is exactly what God wants us to do: to bloom wherever we're planted. You may live or work around a bunch of weeds, but don't let that stop you from blooming. Realize that your environment does not prevent you from being happy. If you'll make the decision to stay faithful and be content, at the right time, God will change those circumstances. He'll get you out of those old weeds and put you in a better place. You may never know the answer. But don't use that as an excuse to wallow in self-pity. Leave it alone, get you, and move on with your life. Many of the "why" questions of life will remain a conundrum. But trust in God, and accept the fact that there will be some unanswered questions. Keep in mind, just because you don't know the answer doesn't mean that one does not exist. You simply haven't discovered it yet."

There’s a duwende in my house…

Do you believe in duwendes? Have you ever seen one?

Lately, I had a recent brush with the paranormal when I invited a friend to visit my home and have a look at our cats. I was surprised to know that she had a "third-eye", meaning she has the ability to see the metaphysical which is otherwise mythological for some. Well, I've always had an obsessive fascination with the mythic, the mystic, the legendary and the folkloric, having had my own set of experiences: from personal to gathered anecdotes, from demonic possessions to exorcisms, from sightings to spirit quests; so it wouldn't come as a surprise when people would start claiming they see duwendes in our house.

My folks told me that when I was a kid, I used to play in the yard on my own, run in the open fields. One time when I was stricken with an unexplainable fever, an albularyo was promptly called and I was diagnosed "tawas" style to have been in association with the duwendes in our yard. I've always wondered whether duwendes was used as an etiological explanation by our forebears for children who apparently had autism or "a world of their own." Oftentimes, when my mom would drop objects on the kitchen floor, try to look for it and not find it anywhere, my Lola Isang would exclaim "Hay, tinago na 'yan ng mga duwende… (The duwendes already took and hid it…)!"

Interestingly, quite recently, my friend saw one of the duwendes living in our house and she described it in such detail, I was simply in awe. She mentioned that although she only saw one of the duwendes, there were many of them – a whole community, a kingdom for that matter! They were of the maharlika type, donning gold and white garments, of the medieval fashion. Interesting, I remember the old folks here in Cainta, Rizal mention that in the fields were our house was built (our house was one of the first in Ortigas Avenue Extension, which was an expanse of open fields then 30 years ago), there would be sightings of regiments of duwendes armed with pointy spears and swords even riding on horses which were interestingly in proportion to their minute size. And they were indeed small, only around 4 to 6 inches tall. I've heard that having such duwendes in the house would bring great luck and blessings to those living in the household. She says I have this special affiliation with this duwende who looked really fat ("bursting from his clothes") but regal. He has a name, but I won't tell here. He enjoys the same food as I do, and really enjoys it when I bring home delicious delicacies. Amusingly, she mentioned that when I find myself having a hard time putting down my midnight snacks, it is actually the duwendes tugging at me to eat more so they could have a feast (but I thought to myself, matakaw lang talaga ako, hehe). All this was verified when a respectable priest visited our house to confirm these sightings.

It is interesting to note, that the duwende has its counterparts in other cultures: it has the equivalent in the western gnomes, elves and sprites. I suspect that the anito of our ancient ancestors may have somehow been acknowledged as the duwende when the Spanish arrived on our shores. It still found its way into the popular mindset of Filipinos (Folk Catholicism), even among progressive modern urban dwellers. Though, I find the thought of having duwendes at home to be very intriguing, I can't help but take it with a grain of salt. At the back of my head, something tells me that all this may just be a meticulous product of an overactive imagination, but I still admit that there are some things that just cannot be explained and you simply have to believe with faith. I'm sure every one of us has our own set of stories of unseen housemates and there's this dreaded but at the same time uplifting sense of awe and wonder in it, that just prompts us to believe in their existence. But really, how I wish I could see them again the same way I did when I was a kid. But as my friend says, one can only see them with a pure heart. Oh well… nothing wrong in still hoping.