Monday, November 29, 2010

Where Ideas Come From


One of my latest moleskine entries which is partly related to the previous "Muse" spread:

Sometimes I ponder on the question, "Where do ideas com from?" In a contemporary world we live in, where ideas has become a valuable commodity even before they are materialized, it seems it could spring forth from almost anywhere... people are social and minds process incessantly everything that is fed into it voluntarily or not, and it produces a notion whether we could ever or has ever produced an original idea. Or rather, ideas are never original but a filtered or processed result of an internal mindstorm... even stimulated by external influences... Science proposes that an idea is born with a resulting new connection within the already complicated network of our mind.... a formation of a new connectome slightly different from a thought earlier. Imagine, we incessantly think, thus, we are constantly shifting!

I have to say that while I was working on this, I saw the following TED talks in YouTube, which directly inspired the drawing and the texts. The first one is a very interesting lecture by Steven Johnson about how ideas, rather than born from instant "Eureka" moments are actually brewed inside our heads quite differently.

The second talk is by Sebastian Seung as he discusses his work which involves mapping the connections in our brain, and how our "connectome" as he calls it, could open up a new way of understanding how our brains work.

Now let's all say... "I am more than my genes! I am my connectome!" Interesting!

Thursday, November 25, 2010



People draw inspiration from many sources, many of these seem distantly unrelated to the final instance of creation. Some personify these sources of creativity in the form of muses, originally mentioned in ancient Greek writings. Personally, I'd like to imagine my "muses" into 3 personas - which may or may not be linked to the Greek versions. I describe one of my muse as feisty, child-like... almost mischievous and a little unpredictable and wild... ideas are born out of storm - a mindstorm. Another one is motherly and nurturing because an idea has to be fed and taken care of until its complete fruition. And finally, the muse is honest and natural, baring and transparent... nothing contrived and truly reflective of the soul. But what's funny, it seems my muses speak more when I'm down recalling Stevie Smith's "Why does my Muse only speak when whe is unhappy? She does not, I only listen when I am unhappy." Which leads mo to think, how many of these pages were made during times when I'm happy or during times when I'm down?

It took a long time before I made another page in my Moleskine again. And what better topic than to talk about my muse/muses. It take a certain level of motivation to work on art, but once I get inspired the process is easy. And in one way or another, I lost my muse, thus the hiatus.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ang INK Corner: Dreaming of Heaven

Last November 20, 2010, one of my artworks was published at Manila Bulletin's Ang INK Corner. As I have mentioned before, Manila Bulletin features in their Student & Campus/Youth Section artworks from Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan, or Ang INK as we are fondly called. This is my second time to be published there, my first one being published almost a year ago, featuring my art coupled with my sister's poem about recess. Unfortunately, due to my extreme "busy-ness" juggling time between work and my numerous passions, I haven't been able to attend Ang INK's regular meetings. I definitely regretted not being able to participate in the annual exhibit since I was not able to finish the painting I was already working on. Anyway, when Blooey asked me if I could work on that weekend's feature, I just had to say yes. It was an added bonus that there was no theme for that week, I could choose any artwork I have, as long as it's for general patronage. In my mind, I thought I don't have to create from scratch since I have tons of materials from my Moleskine collection. I already had a particular drawing that I thought would be a great feature:


It's one of the favorite drawings from my sketchbook, and it's not surprising. It's cute and witty, unlike most of the other drawings in that collection. I was already preparing the layout for the newspaper, when I realized, while looking at it, that I wouldn't allow it published. First of all, it's from a notebook and it had this ugly line in the middle. The lines are not that refined. And the overall layout would not look natural. I finally said to myself, I have to rework the whole drawing from scratch!


It took me a whole night to work on this. If you notice, it was indeed a huge improvement from the original drawing. The lines and cross-hatching are finer, the features of the characters are more defined, plus the layout is more natural, as if it was drawn particularly with the final layout in mind. Just exactly how we children's book illustrators should do it!

I just love the description about me: "Rev is usually a good guy, but sometimes he imagines himself to be uhmm naughtier?" I meant it as a joke, but I was surprised that one of my patients in the clinic remarked: "That's very you!" Uhmm, I wonder what she meant by that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Logo Design: MMA Headquarters (MMA HQ)

It's interesting when my clients ask me about my other interests, because it opens a whole lot of creative avenues. Most probably, after seeing my online photos about my passion for BodyCombat®, which is a Martial-arts inspired workout designed by Les Mills International, and being an instructor myself, a regular client of mine asked me if I was into "martial arts, karate, MMA (mixed martial arts) ?" I never received any formal training in any martial arts, but in BodyCombat® you get exposed to various disciplines despite being a non-contact activity, mixing everything into one dynamic cardio workout. I said "in a way, yes…" and this inadvertently plunged me into another creative project: I have to create a logo for an MMA website.

The brief was pretty straightforward. MMA Headquarters (or MMAHQ) is a website that obviously caters to MMA enthusiasts with a demographic of 15-35 years old individuals. They intend to sell MMA-related products and feature a blog discussing product deals and events. They were open to several ideas: "fighting related elements, icons, silhouettes, other metaphors." The logo needed to have an icon or a scalable element that can be used independently of the words but still maintain the brand Identity. In their words: "what the Nike Swoosh accomplishes on its own." (a request, almost every client I had always remarked ;-P) Having been involved in MMA inspired artwork, I somehow have an idea of what they wanted. A quick Google search of MMA-inspired logos will show you what I mean.

I focused on creating an icon, this time working on a clever graphical way of combining "H" and "Q" since it is these two letters that set MMAHQ apart from other competing websites. Drawing inspiration from a logo I made for my old BodyCombat® team, I made the following sketches:

The client provided a very informative feedback:

Maybe like a clean grunge, if that's not a total contradiction. Like discipline amidst the grunge, if that makes sense. Like more jagged edges than sloppy, messy ones. I'd almost want to say there's a bit of military influence; I've seen so many board shorts and t-shirts that have camo or camo-like patterns. There's also a bit of a hip hop element; not too much but a bit of graf influence I think… but if you look at the fonts they use they are always super durable... Like you put all the fonts together and let them fight it out and the really strong one emerged victorious. Tempered by steel/tested by fire. It's still sort of Gladiator-esque in a way, but still trying to gain legitimacy as a new sport, so that's why I'd say it's not quite as grungey...grunge being sorta not caring about anything, MMA being more hyperfocused on a goal and defying human odds to get there

The client was very excited with these previews and almost immediately, we decided to develop the ideas to their vectorized format:

With almost little editing, the logos were finalized as what you will see in their website. On a side note, not entirely unrelated to this post, and with the fact that my birthday is nearing, I would just like to say that if anyone gift me with this or this, I would love you forever…