"Silence is Golden, but Duct Tape is Shiny!"Unknown
I was originally quite enthusiastic about participating in the college T-shirt designing competition again this year when it was first announced sometime last month. Somehow along the way, my enthusiasm got tired, sat down under a shady tree by the roadside and died in its sleep. I like having good ideas and I like to see them being realised. It's the work part in between the idea and the realisation that don't quite agree with me. In a perfect world, I'd have a doppelgänger who looks like me, thinks like me and perform whatever work I want done perfectly to my specifications and satisfaction. But hey, this world stinks - so I don't. And I had to design my own damn T-shirt.
Even though there was a month's worth of time for me to do the grunt works, I only started doing any actual designing about a couple of days before the deadline. That's just me; I simply can't do anything before the Last Minutes come banging on my door with pitchforks, torches, and a burning straw effigy of me. If you look up "procrastination" in a dictionary, you won't find a picture of me there. Dictionaries don't have pictures, moron. You'll find the definition of procrastination there, which is practically my life philosophy, my highest principle and my One True Faith. The only reason it didn't get around as much as Christianity, Buddhism and Nazism did was because we kept putting off spreading the good word about it.
On the night before the deadline, I messaged Inn Shan, his royal highness Prez of the Student Council, to tell him that I wasn't going to submit my entry - mainly because I didn't have an entry to submit. I only had a rough draft of the design of the shirt's front and... yeah, that's all I got. Rough draft. Front of shirt. I gave up bothering at about 10:00 pm and played Diablo II. Screw the contest, I said. The prize is going to be just one free shirt anyway, since any extra funds generated for the student council through the tee sale goes into paying for the annual Supremo Ball (OH MY GAWD, change the fucking name already! I keep thinking "Ultimate Testicle" every time I hear it!). I didn't even wear the one I designed and won last year because the quality, to be perfectly honest, was cow dung (no fault of the design, o' course). I went to bed a happy man feeling as if I'm some overworked pencil-pusher who hated his job for 20 years and had just found found the balls to fire his boss in a comical and violent outburst. It didn't quite pan out that way, really, between the Prez and I; but that's how it felt like. And it felt awesome.
Then in the next morning, my doorbell screamed holy murder at what felt like 7 or 8 o'clock (I am perpetually disoriented - I thought today is Tuesday and was wondering why this fucking week felt so bloody long). Oh wait, it was a knock on the door actually, not the doorbell but that's really beside the point. Anyway, I opened it and peered blearily into the glaring day outside, which actually blinded me for a good couple of seconds. Once the cottony wooziness wore out of my eyes, I saw Inn Shan standing there, looking a tad sheepish.
"Huh?" I'm simply not very eloquent in mornings.
"Your T-shirt design - where is it?" he said.
"But it's not done..." I began but before I could give him one of my famous impromptu excuses on why I'm not getting stuff done, he cut me short.
"Just give me what you got."
Okay-lah, Inn Shan's a really mild bloke and is always polite, and he wasn't really as curt and acerbic as I've painted him here. It's a narrative thing, so let's ignore that and get back to the story.
So, I transfered said unfinished front design of my T-shirt into a thumb drive he brought with him (while simultaneously downloading some other contestant's submissions into my laptop) and sent him off with it. To be honest, I really didn't want to show anyone my unfinished work - I feel violated somehow every time I was made to do that. It's like someone seeing me without any clothes on. Not a good thing, I suppose you can imagine. Still, having the student council president coming in person to pick up my entry after the deadline is kind of... somewhat... cool.
Later that day, I found out that my design has won by popular vote.
"Yes. U got most votes. I go find u nw," confirmed Inn Shan in an SMS.
I was stupefied. My rough draft of half a shirt beat everyone else's entries? I don't know what sort of java the student council members were downing that morning, but heck, I damn well want some. Please.
It turns out that I only beat the second and third placer by 2 and 3 votes respectively, and both of those entry were sent in by the same girl in my class, an artistic type who could already paint when I was still eating crayons. She submitted 3 or 5 entries I think, and I really like one of them,
Cool right?! There's another version of this design with a weird, nude and cute cartoon guy on the bottom left wearing a and holding up a piece paper with the letters "MBBS" on it but I like this plain one better. The other designs aren't really my cup of tee at all (Oh, look look! I made a punny!).
A junior from Batch 19, Lingghezhi, turned in an entry with a concept I seriously like but I'm guessing that the people over at the jawatangilakuasa probably didn't get it. If I'm ever going to design another tee for my medical college again, I plan to adapt his theme. Heck, maybe I'll just design it, take orders and sell them on my own. Lingghezhi himself is completely open to that idea.
Okay, enough of yakking now. Here's mine, the completed official Melaka Manipal Medical College T-shirt design of year 2008. Feel free to clap hands or wolf-whistle.
That weird 'M' right there is a stylized version of my university's logo, which my college belongs to. I actually thought this slogan up last year but I did not use it for my design then because I thought the school board would not approve. This year, I just cared less.
And this is the back, finished and polished,
"Inspired by Life" is the dorky motto of my uni. In the first draft of this design, I wrote "Inspired by Mind-Altering Substances". "Inspired by Psychosomatic Diseases" was another one I toyed with. Sigh, I knew they wouldn't fly with the Dean - but here's to hoping, eh?
After I learnt that I have won, and I was told to produce the back of the shirt over the weekend. Of course, I jumped straight into work in that distinctive fashion I always do and toiled industriously (by going to Mangalore for a day trip to watch Prince Caspian on Saturday, and beat my way from Act I to Act III in Diablo II through Sunday). I managed to squeezed in a couple of hours in the wee hours of Monday to hatch out a sketchy design to hand in to Inn Shan.
So the one that all the class representatives showed their batches on Tuesday was like, not the definitive design, haha. Look, it's funny to me, okay.
The finalized edition (above) only existed on Tuesday night, right after a couple more hours of Diablo II (damn, this old game is freaking addictive!). I remember when I showed Inn Shan the end design of the back on Wednesday morning, he asked me why I didn't just finish it over the weekend.
"You first day know me, arh?" I answered proudly. Now there's some misplaced pride for you.
Moving on, the skeleton of the design was drawn with William Blake's The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in Sun watercolour painting in mind and more specifically, the Red Dragon tattoo on the back of Francis Dolarhyde, the psychopathic serial killer in Thomas Harris' book. You can vaguely make out the wings, the tail, the head and one of the horns. I blunted everything to make it look heart-shaped eventually. I know I'm obsessive, and I don't need a psychiatrist either, thank you very much.
The maple leaves on top of the word "Inspired" was purely a fluke. I was testing out brushes in Photoshop - you know, idly drawing and then rubbing them off using the different brushes that came with the program just for kicks - and somehow, the random smudge I made with the maple brush just happened to turn out really nice! And I didn't even change or move or alter it in any way because I liked it so much.
Also, the maple leaves serendipitously provided me with the solution of incorporating the 'tail' of the Red Dragon without making it too obvious. I went for an organic floral design by extending the 'i' of 'Life' into a tap root, making the whole phrase appear like some growing plant, and that scored even more pseudo-symbolism points.
Oh, if you look really hard, you'll see that I've inserted a rather cute animal into it as well. I dedicate that to my girlfriend. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried, I couldn't sneak my name in somewhere. Bummersville.
Here's how the whole thing suppose to look like all printed out,
Blue was the original colour of the design, but Inn Shan preferred it in orange. I told him to see if he can negotiate with the printers make the shirts in both the colours at no extra charges - because some people have mentioned to me that they would rather have it in blue. Unlike last year, I might even get involved in the negotiations and printing process this time because (1) the previous shirt turned out to be something I won't even wipe my ass with and (2) I want the blue one too. However, that depends on whether I'm going to play Diablo II or not on the day Inn Shan goes to see the printing people.
So yeah, do you guys like this shirt? I think I'm getting better at this designing thing.
P.S. For you Manipalites, if you want to know more about the quality, printing method, the availability of the form-fitting girl style and other such boring details, head over This Post in Inn Shan's blog.
Currently a Level 27 Barbarian in Act III,
k0k s3n w4i