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Drawing Day Ambigram by Pete Janes

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DRAWING DAY 2011! Pen and ink on vellum.

A Drawing Day ambigram. Go ahead, flip your monitor upside down.

Ambigrams are words that are illustrated to appear the same read right-side up or upside-down. As a kid I had abysmal penmanship (left-handed), so I learned that the legibility of my handwriting dramatically improved if I thought about drawing the letters rather than writing them. Ambigrams are a fascinating challenge.


drawing day, ambigram, typography, lettering, pete janes

Organic produce slinger by day. Automatic Scribbler and Deliberate Renderer by night.

“Pete Janes entertains the macro insect crowd with meticulous gouache and watercolor specimen pieces, while his more imaginary illustrations seem to be glimpses into faraway realities.”—noted art critic and Portland bum R. Terialspray

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  • WolfDiabolique
    WolfDiaboliqueabout 3 years ago

    Holy crap that’s awesome! How did you figure out how to draw it?

  • Thank Wolf! Basically I write out the words in normal letters right-side up and upside down, and then try to find combinations of lines that would be interpreted by most readers of the Roman alphabet as the appropriate letters, both ways. The secret trick to it is that you really only have to figure out half of the word, because once you get to the middle letter, you can simply reverse the lettering you’ve already done and the second half falls into place.
    I’m glad you like it. I love doing these.

    – Pete Janes

  • James Lewis Hamilton
    James Lewis Ha...about 3 years ago

    yes way cool and well done!!!

  • Thanks James. In my rush to get this posted on Drawing Day, it’s still sketchy, but it will be fun to clean it up, perhaps for a tshirt for next year’s.

    – Pete Janes

  • MarjorieB
    MarjorieBabout 3 years ago

    I have taught both calligraphy and drafting (which requires clear lettering for title block information) and with all left-handed students and most right-handers as well, the key to success is just as you say, to think of drawing the shapes of the letters. This, however, is far beyond legible: it’s downright awesome! Absolutely a fave!

  • Pete Janes
    Pete Janesabout 3 years ago

    Thank you very kindly, Marjorie. All these years gone from school, and I’m still thrilled when a teacher agrees with me!

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