Life, Lately: Creating Connections

brave quote fate

I know, I’m being such a bad blogger for skipping last month’s update. The thing is, if I were to revive it, I wouldn’t – I wasn’t in the right state of mind to actually write about specific things, so I’d rather not share some of them and go back to writing this entry, not the draft I have waiting on my Evernote for weeks now.

Anyway, the past 2 months in general have been about connections with others and myself – creating them, sustaining them, and knowing which ones work (and which ones don’t).

Speaking of work, I have been immersed in lots of work (as per usual) and as of this writing, I’m slowly recovering from my withdrawals and mishaps with work life balance (yes, it happens to me). I’ve met up with some of my friends this week and everyone’s been telling me the same thing: RELAX. And to cut myself some slack from work. Which is what I’m trying to work on at this point until June. Let’s hope it works, yes?

For the meantime, here’s how life’s been so far on my end.

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The Road to ABC

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If I had a chance to redo my thesis and have it more catered to my own preferences, The Road to ABC would be it. Aside from churning out lots of artworks for the past two weeks, I have also immersed my brain into numerous ideation sessions and a lot of writing – two things I am still struggling to be good at. Either way, it was pretty good training, as I can say that I efficiently made my way through this project (thanks to caffeine, music, and a lot of food) and didn’t cram on the last leg (I crammed on my first two submissions, it was horrible).

I hid myself away from social media (aka deleted apps on my phone), declined any social endeavors (sorry, friends, I am alive now!) and really focused on my work. Most mornings and evenings were spent in my attic, consumed with paint, ink, paper, and a lot of self-doubt moments. “Am I even good enough to do this?” “I don’t even know what I’m doing to be honest huhu” It didn’t help that I was alone most of the time while working on this project, too.

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Thankfully I spent one afternoon having another office (Scarsdale, thank you!) + meeting up with Tippy (we’re “officemates” on some days, lol) so at least I got to get some proper advice and encouragement to keep me sane while working. Thanks (mommy) Tippy!

Anyway, long story short, I’ve submitted things on my end two weeks ago – and it felt like thesis submission x 1000000. I am so excited to share what this is, BUT I will keep quiet until the news comes out. :)

Type Lab MNL

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Another thing that’s been heavy on my plate lately is this event I’m organizing with Type Kita called Type Lab MNL. More details soon!

BTS Photos by Sofia Lorenzo

Here are some outtakes from our shoot for the past weekends with Shutter Panda at Scarsdale. I am so, so excited for this – not only because it’s something close to my heart, but it’s another effort to help keep the type community alive here in Manila. Always up for things like these. <3

BTW, save the date, folks – it’s happening this July! (and kudos to my intern Katsy for creating Type Lab’s A+ branding!)


Tokyo Hangover
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NGL, I’m missing my fellow Capricorn girl Kaila and our coffee dates. I need more recharging sessions and enlightenment from her! Aside from that, I’m terribly missing Japanese food and the crazy train rides for some odd reason.

I’ve yet to write about my trip but for the meantime, I did blog about the places I visited for my art materials fix here. You can also check out Kaila’s photo diaries here.

Team ABC

BTW, I’ve yet to introduce my team – here are my interns: Katsy, Sofia, Aidee, Christie, Jasmine (+ Cristina) :)

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Can’t believe they’re already halfway through their internship. I started doing my mentoring duties last week and it was such an insightful experience. I’m so excited (and pressured, and challenged) to put my “Ate Abbey” duties to the test.

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It’s great to have these girls because aside from having lighter work tasks for myself (aka I can breathe!), I know I am accountable for six girls, which only means – I can’t be lazy. LOL.

Learn by ABC

Photos by Christie Lim

I failed to write about my workshops last April, but they went pretty good! Special thanks to Fully Booked and Local Edition for providing the venues. I’m taking a quick break this June because *secret* but I have three more this May (which are already full, sorry!).

Anyway, exciting things are ahead for my workshops because this July, I’m announcing new workshop modules and workshop locations! I’m also looking into having a few sessions in *insert city here* which I will announce soon as well. :)

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BTW, in other news, I am on YouTube. And it’s pretty overwhelming!

Photo 5-18-15, 3 53 16 PMI also received a package from Swift Premium as they relaunched their new packaging design earlier this month. I did the designs inside the crate on the photo above. So surreal to see my work in print! This project was one of my favorites. I’ll share more about it soon.

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Also, I’ve collaborated with Craft Central in creating and curating a Lettering Starter Kit, perfect for those who would like to kickstart their hand lettering journey. More details about this soon – but you can pre-order here!

The design I’ve made for Punchdrunk Panda‘s latest collection is also out. :)

I’m still alive despite the stress, folks! Still getting by. Hope you are having a good month, so far! Can’t believe we’re nearing mid-2015.

Art Hoarding in Tokyo


If there’s anything else I end up doing as part of my itinerary every time I travel, it would be to go shopping for books and art materials.

This time last year, I spent a whole day wandering around the streets of Singapore (good thing I was alone) – particularly in Bras Basah Complex for my art materials fix. I also stopped by the same stores in Singapore during Life in Transit (and ended up buying…wait for it…around 8 books!) and found myself spending hours at the nearby bookstore (Tsutaya was the only bookstore there, but it sufficed) during my holiday trip to Kyushu. Recently, I visited one of the notable supplies stores in Paris (and cried internally), Sennelier.

art materials tokyo
Today I’ll be sharing some of the art stores I managed to visit in Japan (particularly in Tokyo) during my trip with Kaila a few weeks ago. Hopefully this helps in case you’re planning to visit Tokyo anytime soon!

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For those of you who are particular with the materials and brands you need (aka looking for a National Bookstore meets Fully Booked in Japan), Sekaido is a must visit. A building located roughly a few meters away from Shinjuku station houses 6 floors full of art materials you can only imagine – paper, paint, ink, notebooks etc.

Some cool things about this place:

  • They have a lot of watercolor brands to choose from! Holbein, Van Gogh, Windsor and Newton, Schmincke, Daler and Rowney, etc. I currently use Schmincke and Daler & Rowney, which are both great (more on the art materials I use on this post). But this time, I bought a few Holbein pans – especially ones with the vibrant colors I needed (wallet is crying though).
  • All floors are PACKED with EVERYTHING. E V E R Y T H I N G!
  • It’s also nice to know that each floor has a designation (i.e. 2nd floor is for acrylic and oil, etc)
  • It is safe to say that if you’re like me who secretly gets overwhelmed with art stores, you will take around half a hour minimum before you can figure out what you’ll be buying.


Purchases from Sekaido! In other news, I also got myself some unnecessary things such as a Project Paper pad, lol. Nevertheless, it’s being used a lot now so at least I’m giving it some justice.


While in Shinjuku, also visit Kinokuniya‘s 7th floor if you’re looking for books and foreign magazines. Got myself a Frankie issue and a copy of Tokyo on Foot, aka visual feast!




If you’re short on time and you won’t be visiting Shinjuku during your trip, Yuzawaya can be found at selected malls within Tokyo. It’s basically a mini version of Sekaido and comprises more of craft/DIY materials than traditional art materials. Nevertheless, I also got myself a few things here.



In the midst of Harajuku’s lineup of fashion stores, arcades and crepe shops in busy Takeshita Street, there is a pink building housing inexpensive goodies that are sure to make you want to go up all floors (despite it not having an escalator, lol). No photos because the area was pretty packed and I was panic buying the whole time. But there’s Daiso, aka your one stop novelty items shop. In my case, I ended up buying cutesy stationery, lots of envelopes and notebooks. And plastic containers. (Sorry not sorry)



Located in busy shopping ward Shibuya, Loft is a gem to art lovers, stationery hoarders, travelers – you name it. In general though, it would be similar to a department store sans the clothes and shoes. Of course, my priority was visiting the LG floor for all the stationery items and a few art materials.


I ended up getting a Task Manager pad (!!!), Meeting Planner pad (I am so happy I can’t contain it), MT tapes and this really nice vintage Mickey iPhone case with my favorite color combination on it (of course, I had to get it).

I wasn’t able to visit Tokyu Hands because I told myself that this is enough – BUT I suggest visiting there as well, especially if you’re needing more DIY materials.

Anyway, I hope this mini guide helps in mapping your route for art hoarding in Tokyo! I promised myself to keep doing this every time I travel because y’all are asking where I get most of my art stuff – and sadly, I don’t buy in Manila. Everything’s abroad. If you have places you recommend going, let me know in the comments below! :)

Until the next ~art hoarding~ sesh!

Art + Life + Living

May 17, 2015 Filed Under: Abbey, Personal 0 Comments



photo by Sofia Lorenzo

The last time I wrote something like this (last March) deemed to prove just one thing: how fast things can change in a span of a few months. Change in terms of how things are going on my end – on my non-lettering, non-art life, aka personal life, and the constant battle between living normally and trying to please people with deadlines and endeavors I need to work on for this quarter of the year.

I just woke up a few minutes ago from an unplanned oversleeping session (it’s 6PM as I’m typing this and I’m still in my jammies). I must have been super exhausted from yesterday’s shoot and mostly from the past two weeks of hibernation from real life. As much as a huge weight has been lifted out of me last Friday (felt like it was thesis submission x 100000 to be honest), there seems to be new things filling in my system right now and weighing me down in the worst way possible. Things I decided to forget the moment I worked on #theroadtoabc deadlines, and now that I’ve accomplished my work for that (well, a part of it), my distraction seems to have made its way back to the ABC brain and I sort of want to punish myself for it. (Why do you have to gracefully make your way into my already okay life? That is the question.)

In other news, this day has been spent reading a ton of TGD interviews. I don’t know, I have this fascination for reading other people’s experiences, especially artists. It makes me feel secure with some parts of my own creative journey, and helps me realize that I am not alone in this. There’s still so much to prove in this world and while I’m just one of the many artists who hope to make a small dent and help inspire change in the industry, I hope to do so – soon. Right now, I feel like I’m just floating up in the clouds and trying to figure out what path to take next. While I know both being an artist and making a living out of it is such a daunting responsibility (moreover, something I have yet to prove to most people who tell me – So you draw letters for a living? For real? YUH), I only am hopeful that this has been one of, if not the best decision I’ve made for myself in my 22 years of existence.

I grew up thinking art was just something I could retreat to every time I had a lot of feelings. Growing up, I had to work my way through the “normal things” because I found myself constantly struggling in terms of having a positive social life (I owe a lot to my high school best friends for moulding me into who I am now), a good reputation (ha, who was I in high school? I don’t remember) and telling myself that I am capable of good work (not just in art, but with life and things in general). I used my drawing time to recuperate with myself after experiencing teenage angst, and eventually, as I faced the point in my life where I had to “discover who I really am”, art was always there – like a best friend, a sister, something I can always go home to.

Nowadays, it’s split between wanting to find comfort in being an artist and at the same time, balancing it with the business side of it. It’s no fun and games, I’ll admit – but recently I’ve been learning that making art for a living isn’t that much of a pressure if you’re doing what you love. The problem with me is that I take into account too many factors and limit myself in the process. I remember being told that I should “do things at my own pace” and learn to find my way (and not lose it) on The Road to ABC. It’s such a long road I still have to take and I’ve been experiencing a lot of bumps and detours along the way – things that may hinder my journey, but I’d rather think of as important intrusions for me to take on the road with a strong heart.

I still find myself crossing the road unprepared, and most of all, having the problem of putting my life first as a person before I am as an artist. It’s so easy to be consumed in doing ABC work – lettering, writing, drawing, planning – because it is my job now. But I’ve been laying off on the more important things – my health (I’ve been stress eating since last year and it is not helping me, AT ALL), my relationships (to the selected people who really matter in my life) and most of all, myself. Here’s to hoping I get that wake up call pronto because honestly, with the things I’m doing now, I really need to reprimand myself for not focusing on my priorities and letting a lot of things get in the way. It’s not healthy. At all.

Before I bore you off with more of my rants about life, I’d just like to say that this is another way of saying, “This is what cooks up in Abbey’s brain if she’s not working on lettering projects” – yup, this is it. This is me. On some days when I don’t have much work to do. Heh. Good evening, and have a great week ahead!