Starting with the ABCs

Photos by Sofia Lorenzo / Co-written with Adrienne Tan & Jasmine Dy


“There’s always a first time for everything”, I wrote on the first page of the first chapter of my book. And on that note, starting something doesn’t have to take so much effort – it only means to just start, and see where things go from there.

The ABCs of Hand Lettering was created out of my love for art and letters – and it still deems to be one of the best milestones I’ve had as an artist (you can read more about my story here). It’s been more than a month since we’ve launched the book and we are very grateful for everyone’s support! Yay! *confetti* It feels amazing to know how much you guys appreciate my work and how some have really made their efforts to purchase a copy (it’s currently sold out but we’ve been reprinting new copies, don’t you worry!). Thanks everyone!

For those who are curious with what The ABCs of Hand Lettering is all about, here’s a quick peek of what you can find inside my book.

Week1-AMaterials-2Ever find yourself in an art supplies store mixed up and rattled about what to purchase for your lettering practice? We’ve all been there but now, you can save yourself the struggle. In Chapter 1, I draw and share the definitions, differences, and some quick tips on the essential materials to get you started, as well as the basic terminologies and definitions of type.


The second chapter focuses on the different font styles and pages of alphabet sets for you to practice with. As I always say during my workshops, the main goal of hand lettering is to turn letters into visual art, and making them stand out from there.

I also share snippets of my process in creating font styles and layouts in the book. From the mixing and matching, visualizing and experimenting involved in drafting, to visual blueprints I picture in creating layouts, to the fun of combining styles, inking, and finally embellishing.


I’ve also created spreads of quotes for the book to serve as a guide on the variety of styles you can experiment with using ink and watercolor.



photo from Googly Gooeys

In Chapter 4, beyond the technicalities of type, you can discover other artists’ works and stories. Find out more about them and the stories behind their work and get inspired to start your own creative journey.


Lastly, make your mark and make it a good one. Once you’ve found your own style, you can take it a step further and share your work to a larger audience because this creates more opportunities for you. But I know it isn’t always the easiest thing putting yourself and your art out there. So in Chapter 5, I’ve listed down some tips for when you document, post, curate, and share your portfolio online and to the rest of the world.


I hope you grab a copy of my book! It’s P295 at National Bookstore, Fully Booked, Powerbooks – and you can find some at the grocery or convenience stores, too. It’s also available online via Buqo for those living outside the Philippines. We’re currently working on making it available internationally at some key places – more announcements on that soon! :)

By the way, you’re invited!

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I’ll be having a book signing next week at National Bookstore Trinoma from 1-5PM. You may already bring copies of books you previously purchased and have them signed by me. I hope to see you there! :)


Also, before I forget, The ABCs of Hand Lettering is on Goodreads (waaaaaaa omg)! Would love to see your ratings & reviews – you can check it out here.

Have a great month and week ahead, everyone!


July 31, 2015 Filed Under: Art, Collaborations 0 Comments

Written by Adrienne Tan / Photos by Christie Lim

Craft Central is the go-to-craft hub for every artist’s calligraphy and lettering needs.

Box sample

With Abbey Sy of Type by ABC and Alexis Ventura of Ink Scribbler inspiring audiences all around the country and the globe with their craft, they’ve decided to team up and reach out. Craft Central put their hands together to design and curate a one of a kind starter kit for anyone interested in learning a new art. Wherever you may be, now you can learn it yourself.


The Craft Central Lettering Starter Kit was created for the love of letters. The kit comes with a handy manual for reference, two plain craft notebooks, and materials for basic to advanced learners. The basic materials include fine liner pens and dotted pads for inking and practicing, while the advanced materials include tubes of paint, a watercolor pad and an assortment of brushes. Water brushes for on the go painting and superfine round brushes for detailing. This kit will kick start your creativity and help you in becoming the artist you’ve always wanted to be.

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Avail of the kit only for ₱1,950.00 at Craft Central’s shop (link).

Life, Lately: Rekindling

July 22, 2015 Filed Under: Abbey, Art, Daily Life, Personal, Team ABC, Work in Progress 0 Comments

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Life lately has been about rekindling – remembering the forgotten, finding more meaning with my life’s purpose, and giving myself the freedom to just let loose and not care for a little while (but still, keeping tabs of current things in life). The daily grind has been slowly fading out lately – I’ve been worn out for the past weekdays (aka office days at home) and I’m slowly getting myself back on track by taking a week-long break next week (let’s hope I survive). Either way, here’s how this month’s been so far.

Rainy Day Productivity

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Remember that week when it rained non-stop? I loved it. Aside from not having to turn on the air conditioning because the weather could already suffice, I had a crazy productivity streak working on some plans for the year and doing a bit of product design. I have my officemates Mansy and Tippy to thank for pushing me to work that week, too.


Speaking of work, I’ve been slowly reviving more personal work and squeezing it as much as possible into my crazy work schedule. It’s fun — and the best part is that I get to insert some de-stressing in the process. The other night, I wanted to flip a table but I ended up illustrating some houses in Amsterdam. I love how art still detoxifies me in a therapeutic way. I don’t think I’ll ever outgrow that.


Some WIPs of current projects – lettering for Shutter Panda‘s website (launching this week!), who was one of my first collaborators last year, and a personal art piece I’m working on because Paper Towns is in cinemas today (I love Paper Towns – it’s my favorite John Green book).


I also did some chalk work (wow, reminded me of last year) for my cousin’s new cafe in San Juan called Baipora. I’ll share more about it soon! I also have a few workshops here in the coming months so don’t forget to secure your slots here.

The Great Discontent / The Profound Unrest

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Met up with Jessie last week at Frank & Dean, a new cafe in Forbes Town Center. Then after, I was interviewed by Zea of The LaSallian, my alma mater’s official newspaper. It’s funny, because I brought along my latest copy of The Great Discontent and it apparently had a slight reference to the article about me (which you can read about here). I’ve been extra picky with articles and how people write about me, and I can honestly say this is one of the best interviews I’ve done so far. (Also, proud to be a LaSallian forever.)

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TGD has been my life bible ever since I got myself a copy during my last visit to Singapore. My favorite interview is Alison Sudol’s (the girl on the cover) – everything was just on point. I like reading interviews because it gives me a better understanding of people and how their minds work – which is even better because TGD focuses on creatives and the industry itself, which I am fond of knowing about.

I wasn’t feeling any good last weekend so I whipped out my A3 pad and let myself loose with some freehand brush work (I used a Zig Brush #22 for this, from Hey Kessy). You can watch the quick Hyperlapse I did here.

I’ve never been friends with the brush pen but I’ll admit that this was such a fun exercise to do – I spent an hour writing down words from TGD that I’d like to keep in mind – some from Elle Luna (who started the 100 Day project) and Scott Belsky (founder of Behance, awesome guy).


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I don’t like parties, and I am such a homebody…but I couldn’t say no to Young Star (they sort of made my dreams come true by featuring me on some of their articles, tbh) – and bb Maine. Heh. Fun Saturday partying in pajamas with the lolas Ber and Karen, Chiara, and Team ABC. Yay. <3

Learn by ABC Relaunch


After my book came out (and after I took a mini break from workshops), I knew I had to step up my game and come back strong – and I’m super duper grateful I have my team to count on for this project.

Relaunching Learn by ABC was no joke – I seriously reconsidered all of the possibilities and reasons why I wanted to change this, or expand it, or make it bigger. But I knew I had to – and despite the challenges I’m currently struggling with, I knew I wanted to take on this headstrong for the main reason that is to help and give back to others the best way I can. And let’s be honest, while it’s pretty okay to be able to teach lettering, I really, really want to work on new modules based on my experiences…so it’s interesting how I’ll be able to fix it up for you guys to learn from me.

Two months of planning / brainstorming / executions later, here we are! Below is the revamped workshops page coded by the fab Mary Silvestre, aka master web dev of this website you’re browsing through right now. Special thanks also to Tin Villanueva for the awesome video embedded on the page!Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 1.32.25 PM

I tapped my creative strategy team to work on this (Katsy for art | Aidee and Jasmine for copy) and do intensive research (alternative caption: dig deep into my brain to get out lots of ideas) for rebranding and creating concrete details that are still very much in line with my brand. (I’m so proud!!! HUHUHU. <3)

We’re still working on other classes to be offered later this year, so do watch out for that! :)

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BTS from earlier this week with Katsy for our promo shoot. Claps for her because she convinced me to use colorful elements for my posters this time around (if I were to go about it, I’d just use a wooden surface lol) – which are what you see right now on my social media accounts – which I super love by the way. Yay!

Belonging and Living Slow

My biggest enemy is always time. Time for myself, time to take things slowly, live in the moment, time apart from work (which never seems to end). I’ve always been the hustler ever since I started college; I find myself useless when I don’t do anything.

But let’s be honest – I’m at that point where it’s always tiring to keep running without limits and running without breaks in between. Things have been downright draining and as of this writing, I’m slowly working my way into changing that mindset.

I started the first morning of the week roughly – questioning my next steps, wondering what am I doing at the moment to keep me sane, and realizing how I don’t want to focus on my own endeavors first for awhile. I don’t know what “Eureka moment” has seeped into me but I’m definitely taking some time off to renew myself and give more time for others.

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I was reading Kinfolk’s Essentials Issue yesterday, and I loved “A Sense of Belonging”, an article inside the magazine. It made me realize how great it is to be able to contribute to the bigger scale of things, or be involved in a community by doing your part in making it work. And there’s also that point where the writer talks about how there will always be home through friends and the people who constantly support you along the way.

On another note, yesterday felt like a rekindling of those days where I questioned who I would be in the coming years, what would I be doing, where would I be headed. It also gave me a reminder that some things definitely don’t change – like purposely waking up at 6AM to do art supplies errands, and have the default congee and milk tea breakfast with mom at our favorite eatery in Binondo.

I don’t know what’s sparked inside me this week, and what’s triggering me to evolve more now that I’m older (reality bites) – because my current mindset is most definitely not something I expected to have at this point in my life. Maybe it’s my maturity, or maybe it’s how life’s been to me recently (life, you are overwhelming, really). But whatever it is, whatever I’ll be doing, I’m excited – and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

How was July for you? :)