Life, Lately: Settling


Hello from the HQ!

It’s a relatively slow day as I’m writing this. The sun’s about to set and I just need to start on a lineart for one of my major projects this year.

Now that I look back, August’s been silently chaotic – bursts of happenings on some days, quiet work from home afternoons on others, and non-stop workshops + signings on weekends. It’s also been about (finally) settling into things old & new, and staying focused on whatever’s important right now (i.e. maintaining a decent 8-hour sleep pattern every day + work/life balance even if work is overpowering life on most days – trying my best to do these, no kidding).

Here’s a quick recap of life recently.

ABC HQ Appreciation



Outtakes from the recent shoot I did with Katsy & Tin for the website (, launching soon!) a few weeks ago. Had a lot of fun shooting (except I don’t act well…) and setting up the props – felt like a real production, lol. We also shot this video for my book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering.


Team photo in stripes, yay! (Thank you guys for being easy and fun to work with – can’t wait to see the outputs!)


Okay, admittedly, my room / office / HQ has never been inspiring in the recent months because it was completely messed up – papers everywhere, paint and art materials all piled up, cluttered display elements, et al. Mega thank you to Katsy (& Enya’s Only Time…lol) for helping clean it up after the shoot! I’ve been working on a much efficient rate because of my clean HQ and I’m making it a habit to keep it neat before going to bed every night. :)

Seconds with ABC

S-DeskThis month, I started to teach intermediate hand lettering with watercolor as a medium (aka Seconds) for my workshops. I’ve done 2 classes so far, and it’s been challenging in a good way. Aside from coming up with a new guidebook and further revamping my workshop kit (which I’m very excited to share about soon once I update my portfolio), I was initially nervous on how people would be able to understand this new curriculum.

Alternative statement: I felt like I gave birth again this year. Hahaha. 


Gladly, most of my students already have copies of my book – which I presumed made it easier for them to adapt the techniques and skills I’ve demonstrated in class.

Speaking of my book, thanks to everyone who dropped by my 3rd book signing earlier this month at National Book Store Trinoma! S-MaterialsS-Table2

Messy teacher’s table.


IFEX also generously supplied my workshops with a Paper Station for students to try out different types of paper. Thanks IFEX!

Thank you as well to my first two batches of students for Seconds! You all are such good sports and it’s interesting to see how diverse everyone’s styles are. Can’t wait to see your improvements!

Non-art related things


In other news, I’ve been indulging in a bit of reading here and there. I dropped by the National Book Store Great Warehouse Sale with Tin and wew, that was a crazy afternoon. I picked up a couple of nice books, though!

Also, thanks Tin for the floppy disk (photo above)! Haven’t tried it yet but it’s currently my bookmark. Heh.


Current read: Heart, Smarts, Guts, Luck – a book about entrepreneurship. I’ve been taking notes so far and it’s been a breeze to read, which is good. I particularly am fond of books about strategy / leadership / entrepreneurship / productivity recently (such a far stretch from my YA phase haha).

Other things:

1. Watched Inside Out with Tippy last week. I’m claiming that I’m Sadness and she is Joy (this is a very accurate representation of our friendship). Nonetheless, the movie was really good! I personally felt that it affected more adults than children. The people of Pixar are geniuses, really.

2. Visited Val and Aleyn’s shared studio for the second time last week with Tippy and Mansy for a quick meeting. Super duper love the space! BTW, I’m working with Val on something. More on that soon. *confetti* :)

3. Team ABC is back to 2 again, after adopting 6 girls for the past 5 months. *tears* I’m going to miss everybody, but it’s definitely time for them to pursue their own endeavours as school starts. I’ve queued up a post for this (let’s wait until their graduation hehe) but for now, Aidee & Jas wrote a quick recap of their experiences being part of my team here.


Printed out some snaps from Memorieslab. Super love the quality of their photos!

Color + Paper TestingWaves

This week’s been all about paper and color testing (thanks to new paper types + paint!). Actually, last Tuesday during office day, Tippy and I spent an afternoon testing out watercolors at a restaurant (I’m pretty sure we were judged, lol). I’ve started illustrating more (which I deem is good) and examining the quality of my art materials and its correlation to my style and work (wew, that sounded so geeky).

I bought new Holbein tubes from Deovir, as well as Turner Acryl Gouache tubes from Art Whale for some colors I’ve been wanting to purchase for a long time now. As for paper, I have samples from a client and Moleskine watercolor pads I’m tasked to test out in the coming days. So if there’s anything I’ll be needing to do in the coming days, it’s to paint and draw more. *No excuses*

I’ll share more of my new art materials soon! Also: my blog turns 5 this month, so watch out for a big giveaway in the coming weeks. :)

A peek at my output for my first spread on the small Moleskine watercolor pad. I’ve been rekindling my travels and promised myself to set aside a pad for urban sketching, so I’ll be maintaining this and updating this as often as possible.

The paper quality’s pretty cool – great for painting on-the-go. I’ll share a review on this soon as well. :)Frutz5Speaking of color, Tropicana Frutz is currently brightening up my workspace with some fruit and fizz. Thanks Tropicana Philippines for sending over a package of this refreshing treat! It’s now available at your nearest 7-Eleven branch.

I’m having a giveaway on Instagram, by the way – check out the mechanics here.

Wew, so much for August. How’s it been for you? :)

PS / Other announcements

1. Hope to see you this Saturday at the Philippine Literary Festival! Full details here.

2. In case you’ll be in La Union this weekend, I’m having a workshop as part of Block Party’s Vitamin Sea. Click here to sign up.

3. Will announce workshops this coming September for the last quarter of the year. Oh, and a launch! :) More soon.


Bright Eyes

August 23, 2015 Filed Under: Friends & Family, Personal, Team ABC 0 Comments

(After 5 clingy months with me, my interns ended their summer stint a few weeks ago. *cries* I’ll write more about it soon – but for the meantime, here’s a snippet of my team’s experience as told by my copy girls, Aidee and Jas.)

written by Adrienne Tan & Jasmine Dy



Phones out, hovering above the table at near 90 degree angles, all hoping to get the perfect shot of today’s banquet of flat-laid-food and coffee. It’s been 20 minutes of this. Their voices are distinct in a room filled with a professional in every chair, busy or taking a break from being busy. But these girls are on a different kind of busy spree. Theirs is a different buzz. They look for white walls and bright lighting while chattering about things it seemed only they understood. For another picture? A shoot? What these girls hadn’t known though, was they never needed any white brickwall or natural lighting to make them stand out. They were anything but your basic bunch of young creatives.

The Team



(L-R: Abbey, Katsy, Aidee, Jasmine, Christie, Cristina, Sofia)

Dapat four nga lang eh,” Abbey mentioned, looking back into the grueling internship application process. On one side, for Abbey and Tricie, tough deliberations took place and even tougher decisions had to be made. On the other, we, Team ABC hopefuls, were narrowed down into a shortlist and eventually into the final team: two artists, two photographers, and two writers.

From a distance, we easily passed as typical budding creatives with one foot out the door and one foot tucked in our comfort zones, just testing the uncharted waters of today’s  vibrant creative industry. “Do I fit in?” “Is this for me?” “Do I have what it takes?” We seemed to wonder with more potential than solid experience to hang on to. But we were here despite doubts; Abbey and Tricie must have seen something in each and every one of us.


In the very beginning we were just as awkward as we were anxious on the surface. But on a closer look as time passed, it’s no denying that the team was a quirky medley of personalities that somehow fit together to complete a wacky, far-out group of girls with a range of crazy antics up our sleeves, sharing a similar fancy for clean, themed, and color coordinated Instagram feeds. (However, no one’s feed is alike. Don’t believe us? Check us out!) Six characters made for six unique mindsets and interests—photography, illustration, graphic design, journalism, and dance—the list goes on.  

It only took a few exchanges of coffee table magazine titles, names of a few bloggers and artists here and there, and even some boys with aesthetic potential (whoops, shh) to spark an unfathomable connection. We talked for hours. We danced like nobody was watching (but people did watch, and we danced anyway). We all sang, although some off tune, we sang louder together. We each had different dreams but shared one of making it big someday, since then solidifying a bond that grew in mutual respect and understanding, glued together like a lifetime of friendship.

And as if by some sort of foreshadowing, most of us in the final team were somehow seated together on the day of our interviews. In a common effort to ace our respective practical exams and simultaneously take in the ambiance of work space for the day, we couldn’t help but chat the hours away too. Trying to get an idea of what Team ABC was going to look like and already getting to know each other then. Little had we known that the universe might have been trying to tell us something. Coincide or not, we were bound to work together soon. By the end of March, they called on six who made the team of eight. The ABC Team.

The Experience

“We are proud to welcome you to Team ABC,” popped up in six fateful Gmail inboxes. It was only a matter of days before a summer unlike any other started to take shape. It resembled the feeling of entering the first day of school with new people and challenges to break through. It was like a pilot episode that bore the promise of plot twists, climaxes, and villains in the form of creative ruts and a couple of personal insecurities for some. But we ran the marathon.

While it is a common notion that interns are your go-to-coffee or rather, “go get coffee” people to boss around, the ABC internship experience had us doing almost the opposite. We were drinking coffee (or hot chocolate) alongside our boss, whom we looked up to more like an older sister, as she squeezed regular meetings with us in her pencil-written schedule on her dotted Muji notebook and pseudo planner. Abbey was always open to suggestions of where to meet and eat next, never failing to take our convenience and opinions into consideration. She also assigned us to projects and tasks that best suited our specific set of skills, brushing up on our weaknesses and highlighting our strengths.


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Aside from lending her a hand for her business and brand, Abbey in turn met up with each intern to get to know, understand, and motivate us to pursue our respective goals. She gave us tips and she shared her own stories of starting out. We got to know Abbey for who she really is beyond the girl with the pretty Instagram feed. And Tricie, her manager and our mentor, in spite of her busy work schedule, remained an active voice of reason and cheerful support all throughout. Both of them offered the interns workshops, from copywriting to goal setting to watercolor lettering; it was endless learning and self-exploration for everybody.

Four months flew by like a time lapse of meetings, briefs, projects, and snippets of underrated, witty moments in between—a summer of new things and new people that we wouldn’t trade for anything. Taking a dive into the unfamiliar, like Microsoft Excel for example (update: it’s not so bad and we’re getting the hang of it), finally maximizing Google Drive and some new apps, and seeing the wheels and cogs of running a brand and business first hand, we took on every challenge with Abbey and Tricie’s faith in us and their experience and expertise following through.



If we weren’t working from our homes and laptops, we attended events as interns on assignment and even just as interns out to have fun. We also had the opportunity to let loose (and we mean really loose) in pajamas at the Young Star Prom where we munched on slumber party food, goofed around, and met new people in the industry. But sometimes fun for us just meant spending an afternoon at the ABC HQ, admiring the artist’s cozy attic where the magic all began and has been taking place since. From bits of manual labor like wrapping merchandise in twine to cutting paper for Made by ABC and Type Lab MNL, to checking out Abbey’s personal collections of magazines, books, and postcards from all around the world. Fun also meant slowing down and getting hands on and crafty at #itsARTern, a calligraphy-hand lettering-and-crafting workshop care of co-creatives and fellow summer interns.

When it came to the nitty gritty, we were serious when we had to be and then we were just a bunch of friends for the rest of the stretch. Behind every team photo and flatlay of food and art materials are a series of good times. Workload stress, if any, were all worth it after our little moments-turned-fond-memories in between weeks of not seeing each other. And when it was time to go, we went home fulfilled every time, with a reignited flame that motivated productivity and creativity. A burning flame that warmed us with the thought that we weren’t so alone in this struggle after all. We had each other, we had opportunities, and we were beyond grateful.

The Future

Maybe years from now Sofia, Christie, Katsy, Tina, Jas, and Aidee won’t be on the search for perfect ambiance and pretty, bright white walls anymore. They won’t have to. Truth is they never really had to. All they ever needed was Abbey and Tricie to discover their own little glows. They’re six bright-eyed, young creatives who are going places, and perhaps looking forward to collaborating once again.

We’ll fondly recollect of the summer we spent learning from each other, of familiar faces, and unforgettable boisterous laughter. Then we’ll look forward to yet another new coffee shop to meet in and the team’s seemingly telepathic trademark of arranging plates into one cohesive picture-worthy layout when the waiter arrives with our food. And the only thing there is to ever argue about is where to put the potted cactus and whose hand would make another appearance in the shot.

The Philippine Literary Festival

Poster - PLF 2015 Abbey Sy 829

Hello! I’m excited to announce that I’ll be part of this year’s Philippine Literary Festival, a weekend filled with insightful literary discussions, book launches, signings, exhibits, and everything in between, hosted by National Book Store.

I’ll be conducting a workshop and having a signing for The ABCs of Hand Lettering on August 29, Saturday, at 10AM. You may register at 9AM to get a slot for the workshop. Some info about the event:

1. Participants are required to bring their own art materials as I will just be doing a live demo at the event.

2. You must bring your own copy of my book prior to the event (you may purchase copies at NBS or Powerbooks).

3. I’m not sure how many people we are accommodating, but I’m assuming it’s around 50-60 people.

Hope to see you! :) You can view the schedules of events for PLF here.

I’ve been getting so much positive reviews from readers of my book – thank you guys! Super duper appreciate it. Keep tagging your posts with the hashtag #ABCsofHandLettering on Instagram so I can see them!

BTW, my book made it to this month’s list of bestsellers for National Book Store (and Powerbooks)! This is amazing huhu. Thanks to everyone who showed their support for my first book. Hugs to all of you! #lifegoalsachieved

Bestsellers YAS

Also, check out the video below, shot by my talented videographer, Tin.

(Fun fact: it took me 3 tries to finally get that cover done right, lol)

Special thanks to Katsy for being the hand talent (lol) and Tricie for helping us out on this! Music is Swingin Party by Kindness (current fave from Paper Towns’ soundtrack, too).

ICMYI, The ABCs of Hand Lettering is available at your major bookstores nationwide for only P295. Don’t forget to grab a copy! I’ve also stocked some copies in Common Room so if you happen to be in Katipunan, swing by and grab a copy there :)

ABBEY-SY.COM | Coming SoonWebsite

Also, I may or may have not mentioned it, but I’ve been committing to one of my biggest projects this year – my own portfolio website. This year has been very overwhelming and I figured that I needed to house all my work and endeavours into a home — which is definitely not this blog, as I have used this to be a personal outlet of my musings and other things in my life. So, I’ve been working with a very talented + hardworking team to help create, which is set to launch before the year ends. :) More deets soon! (But if you’re wondering, I’ve revived the #theroadtoabc hashtag for that on Instagram, hee)

Photos above are snippets from our fun shoot last Monday at my HQ. Thank you so much, Katsy and Tin! And we totally didn’t talk about our stripey outfits, lol.

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PS: I haven’t been writing a lot recently online because I found myself making lots of art and writing offline for the past couple of weeks…but I’ll definitely be back soon for my backlogs (on things I often get asked for – promise, I’ll answer your Qs this time!). :) Hope everyone’s having a good weekend so far!