Portfolio Roundup: 2014

December 23, 2014 Filed Under: Art, Portfolio Roundup 13 Comments


Throughout my years as a blogger and artist, I always have failed to compile all my work because of reasons I, myself, cannot comprehend. One would be self-doubt, and another would be my hesitation to publish my work and claim that I have a “portfolio”. Honestly, I do. I just keep it to myself, don’t promote it as much and work on it only when I need to submit applications and impress people. For the most part, I do have a portfolio page on this website, but it’s still pretty much in the works.

But as I wrap up this (crazy yet amazing) year, I realized that at some point, I should at least showcase my work and do them justice. Actually, I’ve started doing a lot of projects beginning this 2014 and until now, it has not sunk in that I am, technically, a freelancer now (well, part-time, but you get the point).

By nature, I’m not one to brag. I understand I am not the best out there, but let’s face it – I have to admit that at some point, my work pretty much sums up the type of artist I now am, which is a letterer. The work I do also highlights the skills I have acquired as a creative, and the scope of work I am able to do (from art direction, photography, conceptualization to branding, among others). Over the course of two years or so, I was able to receive opportunities I never would have thought possible for someone like me – and with that, I am forever grateful.

In this post, I showcase a few projects that have made my 2014 the best year to build my portfolio. Read all about it under the cut.

Projects are arranged according to the type of work I rendered for specific projects. I will admit, some here I did not particularly enjoy working on (but of course – we are not in a perfect world where all projects look as good as its progress, NOPE), but I won’t name them. Putting them here means they are great reminders and learning experiences I had to go through this year to grow as an artist.

Hand Lettering Lesson Plans

I started creating lesson plans to accompany my workshop teaching. Coming from a self-taught background, it was relatively tough to start on these cheat sheets but so far, it’s been easier for me to teach with these as accompaniments.


Love, Type cheat sheet made by Den & I, for Love Type workshops this year (photo by Ber)

ABC Lesson Plan

My own curated lesson plan specifically made for solo workshops 

I’m working on an Abbey Sy lesson plan 2.0 to accompany my workshops next year. I’ll share more of that soon.

Murals & Chalkboard Illustrations

Large scale illustrations are NOT my forte, but since I started working in Quirks last year, I’ve been able to gradually adapt to this type of medium and eventually, got myself to work on other large scale projects – most of which are restaurants/establishments.

Third Cup Cafe

Third Cup Cafe


Footzeez Cafe & Spa


Brooklyn Pizza


My relationship with watercolors was always a love-hate one. Some days, I’d really blend the colors well; other days, I just get fed up and go back to inking. But over the months, I’ve been able to work with different brands of watercolors and adapt various styles that made my work more diverse, so I guess I really liked that I got to inject personal work aside from freelancing.

6 2


Dynomighty: Mighty Pinoy wallet

More than just collaborating with Quirks on this project, I was more than honored to be given the opportunity to design a limited edition Dynomighty wallet for the Philippine market. Mighty Pinoy was an output from lots of revisions, tears, stress, sleepless nights, and working holidays. But I’m glad it was worth the struggle. Dynomighty

The Mighty Pinoy wallet is available at all Quirks branches and online.


It has always my dream to work for Pepper, and I’ve been lucky (and more than grateful) enough to be an intern and eventually, contribute work for the blog. My work varied from illustration, writing, art direction, photography & lettering. Here are some of my favorites.


Mythbusting Siomeow: Did They Really Use Cats in Siopao?


Bear in a Box bento tutorials (lettering work)Pepper3

The Homer Simpson D’oh-nut Recipe: All That’s Missing is the Duff

Hungry Wanderer Hokkaido: More Than Just the Milk and Dairy

Hipster Coffee Crawl Around Southeast Asia: Siem Reap, Chiang Mai & Penang

Hungry Wanderer: A Photojournal of 5 Hipster Coffee Shops in Singapore


I promised that I won’t tap into branding simply because I did not excel in this particular field of design. But I decided to give it a try when Justin of Delicious Food Photography requested for a revamp of his brand identity.

NGL, I am not equipped with branding / logo design skills but anything that would involve my handwriting I guess would suffice.Delicious

Travel-related Personal Projects

I’ve recently been injecting a lot of travel posts on my blog and Instagram and I guess it’s because my love for it has deepened throughout the year. I always treated my travels as escapes from the reality that is my crazy life here in Manila, which is why getting to explore places outside of my comfort zone always inspires me to be ready for the next adventure I take.

I also got to travel to Singapore this year alone, and went backpacking for a month around Southeast Asia – two of my travel highlights this 2014. Of course, I couldn’t let it pass by without whipping up personal projects that would stimulate and challenge my creativity and make myself extra productive during the trip. 

Singapore: Art / Books / Coffee


Southeast Asia Diaries

Still my favorite project to date because I managed to finish 30 days’ worth of journal entries. Yay me!

The Daykeeper datebook 2015

I was more than honored to collaborate with the lovely Katt San Juan of The Daykeeper for the 2015 edition of the datebook. I did the manifesto.

Paano Ba To by Bianca Gonzalez

Another challenging yet extra fulfilling project for the year. That, and getting to meet someone as humble and kindhearted as Bianca Gonzalez was one of the highlights of my year. I am very grateful to have taken this project into my schedule and despite having the craziest deadlines (I remember I had events on all weekends, workshops, my day job, and this in one month – cray) I’m glad the work I delivered was good (well, in my terms it was).

Although my style was tweaked a lot upon the conceptualization and creation of art for this book, I believe that my work still shows and I guess it really makes me glad when people know it’s an “Abbey Sy” work.

Paano Ba To 3

JC and B Wedding Invites

Bianca then asked me to work on invites for her private wedding last December 4 at El Nido resorts. It was extremely confidential – and I did all the printing and production before handing them over to her. I liked how I didn’t have to step out of my comfort zone for this particular type of work as it exuded a rustic and beach-y feel (which was what B was looking for).

Again, I don’t do wedding suites that much, but sometimes I have to bend my capabilities – and in this case, Bianca is such a Bridechilla (and amazing client, mind you) that I couldn’t say no.


Made by ABC

My personal baby this year was the multitude of products I had to work on for my brand – to be sold at events, bazaars and art fairs for the last quarter of 2014.

Damn, this was intense. I barely had time to flesh out options and just went for my gut feel on most designs.


Processed with VSCOcam with a7 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with a7 preset

Despite that though, I’m so happy to say that I’ve sold out over 200 notebooks, countless sets of stickers and numerous paper goods. In short, A LOT. More than what I expected. I guess that in itself made it worth it. I also fulfilled my childhood dream of having my design on notebooks. Trust me, that in itself made my 2014 the bomb.

Abbey Sy x Hodge Podge

I got to collaborate with Gel of Hodge Podge for a few bottlecap accessories. I love how she gave me complete freedom on how to design the pieces. I really liked the turnout. (Spot my favorite – obviously it’s the Adventure Awaits one).

Hodge Podge 1

Abbey Sy x Shutter Panda

It was this year that I got to meet the lovely talented people behind Shutter Panda Photography (Hello Mare & Karen!) as I got them to cover my sister’s 18th birthday. After which, I got to do a bit of lettering work for their branding, and a few months after that, we got to collaborate on doing 2015 calendars – some of my favorite projects to date!


Purveyr x Local Edition (#PursueYes)

I was able to collaborate as well with Marvin of Purveyr for their PursueYes installation for Local Edition. It was a different treatment with regard to type, but it was nice to be part of this project and collaborative effort.

Make Things Happen washi design for Hey Kessy Hey Kessy

One of my lifelong dreams came to life this year (well, a lot, actually)! Mansy invited me to design a limited edition washi tape for Hey Kessy. We called it “Make Things Happen”, a provocative mantra I always instill upon myself every time I come up with ideas for creative work.

Tippy blogged about the Make Things Happen craft gathering and launch. Check out her post here.

You can order the Make Things Happen washi online or at their store in Esteban Abada, QC.

Life in Transit 2014: The AB3C Project

One of my favorite collaborative passion projects, Life in Transit is a book Tricie and I created as a repository of our thoughts, photos, musings and stories of our 30 day adventure across Southeast Asia.

Read more about our story here, and check out the e-book version here.



Traveling Type

Last but not the least, another dream (!!!) come true for me involved creating postcards and integrating type, words and photos together – a collaboration born out of our passions for travel. Mikka and I met this year, and I found her to be the best person to work with on this project (#ABCxMikkaWee – a first of many) as her love for writing and travel embodies what Traveling Type is all about.

Postcard sets will be available again next year, we are just currently on hiatus for the holidays.

If you’ve finished reading through this post, then congratulations! That was pretty long, I’ll admit.

I’m secretly congratulating myself also for having the guts to compile (some of) my work this year and curate them together. At this point, my portfolio on the website is still under construction (you’ll only find a handful of my work there). If you would like to see more, feel free to browse through my Behance or the hashtag #typebyabc on Instagram.

I am saying this now – I am opening freelance commissions for next year that do not involve birthdays, weddings or personal events. If you would like to hire me, please shoot me an e-mail at the contact page.

I will be on hiatus on specific months next year to segment more time for lettering workshops so please do know that I will not say yes to all projects.

That’s it for now. Thanks for browsing through! :)


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13 Responses to “Portfolio Roundup: 2014”

  1. Yan
    December 23, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    grabeeeee, you are such an inspiration!!! looking forward to attend your workshops next year! <3 keep being awesome! God bless!

  2. Abbey
    December 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you! Hope to see you!! :D

  3. Sibyl
    December 24, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    You’re such a motivator and inspiration. I check you blog every time I’m down and it cheers me up :D Love your creations! Merry Christmas :D

  4. Abbey
    December 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Thanks Sibyl! I will try to post regularly. Happy holidays! :)

  5. Marielle
    December 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Browsing this portfolio round-up: 2014 makes me happy seeing that you’ve achieved so much this year and I’m proud! :) Keep up the good work next year and more years to come! :)

  6. Abbey
    December 25, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Aww, thanks Marielle! Means a lot! Merry Christmas :)

  7. Jhanz
    December 26, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    Whoa! That was a looooot! :) Congrats Abbey! I know you still want to accomplish a lot of things, but I just want to say that you are definitely on your way to greatness. You’ll go far, I swear to God, you will. Give yourself a break every once in a while, though! Hehe :D

    xo! Happy Holidays!

  8. Riell is -Weekly Roundup 122714
    December 27, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    […] on inspirational women… I have greatly been inspired by the works of Abbey Sy for a long while now but this week, as I followed her on twitter finish projects before leaving on […]

  9. Jazmin Tabuena
    December 29, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    You have achieved so much this year, and us readers couldn’t be any more proud of you. Continue what you are doing but breathe for a while when things get intensely chaotic. Congratulations, Ms. Abbey Sy (huhu alam ko ayaw mo ng miss, pero super professional mo na)! May you have a more prosperous new year! =)

  10. Abbey
    January 1, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Thanks Jazmin! It was nice meeting you last year (last year na omg) :) Nakakaloka yung Miss! Hahaha. Thank you! Happy new year! :)

  11. Odee
    December 31, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Yo, Abbey! Very nice portfolio. I’ve always been a fan of your works. ^_^ My favorite from the bunch are the ones at Pepper.ph, those letterings with actual photos in the background like the Bento Box tutorial.

    I was wondering, did you do the lettering on paper and scanned it? Or did you write it digitally via graphic tablet? Or is it a secret technique passed down in centuries? :) Thank you! :D

  12. Abbey
    December 31, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Thanks Odee! Haha no secret there. Just lettering + scan + editing on Photoshop. It’s a bit tedious but it does the trick :)

    I have a graphic tablet but I rarely use it since I’m still learning. Haha.

  13. Portfolio Roundup: 2015 (Part 1) | Abbey Sy
    July 12, 2015 at 1:02 am

    […] and I can definitely say that I’ve improved from last year (view last year’s roundup here). Lettering has been seeping into my system for three years now, and I’ve recently revived my […]