Way back in my early years, I have always been fond of two things: letters and writing.
Letters gave me an opportunity to express, create, and connect. I used to collect stationery sets (guilty!) and sticker albums before – and when friends’ birthdays or the holidays came up, I would design greeting cards and use my knowledge with cursive to write legible thank you notes and messages. I was the girl who had lots of G-Tecs and gel pens on hand every time someone needed lettering services. Haha.
I loved writing as well, having kept a diary ever since I was a first grader. On my freshman year, I unexpectedly won an essay writing contest. Since then, I’ve started to write more both on my personal journal and blog. My fascination for the written word deepened after constantly writing, drawing, and keeping journals over the years.
When I was in elementary, there were annual Penmanship contests and I’d always bag first / second place (yes, our school has Penmanship contests! Lol). I was also the default class secretary who was tasked to write announcements and notes on our blackboard (which caused me to go to school earlier than everyone else because I had to set a good example, lol). Little did I know that a few years after, I got to turn it into my career and publish a book out of it. Pretty surreal, but I guess it’s true what they say – some of the most unexpected things end up being the most amazing ones. :)
I sent my first postcard in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during my backpack adventure last year in Southeast Asia. Tricie and I went to the post office and got ourselves postcards, stamps, and addresses of our friends and family. Since then, I’ve found happiness in sending snail mail – and I would receive postcards every so often when a friend is abroad.
When Summit approached me for this project, I literally had zero ideas on my plate. Except, I was so excited (haha). The only challenge was to create 26 cohesive artworks. Being the ultimate geek that I am, I went about and did my research. Since it was 26 – and there were 26 letters of the alphabet…why not make it all about letters?
I always tell my students during class that “The goal of hand lettering is to turn letters into visual art”, and that words have the power to be visually appealing. So, I took that idea and combined it to 26 letters, and eventually – 26 works of art.
Above: Some inspirations / pegs while working on the postcards.
Below: Mornings at the HQ involved lots of paint, swatches, paper, and lots of music.
Establishing the color scheme was the fun part – it was also highly inspired from Wes Anderson films and the autumn season (fall is my favorite). I also was heavily inspired by classic postage colors and derivations of the same color families. Primary colors, nature colors, and desaturated hues.
Above: Color swatches. It took hours to find the exact yellow, orange, or green hue that I wanted. OC levels 100.
I think for the most part, the most rewarding aspect of working on Project Letters was getting to discover my personal style in the process. I know I’ve always been drawn to the vintage-themed design aesthetic, let alone find myself freak out over retro fonts and typefaces. But I’ve constantly kept myself at a distance because I never thought I could actually do my own rendition of things I get inspiration from.
Well, guess I answered my question there. I got by. :) I spent a whole month caged in my attic painting every day – waking up at 7 in the morning, blasting some music, getting in the zone of mixing colors, painting, and keeping a steady hand. I would work for straight hours and while I felt every ounce of stress, it was the best kind – I knew that I had grown and while it’s something not everyone sees, I’m just glad I found myself in that place of evolving. That’s probably one of the best things an artist like me could feel.
Above: drafts, studies, lots of sketches – there was a lot of planning involved!
The output is a series of various renditions of the alphabet – not just drop caps, but also quotes, sayings, and advice that I’ve learned over the years. I have a penchant for quotes (for obvious reasons), and this gave me the opportunity to showcase just that. I hope that when you send out these postcards (or hang them in your room/workspace), it would keep you motivated + inspired every day. :)
And of course, there’s the usual cameo of travel-inspired artworks. En Route is a series I created this year for the blog, and I felt it was apt to include it in this set. :)
I’ll share more about each postcard soon, but there are some postcards I’ve dedicated to special people who have inspired me over the years. :)
Speaking of people, thank you to the Summit Books team for making this possible: especially to my publisher, Koko, for this opportunity; my editor, Macy, for keeping tabs on my sleep (LOL) and keeping things in order, and my art director, Jaykee, for mentoring me on this project. Getting to work on the same team as my book was definitely…wow. I have no words. I am so honored. *tears*
Special shoutout to my officemate Googly Gooeys for seeing the topsy turvy roller coaster of emotions I had while working on this project. I don’t think anyone has seen that side of me except you. And for the emergency art director questions you never fail to answer…“don’t do that.” “settle with this color scheme instead.” HAHA. You’ve played a huge part of my growth this year and most of my projects…so thank you! And of course, to my awesome all-around manager Tricie for always keeping me sane 24/7 while working. And to some of the people who have contributed their words in this project (Aidee, Jas!), thank you! It really means a lot :)
Anyway, I should probably pause my emotions for awhile. Below is how the packaging looks like. Above everything, this is my FAVORITE part of the postcard set. Hehe.
I created that alphabet pattern when I was working on The ABCs of Hand Lettering, but it never saw the spotlight. Lols. So this time, I requested to have it used for the inside box pattern. :)
The postcards come in a box of 52, with 2 copies of each design. I hope it also inspires you to keep creating, sending notes and writing letters, just like the old times. :)
Letters from ABC is now available at major bookstores nationwide for P350.
Initial deliveries as of January 7:
National Book Store
Uptown Place Mall
Citi Square Malabon
Victory Central Mall
New Farmers Plaza
NAIA Terminal 3
SM San Fernando
SM Consolacion Cebu
SM Lanang Davao
Robinsons Department Store
JLD Gifts & Magazines
SM Supplies Station
SM Sta. Rosa
South Supermarket – Pasig
Pandayan Bookshop, Inc.
Selected Mini Stop stores
Astroplus – MOA
International orders are available. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “ABC Order”.
Also, in case you’re in a holiday rush, why not give the gift of letters this Christmas? My Lettering Progress Keeper (above) is also available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks for P199.75. :)
And ICYMI: we’re giving away all of these at our GG x ABC Christmas Giveaway. Deadline is extended so don’t forget to join!