A Work in Progress

November 5, 2015 Filed Under: Artsy Advice, Events, Personal, Tips & Advice 1 Comment

It always starts from square one.

This is something I always tell myself every time I pick up a pencil and start drawing. WIP

A few months back, I gave a TEDx talk about The ABCs of Life and Lettering – and for “A”, it was this: You are ALWAYS a work in progress. I’ve always believed that there will always, always be avenues to keep learning, growing and improving in your craft – and with the right mindset of being constantly open about it, you get to be better and exceed your own expectations.

People nowadays think it’s so easy to just whip out an artwork in a quick few minutes. I guess that’s what social media has taught us – we want everything to be instant, and we demand for things to be more rapid than ever. I would usually get questions like “How do you become so good?” or “Why can’t I be you?” and the only answer I can provide is to keep working, keep going, and to keep on practicing. Hand lettering seems to be “easy” when you look at a beautifully illustrated piece of work – but mind you, it takes more than just skill and “good handwriting” to produce a work of art.


I stumbled upon some of my work from 2013-2014, back when I was starting out. I don’t really point it out often, but it feels good to see progress over the years and months of endless drawing, painting and doodling. Whoever thought those fleeting hours ended up being a training ground for improvement? 2

Earlier this year, when I was tasked to create content for my book, my process was developed and with the proper guidance (and self-motivation), I found courage in pursuing this craft and pushing myself further. Definitely wasn’t an easy feat — those moments of self-doubt and inassurance of what I’m doing have always been huge hindrances — but getting over that fence proved otherwise.


Above: some of my recent work this year (view the project on Behance here)

I can’t say I’ve reached a point that I’m completely satisfied with what I’m doing – I guess that’s one problem most creatives never solve. But what I’ve noticed is that the more I keep on practicing, and working, the more I find myself getting better, improving, and eventually heading to the ideal output that I’ve been envisioning for the longest time. And I think one of the best ways to achieve that is having the fuel and drive to be creative – and inspire yourself to keep going no matter what.

This year, apart from projects, I’ve also started working on letterforms and drop caps…which eventually turned out to be the subject of Project Letters (which I’ll share about very soon). :)

Keeping track of your progress is an important part of your growth as an artist. And with that, I’m excited to announce that I’ve worked with IFEX, a paper company in the Philippines, in coming up with the Lettering Progress Keeper.

You can read up on my process for this project (one of my favorites!) over at Behance. :)


Some initial draft work for the project. Manual Photoshop is real…haha. Special thanks to Jaykee for mentoring and guiding me while working on this project. :) I found myself constantly at a plateau while I was doing this – mostly because I wanted it to not just be your ordinary sketch pad that you see at bookstores…I wanted it to be a reminder for improving and practicing, hence it’s called a “progress keeper”.


The Lettering Progress Keeper is a way for you to practice, maintain the habit of creating, and keep track of your progress. Made with fine quality artist paper (Canson 200GSM, suitable for ink & watercolor), this pad is perfect for drafts or final outputs. It’s available at all National Bookstore branches nationwide and retails at PHP199.75. Special thanks to IFEX Philippines for making this possible.

I hope you find enjoyment in drawing letters and experimenting different styles. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to consult my book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering, for ideas and inspiration. :)

By the way, I’d love to see your practice work! Don’t forget to add the hashtag #learnbyabc or tag me on Instagram so I can see your work. Always Be Creating!

x x x

Speaking of progress, last weekend was the Behance Portfolio Reviews Manila held in TBWA/SMP. I was part of the panel for Graphic Design and I got to listen to a few creatives talk about their craft, meet & catch up with fellow artists and critique the work of young creatives.

It feels surreal and I feel very honored to be part of this event. Two years ago, I first started using Behance as one of my project platforms. Back then, I was literally just starting out and working on my first few freelance gigs. It’s been quite a journey since then…and I couldn’t have been any more grateful. From looking at some of the most amazing creative projects, to sharing like-minded ideas with fellow creatives, and getting to showcase your work to the world, basically, being part of Behance has been an instrumental tool into helping me become the artist I am now.


John Ed De Vera was the organizer for this event and he gathered creatives across various industries (Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography) for the reviews. Selected young creatives presented their body of work to us panelists, while we gave our critiques + tips after their presentation.

Photo 05-11-2015, 9 02 58 PM

^ That’s me getting amazed over Adrian Panadero‘s work (the one I’m browsing through is his thesis project – which can be found here). He also won the Behance Coin under the Graphic Design category.

It was an insightful Saturday and it definitely proved that the design community here in Manila is rapidly growing. Also, the talent we’ve seen upon reviewing the portfolios were overwhelming. I’m so excited to see what’s up on these young designers’ sleeves in the coming years. :)

Photo 05-11-2015, 9 03 07 PM

My former intern, Katsy, made it to the Top 3 in the Graphic Design category. Super duper proud of her! <3 The photo taken above was during her presentation (yes, she did the Type Lab MNL branding – check out the project here).

Photo 05-11-2015, 9 03 19 PM

Panelists (L-R): Apol Sta. MariaDan Matutina, Tof Zapanta, me, Nelz Yumul of WeeWillDoodle, Paolo Ruiz, Nolan Fabular, Terence Eduarte, June Digan, Patrick Cabral, John Ed De Vera, Celina De Guzman, Keith Dador

(In case you’re wondering, I fangirled over some of the co-panelists as well. Hahaha. Typical me.)

Photo 05-11-2015, 9 03 16 PM

Repeat, please!

(Thank you, Nikko Pascua, for the photos!)

x x x


ICYMI: If you’d like to further work on your hand lettering progress (or would like to start learning about the craft), you may learn more at my workshops this month. Spend your weekends this November doing something productive! :) Sign up for a class here.

Related posts:

Starting with the ABCs

New Discoveries

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One Response to “A Work in Progress”

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    December 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm

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