Inside my #ABCReadSearch Library

If you’re reading my blog for the first time (or maybe, reading my works for the first time, as well), you might be judging me for coming up with such an absurd word. Readsearch? What in the world is that? First things first, let’s talk about that. 😛

WHY #READSEARCH?

It was late last year when an opportunity came about. Not just any opportunity, mind you—it was one of those “PINCH ME I MUST BE DREAMING” ones that still give me the goosebumps up to this day. Spoiler alert, of course I said YES (haha, being the fearless girl I am, let’s leave that for another post soon), and that gave me a reason to do my “read-search”: Reading + Research. Usually, when I take on projects, I go the usual route—immerse myself in a certain topic (that is needed), try to flesh out content, and dive into the real, dirty work of writing, illustrating, compiling information, et cetera.

This one was different, though. It wasn’t as if I could get the answers within myself (unlike the previous books that I’ve written). That’s how #ABCReadSearch started. After collating all my books, magazines, and reading materials, I spent every night browsing design inspiration and putting my mind into overdrive readsearching on visuals, writing styles, illustrations, and lots and lots of editorial layouts. Lots and lots and lots of them, mind you!

ANALOG, ALWAYS

Funny enough, I had one condition—I don’t like seeing things on a screen. So much for being an analog junkie! I piled up most of my reading materials by my workspace for analog researching. Not in photo: lots of sticky notes and tags for referencing. 😀

It was also at this time that I realized my book preferences were usually under the same set of categories for both fiction and non-fiction.

Usually for fiction, I settle for YA (okay, still working on exploring other genres). My favorites are Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and Paper Towns by John Green. For non-fiction, there are books for visual referencing (that All-American Ads book is my favorite!), for philosophical insights (On Love by Alain de Botton is my favorite), as well as for self-help in both technical and psychological thinking (especially creative-centric ones, like #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso and Austin Kleon’s books). I have a weakness for magazines geared towards art, crafts, and travel themes (Flow, Frankie, and LOST are some of my go-tos).

TBH, I could spend hours browsing every title, every cover, in every section of a bookshop. Bookstores always become an instant field trip for me, as I get to see which titles are fresh, which ones I’ve yet to discover, and interesting stories that are waiting to be read.

BOOKS AS BEST FRIENDS

I don’t exactly remember the moment I fell in love with books. No, it wasn’t when I first flipped it open at five years old in school. If my memory serves me right, it was when I received my first Princess Diaries book at 12 years old, and I never stopped reading (YA) ever since. Of course, I had to ask why fictional guy characters seem so perfect. Sad to say, they are not real. Haha! Okay, moving on… *rolls eyes*

[above: some of my favorite titles]

Growing up, I was always the shy type. I always had at least one book or notebook inside my bag when we’d go out (up to this day). As an introvert, it was a way for me to get lost in my own thoughts without having to be alone most of the time. Introspective much?

Same goes for visiting bookstores. It amazes me how a small tangible piece of print can make an impact in one’s life (well, at least for me). I always end up wondering what inspired these authors to write, share stories, and make these things come to life. I love visiting bookstores overseas too, because there are just. so. many. books. It feels like heaven on earth.

[book cafes + book shops in Cambodia, Singapore, Chiang Mai]

I gotta say though, being an author has given me more reason to visit bookstores in search of new things to write about. 🙂 While I can go away with completely just looking at type books or creativity-related titles, I now find myself checking out more from self-help, non-fiction, and occasionally, travel. It’s interesting how my preferences have changed over time. I don’t know if it’s a maturity thing, but my standards have been set higher than ever.

Curating, connecting, and creating

I’ve been asking myself the same question for the past few months now: Why am I not making art as much anymore? Is there something missing?

Apart from going through a series of personal things at the first half of 2017 (ugh, #adulting.), I’ve been giving a lot of thought about what else I could give back to the creative community…and not just in terms of making art. I’m very happy to be able to share my creative journey through the books I’ve written. I’m also very grateful to be helping people find their own path in their respective art careers because of the work I put out. But maybe I’m finding it more meaningful and fulfilling to find connections that are beyond the artworks that I post on a regular basis.

[above: a selection of titles from my shelf, + my two babies: The ABCs of Hand Lettering & The ABCs of Journaling]

Content creating has always been part of my DNA, way before Instagram was a thing and back when we all had our Tumblr phases, checking out posts and reblogging like there’s no tomorrow. So now that we’re in an age where content is king (and is everywhere…literally), I’m slowly beginning to realize that apart from creating, I want to be able to curate good work, and find a way to connect it where it’s supposed to be.

I’m very happy that #ABCReadSearch has given me the chance to do just that: to look beyond what is already there. To keep being open to discovering new things, and learning outside the four walls of school. To constantly immerse myself into uncomfortable circumstances, in order to get a breakthrough. To find young and upcoming talent and be able to somehow give them the spotlight they deserve. And to come to terms with the fact that there are still so many things to curate, connect, and create. 🙂

#ABCReadSearch is a repository of behind-the-scenes and works in progress for a dream project. Coming this June 2017! Follow @abcreadsearch on Instagram for updates. Brought to you by none other than Summit Books 🙂

Book photos by Aira Dizon. Photo of me by Shutter Panda, for #abcreadsearch.