ABCs Challenge: Hall of Fame + Giveaway

Featured image by Jamaica Londres

Hi everyone!

So, it’s been around 3 weeks since the ABCs Book Challenge began. And wow, I’m super impressed with everyone’s submissions (did I mention we’re now over 2000+ posts? that’s crazy awesome). I’m so glad you guys are up for the challenge and are super game with showcasing your progress with lettering (also: flatlays are on point!).

We’re almost halfway through the 21-day challenge but I’m sharing a quick recap of the challenges so far – and some of my handpicked favorites from each day.

Hall of Fame 

Good job to those who got in the Hall of Fame (lol at the term). I honestly will tell you there are more than 3 who showcased great work each day so kudos to everyone who submitted their artworks! I’m so proud. *happy achi tears*



Artworks by @esaysowen @stephyniemae @8amthoughts

Day one was the entryway to this challenge – which is to get creative with different font styles for each letter. It’s great to see how everyone kickstarted the challenge with their own personal styles.



Artworks by @carlxlouis @mgcarpizo @iammaka

Day two was all about numbers – and it’s funny how some of you became a wee bit scared! Remember, numbers are just similar to letters in terms of shapes. The trick is to find ways to make them look different than they usually look.



Artworks by @arelalala @papierjam @odetteoliveros

Another concern for you guys was about symbols – but you all proved otherwise! Here were some of my favorites from the awesome roster of symbols you all submitted.


Artworks by @yzapanta @benzedrjne @dankuhantiojo

Everyone got extra creative for drop caps – from themed to extremely embellished letters in ink and watercolor.



Artworks by @florainevallega @djrafanan @artsthetical

I noticed that most of you decided on themed alphabets – which were pretty cool. Inspiration can come from anywhere – movies, patterns, favorite color combinations – the possibilities are endless.



Artworks by @_e13nacreates @cristinaarrobio @journeysbyjana 

Some of you took bold risks for Day 6 – with metallic colors and more color varieties, which were good.



Artworks by @live4summers @kamwhatmae @kristalalala_

I especially loved Day 7’s theme because I knew everyone had different interpretations of their respective hometowns – and true enough, I was blown away. Also, good to know the different locations of most of my readers. Hello from Manila!


Artworks by @pjecruz @moira.lou. @neeydie

Day 8 made me hungry – especially with the accompanying food illustrations with your lettering work! I loved the creative outputs for this especially because the colors and the concepts you guys showed were well thought out.


Nothing feels nostalgic more than looking back at your favorite childhood TV show, right? Well, it looks like it! I was amazed with the different designs everyone came up with, in relation to their favorite shows.

We’ve finished 9 days (woohoo!) of lettering, and Day 10 is coming at you on Wednesday, May 18th. Don’t forget to check this page for the full mechanics and updated list of prompts.

Giveaway Time!

I said I was going to announce a surprise, right? Well, here it is!

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I’m giving away a set of notebooks and watercolor paper samples (!) to 5 of you who join my giveaway. Requirement? You must have all 9 entries from the challenge.


  • Post a photo collage or video of your 9 artworks (from Day 1-9) on Instagram.
    • You can use Moldiv (collage) or Flipagram (video) for your IG post
    • You may delete this collage after the giveaway promo.
  • In the caption, share your progress so far, and how this challenge has been for you. Has it been easy? Difficult? What else are you looking forward to for the coming weeks?
  • Add the hashtags #ABCsBookChallenge and #ABCGiveaways.
  • Giveaway ends on May 21, Saturday. 5 lucky winners will be chosen and announced on May 23, Monday.

Good luck, and looking forward to seeing your entries!

Journal Roundup: Volume 1

Starting a new column on the blog called “Journal Roundup” – aka, an attempt for me to document daily and make something out of my personal journal. 🙂

Most of my friends tell me I’m a thoughtful person – I guess I really value the littlest things, and that I’m most proud of. I’d take a quick coffee catch-up over some fancy dinner, or even a small note of thanks over a huge gesture of gratitude. That’s probably why I value the things that make up the totality of who I am – and what better way to do that than to keep these memories in a tangible book?

I’ve kept journals for the longest time; ever since I was thirteen, it became my outlet of daily musings, dreams, goals, bucket lists – and many more. All my dreams have been written on every piece of notebook I owned. And it still feels surreal to know that some of them have actually come true as I’m typing this.

Anyway, enough about that – here’s a roundup of my entries inside my Hobonichi. 🙂

Quick back story: I got myself a Hobonichi supposedly for “work research” (no kidding) but I decided to scrap that and really commit to sharing a bit of how every day’s been going for me. Ideally, I’d just bullet all my favorite days; but I decided that this time, maybe it would be nice to value each day as it is. 🙂

I didn’t want to have to draw every day or even do lettering. I just wanted to keep things compact and make some sort of creative craft activity every day so I am hoping this journaling thing satisfies that. Don’t get me wrong though; I didn’t take photos of all the pages because the others are for my eyes only. Hehe. These are some of my favorite spreads, though! Enjoy. 🙂

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April 2016, Week 1

This journal was purchased out of impulse (with Kaila), but no regrets. Initially, I had no idea what I wanted it to look like. Then again, I realized I should just let things take its course. 🙂

Also: I watched The Little Prince and it hit me right where I needed to be hit. That was a feels trip film – I am not over it.

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April 2016, Week 2

My last weekend in Japan was bittersweet but memorable. I wish I could remember every “note to self” we had during our “creative breakout sessions” but I’d like to believe they’ve all been injected into my system. 🙂

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April 2016, Week 3

This was a nerve wracking week for me as I spent 80% of the week out and about. If you know me personally, this is something I rarely do (that being said, you would know how much of an introvert I am). Meetings, talks, workshops all in 7 days – I gave up on the last day of the week. No joke. Nevertheless, such a fulfilling experience.

Also: It’s pretty obvious that I like this hand-lettered format better as it saves the hassle of crafting. Then again, my hands ached after doing this. Lol.


April 2016, Week 4

A week full of questions and deadlines and works in progress – and the easiest thing I could do was jot down 5 things that made my day unique & memorable. Case in point: when someone actually asks if you’re still alive after working on x deadlines (huhu), or when you constantly replay a playlist for no apparent reason, or when you accidentally get some tough love at 10 in the morning, on a Monday (yep, on a Monday!).

Also: Thank you Dom for my portrait stamp (!!!) and Alessa for the Abbey Sy logo stamp. 🙂

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May 2016, Week 1

I was joking around and asking my publisher a few months back if we could have a signing in Cebu or Davao…and a week later, SM Lanang Premier asked if they could fly me to Davao for said signing. Call it coincidental, or maybe just ~fate~, but I had a great weekend meeting some readers in Davao. Not to mention a really fun couple of days with Koko and Jean, who took care of me the whole time. (Huhu, thanks!) More on this soon on another post 😀

Also: I bought a box of pomelos and of course, I had to keep at least a sticker. ~ephemera~ lolz

I was wondering – anyone here starting out journaling? Or have you kept journals over the years? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂



Flatlay Tips + Art Sale

Hey everyone! Rounding up a quick post because it’s the last weekend of April. That’s how fast time flies now? 😮 I was not informed. Huhu. 🙁 Anyway!

ABCs Book Challenge Update

Many thanks to everyone who’s been onboard for the ABCs Book Challenge. You all are doing great! Check back on Monday for a new challenge (and I promise we will be back to alphabets!). So, as promised and requested by most of you, I’ll be sharing some tips on the other aspect of the challenge – taking pictures. 🙂

Flatlay Tips for Artworks

Being a blogger for more than 6 years now has trained my standards on photography. And you might ask – what’s so important about taking pictures of artworks? Let the art speak for itself. WRONG. I really believe that photos are the gateway for viewers to see your art (especially if it’s hand-drawn) in a very visually aesthetic way – so yes, photography is important.

And the best part is, you don’t need the best gadgets to make it work. I only use my smartphone; and I’ve yet to get a mirrorless camera soon. The truth is, it really is about how you see it, and how your eye for photography works. So here are 5 tips to remember while taking pictures of your own artworks – mastered (lol) over years and years of constantly chasing the golden hour, figuring out my “branding” and hunting down the best “props” for my “shoots” at my “photo studio” (it’s just a flat table. LOL). 🙂

1 Go where the (natural) light is

Call it cliché, but true: natural light is always best. I shoot almost always at around either 10AM (almost noon) or 2-3PM (before sundown). Light becomes darker at around 5PM, so be wary of your time. If you’re working, you can shoot as early as 7 or 8 (lol I used to shoot every day when I worked in corporate, at 8AM). To give you an idea, it takes around 15-30 minutes for me to produce a good shot.

Note: I’m basing this off Philippine time because it’s where I live, and the sunrise here is pretty early. 🙂

With regards to lighting, try to shoot near a window. Or outside your house. Unless you want dramatic lighting (e.g. shadows), shooting in a well-lit area is important to make sure the vibrancy of your artwork is seen in the photo. Speaking of dramatic lighting, use a makeshift reflector to reduce shadows. I use a blank A4 sketch pad to attract light (an example can be found on the photo below – left) and keep my work away from too much shadows.

Choose the right props & surface for your artwork

The easiest props can be art materials, for obvious reasons. Another tip: try to use paint or palettes that are similar to the color in your artworks. It helps create the tone for your overall photo. Other props can be clips, ephemera, postcards, plants, and other themed objects that can be injected in your work (e.g. if it’s travel-themed, you can add tickets, a small globe, etc).

Note: This is such an OC tip, but, some papers don’t have the same color (cream, ivory, or white). Please make sure the papers in your photo have the same color. 🙂

As for surfaces – I have a few tiles here (you can get some at the home depot) and wood surfaces, as well as patterned paper that I use so I rotate. If you like to keep it white, get a big illustration board. Only because I don’t want to use the same surface over and over (I’m obviously not a creature of habit, lol). If you have a nicely lit table, go with that as well. You can also use dark surfaces to help bring out your artwork more.

Note: Please, don’t use your floor. I know a floor when I see one – you can always use other surfaces like your table. You are excused if your floor doesn’t look like a floor. 🙂

Focus on the subject – then add as you go along

There are two ways of taking photos of artworks – either just the artwork itself (close-up: very effortless and less time-consuming), or the artwork with surrounding materials (full frame: takes longer to set up but looks more of a shot than just “art”). I tend to do full frame because I keep my Instagram account a photo-based one; rather than just dumping all my art there. But remember, focus on the subject. The artwork should take up around 70% of the whole photo. This is important to note because we want the artwork to be the central point of the photo, not your new set of brush pens or a very bold background. Heh. 🙂

Take as much pictures as you can.

Fun fact: that set-up above was in Intramuros. LOL desperate times.

Anyway, I take as much photos as I can to make sure I get the right shot. Check out a few samples below.


Ok, so usually it’s more than what you see here. I take around 20-25 safety shots and rotate my angle (left, center, right). My flatlay is always described as a “creative mess” so if you notice with most of my photos, I never keep it straight and center (but that’s just me). We all have our own preferences so whichever your instinct tells you…go with it. 🙂

Warning: There might be instances where you might have to bend extensively or stand on chairs to take a proper flatlay shot.

This is totally normal. Just…don’t do it too much in public. 🙂


Minimal editing is always best

Ok, lastly, let’s go to editing. Once you’ve chosen your shot, here’s a tip: don’t edit it too much, especially if lighting looks okay.

I edit using VSCO (Visual Supply Co) only because 1) My grid is organized inside my app; 2) I have specific filters that I use for my photos (they are always muted and film-like) and 3) I’ve gotten used to editing with this app. My filters are A6, A7 or E5 then I edit the brightness and contrast, as well as saturation (-1 hehe). For lettering or detailed work, add sharpen to your editing. Keeps things clearer. And then when I upload on Instagram, I do more minimal editing if I need to.

So, that’s basically it! I hope this helped in one way or another with your future posts about my challenge. If you have more tips, feel free to comment and share in this post!

See you at our Art Sale!

On another note, we hope to see you next Friday at our Art Sale in QC!



EVERYTHING MUST GO! was the motivation behind this collaborative art sale between me, Tippy & Alessa. We love art supplies, we love our books and magazines…but a lot are starting to catch dust in our respective workspaces. I’ve been itching to sell the extra papers I have here (mostly purchased from travels), as well as extra travel ephemera (like postcards, notebooks, etc) I got from my trips last year. What better way to sell them than at an art-themed garage sale? 🙂

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Above are some of the stuff I’ll be selling – some brand new, some pre-loved. Art materials (brushes, markers, pens, paints), old books at discounted prices, and selected bundles of magazines. These will all be discounted to P100, P300 and P500 prices so it’s definitely a big bargain!

We’ll also sell some of our own merch at the art sale. Aside from that, we artists will be there (get to bond with us ~resident salesladies~ for the day) for the whole event (4-8PM) at Merkanto, a food hub, located at 38 Mayaman Street, QC. Hope you can drop by! See you there! 🙂

To end this post, I hope you have a great May ahead. Hopefully the heat dies down soon too. Lolz.

Best, Abbey