1. Why ABC?
ABC is a play on my name, Abbey Sy.
2. What’s your course in college? When did you graduate?
I studied BS Advertising Management in De La Salle University-Manila and graduated last June 2014.
3. Is this your full-time career? How did you become who you are now?
Yes, I am currently self-employed. Prior to this, I worked in the advertising industry as a strategic planner. I’ve also ran my own online shop during my college days. What I am now is a mix of hard work and persistence into finding what I really want to do and making it work for me.
4. How did you learn lettering / calligraphy?
I am a self-taught lettering artist. Early on, I knew I had a fascination with signages and typefaces, having inherited my mom’s handwriting skills. Coincidentally, I was a consistent penmanship and Chinese calligraphy awardee during my younger years. I’ve been drawing all my life, but it’s during college when I ventured into hand lettering – after transitioning and trying out different art forms (photography, writing, illustration etc). Although I never had any formal training, I spent most of my off-time from school drawing and posting on my blog. This served as a training ground for me to eventually grow and find my own style.
5. How did you learn watercolor painting?
I learned watercolor painting when I was 9. At that time, I used to paint a lot of food and still life elements. Eventually, I decided to pick up the medium during my college years as a form of therapy – little did I know I would actually use it for most of my work as a lettering artist.
6. How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging since 2006 and I’ve moved from Xanga, Multiply, Blogger, Tumblr to WordPress (my current site). My childhood loot was composed of journals and diaries, and I guess that’s also why I’ve always kept my blog up and running – I loved documenting my daily experiences and sharing them to others.
1. What materials do you use for lettering?
Pencils for drafts (doesn’t matter what brand)
Fineliners & markers for black & white work (permanent ink)
Watercolors for colored work (lightfast)
2. What brands of paint and brushes do you use? And where can I get them?
Paint: Holbein, Winsor and Newton, Schmincke, Daler & Rowney – these are all high-grade brands. For beginners, try Prang or Faber-Castell.
Brushes: I use synthetic brushes and they range from #000 to #4 (brands vary).
3. What papers do you use for lettering?
Drafts: Dotted paper
Ink: 60-80GSM paper
Watercolor: Cold-pressed 270-300GSM paper (Langton, Arches, Daler & Rowney, Canson)
4. What notebooks do you use for journaling / brainstorming / travel illustrating?
Journaling: Hobonichi for daily spreads and Midori MD Notebook for daily sketches.
Brainstorming: Passport Size Traveler’s Notebook for all my ideas / social media work / project brainstorming
Travel Illustrating: Moleskine medium sized watercolor pad for art in transit.
5. What art books can you recommend?
A lot! You can check out the following posts:
For the love of good books: http://artistic-dreams.com/mibf2015/
Book Recommendations http://artistic-dreams.com/abc-lettering-books/
6. Where do you buy your art books?
Mostly in Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong. Some here at local bookstores if I’m lucky.
7. What camera do you use?
Canon 500D / SX 700 or iPhone 6Plus. Mostly my iPhone because I have yet to get a mirrorless camera.
8. What apps and filters do you use for your photos?
I use VSCO with A6 / A7 / E5 filters (it varies) and I still edit it manually to my liking.
9. How do you edit your travel photos?
10. Where do you print your photos?
I use a Canon Selphy printer for journaling and printing photos.
1. Do you teach beginners?
Yes, most of my classes are catered to beginners or to those who haven’t tried lettering yet.
2. Do you teach workshops outside of Metro Manila?
On some occasions, yes. If you would like to inquire a possible workshop outside Manila, feel free to e-mail me so we can further discuss it.
3. Can we book a workshop with you for a private group or event?
For private workshops/events, it will depend on my schedule for the month. Please email me so we can discuss rates and availability.
4. Can I get a refund if I don’t make it to the workshop?
Once you pay for your slot, it is considered sold and is non-refundable.
5. How many slots are there in a workshop?
It varies, but there are limited slots so reservations are on a first come, first serve basis. Also, if you don’t pay within the given deadline, your slot will be given to someone else. The class is usually around 15-18 students.
6. How long do the workshops usually last?
The duration is 3-4 hours depending on the workshop.
7. Where are the workshops conducted?
Workshops are usually conducted around Makati, BGC, and QC. Sometimes outside Metro Manila, depending on the schedules.
8. What can we expect from the workshops?
Lots of fun exercises and activities, new friends (your classmates!) and new learnings. And you get to take home a kit full of goodies and materials.
1. I want to work with you. What services do you offer?
I also work on books and editorials: I wrote a book called The ABCs of Hand Lettering and I created artworks for Bianca Gonzalez’s book Paano Ba To. At times, I also create art for editorials and publications.
On the side, I do freelance art direction and content creation. I also partner with brands I truly believe in, as well as businesses that inspire me to grow and become better. Apart from that, I also give talks on creativity and pursuing your passion.
2. What are your rates?
My rate cards vary in terms of project weight, timelines, and deliverables needed. You may e-mail me for further discussions regarding this matter.
3. Are you open to collaborative work?
It depends on my schedule and capability to pursue other projects apart from my current line of work.
4. What’s your creative process like?
Brainstorm – draft – create. Everything starts with a pencil and paper, and lots of research & strategy work. As much as possible, I try to make sure 80% of the problems get solved with research to make my process flow more efficient and effective.
5. I want to get in touch with you for a project. Where do I send my proposal?
1. Where can I buy your book and postcards?
Philippines: You can find a copy of my book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering, and postcards, Letters from ABC, at all major bookstores & department stores in the Philippines.
Overseas: E-book versions are available via Buqo: http://www.buqo.ph/Shop/Book/17521354-07b8-41f8-9c4d-484ad24d6a93 or Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-ABCs-Hand-Lettering-Abbey-ebook/dp/B014VZA9VY
2. I’m not from Philippines, how do I order a hard copy of your book?
You may order at the shop. Please note that shipping is a bit more expensive. Rates will be forwarded to you once you fill up the form.
3. Do you sell your merchandise?
Yes, you may order books, postcards and other merch at the shop.
4. Will you be selling prints of your work and other merchandise?
Soon! Working on it. For now, you can get ahold of my published work.
1. I’d like to be part of your team. Are you hiring an intern or assistant?
I’m currently not hiring interns or assistants. I’ll have announcements when I do.
2. Can you give me advice on how to pursue a creative career?
I wish I could enumerate the steps but really, there is no proper process on how to pursue it. But if I were to give advice, it’s that you should always create your own opportunities and work hard to get what you want. And above all, be grateful for whatever comes your way.
(I give monthly advice on Twitter – just tweet me with the hashtag #AskAbbeySy and I’ll try to answer your questions.)
3. How do you stay motivated?
Taking breaks – lots of it. And traveling. For me, every day is always an opportunity to create something new – that’s what motivates me to keep working and creating.
4. Any tips on staying productive and organized with work?
Have an adaptable schedule and try to keep things in order by following your own deadlines. Learn how to manage time properly and things will be in order.
5. I would like to interview you for a school project / publication / article. Do you do interviews?
It depends on my schedule and availability. You may e-mail me for more inquiries.
6. How important is finding your personal style?
I always say this during class – everyone can copy, and replicate any artwork. But that will never be your own work. Through time, your personal style will be able to find its way into your work through the colors you choose, the type of art you immerse yourself in, and your personal interests. So take time out to discover the things that make your work “you” and embrace it.