Studio Tour: Abbey Sy

Since the Katipunan Art Festival, I found a renewed love for taking photos and I suddenly remembered why I really love blogging in the first place.  Aside from sharing comics and personal stories now and then, I enjoy being able to freeze a few moments in time through photos.

Since that day we had a tour of the Plus 63 HQ, I told myself that I shall do a few more studio tours (hopefully including mine) before I give birth. 🙂  A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Wildwood store and just the other day, I was at Abbey Sy’s place.
Abbey Sy Brushes & Palettes

Last year, I finally met Abbey in one of them crafting events after seeing her name countless times on Instagram.  But, we were usually at the opposite ends of the table and I was always hesitant to approach her as I might be invading her privacy if I did.

Abbey Sy Studio Tour

I always thought of Abbey as a really quiet person as I would always find her sitting in one corner, tinkering with her phone.  Fast forward to a year later, I found myself laughing and chatting while working with this young lady.  I don’t know how many hours we’ve spent so far going through a whole rollercoaster of emotions while trying to tackle multiple deadlines.  Sometimes, I wish there was a camera to document all the candid moments! 🙂

Faber Castell Pitt Pens

Abbey’s workspace effortlessly reflects her desaturated palette and the photo above is my attempt at recreating my range of colors in her attic.  Close, but not quite. Haha. 

So, where did it start? Last year, we were supposed to have a watercolor hangout slash bonding session but it ended up to be a lengthy talk about projects and what we do in general.  She shared with me 2014 bazaar, project and retail efforts while juggling a corporate job and I thought to myself, “Wow, this girl is really doing her homework.”

ABC's of Hand Lettering Page

Above: One of the pages for the ABCs of Hand Lettering that didn’t make it but still is one of my personal favorites. 🙂

Abbey Sy Abbey RoadWith so much bias for colors, the work above is also one of my favorite pages from the book.  I usually refer to the O as the “bone font”. 🙂 

So far, from the people I’ve met in my life, one thing that really sets her apart is that she keeps on working on her dreams.  She makes things happen for herself be it a personal project or a blog content.  I usually find myself writing goals now and then and forgetting to act on them.  One the other hand,  Abbey is type whom, if you share an idea with her, she’ll respond with “Let’s work on it? When?”   She also doesn’t stop there.  Once you’ve agreed on a deadline, she will follow up on it.

Abbey Sy Reference Books
Coincidentally, her attitude towards her craft is also reflected in her choice of books.  One thing I noticed about her references & inspiration is that they’re mostly call to actions and mantras.

Show your work!
Fortune favors the brave.
Amazing things will happen.
Maximize your potential.
Steal like an artist!

I looked at my set of reference books just a few weeks back & I noticed that mine were mostly just a bunch of adjectives and nouns. Lol.

ABCs of Hand Lettering Blue & Red PageAbove: Another one of them raw pages from the ABCs of Hand Lettering.  It looks so polished to the point that it’s as if it’s just been printed.

Abbey Sy Focus Inspire

Earlier this year, she shared with us that she was coming out with a book which now a best-seller, The ABCs of Hand Lettering.  I silently witnessed her work on her this during the summer.  Honestly, during that time, my first trimester pregnancy hormones were kicking in and I was pretty much asleep half of the time. Hehe. 😀  But, I must say, I admired her for her tenacity & perseverance.  It was no easy task to be creating multiple alphabets, writing, thinking about what to share on the book and such!  I guess that’s why a lot of people look up to her.

ABCs of Hand Lettering

Abbey Sy Lettering 2013 2014 2015

She also constantly strives to improve on her work.  Above are her lettering samples from 2013 up to present.  She emphasizes that people should aim for progression not perfection.

Abbey Sy Lettering Lay-outs in PencilOne of the things that I wanted to shoot when I was planning the studio tour are her drafts. I don’t know if people realize how much time actually goes into planning the palette and lay-out, coming up with options, trying different styles of letters before the seemingly effortless final output is produced!
Explorers in Pursuit

Abbey Sy Make Your Mark

After plotting the words with pencil, paint, ink or both are carefully applied to the paper.  I’m used to doing mostly digital work be it with photos and lay-outs with a bigger leeway for errors so I really admire people who do things mostly by hand!  Waahh.

Collins Gem Calligraphy

Above is a handy reference given to her by her high school friend way before she started with lettering in 2008.  Maybe her friend has ESP! *Abbey is just in front of me and I’m confirming details of this blog post as I type them in. Lol.*

Abbey Sy Good Things Take Time Swift

Abbey Sy Quotes

Aside from her penchant for writing quotes and painting letters, she also has a deep love for traveling and documenting them.  She shares that her debut was even travel-themed and that globe above was one of the props so are the stamps on the box below which are leftovers from invites.  This is the reason why she has a moment collecting workshopAbbey Sy Stamps & Cactus

07 Travel Diaries IMG_0260Below: Some travel memorabilia from Singapore.  Of course, one of the first things that my eyes were attracted to was this tiny ticket that has the word D-A-N-C-E on it.

Travel Details

I don’t know how to end the blog post without putting some cliche-sounding final paragraph but I’m really grateful to have met Abbey.  I always forget that we’re not the same age until she starts using “Yass” “Lelz” and other millennial expressions that I’m slowly assimilating into my own vocabulary so that hopefully, I’ll sound pretty hip and update when I talk to my son in the future.  Hehe. 🙂 Also, I noticed that I tend to absorb the energy of the people around me and so far, she has inspired me to just keep the ball rolling even when I’m stuck with a design or a project. Yes, even when I feel like my soul is weeping and about to give up!  #OhTheDrama

Abbey Sy Instagram

With all the hard work that she puts into what she’s doing from her actual lettering work to the social media behind-the-scenes, I believe she deserves all the opportunities that came her way.

Abbey Sy Workspace

Thanks Abbey for letting me crash your studio!  I haven’t laughed this much and this often in such a long time!  Who would have thought that the quiet girl in the room would be one of the most candid and funny people I’ll ever meet? 😀

Here’s to more brainstorming & sabaw zombie moments! 🙂

Tipsy ♥

P.S. Check out Abbey Sy on:
Instagram: @AbbeySy
Twitter: @AbbeySy

Sign up for one of Abbey Sy’s Lettering workshops here.  Her upcoming schedules are as follows:

November 15, Firsts: A Basic Hand Lettering Workshop, 11am-2pm
November 21, Firsts:A Basic Hand Lettering Workshop, 10am-1pm
December 13, Seconds: An Advanced Hand Lettering Workshop, 1-4pm


Her book the ABCs of Hand Lettering is available at all major bookstores nationwide while her Lettering Progress Keeper is available in all branches of National Bookstore.

If you’d like to see more of her workspace, check out her Design Sponge feature.

P.P.S. For those who are wondering how I was able to do a shoot with my 8-month preggy belly, the challenge really was how to do away with flat lay-outs since I can’t stand on chairs or pick up stuff frequently from the floor. Here’s how I did it.  Well, what can I say?  I’m effortlessly awkward. 😀
Shooting Abbey Sy's Studio

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La Union Weekend
Katipunan Art Festival in Photos
Googly Travels: La Union & Malaysia
Lettering Workshops
A Colorful Havaianas Filipinas Launch

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Shannelle C
8 years ago

Your photography is so pretty! I’m loving all the shots with Abbey in the background, and it’s all so, so beautiful! I’m heading over to read the Wildwood one.

8 years ago

Oh the things we do for blogging. Haha! I am in love with Abbey’s space and I’m sure I’m not the only one jealous of her penmanship. LOL. I’d love to see your studio too Tippy! Also, blog layout upgrades! Woot woot! Although, I’d miss Tipsy and Ponggo and the ‘mouse over’ effects. 🙂

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