A lot of people seem to underestimate the time, effort, and passion it takes to be a hand-lettering artist. While it’s true that it’s an art anyone can do on their own, it takes a whole lot more than drawing chunky alphabets and scriptwriting with brush pens. Take, for example, these hand-lettering artists who have taken years of dedicated practice to perfect their art and are honing their skills even further. If you’re thinking of pursuing this craft, let their stories inspire you!
20. Darlene Antonio, 23
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? When I was 10, I had a cousin who [was fond of] creating hand-letters and doodles on a paper. Astonished, I asked her to teach me. Since then, I discovered that this art fuels me as my passion.
When I started sharing my work on social media, few people would see my work and I felt their appreciation. That drives me to do more and more. Then [I started getting] paid requests. I realized that this art could be useful not only to me but [to everyone else].
Describe to us your art style. I could describe my art style as a “free form” design, hand-lettering using pen and watercolor as a medium and adding some doodle-like botanical line drawing.
Which artist/s do you look up to? Anina Rubio, June Digan, Lauren Hom, and Stefan Kunz
19. Syril Bobadilla, 28
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I started doing lettering way back in grade school. My classmates would ask me to make letterings of their names. I was almost always the class secretary as far as I can remember just because they loved my handwriting. I have always loved art that when I got to college, I took up Multimedia Arts in [De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde] where I got to learn more about typography.
Describe to us your art style. My art style is modern and playful. I like to experiment with different colors, styles, and type. I think I can say that I was never a minimalist. I always try to add a little more with my works and try to make them fun.
Which artist/s do you look up to? I look up to Lauren Hom, Gemma O’Brien, Markus Magnusson and local artists like Risa Rodil and John Ed De Vera.
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I currently work as a motion graphic designer so I’m into animation and enjoy creating explainer videos as well. I also love to watch Netflix during my free time.
18. Lyanne Sy, 18
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? Whenever I am bored, I would watch random videos on Instagram. One day while scrolling through my feed, I stumbled upon a video about calligraphy. I was fascinated by it and decided to give it a try. I tried every style I saw and tried my best to improve on them. I never envisioned myself doing calligraphies and letterings, for I used to have poor penmanship when I was younger. My teachers would often scold me because of it. However, my bad handwriting did not stop me from doing what I am interested in but motivated me to work harder and practice more instead. Aside from that, my family and friends are also the reason for how far my calligraphy and lettering journey has been. If not because of their constant support and motivation, I would have long stopped doing calligraphies and letterings.
Describe to us your art style. My art style is Brush lettering. For my signature style, mine was emphasized on colorful lettering with bubble and stars effect. I used multiple brush pens to create an ombre look per letter.
Which artist/s do you look up to? I was inspired by Jasmine, my close friend, who is naturally talented in calligraphy and this motivated me to create more works. Also, my biggest inspirations were Skribsinner and Argoos Letters who inspired me that there are different lettering styles other than script.
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I’m currently a student taking up BS Entrepreneurship and started running a sticker business “Stickerroutemnl” with my friend selling memes, calligraphy and fan arts and many more.
17. Paula Dazo, 27
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I’ve been into arts since I was young but I only realized my love for lettering and calligraphy when I was already in college. My notebooks in class were my first avenue for it. And when a friend gave me a sketch notebook for my 18th birthday, I found myself filling it with letterings of bible verses. I tried sharing my works on social media, and I realized that it was a great way to inspire and encourage people. Since then, my passion and love for it only grew over time.
Describe to us your art style. I wouldn’t say that I really have a specific art style. I love trying out new techniques and experimenting on colors. My home base, however, will always be brush calligraphy. It’s my first love and it’s the technique I’m most comfortable with.
Which artist/s do you look up to? I follow many artists whose works really give me the inspiration to create, but I would say that the first one who became my go-to when I was still starting this journey is @abbeysy. Nowadays, I also do murals, to which I get my inspiration from the pages of various artists like @aninarubio, @stefankunz, @chalkandbrush and @ladieswhopaint.
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I’m currently working as a full-time artist- holding calligraphy workshops in different areas in Mindanao, doing calligraphy for events (mostly weddings), and painting murals for different stores in the Philippines. When I’m not too busy with my work as a visual artist, I also work as an assistant, a writer, and in rare times, a shooter for a videography team during weddings and other events. It’s a great avenue to refresh my mind, still, in a creative way.
16. John Carl Lastimosa, 25
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I started doing lettering consistently in 2014 when I got involved and became part of the Creative Team in our local church. But way back my childhood days, I already enjoy doing doodles and drawing. Lettering entered my interest when I once saw a lettering book guide from my brother’s art collection. Since then, I got fascinated by different letterforms and logos I’ve seen from the said book and on the streets. By observing the letters, I love how the styles bring life to a simple word or brand.
Being part of the Creative Team ministry is the starting point where I’m inspired to share my talent through serving and spreading life to people. I also met artsy friends along the way and we created groups in my hometown (Gensan Calligraphers and The Artists) that helps me improve my craft. By creating attractive letters, it draws public attention by adding beauty to surroundings or platform, and at the same time sharing love, encouragement, faith, and hope through art.
Describe to us your art style. My art style varies from time to time depending on how my imagination works. But recently, I enjoy doing fancy colorful letterings that are inspired by digital typography [that make my] hand-made lettering look like digital. Of these are 3D, drip, liquid, distorted, and my trendy Glitch letterings.
Which artist/s do you look up to? Stefan Kunz, Stephane Lopes, El Juantastico, Snooze One, Ben Johnston, Ritchie Type, Gloss Black
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I am an Accountant by profession and doing lettering is my side passion. Lettering became my relief from work stress, negativities, or simply boredom. Logos, stage designing, and chalk and glass mirror letterings in restaurants are my biggest projects so far. Aside from lettering, watching anime and KPop videos keeps me active.
15. Ron Lascano, 27
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I started way back in 2015. I remember seeing my best friend’s pen collection and got fascinated with her brush pens so I started to buy my first ever brush pen and started learning it from videos and posts from different calligraphers.
Describe to us your art style. I do a combination of traditional brush pen calligraphy and digital calligraphy.
Which artist/s do you look up to? For foreign artists, I really admire @stefankunz and @ianbarnard’s styles and works. And for the local artists, I am really into @nic_the_’s works.
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I am a registered and licensed Architect by profession, and I also enjoy doing Graphic designs, Illustrations (@thruthelines), and Branding Identity.
14. Andrew Mendoza
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I started out playing around with letters in my notes since elementary and I would also try to join slogan making competitions although I didn’t always win. But I was really able to pursue lettering as a hobby when I created my Instagram account and started posting in January 2016. The Instagram art and lettering community is just so full of many inspirational and gorgeous artworks and very friendly people. I really appreciated the validation I was receiving and the encouragement I got in forms of commissions and gifts from friends and family that support my interest, and those were mainly what pushed me to keep creating.
Describe to us your art style. I used to be very frustrated about not having an “art style” like the artists I admire on social media. But, as I made more art through the years, so far I’ve grown to love doing brush lettering and scripts. I mostly use watercolor or brush pens because I like how I can just “go with the flow” and relax instead of thinking too much when I’m creating because that’s what making art should be about. I like to do watercolor backgrounds to really give color to my work and add some splashes and sparkles and other flourishes as well. I think what I like most about my art is when I get to flatlay them and be able to share them in a presentable manner that hopefully justifies how much I appreciate the pieces I make and how I wish others would too.
Which artist/s do you look up to? As of now, my favorite local artists are June Digan, Kitty Jardenil, Abbey Sy, JM Quiling, and the people at Ink Scribbler.
International ones are Stefan Kunz, Lauren Hom, and Orawan Siripin.
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I’m looking forward to graduating from high school this May 2020. Afterward, I’m looking forward to accepting commissions again and doing projects like murals, selling merch in art fairs, and hosting workshops. Right now, I really want to practice other creative skills and the first thing that comes to mind is urban sketching and improvement in watercolor painting and illustration in general.
13. Andy Mercado, 22
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I was really into arts since I was a kid, I used to join “Poster Making” Contest but I’m not really into it since I think art is just a form of a hobby back then. Then during my stay in college, one of my friends taught me how to paint and do calligraphy arts. It became a hobby until it came to a point where I explore other art styles and mediums.
Describe to us your art style. Currently, I am fond of creating a combination of whimsical portraiture and hand-lettering, sometimes I do acrylic one eye painting. Mostly with bright and pastel color pallets.
Which artist/s do you look up to? Some of my artspirations are June Digan (for her jaw-dropping hand-lettering artworks), Marie Lama (for her cute style in portraiture), Anina Rubio (for her love of nature and of-course for her awesome watercolor floral work) and lastly Abbey Sy, the first artist who inspired me to pursue my fondness in making calligraphy art.
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? People always ask me if I’m doing my craft full-time (I hope so) but I actually am working for an e-commerce company for almost 2 years now. It’s quite challenging but since making art is my first love, I always try to make time for it. Well apart from art, I am so into taking photos and post it on my social media accounts which I think is also helpful to boost my visibility in Art Scene.
12. JM Quiling, 23
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I started doing some lettering on my daily Bible journaling back in 2014. By the year 2016, my world got bigger as I met new people who also into letter arts. One of them is my mentor, Kuya Chris Bakunawa, founder of the Calligraphy Hub, who invited me to become one of their demonstrators. That was the first time I witnessed an actual capsule class and also my first exposure as a letterer. As time [went] by, I got addicted to drawing letters and illustrations and explored different styles and mediums. My desire to spread encouragement, joy, and seeing other great people doing it as well inspires me to keep on doing what I do.
Describe to us your art style. I find it hard to describe my own work. Though I always wanted it to be something extraordinary content-wise. Some people describe it as witty, funny, colorful and creative as I usually play around with words. I want my work to make people smile, engaging and relatable.
Which artist/s do you look up to? Among the locals, I admire the works of Patrick Cabral, Celvic Villacorta, Gian Carlo Wong, June Digan and Kerby Rosanes. When it comes to international, the works of Stefan Kunz are legendary!
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? For two years now I’ve been conducting calligraphy and lettering workshops on different places, schools, and even institutions with The Calligraphy Hub. Last year, I and other calligraphy/hand lettering artists shared our craft to cancer patients and even oncologists on an event called Silver Lining.
Now, I am a part-time freelance artist who works with different clients, mostly on weddings and other similar events. I also paint dogs and monograms for the Leather Studio Manila.
I certainly believe that this passion for writing and drawing is God-given. For me, to write is to worship and to draw is to draw myself and other people closer to our Creator.
11. Gian Solamo, 29
When did you start and what inspired you to pursue this craft? I started doing hand lettering at a young age. My father used to hand letter my projects for school, he was really good. that was the time when I got interested to try and do it on my own. In 2015, I tried to learn different calligraphy styles but eventually found my niche in hand lettering.
Describe to us your art style. During my stint as a publication designer in Bangkok, I was able to explore and use different styles in lettering and typography. I used different tools; pens, brushes, even sculpting letters or using food as a tool to create letterforms.
I think most of my published works on Instagram are retro scripts or wild brush scripts. I consider it as my go-to art style.
Which artist/s do you look up to? Mark Van Leeuwen, Nick Misani, Ricardo Gonzalez, TYRSA Alexis
Anything about yourself you’d like to add, like other hobbies, jobs, and passions? I am currently managing my own business. Grafiknine Creative Space is a Print cafe and mini co-working space for designers, makers, crafters, etc. It’s also a venue for workshops and design talks. I also teach part-time in UP Cebu (Graphic Design class).