15. Rio Katipunan, 29
Rio Katipunan’s calligraphy journey first started out as a hobby when she was still a student. But after the birth of her firstborn in 2012, she revisited her passion through designing family albums, children’s parties, and artworks for friends until she eventually turned it into a small business venture.
Now, this mother of two makes plenty of products—from gift tags, cards, and cake toppers to banners, envelopes, and invitations. She even made her own washi tape and Christmas wrappers!
“I’d like to describe [my art style] as Simple and Personal, and as much as possible, unique in all or some ways. I always try to get the preferences of my clients and mix them with my ideas to make it like a personal collaboration among us,” she shares.
14. Joy Eliza Luga, 26
Joy Luga shares that she started calligraphy in late 2014 after her father passed away. At the time, while unemployed, she was inspired by known Filipino hand-letterer Abbey Sy’s works and convinced herself to try it out herself.
“I thought to myself: I think I can do this. Kung kaya niya, kaya ko rin. (If she can do it, so can I.) I wanted to make something beautiful,” she recounts. “I only wanted to try and see what I can do. I explored for the love of art and letters and after almost 5 years, it has become a part of what I am.”
Joy describes her art style as “whimsically loose,” mirroring how she felt at the moment. Her go-to tool is the brush pen because, according to her, it was the easiest and most convenient medium to use. “I love unsaturated colors because I find them calming and I add flourishes to make it fancy,” she adds.
Outside of the art world, Joy is a full-time Technology and Livelihood Education teacher based in Makati, teaching Home Economics and Entrepreneurship.
13. Jenny Lyn Lopez, 26
Ever since Jenny Lopez was a kid, she has always wanted to be an artist. “But art seemed not to love me back,” she notes. “I don’t know how to draw and aside from cutting papers, I don’t know any other way to create something that can be called an art.”
After the stress of working in the country’s top auditing firm got to her, she found solace in a friend who did calligraphy.
“[I] got amazed because I know that she struggled in calligraphy before and now she can do it well,” she shares. “I asked her to take me into a workshop (where she learned) and the rest is history.”
She spent the years since then practicing, attending classes, and investing in materials to be confident enough to share her work. Now, she has taught calligraphy to over 300 students and manages her art business The After Seven! “Who knew stress can lead to passion discovery?” she gushes.
When she isn’t making art with papers and pens, Jenny works as an accountant. She shares: “Whenever I teach my students, I always encourage them to find time in doing what they love. There are lots of excuses in this world but as they say, if you love it, you’ll find time for it.”
12. Ian “Taipan” Lucero, 31
Taipan Lucero began his journey in calligraphy when he worked as a designer in Japan in late 2015. “I was required to take up Shodo (Japanese calligraphy) to understand their aesthetics and design / artistic philosophies. Through practicing Shodo, I experienced first hand the incredible love and respect the Japanese show for their culture. This inspired me to start CalligraFilipino,” he shares.
CalligraFilipino, Taipan’s self-developed style of calligraphy, showcases our ancestral scripts such as Baybayin, Badlit, Surat Mangyan, among others, interpreted in an art style that promotes our traditional cultural elements such as the Lingling-o fertility charm of the Ifugao, the Okir of the Maranao, and the Pintados patterns of the Visayas region, and many more.
Taipan says that his aim, through CalligraFilipino, is to help ignite a cultural renaissance and a renewed interest and love for our culture.
He mentions Abdulmari Imao, Venazir Martinez, Jano Gonzales, and Mar Rios as his inspiration to create artworks that highlight traditional Filipino culture, while Arturo Luz, Hernando Ocampo, and Jose Joya inspire him in terms of design, abstracts, and colors. But he credits visual artist and arts professor Aman Santos to be the figure who guided him in starting and improving his craft.
11. Chloe Arun, 32
Chloe Arun started doing calligraphy three years ago but was immersed in drawing and lettering since grade school.
“The incorporation of my passion for the arts at an early age made me appreciate how beautiful and diverse art is. During one of my memorable trips last 2016, I chanced upon a framed calligraphy piece hanged inside a coffee shop. My interest piqued as I was looking for an immediate outlet to express myself during those down moments of my life,” she shares.
Currently, she’s a children’s book illustrator, a seasoned calligrapher for weddings, and an art teacher conducting free workshops during youth outreaches.
Her style is described as quirky and colorful letterforms with a 3D effect using watercolors and brush markers. Recently, she’s been having fun doing digital illustrations of bible verses with calligraphy on it which reflects her passion as a volunteer worship leader and a preacher at kids church on Sundays.
10. John Misael V. Villanueva, 32
John Villanueva knew at an early age of 12 or 13 that he had a passion for calligraphy, typography, font design, and hand-lettering. However, it was only five years ago when he started attending calligraphy workshops which eventually got him started in his lettering career.
“The first workshop I attended was Patrick Cabral’s Gothic Calligraphy workshop.,” he notes. “I wasn’t aware during that time that my classmates that day were Philippines calligraphy stars. I was in the same room with Fozzy, Anina, Geli Balcrus, Richelle Macapagal. That was insane! That started my letter-related career which landed me to my font designing gig for Stanley Black&Decker.”
Describing his art style, John says that he usually bases his designs on vintage Filipino letter art forms—from the jeepney signboards, elementary school gardens’ lettering, to the ‘Bawal Magtapon ng Basura Dito‘ signages. “And I like creating Baybayin fonts in different styles,” he adds.
Currently, John works as a freelance typeface designer working for different clients abroad. But when he finds himself outside, he is usually on the hunt for different letterforms that he could use as inspiration for his next font design.
9. Kat Santos-Yutani, 31
Kat Santos-Yutani is a calligrapher and illustrator who creates a lot of fun and whimsical art pieces that any Filipino millennial would find super relatable. Her art journey began in 2014 with hand-lettering before eventually discovering pointed pen calligraphy. After buying a lot of supplies, she read books, scoured the internet for tips, and practiced, practiced, practiced!
Fast forward to today and she serves lots of clients both local and foreign while sharing her awesome art on her Instagram account.
At the moment, she’s into modern calligraphy, especially since most of her work is now done digitally on the iPad. Her page also features more illustrations than calligraphy because, as she explains, “I’ve always liked to draw, and drawing people, especially, comes most natural to me, so sometimes I draw portraits of people whose faces I love, like Kiko Mizuhara and Yū Aoi, and more recently, V of BTS.”
8. Nico Ng, 29
Nico Ng started dabbling in calligraphy in 2014 after getting inspired by fellow calligraphy and hand lettering artists. “I thought that it’ll be great for me to learn something new so that I can offer more services to my clients as a freelance graphic designer,” he shares.
Describing his art style, Nico says: “My brush lettering style developed over time after exploring and trying different ways on how to write each letter. Others describe my style as balanced and flowy-but-not-too-feminine. My go-to colors are black, white and gold. And I love finishing my work with flourishes and decorating my lettering with my own leaf and floral illustration style.”
His biggest inspirations are Stefan Kunz and Gemma O’Brien whose works motivate him to constantly think outside the box and maintain a level of quality for each work that he creates.
Aside from doing calligraphy, Nico also travels, teaches brush lettering and calligraphy workshops internationally, and also creates useful, functional products on the side. His product, The Composition Ruler which is a lettering tool designed to help you create beautiful lettering compositions easily and accurately, is now being sold in stores internationally.
7. Liana Sun, 25
Liana Sun first started doing calligraphy back in 2014 through a typography class she had when she was a junior in college. Having been introduced to calligraphy and lettering during that year, she could only describe it as “love at first stroke.”
“What inspired me to pursue this craft is the fact that I can express myself through illustrating letters. Calligraphy was also booming at that time and I see Insta-famous artists earning money through calligraphy so it pushed me to better my craft. Eventually, it landed me with different career opportunities and I haven’t stopped since then,” she shares.
In describing her art style, she says: “My art style is very close to who I am as a person, it’s very bright, colorful, cutesy and cartoony. I would often get comments that my works are happy and radiate positivity.” Her style also stands out for the different shading techniques she uses to add more depth and life to her works.
Currently, she teaches at Ateneo De Manila University as a part-time professor for digital design studio and typography. She has also worked part-time with Acidhouse under Hydra Design Group and And A Half design studio.
6. Jelvin Base
Jelvin Base shares that he started getting himself into lettering and calligraphy back in 2013. During that time, one of his primary goals was to broaden his knowledge in typography and so he explored analog techniques in his works.
“I don’t really have a specific look or feel but if I were to describe my style, it’s a series of well crafted readable and legible letters that fit the context of the projects I’m working on,” he says.
Apart from calligraphy, Jelvin juggles day jobs and freelance work that’s focused on web development, interface design, user experience, and product development. “It’s not too far away from what I’m doing with my personal brand but you wouldn’t expect someone from the world of computer science to do lettering and calligraphy,” he adds.