Why Calligraphy?


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I joined a group of calligraphy enthusiasts on FB, Calligraphy Spot. It’s a fun group. Everybody’s nice and accommodating, you learn a lot from the other members, and there are weekly calligraphy themes. This week’s theme is “Why Calligraphy?”, which made me wonder at my fascination with it, even if I have a love-hate relationship with it. My answer was because I love words. I like how stringing letters together make words, and stringing words together make up phrases and sentences that mean something. A physical manifestation of something as abstract as thoughts.

I really want to learn copperplate or Spencerian calligraphy, but I’m afraid that I’ve stopped and started this several times because I feel like it goes against my natural hand. I am more at ease with uncial calligraphy, block lettering, and the only kind of dikit-dikit calligraphy that I can manage through brush pens. In any case, I enjoy my attempts at calligraphy and I enjoy looking at other people’s works. I appreciate how people can make words aesthetically pleasing in many different ways using different tools.

“Family Portrait”


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Here’s something I did for my brother and sister-in-law. I wanted to give them something with a personal touch when they go home from their vacation. It’s their wedding anniversary and my husband and I are babysitting for a week. Being childless, nothing could have prepared us for the chaos of being responsible for three little kids. It’s a flurry of baby hugs, kisses, kicks, running around, picking up toys, stepping on toys, crying, laughing, etcetera etcetera. They follow us around everywhere. Like, even in the toilet. I had to learn the hard way never to close the bathroom door on a toddler.

My brother and sister-in-law are coming home tomorrow, and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed at the routines they’ve established for the children. With the very demanding careers they both have, they’re giving it their best shot.

This was a fun card to make. I should make some more for practice. ^_^ I wanted to write a quote or greeting in the middle using my brush pens but I’m too chicken. I didn’t want to redo it haha.

The Start of My Art Journal Journey


I’ve always loved writing journals. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always preferred to pouring out my thoughts on paper rather than speaking. Integrating art in my journal entry is something I’ve only recently discovered, though. I liked sketching when I was younger, but it’s an interest that I did not nurture. It was only when I joined Fountain Pen Network Philippines and became social media friends with many talented artists that my love for drawing resurfaced. Of course, you lose what you don’t use, so it feels like I’m starting from nothing again. That’s alright.🙂 I don’t mind it.

A lot of people I know are so intimidated by the talent of great artists that they don’t even act on the desire of starting an art journal. I personally believe in not resenting your own progress, no matter how slow it is. With the overabundance of ugliness in the world (especially on the internet), contributing your voice in the form of art and other hobbies is not a bad thing.

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I learned that I like to combine words and pictures. The photo above is a rough sketch about the great protest march at Selma. I wrote my thoughts down about the movie after we watched it. It takes longer to finish a journal entry, but it’s so worth it afterwards.

Calligraphy is also something that I just recently discovered. Integrating calligraphy with art is so much fun. My journal is a hodge podge of pure text, text and drawings, alibata brushwork, drawings and calligraphy, photos, clippings, etcetera etcetera. It’s not a neat catalog of watercolor paintings or pen and ink sketches. It’s imperfect and ink-stained, crumpled and cramped, and it brings me so much happiness.

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After all, isn’t that the whole point? Each day in our life is different, anyway. I’d like my art journals to reflect that. Each day is a new adventure, a blank page waiting to be filled.

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If you’re thinking about starting your own art journal, I hope this nudges you to the right direction.🙂 Do it. Do it today, with whatever art supplies you have and make your pages even more vibrant and meaningful to you than they already are. Art is❤

Custom Size TN from Sunday Leather Craft


Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I first came across Contrail notebooks earlier this year, while browsing around Powerbooks, Greenbelt. I found the covers of these pocket notebooks so vibrant and beautifully-designed. The size is also perfect for quick notes, lists, etcetera. I tried a few out to see if the paper is any good. It can stand up to medium nibs but works better with fine nibs. Brush pens are great, but parallel pens bleed through. Overall, something I’d like for just day to day notes. I never expected to like TNs. I resisted buying TNs for a while because I thought I would never adjust to anything that’s not A5 or bigger. Then I bought my first Traveler’s Notebook and the rest is history. I just love it, love everything about it. So when I came across Contrail notebooks, which are like smaller versions of the regular TN size, I thought hmmm, this would look great as a TN.  I messaged Toto of Sunday Leather Crafts and asked him to make one for me. I just gave him the size of the notebooks and the color of the leather that I prefer. A few weeks later…tada!

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

It’s super cute. I changed the elastics to the extra ones I bought for my Midori TN. The size is just right, it fits contrail pocket journals perfectly. It’s also great for when I don’t have space for my larger journals and I just want something small to bring along.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

It’s just a little longer than this Pilot Custom Heritage 92. That should give you an idea how small it is. It’s not uncomfortably small for writing, but small enough to fit in your pocket.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN You can fit in two Contrail notebooks if you want it to be slim and compact. But I prefer it on the chunky side so I fit in 4 inserts. You can actually fit in one more, probably, but that’s a bit too chunky for me. Here it is with four inserts. Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I made my own tomoe-river inserts too, based on the dimensions of the Contrail inserts. It’s so much fun carrying it around for quick sketches and calligraphy practice.

Sunday Leather Craft's Custom TN

I also love the name tag.🙂 Such a nice, personal touch. They put it in as an extra tag, in addition to the blank one. Who doesn’t like options?

All in all, I am just really happy with this TN. Sunday Leather Craft does good custom leather work. Check them out!

Same old show.


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I really thought that all the hate and poo-slinging will slow down and grind to a halt after the elections. I was wrong. It looks like it will be noisy for a while. Actually, I’m coming to terms with the possibility that this is  the new normal. To care about the sanctity of human life, to care about due process and how the loss of it is a reckless way to go about a “crusade” that has good intentions, to have a balanced view instead of an idol-worshiping attitude for the new president… all that has become very unpopular. All of a sudden, we’re surrounded with people who “want change” and are less bothered by loss of human lives. Like sharks driven crazy by the smell of blood. All of a sudden we’re surrounded  by family and friends who feel strongly about rallying around the ideal. I sometimes wonder if these people shout louder and are more offensive and boisterous about their newfound “cause” because deep in their bones they know something’s wrong about all this.

I’m not one for debates, and I think it’s foolish and self-destructive to alienate my family and friends for the sake of pushing your brand of politics (of all things) in such an aggressive and offensive way. I’ve resorted to not looking through my Facebook feed (which, with my decidedly introverted personality, was once a favorite way of keeping tabs on family and friends) because of all the ugliness in it. It’s not just the news that is ugly, it’s the attitude of people. Somehow, things have grown much worse. Filipinos have become even more divided. Many of us have lost our civility and it’s like we don’t know how to balance our views and emotions anymore. There’s a reason the terms “Dutertard” and “Yellowtard” and all the other -tards were coined (makes me cringe to even read it now), and the evidence for that is all over social media.

In the narrow-mindedness that is prevailing these days, there’s no room for reason. If addicts and pushers are brutally killed, then they got justice. If one is given due process, it means justice was not done. If you’re anti-Marcos, then you’re automatically pro-LP. If you’re not red, you’re yellow. If you’re critical of Duterte, then you’re anti-Duterte and you and your family need to die violent, inhuman deaths. If you’re against the all-out-war on drugs, then you’re in cahoots with these druggies. If you clamor for due process for these druggies, then you’re condoning the violence they have done or will do in the future. If you want some checks and balances to be placed to keep the government from exploiting their power, then you’re against the drug war. If this…then that. The one with the loudest mouth, the one who can scoop up the biggest mound of shit and sling it around without care or second thought is the winner. Winner of what, exactly? No one knows.

At the end of the day, people have pulled so violently on the already tense connections that we have with each other, and boy, it’s exhausting. Humanity is exhausting. I’m all peopled-out, honestly.

Review: Knox Galileo


Knox Galileo

To cap off my series of reviews on Knox pens, I tried out the Galileo from Everything Calligraphy. To be honest, it looked a lot like the Avicenna that I had to see them side by side to see the difference. There were a few. The Galileo is smaller, has a more streamlined design. The trims are thinner and flush against the barrel. The body is also metal, like the Avicenna and the Aristotle, although it’s lighter and smaller than either pens.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the two pens (Galileo on top, Avicenna on the bottom). The form factor is very similar. The clip on the Galileo is pretty nice, it has this shape that makes it easier to clip it through your pocket or pen case. Like the Avicenna and Aristotle, the clip on the Galileo is functional and feels sturdy.

Knox Galileo

After playing with two pen models that have very conservative colors, I’m kinda happy for the pop of colors on the Galileo pens sent to me.

Knox Galileo

That’s pretty refreshing.🙂 Like the other two models, this pen has a very comfortably-sized section. Why can’t all pens have sections this comfortable and practical? Also…two-toned nibs! ^_^ Yaaas. It makes a difference for me, aesthetically speaking. Here’s another look at that nib.

Knox Galileo

I noticed that the medium nib isn’t two-toned, though. I guess it’s random? I dunno. Anyway, in terms of performance, it’s also basically identical with the Avicenna (click here to watch the writing sample). It’s a basic, iridium-point steel nib. I like that it’s smooth and writes wet out of the box, although it has a small sweet spot and slightly rotating your grip can cause the pen to skip a little.

Overall, at P799, it’s a pretty decent writer. Those who want to get their feet wet with writing with a fountain pen would enjoy this. Affordable, no-frills, and works right out of the box.

The Knox Galileo is available at Everything Calligraphy.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a paid post.

Review: Knox Aristotle


Knox Aristotle

Here’s another pen from Everything Calligraphy, the Knox Aristotle. It’s at the same price point of the Knox Avicenna, another budget-friendly pen. I kinda like the form factor of this pen. The torpedo shape is pretty nice. I’m not sure if there are other colors but the ones sent to me are pretty conservative.

Knox Aristotle

I believe the nib is practically the same across all the three Knox pens. The color, etching, and writing experience are pretty much the same. I hope someday they come up with two-toned nibs so that it fits the aesthetics of the pen better. I like that the trims of the pen are simple and, like the Avicenna, it’s a very conservative-looking pen. It can sit on a desk in an office or in a student’s pen case; it looks nice.

Knox Aristotle

I really love that these Knox pens have comfortably-sized sections. Small sections can be quite bothersome for long writing because you’re practically feeling the threads while you write. This one’s pretty comfortable to hold. The metal body gives it some heft but it’s not uncomfortable or tiring. The cap can be posted, but it’s top-heavy when you do so. Also, I’m uncomfortable with posting it because it might scratch the finish of the barrel.

The clip is squarish and functional. You can actually use it to clip the pen, it’s not too stiff and it feels securely attached to the cap.

Like the Avicenna, I’m glad that this one also wrote well right out of the box. Don’t you love it when affordable pens write without hard-starting, skipping, or scratchiness? I know I do. ^_^ I noticed these steel nibbed pens can be quite unforgiving to my hand rotations, though. Slight rotations can make it skip.

All in all, it’s good value for money. These German iridium point nibs have always performed well for me, and I’m pretty happy with my current pens that use them.

Knox Aristotle is available at Everything Calligraphy.

DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a paid post.