Cebu is full of creatives who are so good at what they do— from music, painting, photography, dance— and we’re honoured to highlight some of them here.
Calligraphy has slowly been gaining ground in the island. There are workshops teaching everything from whimsical scripts to edgy gothic types, and art supplies shops are slowly housing materials like nibs, brush pens and the like.
We recently caught up with FR Rolian, one half of wedding photography duo Blinkboxphotos and an ace calligrapher. Here are some of her thoughts about the joys of calligraphy:
Tell us a bit about yourself
Hi! I am Fr, a Wedding Photographer of Blinkboxphotos and a Calligrapher.
We love your work. How did you first become involved with calligraphy?
I started calligraphy about 3-4 years ago, when I saw these beautiful ‘fonts’ in wedding invites and fell in love with it. I tried to mimic these letters by using markers and pens, but they weren’t the right tools. I kept on buying the wrong stuff, too. The struggle was very real. Finally I was able to get hold of some kiddie brush pens, a few round brushes and watercolour and by the time workshops started in Cebu, I already had some practice. I fell in love with calligraphy more and more, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What is your favorite thing about calligraphy?
My favorite thing about calligraphy is that it lets you express yourself in letters. It’s like your hands are dancing, and while doing it, you create beautiful things. It’s as if you are painting a beautiful masterpiece.
I also love how therapeutic it is and how it relieves stress. Back when I was still working in the corporate world, when there were too many things to think about, I usually would take mini breaks and scribble a few words, lyrics, and quotes. It helps you slow down, think and concentrate. It’s the best way to set aside thoughts about work for a few minutes.
You’re involved in some workshops all over the city and other places in the Visayas. Has the response been great?
The experience with workshops, so far, is awesome. Because of technology, there are less people picking up pens and papers nowadays, so it’s really great that there are a growing number of people interested in this art. It’s fun meeting new people, but it’s more fun meeting people with the same interest as you, right? I get so thrilled every time I see my workshop students enjoyt. I still follow some of them on Instagram and seeing them progress is very satisfying and rewarding.
The inspiration I get comes from the people who are starting to love the craft. Every time I post a calligraphy piece, I get messages and comments expressing appreciation. But what I love are the messages expressing interest to learn, messages asking for techniques, preferences in materials, and stuff etc. I feel giddy responding to such messages, I love that even though I stopped doing workshops for the meantime, I’m still able to share. It makes me want to keep doing what I do.
Life’s pretty challenging for most creatives in the country. What inspires you to further your craft?
I’m so happy I found a group of creatives that I can hang out and do art sessions with. We call ourselves Artkadas. This fun bunch is dedicated to spreading the love of art throughout Cebu. It’s fun learning from people who are very generous with what they know, and you get to try to explore more forms of art that compliments with your calligraphy, like watercolour painting.
Any words for people who wanna pursue calligraphy?
Know your tools. It is important that you have the right stuff with you. You might think you’re doing something wrong but sometimes, it just means that you have the wrong paper, the wrong pen, the wrong nib, or the wrong ink. Make sure to get the correct materials before starting on anything. It is good to start with a brush pen, too, as it make you practice calligraphy anywhere, on the go, and it works on most paper.
Practice. A lot. Do not be frustrated with your mistakes. It is even best to identify mistakes so that you can correct them. As what Abbey Sy said, “Practice makes Progress”. And this is so true, just keep on practicing and you will be able to reach you goal. Do not take shortcuts; this is a learning process, so embrace every step of your journey. I suggest you take photos of your calligraphy journey. Look back on it after a year, you will see how much you progress.
It is okay to copy styles from other calligraphers, but allow yourself to develop your own style. Eventually in the future, you will be able to distinguish your own style from the others.
Lastly, make sure to share your love for this craft 🙂
Follow FR on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frrolian.