Basic Handlettering Workshop with Ella Lama

If there’s one thing I love as much as reading, it’s writing – as in writing down my thoughts and the very act of writing, that glorious union of pen and paper. Lately, though, the handlettering bug seemed to have bitten me so last August 15, I attended the Basic Handlettering Workshop conducted by the ever-pleasant and super nice doodler extraordinaire, Ella Lama. I went to the workshop with my friend Aaron, an extraordinary artist himself (though he doesn’t seem to believe it yet). The workshop was held at 10A Alabama, Quezon City and being the “deep south” girl that I am, the place initially felt so intimidating and far away. But actually it’s not that far and even the commute was not a big hassle. Yay for north explorations! Haha.

The threshold of creative fun

We arrived at 10A at around 1:15, fifteen minutes too late for our 1-5pm workshop. A little after we got settled into our seats, I received a text from Ella saying she’ll be a little late because she got stuck in terrible traffic. Aaron and I decided to explore the place a little since our teacher is not yet around. It was an old house turned into an antique store and a haven for upcycled stuff. Their products were all eye-catching and unique, without sacrificing functionality. It reminded me of what Kenneth Cobonpue said about how a good design must be a combination of form and function.

After a while, we heard voices from outside the house and we figured it was Ella herself so we went back to the living room where a long table was set up for the workshop. Ella apologized for being late and we all forgave her in an instant because we all know how bad traffic in the metro can be and because she’s just so adorable. Hehe.

And then it was time for the workshop proper. Ella gave each of us workshop kits not just for the day but to hopefully jumpstart our handlettering ~career~ �

Ella even gave us personalized name tags πŸ™‚

The kit consisted of Ella’s favorite tools and these are sketch pad, pencil, eraser, ruler, sharpener, colored fine liners, tech pen, pressure pen (I’m not sure what it’s called but the stroke changes depending on the pressure applied), a discount coupon from @pensgalore, and Ella’s handlettering handouts.

The workshop started with what she called the drills. According to Ella, there’s a misconception that drills are only for calligraphy when, in fact, they’re also helpful in handlettering. And to define certain terms, calligraphy is the art of writing letters whereas handlettering is the art of drawing letters.

The drills included trying to draw long straight lines repetitively (with “try” being the operative word hehe) and applying pressure on our hand-drawn lines. It was actually therapeutic.


After the drills, it’s handlettering time! From our handouts, we were asked to choose two font types and copy them as best as we could. It was a bit tiring and heartbreaking to see my drawing which didn’t quite resemble the ones from my handouts. Hehe. Nonetheless, I had fun so it was all good!

Parang ref magnets!

It was all good until I tried imitating the cursive font…

Pretty much waved the white flag at this point. Hehe.

I think it was around this time when we paused for a break and indulged ourselves with some Krispy Kreme from Ella. So sweet.

Ella also asked us to draw our favorite letter so she could gave us tips on how to decorate letters. I didn’t realize until then that I actually don’t have a go-to favorite letter so I decided to go for Y because it stands for youth and youth shouldn’t be wasted. (Ano daw?)

Y not?

The last and probably most difficult part of the workshop is the layout exercises. There were several samples in our handouts but we only got to do one or two because we ran out of time despite having extended the class by half an hour.

This was what I came up with. Hehe. Like all great loves, this one is not perfect but it’s greatly loved. Hihi.


All too soon, the workshop was over and it was time to say goodbye. Aaron and I explored the place the second time around and this time took pictures because “hindi na tayo makakabalik dito.” Grabe naman yung finality? Hehe.

On a scale of 1 to Dear Tita Charo, how MMK is this photo?
I like this little corner


Parang field trip

We were about to finally leave the place when we realized we didn’t even have a photo with Ella. We were so hesitant at first because nakakahiya, but in the end we went back inside and this fangirling moment happened.


I felt like Ella was a long-lost friend of mine. Or baka feeling close lang talaga ako. 😅 But hey, I’ve been following her on Instagram (@ella_lama) since last year so I guess you could say I have somehow gotten to know her. Hahaha. Sayang lang I didn’t get to tell her my joke that if she ends up owning 10A, she might have to change its name to 10A Ellabama. 😅 Sorry, ang waley!

It was such a fun Saturday and I believe weekends should be spent like that – filled with fun, creativity, learning, and just the right touch of adventure and exploring. πŸ™‚


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