Postcards are so versatile–they make great ways of letting people know you are thinking of them, can be hand-delivered or left on a desk, used as a bookmark, or as a confidence boost. And when you make them yourself, the theme has no limits. I travel a lot, and like to thank people who were kind or interesting. Sometimes I ask for their business card and send them a postcard. In fact, I carry stamped postcards with me, so I can be impulsive.
In this case, a friend was debating taking a long trip to someplace she’d never been. She was understandably nervous, because the trip was a trial to see if she wanted to start a new job in a foreign country. Reminding her that she would find herself all over again through the experience, I made this card for her using both Yasutomo products and Altered Pages digital collage backgrounds.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this card:
- Yasutomo Chinese watercolors. They act like gouache (opaque watercolors) and a bit like acrylics. Clean up like watercolor.
- Sumi-e gold watercolor. Another gem. Rich gold color with a lot of depth.
- watercolor brush
- water container
- lotus paint palette
- mixed-media paper, card stock or a cut down manila file folder
- Altered Pages digital downloads of the four maps, “AP-1724” and “Alphabet Squares AP-1047”
- Materials from your collage stash–stamps, reduced-size postcards (mine are transparencies)
- Nori paste
Digital downloads are new to me, so I experimented re-sizing and printing the map page, finally settling on printing it as a full page on a cut down manila folder. (I cut it to a standard American piece of office paper–8.5 inches x 11 inches) and printed it landscape.
Next, to get it to postcard size, trim two adjacent images. I used the bottom two. Check the allowable postcard sizes in your country. Here, postcards can be oversized; they will then need a letter stamp. My printer is an inkjet, and those colors often run when wet. To keep the colors stable, I put the cut maps between two sheets of parchment paper and ironed them on a cotton setting. I then let the printed page dry completely for a few days. The colors didn’t run at all.
To make the background less distinct, I covered it with paint. You can also do it digitally, but I prefer using art materials. I mixed white, yellow, green and a bit of black together till I had the neutral I wanted. Use very little of the colors and a lot of white. To make sure the background shows through, use enough water to thin the paint. I also wiped some of it off with paper towels.
To create the card, I used Altered Pages sepia Alphabet Squares (shown on the left) printed on heavy white paper. You can use any color paper or cardstock, but I wanted a crisp result. I then carefully trimmed the letters to use in the message: Find your heart.
Using a few pieces from my own stash, I added transparencies of postage stamps, a small image of a postcard and the letters. Using a hot iron and parchment paper (to protect the iron), I distorted some of the stamp images, which were printed on plastic.
Using Nori paste (which is archival and reversible), I glued the cut out letters to the postcard. When the postcard was dry, I mixed water with the sumi-e gold paint and, using a #6 watercolor brush, painted a line around the letters a, r and t in the word heart.
My friend is an artist, and I was letting her know that trying out a new country for her job would also inspire her art. The sumi-e gold color is vibrant and metallic and always adds an elegant touch. I added a message and an address on the back and off it went through the mail to its new owner!
This is my last post as a Niji design team member, although I’ll be coming back from time to time with a special project! I’ve had a lot of fun playing with Yasutomo art supplies, and am delighted that my order from a few weeks back arrived!
–Quinn McDonald is a Niji design team member, a collage artist, and the author of The Inner Hero Creative Art Journal, published by North Light Books.