Friday, November 16, 2012

Writing home for Christmas

And it's that time of the year coming up again.

As may be obvious, I love beautiful things and sometimes I will grab them despite I can't put them to any immediate use. Blank cards are an example - Crown Mill does them, Zerkall, Amalfi and many more. They are lovely thick paper with matching envelopes, often lined with tissue paper, making a delicious rustling sound to the touch. So two to three dozen cards have accumulated here and, unlike writing paper, they hardly ever get any use.

Writing a letter is one thing, but a card will run out of space at the moment you've discovered you do indeed have something to say. On the other hand I feel that for the shortest of short notes, like "Happy Birthday" or "Merry Christmas", an unprinted card is oddly out of place.

Diamine Ancient Copper plus some water. Shades like heaven.

Still the idea to decorate my own cards didn't occur to me until a few weeks ago when I was looking at a few hideously expensive minimalist christmas cards online.
For as long as I can remember the urge to draw and paint something has raised its tousled head within me every once in a while, usually getting whacked on said head by me and, over time, disappearing again - but this time I gave it a go. I used fountain pens with different inks and nib sizes and a crappy discarded make-up brush (I've discarded that one for good now so it's not depicted ;)).

As any fountain pen user probably knows, non-waterproof ink and water gives a huge bang which cannot be heard but seen. The ink will spread on the paper in an uncontrollable but very charming way. Up to now, every ink I tried has looked fantastic though they do lose some vibrancy when dried.

Hand decorated Christmas card on Roessler Büttenpapier (moulded paper) cardstock: Diamine Ancient Copper, Montblanc Ink of Joy, Diamine Ochre

The really cool thing is that you don't have to be "artsy" to pull this off, for which I am living proof. Everyone is familiar with the shape of an angel or a christmas tree. You don't even need to master symmetry because you can decide to only sketch one side of the motif and that will work just as well.

The card above was the first one I made, in retrospect I think I overdid it a little with the brush but well, I still like it and for sure it's better paper than most ready made cards you can buy. For colouring I used almost 100% Diamine Ancient Copper plus a little Montblanc Ink of Joy for the halo and Diamine Ochre for the writing.

Hand decorated Christmas card on Zerkall Büttenpapier (moulded paper) cardstock: Diamine Sherwood Green, J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hématite.

 Hand decorated Christmas card on Zerkall Büttenpapier (moulded paper) cardstock: Diamine Sherwood Green, J. Herbin 1670 Rouge Hématite.  
Besides helping me to get along with my Christmas mail, the making of these cards also gave the part of me that wants to draw and paint the opportunity to build up a toehold and take a good look around, so there's some chance you'll be seeing more of that in time, with fountain pens and without.

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