2016 Topic 24: Mail Art
Hi everyone! Wendy here, joining you this evening with a post about creating unique postcards. I began with mono printing, added some stamped monsters, two of my most favourite things, then turned them into a one-of-a-kind set of postcards. I'm a 40-something-year-old illustration graduate with two very grown up children and severe empty nest syndrome. I love colour and play and varied techniques, but I'm happiest when I'm mixing it all up and the messier it gets, the better.
Step One: If you're a regular visitor to the PaperArtsy blog, you'll be familiar with monoprinting techniques. I used a simple brayer technique on a 5"x7" Gelli plate with combinations of Teresa Green/Caribbean Sea, Midnight/Buff, Mahogany/Terracotta and Bougainvillea/Tango, brayering one colour onto each end and lightly blending where they met. Then I pressed each 4"x6" blank postcard (cut from heavyweight Smoothy card) onto the plate, reapplying paint between each pressing. I repeated the process but, this time, removed paint by pressing the small, patterned (non-character) stamps from ZA01, ZA02, and ZA03 sets which I then stamped onto the other postcard from the same colour combination.
Step Two: Whenever I'm monoprinting, the reverse side of my chosen surface inevitably gets marked by paint or ink and this was no exception. I created a clean reverse side by cutting lightweight Smoothy card into 4"x6" cards, the same size as the printed side, and I doodled a whimsical postcard onto it using a black 0.1 Pigma Micron pen. I guess the only rules would be to use the general postcard layout, i.e. spaces for message, address and a stamp. Other than that, relax and have fun drawing it. I glued each of these onto a finished image later.
Step Three: I stamped each monster character onto tissue paper to help me to decide on the combination and layout. You could also use tracing paper but it's more expensive and will most likely end up in the bin. If you're not a confident stamper, run a fine wet paintbrush around the image on tissue and then carefully pull the image away from the surrounding paper. This can then be adhered and sealed into place with gel medium and the tissue will appear to disappear!
Step Four: I stamped my chosen images onto the printed card using black Archival ink. I used ZA04 and ZN04,
Step Five: I used coloured pencils to colour the images, gradually building up layers and blending as I went. You could use any medium you wish, but water-soluble media can be tricky as it's invariably too translucent. The exception to this is the Stabilo Aquarellable All pencil in black, which I used as shadow and ground for the wee monsters.
Step Six: As you come to each new postcard, before colouring, look closely to see if anything resembles something else and change it, where appropriate. This makes your project even more unique to you and can add a bit more fun to the mix too. I saw swimming pool tiles, butterfly hearts, deely bopper eyes and a very strange looking caterpillar. Also, other additions like eye-contact between your characters can be subtly amusing. They might be small changes, but they create a narrative to your work.
I had great fun with this project, as I always do when I use Gelli plates. Elena Zinski's stamps are just the right amount of playful with a hint of mischief. Have a look through your own stash and see what you can alter to add more fun and games to your projects. Try mixing techniques as well as the media and see what surprises you come up with. These techniques can easily be transferred to art journals or ATCs, or even to a mixed media canvas. In future, I think I'd be more inclined to keep my backgrounds muted and definitely paler. It can be difficult to colour on top of darker shades without using gesso or opaque paint. But it's not impossible - things rarely are.
Love and peace,
Thanks for sharing your process with us Wendy, these are fabulous postcards. How much would it be to get monsters through the post! I love how you gave them even more character by staging them and having them 'make eye contact' So clever. ~Darcy
All of our bloggers love to see your twist on their ideas, particularly if you were inspired directly by their post; so please spare a moment to comment or make your own creative item. They all love to see your feedback and what you can do more than you realise!
We would love to see how you interpret this Mail Art topic by linking what you make to our 2016 Challenge #24: Mail Art on this page HERE. The Mail Art link will close 17:00 (London Time) Sunday, Dec 18th 2016. The winner will be announced 2 hours later at 19:00.
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