click on images

click on images and they will pop up in a new window, larger, so that you can see more detail

Saturday, December 20, 2014

thank you from tom

tom is very good at pointed pen work. he texted me one day asking if i knew of a place that would do a rush framing order. i think he needed a mat with 7 openings. luckily, i have a very good relationship with a framing shop and had just done an emergency job for them.

the owner of the business next door to their frame shop had let an important wedding anniversary go until the last minute. he had half a good idea and the framer, being acquainted with my work suggested that he pull the idea together by having me write some meaning full words on the mat. in this case, the meaningful words were just the names and dates....

i like doing these types of jobs in pencil. the photos were just snap it was not super formal. the writing was casual and cheerful. i was very pleased with the results.
i guess i should do another example of what i am talking about and post it....

anyhow, it was very nice of tom to send a thank you.
for anyone who is local...the shop is tandem brick on ingersoll. very nice framers...and sometimes, they can work small miracles with rush jobs.

Friday, December 19, 2014

hi, kilroy

my dear penpal, Legend, sent me a scan of this envelope. i believe that it is a self portrait peeping over the fence. maybe not. Legend said he didn't think his graffiti was the best, but the nature of graffiti is to be a little rough. the only way for graffiti to be less than perfect would be to make it, this is perfect. it's a wonderful envelope and i really appreciate that he shared it with us. it definitely makes the stealworthy file.

good stamp choices and nice colors.
and i love tacos, too.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

miss munster and stu

miss munster collaborated with stuart davis on this one. once again, i am flattered that she shared one of my favorite stamps. i have a couple sheets of these and i still can't make myself use them.

maybe i can make a doll house and use the stamps as the artwork. or make an mini art gallery and hang all my favorite stamps... one more item on my to-do-in-my-dreams list....

and speaking of dreams, the highlights on the letters are D-R-E-A-M-Y

thanks, karen

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

from chuck

sadly, the scanner will not interpret the neon orange on my name. the neon just makes the whole envelope. i guess i should try a phone shot, but all y'all know how i can't get phone shots to appear in the correct orientations.

this lettering was inspired by the jethro tull poster border from the filmore west poster. chuck used the Pitt artist brushes.

thanks chuck :-)

i guess the secret to making phone photos work is to have a little online conversation with my phone and ask it to be nice. i'm sorry about that background....i suspect if i try to fix it, the phone will cease cooperating. 
so, we will just move along to the next envelope.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

inkling of an idea

i'm fine with this concept. but i'll need to spend some time thinking of ways to make it more interesting. i don't care for the gold gel pen with the yellow on the stamp. but i really like these stamps on colored envelopes. i think i need to drag myself to the other room and get some black envelopes. could i get any lazier?

the response to that question is....people who post daily for 5 years and never miss a day are not lazy. the 5th year anniversary is coming shall we celebrate?

don't miss the post below. it is new today. i accidentally scheduled two for today.

snail mail

how cute is this?
from miss munster.
i can see a whole series of snails...

plus, she sent me one of the stamps that i have been hoarding.

and i love white space.

Monday, December 15, 2014

from elena

this one is from elena who signed up for the sept-oct exchange. she has an etsy shop:

i like her mandalas. i have made a few and should put them on the to-do list for envelopes as they would be an envelope friendly design.

thanks, elena

i like elena's flowers. and i am guessing they were made with this brush available at John Neal Books [and a whole lot more]
maybe not...if this is not the tool she used, maybe she'll leave a comment. 

BR50. Miracle Wedge 7900 Brush #8
Miracle Wedge 7900 Brush #8.

Pat Blair uses this brush for simple, easy-to-create flowers. The flowers are quick and used to ornament her pointed pen work. Short handle, golden Talkon bristles, unique wedge shape, seamless ferrule. These long-lasting, better quality synthetic brushes have excellent snap, fine points and sharp edges. For watercolor and acrylics. Only one size available.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

miss munster - ears

this is a good example of  how nice *simple* can be.
of course, having only 4 letters in the name might contribute to the loveliness. it would be fun to have her try a whole bunch of names.

and the way the J is very ear-like makes it particularly suitable for names starting with J.

thanks miss munster

interesting way the p.o. added their design element....

Saturday, December 13, 2014

finn's security envelope

here is a new twist - finnbadger received this envelope in another exchange, found the most perfect stamp and sent it along to me. it is made out of the security pattern from the inside of security envelopes. i have managed to resist the temptation to recycle security envelopes, although there are some really beautiful things made from them.

nice one, grasshopper.

Friday, December 12, 2014

miss munster's elephant

miss munster had a note in one of her envelopes that made a reference to her local post office announcing that they would no longer hand cancel....and she somehow convinced them otherwise. i would really like to hear the whole story. i've received many nice envelopes from karen...and really appreciate all of them. i have many questions for karen...i suppose i could send a questionnaire....

this is from her series done with a cola pen.

you can google cola pen and see what they are. you make them yourself. lots of fun, but i think they are something you need to experience in person. i don't think a video would be enough to launch a beginner on the process.

thanks karen.  stamp placement is so cool.

there is a post below that is an extra post, full of off-topic topics.
ignore it if you have important things to get done.
read it if you want to avoid what you should be doing.

don't fall down - extra post

this is an extra post being wedged in between the regularly scheduled posts - to cover some non-envelope topics.

number one:

an article about the lady who created these stamps, which i love, and i will resist the temptation to babble on about all the years i spent making gingerbread houses with my kids and how it might have been the most fun i ever had (outside of envelopes)

The Woman Behind the Post Office’s Gingerbread Stamps

number two:
mail from the exchange has been pouring in. i am currently scanning and they will appear in my january posts. there is some really great stuff on the way.

number two-and-a-half: one person was excited to find me on the list. i always exchange with everyone. so, if there are others out there who just want to exchange with me, it's easy, you send me an envelope and then i send one back. be sure to use the current address for me which appears on any envelope posted in 2014 (except the ones where people did not write my address correctly, but those still got to me - maybe we should have an exchange where we see how far off you can be with my address and still have it get to me - will someone please send me an envelope that says:
Jean Wilson
400 block of 44th Street
Red brick house that gets all the pretty mail
The carrier on that route will know which one
I know this is asking a lot, but people like us are keeping you in business
so it will be really nice if you go to the trouble of figuring it out.
Thanks. It is the third house on the west side of the street, south of Grand.
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

number three:
if you live in an area with ice and snow, please be careful. so far this winter, (and technically it is not even winter yet) i have had two friends slip and fall on the ice resulting in one broken leg and one arm broken both above and below the elbow. so please be extra careful - and then there is ashley brilliant who fell on a patch of ice, and broke an arm.... ashleigh is not exactly a *friend* but he did come to iowa on a speaking engagement and he did contact me and we did have lunch and he did ask me to write with a dip pen while he watched because he had never seen anyone do that before and i did spell his name *ashley* and he did speak up and i did write it over and mrs guss was my english teacher and i did always get As in her class and i do know that a run-on sentence is not kosher -but- i do drink coffee and i do feel like busting a few rules every once in a while and i do think all y'all look to me for permission to break rules once in a while and this is my official permission to you at this overloaded time of year to just bust some rules if you feel overloaded. period.

number four:
yes, brother, one person is enjoying our conversation about the projects that we are discussing. i might as well clarify that one of my side hobbies is trying to see what i can trick my brother into doing. brace yourself, brother, now that we have an audience, i might have to take this to the next level.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

mary katherine's exchange envelope

mary katherine created a little scene with a poster hanging on the wall in the clown's tent. i'm flattered that i am designated as*greatest.* i'd be lucky to make the top 100. as i always say, it's not a contest. if we calculated *greatest* based on how much fun a particular person had...i'd surely make top ten.

thanks mary catherine.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

(8th) 10th of the month

this is the last of the 8th of the month blogs about mail art links.

this is a very nice blog with some good examples. not a lot of english. but great this pin-prick image.

i think i have posted some work from this site previously....but, they keep adding new work, so it's nice to go back.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

christy's exchange envelope

christy's been honing her skill with the pointed pen. i really like the moon in the background.

coloring the counters of the letters with a touch of green is very nice.

and the bonus...a fun card was enclosed. thanks so much, christy.

Monday, December 8, 2014

alyce's exchange envelope

i really like the way the flower is touching the top and bottom edge. and the scale of the lettering is just perfect.

design lesson....scale is size and proportion is relative size. in this case, the size of the nib she used on the name is perfect with the amount of black in the stamp and then the super light weight pen she used on the rest of the lettering is perfect. if she would have used the same pen she used on the flower for the address, there would have been too much black. and if the flower was drawn with the super light weight pen, it would have been too wimpy. so the three weights are perfect.

how do you learn how to balance things like the various weights and sizes of elements (your lines and shapes)? by studying the elements and principles of design. the class i taught in design was bar-none, my favorite class to teach. once students learned that they had built in preferences, they were able to use those preferences to arrange the elements on their envelope (or any other work of art) and achieve compositions that were more pleasing to their eye. understanding design is what gives you your own personal point of view.
just ask tim gunn. or rather...just listen to him....pretty much everything he says is a lesson you would hear in my design class...or any other design class.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

miss munster - batman

see that upstroke on the J...
you don't make strokes like that without a lot of practice. this is making me want to get out my ink and BIG NIBS. sadly, since i moved my studio back to my house, i hardly ever (never) get out the big nibs because i don't want to make a mess. maybe next spring i can fix up a work space in the garage. i do have a desk out there that is the kind you hang on a wall. i think my brother reads my he can be thinking of excuses for not helping me mount the desk on the wall....i probably have some good threats to use to get him to do it....

Saturday, December 6, 2014

miss munster batman

Holy Barcode, Batman!!!!

this is the first time the UGLY barcode actually added to the envelope. i only noticed it when i saw the tiny thumnail size image on the computer. the barcode looked like a little shadow under the lettering, which made the name look 3D, like it was sitting on a landscape. such a wonderful detail.

design lesson for the day.
well, i just wrote a paragraph, but it was too complicated so i deleted it.
design is how you arrange all the elements on your envelope. in this case....karen arranged them beautifully....and someday, when i have time, i will try to prepare a thoughtful and sequential approach to how to arrange your elements on your envelopes....or anywhere else. karen does not need any lessons....but, for those of you who are sometimes stuck on how to arrange things, i can probably come up with some tried and true tips.

Friday, December 5, 2014

miss munster earthscape

thisis the beginning of a mini-series by miss munster. she pulled out her cola pen and made a series of envelopes. i had mentioned in an earlier post that her lettering looked like carl rohrs and she wasn't sure she saw the influence. since i made the comment, i have decided that she probably studied with so many of the rock-star scribes that it would be hard to pin any of her work on the influence of just one scribe.

this is dreamy....all i can say is can have a ton of fun just lettering on your own. a few things are IMHO impossible to learn unless you see someone doing the lettering in person. i don't know if a video would be enough.  i will look for a video of this style of lettering and let you know if i find one.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

from finnbadger

i am so proud of finnbadger for working on his lettering. it is nice and neat and tidy.

i can see that he is paying attention to the simple geometric regularity of any font or style of printing. the letter S appears three times and two of them are just perfect. the cap S on St is a little bottom heavy. but other than that...he did a great job. he didn't ask for a critique, but i figured i'd put in my 2-cents.

 as always, he has a natural design sense and his addition of stamp and address is very complimentary to the found-design on the hand made envelope.

very pretty - thank you!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

stealworthy from smash-girl

there are previous envelopes on the blog that have a portion of a letter enclosed by a border. this is an uber-stealworthy variation by smash.

she dovetailed the spiral from the stamp and added polka dots because who doesn't love polka dots.

and she knows how to center :-)
always worth the extra time. maybe she can do it by eyeball. i always have to write the line once in pencil, to find the center.

and the cliff hanger from the sunday post....
in a nutshell, thanks to my loyal readers
i have had enough feedbag (hahaha - i love that typo) feedback, that i have figured out how to resolve all my *issues.*
1. am able (happy) to let go of beloved stamps
2. have new *filing system* whereby we will all know everything that i know and we will be able to access it
3. i forgot number three - but i am sure it will come to me.

implementation will be as follows:
1. new improved nibs and ink blog to include every single handout and exemplar in my stash so that we can all find them when we need them.
2. new blog called Art for the Intimidated - which will cover all the other lessons that are not specific to lettering
3. yoga for calligraphers - sadly, publishers clearing house never comes to my house...but a nice yoga instructor did happen to stop by looking for penmanship lessons and voila, we are now trading secrets. i tossed out the idea of us co-teaching penmanship and yoga to resolve all the ailments of too much time at your desk. she didn't recoil in, that project is on the drawing board and we will keep you posted if it seems feasible.