Monday, May 31, 2010

how many ways can you spell schneider

i don't know what style of lettering this is. my apologies to the traditionalists. long stemmed *something* would be a good name for it. i get as many ideas for lettering off fonts as out of lettering books. this was probably inspired by a font.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

kathy series

this one is so much like the one a few days ago with the jeans hanging on the clothesline...which was a favorite. i bet i did this one after the other one...and it is too similar, so, kathy, i owe you an envelope. you were so kind to not mention this redundancy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

kathy 24

if you are new to the blog, this might look strange. it is one of a series i did that were not mailed, rather hand delivered, so i did not worry about the spellings, etc. i am using them as ideas for decorated envelopes. i probably chose uncial because it is ducky-shaped...and the small lettering mimics the small letters on the stamp. and for the lettering people, i know that uncial has morphed into something a bit wacky. that size nib demands a *taller* letter. but, it's fun to see what you can squeeze into too-tight-space. it reminds me of the *button alphabet.*

simpson, homer

homer had the fewest details so i was not sure i'd figure out anything for him. on maggie and homer, i switched to a fine sharpie marker for the outlines and i think the heavier lines are better than the first three which were done with a g-tec. i'm fine with this one. it is pretty loose, but the stamps are so bold and graphic, they need something fairly bold to go with them. i'd probably get some better ideas if i did not have real jobs needing my attention. yes, i did try drawing that tongue, but it just didn't look fun. there will be another blob of black on the envelope when i decide where to add the po box number.

Friday, May 28, 2010

read the stamp

once in a while the words on the stamp can be used in the overall design. not very often and even less often if you care about spelling....

and don't ever write on the stamp. that will make it *cancelled* and don't ever put tape over the stamp. some postal workers will not accept tape over the stamp as it suggests you peeled it off of something else and reused it

this was supposed to be lined up for next week, to post automatically, but i hit the wrong button and it posted, so this is a preview. 10 more kathy envelopes coming after the simpsons

simpson, maggie

i wasn't too literal with using any of the elements on the stamp. just the colors and black outline is enough for me. their address will go between the two lavender lines.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

pansy stamp

hmmmmmmm. great colors. love the idea of flowers. this is a nasty hodge podge from a design standpoint. the stamp is just very very *granny.* the scribbling is, well...*scribbley.* and then the card is rather scandinavian. so it would be perfect to send to my swedish granny who likes to scribble. instead, i will send it to jackie, or keep it in my pile of unsent mail. jackie, do you want it? why don't you use this as an opportunity to do something waaaay better? i can't think of anything i've seen of yours in purple...

simpson bart

i can't imagine that the blue castle badger is a fan of the simpsons, but his address was the first one i found in my pile of addresses.john neal's nice little g-tec pens are good for the little accent colors. i did not have any orange on the envelope and it was missing something. so i added the c/o line.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

all straight letters

ok, i did this in 2 minutes and i wanted it to all fit in a rectangle, so there is a lot of inconsistency to the width of the letters. never mind the details, i just figured there would be people wondering how to write all the letters with no curves. the C and the G could be made with three strokes and more like the O, with the right vertical stroke missing. lots of variations are possible. now i suppose you want lower case and numbers....

better colors

i made the line on the pearls heavier and filled in the address...and then made a color copy and darkened the letters on the copy, to give a better impression of the lettering. i don't think that writing a name three times and overlapping it and then outlining it would look good with curved letters. i think it has to be all straight lines. so if you are going to try this, make the Os like a box. make all square letters.

and why does the scanner sometimes just tip the whole image. what's with scanners? they just do whatever they want.

simpson lisa

these colors did not scan well at all. they were neon highlighters and they look pretty good on the envelope. i could not find a green that was good with the stamps, so i used a variety of colors. wish neon would reproduce. the lesson is when you do not have the right colors, use three colors that are different, but still related. i'm thinking the outline of the pearls needs to be bolder, but i might mess it up when i go for a bolder line. if i try it and it gets better, i will rescan. always hard to decide if i want to keep messing with an envelope after the stamp is stuck to it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

simpson, marge

i'm not familiar with the simpsons, but i thought the colors were fun, there are also little details that usually lend themselves to fun envelopes.

Monday, May 24, 2010

fathers day request

somebody requested a fathers day card with the simpson stamp. i do not want to reproduce anything from the simpsons, so i will just use bright colors. they found me through my etsy site. i only have one thing listed because i was trying to get the hang of etsy. this is going to be weird if i suddenly have a flood of orders for simpson-esque envelopes. not exactly my niche. i better put some pansies up there to compete. i hope people understand that it is all about the envelope. some of my penpals and i have had conversations about how we really don't care about what goes in the envelope. but, i hope people catch on to the idea that the envelope IS the gift.

stick figure calligram

not an envelope, but it goes with my series of stick figures. technically, this is a calligram since it is a picture made up of letters. it spells out the name of the friend i was talking to on the phone and this was the doodle. the one with the green border is the one on the front of the card. the other three are on the inside. i chose the one that was the best likeness of steve for the front.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

coming up....

i suppose if someone was a huge fan of the simpsons, i would pop for all five stamps. this one will have the last name filled in inside the little boxes and the address under the black line. i'll just use one stamp. over the next week, i will have individual designs for the simpson stamps. they have really nice colors, but i found it very difficult to find the right colors to go with them. usually, i do not obsess about matching exactly, but on these, if the colors were off, i really did not like the looks. on this one, i used a yellow marker and then went over it with colored pencil to get it a little closer. the yellows do not scan very well.


another one not sent. i kept looking at it wondering why i had not finished it...then realized that there is a spelling error. i think this lettering appears in a lynn slevinsky book, but i don't know which one. there are several. i just make up my own versions after i see samples. i hope lynn does not mind. sooommeeedddaay i will get her books.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

inspiration - lee steen

a friend mentioned that she enjoyed the little stories that go along with some of the blog entries. while this is not an envelope, i am thinking of using images on templates and folding some custom envelopes. lee steen lived in roundup, montana. i remember, as a child, riding in the back seat of the car, on the way to visit my grandparents on a ranch near lewistown, waiting and waiting to drive past a house that had a yard filled with wonderful sculpture made out of painted driftwood and found objects. it was a high point of the trip and i wished i could stop and look at the yard, but we always drove right by. as an adult, i was finally able to stop and take some photographs. years later, i found out that while some citizens of roundup thought the steen place should be bulldozed, other citizens thought lee's work was worth preserving and it is now in the paris gibson museum in great falls. there is one nice photo of his work at this page

while my parents did encourage me to get a degree in fine art, i have always liked outsider art and anyone who feels they somehow missed the boat by not getting a degree in art should look to the outsider artists and just enjoy making things rather than obsessing about the details. upcoming posts will feature my other influences. two people who are not outsiders at all.

kathy nos. 21 and 22 and 23

three all at once because none of them are really strong enough to stand on their own. as i said previously, when i do 60, i sometimes get some clunkers in the bunch. note to all my friends who will be 70 some day: NO.

on second thought, there are some things that i like about the clown. i like where i put the last name. i would have liked it better if i had copied the font better. i love those rectangle attachments to the bold navy blue lines. i really should have done a better job of making the ball circular. there is no excuse for it being that *off* --and the worst part-- that nasty angle in the *h* - just ruins the whole envelope. it's just not graceful at all. whimsical and childlike still needs to be graceful.

copernicus would have been better if i had penciled in circles.

Friday, May 21, 2010

kathy no. 19

one of my favorites. don't forget to save your dry markers.
it's too bad i don't take time to stuff the envelope so that i don't get the shadows from the flaps. maybe the lines are interesting. another wavy line to use for the address.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

kathy no. 18

the idea to keep from this one is to use a light color to make some lines for the address. rather than write on the line, write through the middle of the line. remember a couple days ago when i said you can't make horizontal lines. this is an example of what happens. your elbow turns your arm into a compass and you draw arcs. of course, you can hold your arm in such a way that you over-ride the compass action, but, it's a whole lot easier to just do the gravity-lines and drop them. there is another trick for drawing straight horizontal lines, but i would need a video camera. i just don't want the people who actually know how easy it is to draw horizontal lines to be having a fit when i make silly comments about the difficulty of drawing lines.

there are a lot of curved lines in the stamp which is why is chose to make the arc-lines

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


another one in the stack of envelopes that i never got around to mailing.

kathy no. 16 and no. 17

i think the lower one has already been posted. the top one is nothing special. when the p.o. puts some nice lettering on a stamp, it's an easy direction to go with the rest of the lettering. clearly, this is not a style that works when people have normal addresses.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

kathy14 and 15

two envelopes today because the confetti has been covered enough and the burma shave signs were a cute idea but rushed. i have trouble putting my best effort into colored envelopes. i seem to like white better. but, they are both ideas worth adding to the list of ideas.

Monday, May 17, 2010

self portrait

this is the other self portrait

my mailbox

postmark says 2008. i did not think the forever stamp had been around for that long. this is to let anyone who thinks the forever stamp is not pretty know that, in the right hands, it is stunning. it responds nicely to scribbling.

kathy no. 13 plaid basket

drawing straight lines without a ruler is easy if you pull the line from the top to the bottom. do not try to draw a straight line from left to right. it doesn't work. to space them evenly. start in the middle and then divide the remaining space in half. you would be surprised at how accurate you are when you look for a mid-point without a ruler. your eye really does know where it is. so, back to the straight lines. after you draw the vertical lines, rotate the envelope so that you have the side edges at top and bottom. then pull your straight lines. i think there is something called visual gravity that makes drawing vertical lines easier than drawing horizontal lines.

so all you math-heads out there (all two of you and you know who you are) are noticing that the grid turned out square. no, i did not plan that. i pulled the vertical lines first and then noticed when i turned to make the other lines that they needed to be square, so i did not do the second set of lines at midpoints. i was just lucky when it worked out. poor planning is just as good as good planning if you are making envelopes. unless you do not have spare envelopes.

note to anyone who has not taken any of my classes. messing up envelopes is ok it's a good idea to keep the ones you mess up to remember some of the design ideas. you should also make copies of the ones you send off. you'll never remember them. note to self, go visit the people who have large stashes of mail from me and re-collect the ideas.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

self portrait

this was supposedly said by ibrahim ismail zaiden, a postman in baghdad, iraq. i think his middle name *ismail* is a little too convenient. it is, however, a perfect likeness of me. it's one of two self portraits i have done. i'll post the other one tomorrow. this isn't an envelope, but, i am thinking of ways to create greeting cards to go with the envelopes.

kathy no. 12 appleseed

big loopy shapes suggesting big round apples. lots of contrast with the sizes of the letters. one thing i should have done was use a tiny bit of green somewhere.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

badger 2

a friend asked if i had done anything with the cowboy stamps yet. i have these great antique-looking envelopes left over from a holiday job. since i am still obsessed with upright ornamental, this is the first idea. the blue castle badger needed an envelope with the correct name of his shop. i can't wait to do barbed wire letters. and lariat letters. and you can't imagine how long it took to find the spelling of lariat.

kathy no. 11 abcxyz

ten kathy envelopes coming up. i did 60 of these and some were better than others. it was at the beginning of my adventures with scribbling. clearly i was not planning how letters needed to fit together and this one is experimental, to use a polite adjective

Friday, May 14, 2010

badger 1

the nice people at castle in the air, in berkeley california mentioned me on their blog. they have a badger who likes to receive mail. so after working on a lot of envelopes yesterday, i decided to treat myself to my new addiction (upright ornamental) and i was thinking it was castle in the sky, which it is not, it is in the air. so, should i send it with the error or redo it? decisions decisions. or should i just mess with the badger and keep posting a bunch of envelopes and never actually send them.

wed, may 5 is the day they blogged about my blog

a very bad J

it is hard to post letters that do not please my eye. and there is nothing special about the overall design. however, for the people who are collecting ideas, putting a word in little boxes is a quick and easy element to add to an envelope. the scanner was not cooperating yesterday, so there are more fun things to post...if the scanner feels like it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

drawing lesson

this was the beginning of an envelope to go with the stamp that has the word LOVE five times and each O is a heart, in rainbow colors. i drew that first red heart and did not like it, then i drew the orange one and it was too big, so, i did the rest of the hearts just to find the right colored markers. i knew i had to figure out a way to make better hearts. they were just too clunky colored in. so i used the small tip of the brush marker to make outlines (that's what you see in the center column. the third column shows the outlines colored in, but leaving some white space. i think they look a lot better when they have a little white highlight and are not so cookie-cutter boring. i hope i can inspire some people to rethink drawing simple shapes. they do not have to be perfect.

my mailbox

this just in from jeri hobart. thank you. it is a good example of how placing things in a nice straight line is visually very nice. of course it helps to master the pointed pen, too.

jackie 22

not a favorite, but as soon as i get to the studio i have fun things to post, so check back later today. i thought i would love these stamps when they came out, but i actually found them to be harder to work with than many others.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

a favorite

this one is pretty simple, but i always liked it...something about dots. that green doesn't really go either. so...don't obsess over the details. it's just an envelope. (except you jackie, you go right ahead and obsess all you want :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

holiday time

i keep finding more holiday envelopes. i suppose next fall i will find the spring envelopes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

ellen no. ??

not a show stopper. just another quick way to use details from the stamp and build letters. good for those days when you are more into doodling than calligraphy

Sunday, May 9, 2010

celebrate - all black

one of my students who has just started sending decorated envelopes reported that people are sending her a written thank you when she sends them a thank you in a decorated envelopes. so, i figured i should do the same when i received a thank you from erin. i knew i should not let all the colorful markers near my desk or i would be distracted for the rest of the day. i wondered if all black lettering would be good with the celebrate stamp. i've done lots of fun envelopes using the different letter styles and matching the colors. i am actually quite pleased with this first run. i like using the curly cap E three times. then there is a mixture of script and font looking letters. it needed something really contrasty to scripts and fonts, so the O was a natural letter to pull out as an odd-ball. of course, scribbling is the go-to technique when looking for contrast.

i love lucy

this lettering always gave me the creeps. i don't like the way it waves. but i do like the tiny curly hair-squigglies that come out from the lettering. there is nothing in the picture that is messy, but the idea of her hair and her zany personality inspires lettering and doodles that are *out there*

Saturday, May 8, 2010

colored pencils

i remember this stamp as the one that inspired me to use colored pencils. none of the markers were the right shade of red and it bugged me, so i just went over part of the letter with the right shade of red and it solved the problem. you don't need to color the entire letter, just enough to make the lettering a little closer to the stamp.

Friday, May 7, 2010


the bug stamps were wonderful. i still have a few left. the tip from this one is to not be too literal. i like the way all the heads are on the outside and the legs are in little clusters. i didn't try to make each letter into a bug that made sense.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


here are a couple unfinished envelopes from the stacks. the glass one shows layered zig brush markers on a vellum envelope. the other one is a nice envelope (meaning good quality paper) and nice juicy markers that soaked in without bleeding. i need to toss the glass one and finish the one that needs a stamp....

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

jackie's entry

wow, i figured out how to post a photo that was emailed to me. tomorrow i might try brain surgery. if i have time.

jeri has a good story about her entry. the po returned it to her house. she reset it and hopefully, they will accept it.