Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

Posts tagged "illustration"

It was Pauline (aka PauliB) from Germany who first brought SunnyRat's unusual wall of postcards to my attention, some time ago. I confess I gasped in delight upon discovering it… have a look:

SunnyRat's postcard wall

Each postcard is accompanied by a little rat, with a curious spark in his eyes! :)

There seemed to be quite a few of them, so I was curious and talked to Julia (aka SunnyRat) about her quirky wall. Julia is from Russia and works on a software company… but as it turns out, she’s also mommy to a large family of pet rats, and does some wonderful art as well! It was a pleasure to learn more about her and her pets, so I hope you enjoy this mini-interview as much as I did.

Could you introduce your rats to us? What are their names, how old are they… what do they like to do all day?

At this moment I have eight wonderful little rats. They all are male and their names are: April, Baikal, El, Sky, Krosh, January, Cheshire and Fort Erie. They have different ages, from a few months to almost 3 years old. The youngest is April, and this April he will be one year old :)

I must say that I like to give names, which are ordinary words or geographical names, because when I hear these words accidentally it always becomes sunny in my heart and I’m smiling.

Baikal and April

Every rat is a little person with its own character traits. For example, Baikal (on the right), a rat with Siamese “point” on the nose, is a calm, tender, plush teddy bear who loves to be cuddled and stroked and is a perfect shoulder companion. April (on the left) is curious, cheerful, restless bundle of energy who adores people. He is always ready to be with you and that is why he appears on photos most often. He has curly whiskers and white unsymmetrical stripe on the face. They are best friends, and together with their brothers, we are a big united family!

A big family

They have an organized part of the room, where they live. Here it is:

Rat room

This is where they play, jump, climb, runn, groom each other, do housekeeping, generate and solve problems, have dinner and communicate… I’ve made some videos with our rat’s everyday life, you can watch it if you would like, if you’re curious and have some time: video #1, video #2.

And all rats love to sleep and usually they do it in hammocks! :)

Rat hammocks Round and round they go

Also, they are intelligent animals and love to learn new things. So we do some trainings together and they can easily perform simple tricks. For example, here we are leaning how to do a rotation:

Sometimes we take part in rat shows, where events like tightrope walking and rat agility take place. So they do sports too.

Walking the tightrope
Where did you get the idea to include them in your postcard photos?

I was inspired by SeanPatrick’s wall! I found it so uplifting, lively and enjoyable that I decided to make something personal too. And, of course, I thought about rats at once, because they usually make me smile.

Are they cooperative in the photo sessions?
Photography sessions

It may depend on the temper of each specific rat… some cooperate very well and some are difficult to take pictures of. But they love to explore new things and love to do something together with human beings, so we simply have fun. And the more often it happens, the better we understand each other.

Something yummy doesn’t hurt too! :)

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” Charles M. Schulz
What kind of reactions do you receive from other members who notice your wall?

The reactions I usually get are warm words and well wishes to the rats. Some people talk about their own pet rats. Compliments and energetic emotions! And, if I may take this opportunity to say thank you so much for such kind of reactions! I appreciate it very much and this is a happiness for me to know that someone somewhere on the planet is smiling too, looking at these photos.

What about you, what do you do for a living, and for fun? And do you have other pets?

I work as an analyst at a company that develops solutions for computer protection. And, by the way, sometimes my rats are used for this company advertising items, such as wall and pocket calendars.

Work projects

Also I enjoy almost all kinds of creative activity. Especially I love to draw. And thanks to postcrossing I can do it much more often, because to draw for somebody is always more enjoyable for me, than to do it for no particular reason. So most of my sent cards usually have little drawings.

Backsides of postcards Backsides of postcards Backsides of postcards

Rats are my only pets. I am with them about ten years and have to say that since the discovery of pet rats there is always laughing at home. And the more I learn about them, the more I like them!

Happy new year

Thank you Julia, that was wonderful! :)

PS – Do you know of any other quirky postcard walls? Please share them in the comments!

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There’s no place like home… unless you take a tumble and the doctor orders you to stay put for a few months, right? This is what happened to Lynn’s friend Lucy earlier this year. To cheer her up, Lynn enlisted the help of her “other friend” Morris Mouse, who agreed to send Lucy some postcards or letters from his travels.

Turns out, Morris is a great artist, and his missives are beautifully illustrated and filled with witty humour! Have a look:

The Postal Adventures of Morris Mouse The Postal Adventures of Morris Mouse

Morris visits some of his friends around the world, joining cricket matches, conservation studies, or just distracting the odd cat. Everywhere he goes, there seems to be an adventure waiting for him, and he writes Lucy about it on old postcards, letters, book pages and covers… anything he can get his tiny paws on! :)

The Postal Adventures of Morris Mouse

You can catch up with Morris’ delightful missives on the blog Lynn keeps for him at morrismouse.wordpress.com or even get in touch, if you’d like.

We look forward to his next adventures and wish a speedy recovery to Lucy as well! :)

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I discovered the Japanese folk art of etegami through Debbie’s (aka dosankodebbie) lovely postcards. Debbie is a professional translator who lives in Hokkaido, Japan. She began making etegami cards over 10 years ago, and joined Postcrossing to share them with people all over the world, as well as to receive art cards from other creative postcrossers!

As Debbie explains on her blog, “Etegami (e= ”picture"; tegami= “letter/message”) are simple drawings accompanied by a few apt words". They are made to be mailed to one’s friends or family, and usually show an object from our everyday lives.

The illustrations appealed to me for their beauty and simplicity… but when researching the art and the philosophy behind it, I discovered there’s a lot of meaning and intention in every card. So I decided to ask Debbie a few questions about her art, and she kindly agreed to a mini-interview.

For dessert, let's gaze at the magnolia blossoms
When did you start making etegami? What drew you to this form of art?

I first began making etegami in the year 2000. I had been making my own Christmas and New Year cards since childhood, using methods such as woodblock printing and the Japanese torn-paper collage art called chigiri-e. But these methods were too labor-intensive to do every day.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away

I grew up in an art-loving family, but my first love has always been words. Etegami suits me perfectly because it combines images and words. The tools for etegami are relatively few and simple, and you don’t need a lot of space to set them up. I have my tools in a small box, so I can spread them out on the kitchen table or on a corner of my work desk and paint whenever I have fifteen minutes of free time in my work day. Fifteen minutes, on average, is how much time I need to make one etegami.

Be careful of the words you say...
Where do you find inspiration for your cards?

I can always find something seasonal to paint if I look in my refrigerator or in my garden. It can be an apple, an eggplant, a dandelion, a leaf on a tree, a sparrow, a coffee mug, or the slightly rusted kerosene tank that supplies our heating fuel. Etegami is at its best when it depicts a single object that represents the season with a few unfussy strokes and a minimum of color. Compared to most traditional Japanese art forms, it has very few rules, and the slightly awkward paintings of beginners and children are valued more than refined paintings.

Let's sit and talk a while
Do you have any idea how many etegami cards you’ve made so far?

Ideally every etegami that I send should be a hand-painted original, but these days my mailing list is so long that when I can’t paint enough originals, I sometimes resort to prints of my images. I go through at least 800 washi cards in one year. If you include prints, I mail about 1,000 etegami postcards every year.

Curiosity cannot be idle
Besides postcrossers, who else do you mail your etegami cards to?

Although one of the pleasures of etegami is in the exchange, it’s even better to send etegami to people who can’t send anything back. I set aside every Monday to make etegami for people who are sick at home or in the hospital, and people who are depressed or disabled in a way that makes it difficult for them to send mail to anyone. This is especially meaningful to me because I have bad legs that keep me house-bound, and I’m so thankful that I can socialize with people through etegami.

Empty nest

I don’t know about you, but I can’t to gather my brushes and give it a go! :)

Thank you so much for sharing your hobby with us, Debbie! For more etegami inspiration, don’t forget to check out Debbie’s blog.

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Sometime ago we had the pleasure to chat with Anke Weckmann, illustrator extraordinaire. She hails from a little town near Hannover, but moved to the UK in 2001 to study illustration in Camberwell College of Art and Kingston University. Since then, she has been working as a freelance illustrator in London, and her work has been featured all kinds of products, from magazines to makeup packaging, wallets to water bottles… and of course, stationery!

Anke Weckmann

Anke’s quirky style features charming big headed characters and lots of nature elements. She tells us that her illustrations are drawn in ink/black pen on paper and usually coloured digitally… but where does she draw inspiration from? Read her answers to our interview below to find out!

How did you get started doing stationery design?

I’ve been commissioned to do greeting cards, postcards, files, mouse mats, notebooks, stickers etc through various companies. This is how a lot of stationery products ended up in my online shop.The only things I produced/printed myself are small notepads and greeting cards.

Where do you find your inspiration?

Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. I’m not always sure where it comes from. Generally I’m very interested in shapes and colour pallettes. At the moment I’m very interested in tribes, vegetables and silence.

Anke Weckmann
If you could define your style in 3 words, what would they be?

Shapes, Colours, Characters

Are you a letter/postcard writer yourself?

I used to be! When I was about 11 I had more than ten penpals and for a long time I was always writing letters and cards. Now I rarely write anymore, which is sad! But it’s mostly because my hand and arm get very tired from drawing for long hours, so I try to rest it whenever I can. I still love getting mail though. And I quite enjoy packing my shop orders and including little cards and such.

Can you show us a picture of your studio or workspace?
Anke Weckmann Anke Weckmann

Thank you Anke!

You can find Anke’s postcards, greeting cards and other products at ankeweckmann.etsy.com, or through Red Cap Cards. Don’t forget to check out Anke’s blog – we’re especially fond of her Learning French illustration series! :)

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Many Postcrossers and postcard lovers from all over the world have been devout fans of Diddl the Mouse for quite some time now. You may be wondering who Diddl is and how he was created… well, fear not – we have all of the answers right here for you!

diddl1

Diddl the Mouse was created by German artist Thomas Goletz in 1990. Goletz had always loved to draw and create new characters and after studying as a graphic artist, he was doodling one day when he came up with Diddl. Of course, the first Diddl was a little different than the mouse that we all know and love today. The very first Diddl was a larger kangaroo with no name. He had on Diddl the Mouse’s famous overalls, but other than that, he was pretty different.

After playing around with this eccentric kangaroo character, Goletz transformed him into a jumping mouse, who was smaller and could fit inside of coffee cups and pieces of cheese. Goletz gave him the name Diddl, because he wanted something cute and short, and he liked the goofy sound that Diddl makes as it rolls of your tongue. Diddl is defined by his kooky sense of humor, fun-loving nature and jumping behavior. He has very large ears and large pink-soled feat.

diddl2

Goletz began working with stationery and toy manufacturer Depesche to mass produce cards, calendars and many other things, all featuring Diddl. Goletz also created friends and relatives for the mouse, including his girlfriend Diddlina. Today, Diddl and his friends are some of the most popular cartoon characters in Austria, Germany or Switzerland. In the Netherlands, Diddl’s many adventures are featured in a monthly publication called “Diddl’s Kaasblad”.

diddl3

You can learn more about Diddl and the rest of his friends on the Diddlmania website.

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