Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "illustration"

A while ago, Anu (aka Gummu) from Bangalore 🇮🇳 surprised us by mailing six postcards to Postcrossing’s PO box, each with a quirky illustration, fun stamps and a piece of a postal story! You see, each postcard had a little chapter of the adventure that was searching for these same postcards in her hometown. We’ll let Anu tell the story, as it was written to us on her postcards: 😊

"Dear team Postcrossing, hello from Bangalore!

July 2019. It has been years since I entered a post office. I’d occasionally send a new year greeting or a birthday card. Signing up for Postcrossing brought back to mind all the post office coordinates around where I live, as did the fact that I hadn’t set foot in the gorgeous old GPO (General Post Office, Govt. of India) building in my city forever. So here’s a story in 6 cards…

A multi-postcard adventure story!

August 2019. The first visit to GPO revealed a philately desk and a shop. There I found this 20-card booklet, Bangalore in the 70s, illustrated by Paul Fernandes, Bangalore-based artist. Each card is an amazing, nostalgic throwback to a city we loved, loved, loved, but have seen slowly disappear over the last three decades. I picked up two booklets, gifted one and used up mine in no time. Went back for more but it was out of stock everywhere!

November 2019. Got a lead from the GPO that they may be available in one Post Office in another area. I head off on a Friday afternoon. At first, the staff said, no sorry, no stock. I get to speak to a junior branch manager, who, after listening to my quest said, “Let me make some calls…”

Subhash, the junior branch manager, made 6 calls over half an hour. Got phone numbers of staff at other branches and finally, tracked down a PO sales exec who had them at an exhibit at the agricultural university, just outside the city. Told me he would be there until 5pm, set me up with the sales exec’s phone number. Thanking Subhash profusely, I set off. If you know Bangalore traffic, you’d start to get nervous bout me ever getting there on time.

I made it to university by 4:45pm and discovered the beauty of the campus, green sprawling, rows of mango trees. Spied the convention hall where the exhibit was happening. Turned out to be an exhibit by uni students on the lives of insects (fascinating!) and located the young sales executive. He had kept aside 20 card booklets for me!

A multi-postcard adventure story!

Happy dance! Learnt from the sales person that India Post is planning to do another run of this card set. I hope they do! They are delighted that Postcrossing is going strong. I’ve spread the joy a bit by sharing the cards with old Bangaloreans, and with postcrossers. So, thank you team, for igniting the love for sending, receiving, reading, writing and connecting with the world.

Love,
  Anu"

Thank you Anu, for sharing your adventure and Paul Fernandes gorgeous postcards with us!

We love the story as much as we love the multi-postcard format — so pleasing! Imagine writing a story like this to a friend or little one, in postcard-sized installments that keep them peeking into the mailbox everyday for more… wouldn’t that be lovely? Pick a story or maybe an adventure you’ve recently lived, an unsuspecting friend and go surprise them with a few postcards! 😊

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Alexander (aka puzzlel) from Germany says he started drawing as a little child, and never really stopped. Although he considers it just a hobby, his hand-drawn postcards are a work of beauty! We were enchanted by his talent and decided to ask him a few questions about them.

How did you discover Postcrossing? What made you stay?

One year ago my aunt Karin and her husband Meck introduced me to Postcrossing. I bought some postcards and started. Address No 8 was supposed to go to a postcrosser in America. She wrote in her profile: “Handmade cards are like a gift ~ I love them!” I thought about it and sent her my first handmade card DE-6864388. That – and her very positive reaction when she received the card – was the starting point. You can guess: I owe her a million thanks!

Puzzlel drawn postcards

I don’t know what makes me stay. Sometimes I think I got addicted to making postcards…

As I understand it, you find your inspiration for the postcards on the profiles assigned to you. Could you explain a bit the process of making these postcards?

I get the new address, read the profile and try to find something in the list I could draw or paint. It must be something I am happy with. Sometimes it is pretty easy, for example if the receiver is fond of pineapples or elephants I know what to do. Sometimes I have to think about it for quite a while. If I have no idea at all I read the text to my kids: they have enough ideas!

Next step: I need a reference. I cannot make a pineapple just out of my head without a photo or a real pineapple in front of me. I look in the internet for a proper photo; I check my sketch books for a drawing I could use as reference; I ask my kids “Guys! Does anyone of you have a photo of Darth Vader/a pig/a cat/Lucky Luke/an ice bear? Maybe in one of your books?” Or I ask “Would you mind borrowing me your teddy bear/Eifel tower/plastic scull/little locomotive for a while?”

Puzzlel drawn postcards

Then I start to paint or to draw.

There is an important post process as well. I send a photo of every postcard to my aunt Karin (the game does not work without her comments) and I show the card to my wife and my kids for quality check. Sometimes I have to do corrections.

When the card is about an animal or a plant I usually write the name of it in the language of the receiver and in German on the card. A Chinese and a Russian friend help me to check my writing. Once I made a funny mistake: for the animal “Seehund” I wrote the Chinese word “sealing”. It took a while to understand: google does not translate directly German to Chinese, but German to English and then English to Chinese. The English word for “Seehund” is seal.

Do you have a favourite postcard that you’ve made?

On very rare occasions I stood in front of the letterbox with the new postcard in my hand thinking: No! I would like to keep this one! … I remember that it happened with DE-6959811, DE-7169621 and lately DE-7761999 (still traveling). So I guess these are my favourite ones.

Puzzlel drawn postcards Puzzlel drawn postcards
How much time do you need for a postcard and where do you find the time to make them?

It depends. Usually it takes one or two hours. Not counting the time thinking about what to paint/draw.

Over the years my wife and I watched less and less TV. Last year we replaced it by a fireplace (much better program…). Think of all the free time you generate in the evenings when you stop watching TV and reduce internet surfing to a minimum!

On the weekend I wake up the same time as every day. While my lazy family stays in bed I have one or two hours just for me to do a little painting. And to listen to music they are not so very fond of, like Miles Davis.

Puzzlel drawn postcards

Thank you Alexander for this wonderful interview! You can see more of his postcards on his Sent gallery.

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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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