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Postcrossing Blog

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

Posts tagged "stationery-maker"

Kehvola

We first saw Kehvola's cards on a pop-up postcard fair organised by the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association in Tampere, and I confess I was instantly smitten! It’s no secret I have a sweet spot for illustration, but their playful style and daring colour palette was what got me hooked.

At the time, I sent the postcard on the right to a booklover friend, and stocked on others… though I’ve been very reluctant to part with them!

At the time, we talked a bit with the owners, Veera and Timo, who were staffing their booth at the fair, and Timo agreed to answer a few questions for the blog. So ladies and gentlemen, here he is to tell us more about Kehvola!

How did Kehvola get started? Could you tell us a bit of the story behind it?

Veera (my wife) had previously worked as a store manager in the Finnish National Gallery’s museum shops. There she noticed that there are no nice Helsinki cards available. She started the company and asked the nearest and the cheapest illustrator (me!) to draw a set of Helsinki postcards. This was just four years ago.

We’re fascinated by how coherent your collection is — despite being illustrated by different people. How did this group of illustrators get together? And how do you choose the themes for your pieces?

We are illustration fans and we’ve been very lucky with our artists. So far everybody we’ve asked to join us had said yes. I think our illustrators all have something in common yet they all have their own distinct style. Our illustrators have all illustrated children’s books and are capable of creating narrative pictures with strong sense of atmosphere.

Illustrators are free to offer their own ideas but most of them prefer clear orders from us. I myself think what I would like to draw (this could be an old bike or a rubber boot, a big bookshelves, elvis, tiger or an apple pie) and then consider with Veera would somebody be interested in such a card. If we like the idea enough we print it anyway.

Kehvola good times
If you could define Kehvola’s style in 3 words, what would they be?

Narrative, colorful, warm.

Are you letter or postcard writers too?

Always when travelling. I love bookshops and museum shops and browsing through their postcard selection. Writing a postcards in a cosy pub or cafe after a long day of walking is an essential part of my traveling.

Could you show us your studio, or the place where the magic happens?

Here’s a picture of Kehvola’s "headquarters”, where I also do the drawing:

kehvolastudio

Thank you Timo, that was lovely! Besides their shop, you can also find Kehvola on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Oh! And now for the best part: Timo kindly offered a set of postcards to give away to one lucky postcrosser! For a chance to win it, check out Kehvola’s shop, and leave a comment below, telling us which design or designs were your favourites. We’ll randomly pick a winner by this time next week, and announce it on this post. Good luck! :)

And the winner of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator is… LesCheris, from France! Congratulations, and thanks everyone for playing along! :)

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Living in a touristic area can be a bit challenging. While postcards are easy enough to find, they’re usually über-touristy, featuring the beaches and little else. It gets boring after a while… which is why I was delighted to discover Rosa’s postcards on our way back from a trip to the market in Olhão. Turns out, her mom has a little store by the waterfront that showcases local art and products — including Rosa’s gorgeous postcards and art.

We thought it was time we had another post on our stationery makers’ series, and reached out to Rosa and ask her a few questions. Turns out, she’s been drawing ever since she could hold a pencil, and makes more than just postcards! :)

Joana Rosa Bragança
Could you introduce yourself briefly?

I’m Joana Rosa Bragança (but you can call me just Rosa!) and I’m an artist & illustrator based in Olhão, a fishing town in the Algarve region. I love living near the sea! Besides drawing and painting, I also like to spend my time photographing with film cameras, walking in nature, reading, sewing and trying cake recipes. I love mornings, cats, artisanal ice creams, fresh figs and old books.

What inspires you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the people I see, not only the people of my hometown, with their strong characters and looks, but also the foreigners who pass by, who are a lot these days. One of my favorite themes is the beach and bathers, and here I have plenty of “models” to observe! Still, not all my characters are inspired by real people, some of them happen to be really bizarre and come directly from my imagination. I also love to draw all sorts of animals and plants.

Joana Rosa Bragança
Are you a postcard or letter writer yourself?

I used to be, I even had pen friends when I was a teenager… then the internet appeared and made me forget it a little. Nevertheless, I love sending the orders of my online shop inside envelopes full of doodles and postage stamps. Postage stamps are awesome! My favorites are the ones with illustrations or photos of fauna and flora.

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

Dreamy, joyful, ironic.

And could you show us your workspace, the place where magic happens?
Joana Rosa BragançaJoana Rosa Bragança

Thank you so much, Rosa! You can check these and other postcards and art on her online shop. And if you know of other stationery makers we should check out, let us know in the comments!

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To say I’m a big fan of stationery would be the understatement of the year. Things like labels, washi tape, rubber stamps, or stickers just make me go all starry-eyed, sighing in delight… I treasure (read: hoard) all the bits and pieces that can turn postcards into mini-works of art.

Sadly, living in a small town does present some challenges, like the lack of nice stationery shops in a radius of 200km… which is why I’ve recently fallen in love with subscription services! They’re a godsend for those of us in rural areas, as the goodies come to us, pre-selected and nicely wrapped. Bliss!

Enter Pipsticks, a monthly sticker subscription club, offering an eclectic mix of sourced and self-designed stickers in two flavours: kids or grown-ups.

Pipsticks

The kids pack (above) features animals, monsters, robots and funny puns in all their sparkly and puffy glory, while the grown-up pack (below) is a little less exuberant and more versatile, but just as much fun.

Pipsticks

I quite like how their selection has a bit of everything: backgrounds, cartoons, labels, a white postcard, and of course both tiny stickers and bigger pieces, all ready to bring a pop of excitement to any postcard or occasion. Some people might prefer to pick and choose what they buy… but I for one, am quite happy to be surprised and not overwhelmed with choice. Also, it’s nice to have a selection of different things available instead of 3–4 sheets of the same designs.

Pipsticks

To help you bring your postcards to the next level, Pipsticks is offering one lucky postcrosser a “Studio Sticker box”, which is a box loaded with washi tape, blank postcards and stickers. Sounds amazing, right?! 😍

Pipsticks sticker box

For a chance to win all these goodies, leave a comment below letting us know one cool thing you’d like to see pictured in stickers more often! (Me? I’d vote for eggs. 🍳 The world needs more egg-citing stickers!)

Don’t forget to check out their website for more details on their fun subscriptions — or you can have a look at their Instagram for a peek of their previous and future packs.

As always, come back this time next week to find out which lucky postcrosser was chosen by Paulo’s random number generator!

And the winner is… terrimik! YAY! Thank you everyone for sharing your favourite sticker ideas — so interesting! :)

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Remember the Typographic cards we enthusiastically gushed about last year? Harald is expanding his already fantastic set of 26 cards with a special new one, and launching it with a bang on Kickstarter! He explains it better:

So far, 127 backers from 20 different countries have pitched in, adding 4 extra “sticker-cards” to everyone’s pack… and I’m about to add Portugal to that list!

So join us if you can, and spread the word to your friends in other countries. We hope many people will choose to back the project, so that everyone can receive as many cards as possible! 😀

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We know lots of postcrosses are big fans of Lali’s riddle cards — we are too! The charming colourful illustrations, the puzzle to solve and scratch on the back… what’s not to love?

So we’re stoked that Lali herself agreed to reply to a few questions about her art, tell us all about her famous postcards, and even decided to offer some postcards to a few lucky postcrossers! YAY! Read on to learn the story behind these lovely postcards… and to win some! :)

When did you first start designing your style of riddle cards? Which one was your first one, and what is the story behind it?

After I graduated from “Les Beaux Arts” in Annecy in 1999, I worked for a while for Pylones, a famous brand of decoration and gadgets items. There, I designed touristic t-shirts with animals on them. At the time, I was already thinking about drawing child’s games, but it’s not easy to do that on a t-shirt and furthermore, the editor was not really interested in the idea.

In 2001, I found a job as a cashier in a famous stationary in Annecy. A bit dreamy, I was scanning child’s books but also illustrator’s postcards that were more and more playful. One day, my colleague, who was also responsible of the postcard section, encouraged me to try my luck at showing my sketches to an editor’s representative who would soon be visiting the store. So, I took the bull by the horns and I drew a few riddle games, amongst them were hearts, cats and clovers.

Lali riddle cards

Afterwards, I went and defended my idea, my own concept to the editor in chief. He was seduced at once by my riddle postcards, it was a totally new idea at the moment. He gave me one month to send him about fifteen new drawings. Shaking my hand at the end of the interview, he said: “I think we’re going to work together.”

I was 26, I was a cashier, and I was about to be edited for my artistic skills. Tears of joy!

In November 2002, as I was sitting at my cash-desk, I started scanning the barcode of MY VERY OWN postcards. When I scanned the one with the clovers on it, with a sentence saying ‘TRY YOUR LUCK’ I must admit I beamed.

What inspires you?

First of all, I like paper, the soft touch of it, and the smell. I like going to stationery shops, where I can smell the ink and the school scent. I also like old books smell… I had always dreamt of becoming a librarian.

I also like postcards, the small size, and the purpose. It is like a little travelling bird, carrying good news.

For my riddle postcards collection, I get my inspiration absolutely everywhere, depending on my desires and on what’s happening in my life.

I rarely work because of a special demand from my editor. Even if I keep the idea of a collection in mind, I am a bit of a chameleon; I love playing with different themes, colours and even sometimes playing with different graphic styles.

I always try to be curious, to follow the new trends. Animals, my favourite theme, are also fashion victims! (indeed, cows in the 2000s were soon to be replaced by bugs, owls and swallows). Therefore I have to adapt to the tendency. Bugs, monsters and food are still my favourite since they can be easily adjustable, and I can really let my imagination work.

What techniques/means you use to draw your postcards? For instance, do you draw by hand first, or perhaps using the computer only?

Thanks to the progress of technologies, my technics have improved tremendously. Since the beginnings I’ve drawn by hand, I scan and then I re-draw the contours in Photoshop, then I colour the entire piece. But today with the introduction of the graphics tablet, the contours are way neater. It is such a gain in time, a great tool to use.

Lali riddle cards
Do you know how many you’ve done so far? Do you have a favourite one?

I think I have drawn about 200 postcards, lots of which are not printed anymore… Right now, there are about 80 different types on the market.

My favourite postcards are not the most successful ones. Some are timeless, but others are more fashionable, and thus last less.

It is more pleasant to draw the ones that tell a story, with a setting which incudes many scenes. For instance “le potager” (the vegetable patch), “le grand huit” (the roller coaster) or the last one “le colibri” (the hummingbird) are some of them.

Lali riddle cards

I’d say that two cards are like turning points in the collection:

  • The monsters: at that time, most of the background I was drawing were white. I mistakenly clicked and coloured the background in black. The result was great and so obvious. Today, this card is one of the best one of the collection that is composed of many black background cards.
  • The library: it is part of my second new collection, signed ‘Lali & MG’. For its really long and tedious realisation, I asked the fans of my Facebook page to give me names of famous couples. That was so much fun!
Lali riddle cards
Are you a letter/postcard writer yourself?

I’m not going to lie, I use to write many more letters and cards before the invention of mails and text messages, which are my worst enemies…

But for a little while now, I’ve been using Postcrossing and I’ve just received my three first postcards. And it’s so nice and pleasing!

Thank you Lali, what a great interview! :) You can check Lali’s designs on her website, www.lali.fr, and you can also interact with her and follow the evolution of her collection on her Facebook page, facebook.com/lali.officiel.

Lali herself!

And now for the best part: Lali kindly offered 3 packs of her wonderful postcards and other goodies to give away to 3 lucky postcrossers! For a chance to win a pack, check out her postcard designs, and leave a comment on this blog post, telling us which one was your favourite. We’ll randomly pick 3 winners this time next Wednesday and announce them on this post. Good luck! :)

And the lucky postcrossers, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator are… isabetta, serenityuy and Sreisaat! Congratulations to the winners and thank you everyone for participating! :)

A parting message from Lali:

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the warm comments you posted on the blog. I am more than ever motivated to find new riddle postcards and bring a little joy and fantasy in your letterboxes :-) Good news: Gradually, all the riddles will be translated into English at the back of the postcards. If you want to try your luck again, join me on my Facebook page, I often organize contests. Happy summer and happy postcrossing!”
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