Postcrossing Blog

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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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Ever wanted to send someone a whale? A bear? Or perhaps a big cuddly moose? We all know how impractical that can be… and don’t even get me started on customs and security!

So I was very relieved the other day when I found out about Green Banana Cards – the perfect postcard solution for the hassle of shipping big animals!

Green Banana Cards

Cute, right? :)

Virginie St-Jean is the designer behind Green Banana Cards project. She started in 2008 with the Mail a Moose design as a greeting card… but eventually realized there was a much higher demand for postcards! So she switched to the postcard format, and has been steadily introducing new animals to her collection since then. You can send 14 different animals across the world! :)

How did you get started doing stationery design?

I love everything that has to do with printed art. However, since it’s an art that’s been declining in popularity with the general public, I thought the best way to go about it was to create something out of the ordinary, so that even people who might not usually buy postcards would be tempted because of the novelty factor.

Green Banana Cards
Where do you find your inspiration?

I have always loved drawing animals, and after spending some time in the Yukon, I was trying to think of a product that I could sell there. That’s how I thought of creating the Mail a Moose design. Most of my designs are iconic Canadian animals, but I’m also inspired by animals that tourists in other countries might be interested in mailing back home. I printed southern US animals like a gator and a manatee recently, and I plan to introduce an Australian animal collection by next summer. I also regularly work on custom orders, such as a Guernsey Cow for the Island of Guernsey, UK and a T-Rex and Mammoth for Canadian Museums.

What is your favourite item in your shop (and why)?

The Mail a Moose postcard is my favourite because it started it all, and because “Mail a Moose” is fun to say!

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

Lighthearted, colorful, cheery

Are you a letter/postcard writer yourself?

Yes, I think everyone likes receiving something fun in the mail since it rarely happens anymore. When traveling, I really enjoy finding special cards to send back home. I also occasionally frame interesting graphic cards for home decor when I find the right ones.

Virginie kindly offered 5 packs of her wonderful postcards to give away – each pack features the complete collection of 14 different animals! :D For a chance to win a pack, visit Green Banana Cards' page, and leave a comment below, telling us which one was your favourite animal. We’ll randomly pick 5 winners this time next Saturday. Good luck!

And the winners, as chosen by Paulo’s random generator are… tintenn, rosenbusch, Skudrulaacis, JuliaVasylyshena and thethelliekitty! Congratulations! :)

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Do you ever idly browse the internet looking for stationery? I know I do… a lot! On one of these research sessions, I ended up in MissiveMaven’s lovely Etsy shop, filled with vintage-inspired paper goods… I was instantly hooked!

A letter is better!

Ilona (aka Missivemaven) has been running her shop since January 2011. She uses very old photos or designs that are in the public domain, giving them new life in the form of postcards, notecards and stickers. We were curious about the process and inspiration behind her stationery, and decided to interview her for the blog!

How did you get started doing stationery design?

I have been addicted to stationery since I was a small child. Letter-writing has always been a part of my life, pretty much since I learned how to hold a pencil, and friends and family were great about encouraging that pursuit by giving me gifts of stationery. (Also, my mother forced me to write thank-you notes – an excellent habit to foster!) So, being a stationery addict, I’m always on the lookout for fun items. After I started my letter-writing blog, MissiveMaven.com, in 2008, my list of pen pals and postcard correspondents went through the roof… so I had an excuse (sort of?) to collect even more stationery to further my postal pursuits. I often searched for letter-writing and mail-related postcards on Etsy. I had an idea of what I wanted in my head, and was disappointed when I couldn’t find it… and then I thought, why not design it myself?

MissiveMaven's swallows
Where do you find your inspiration?

I am very inspired by all the mail I receive, and all my wonderful pen pals. I’m also really into “modernized” vintage graphics, so the vintage graphics themselves are a source of inspiration, too.

What is your favourite item in your shop (and why)?

Oh dear. I find that question so hard to answer, because how can I pick just one? If I must pick, I am very fond of the Classic American Postman design, which I offer in postcards, notecards, and sticker seals. With his arms brimming full of packages and letters, he looks so cheery, and his posture of holding out a letter to you seems so full of hope. (Can you tell what a postal mail addict I am?)

MissiveMaven's postman
If you could define your style in 3 words, what would they be?

Classic, epistolary, nostalgic.

Are you a letter/postcard writer yourself?

Voraciously so. It is my greatest, favorite hobby. I’ve been Postcrossing for more than 7 years, I’m a proud member of the Letter Writers Alliance and I write hundreds of letters and postcards each year to friends, family, and pen pals.

Can you show us a picture of your studio or workspace?
Missive Maven's desk

Thank you Ilona!

You can find Ilona’s postcards, greeting cards and other products at missivemaven.etsy.com. Don’t forget to check out Missive Maven’s blog as well ! :)

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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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When I discovered Singaporean Art director Alynn Teo’s postcards, I was suddenly… hungry! Food-related postcards are my weakness – I can’t seem to resist them! (plus, she has a pack featuring just eggs…)

one little journey   eggs Everyday at 3pm, Alynn takes a little break from her freelancing projects to have a snack, which she photographs prior to eating. She has been doing this little ritual since 2009, and in November 2010, she decided to turn it into a business, by printing her own stationery line and selling it on her Etsy shop, one little journey. The result is a series of minimalist yet mouth-watering postcards.

Below are her answers to our interview about her stationery line.

How did you get started doing stationery design?

Artistry is the main motivating factor. I got hooked onto designing daily use items such as jewellery, toys and stationery since young. It is mostly a pastime kind of affair in between projects from my main line. While browsing Etsy mid last year, I started serious planning in turning my pastime hobby into real business.

one little journy   random
Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere! Travel, day dreams, everyday objects, tea & coffee, my daily 3 p.m. breaks. I believe things that we see, love, experience are nested somewhere in our subconscious and they surface at the least expected moments to inspire us.

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

The Simple Things

one little journey   coffee and tea
Are you a letter (or postcard) writer yourself?

Yes, absolutely! And love designing them too. i think it is one of the most sincere way of showing your love for someone.

Can you show us a picture of your studio or workspace?
one little journey   desk

You can find Alynn’s postcards at etsy.com/shop/onelittlejourney.