I have painted mostly Happy Girl Postcards as you will see in this part of Making a postcard from Scratch. It is Part 3: Adding details, a focal point or words to your DIY Postcards. The Finishing Touches that is. In part 1 we got started and in part 2 we picked some background colors. Now it’s time to start adding in details.
Just remember, this is one way to make a mixed media postcard, not the way. There are no right or wrong here (well, if you totally copy someone else’s style that might not be so great). If you try your best at making it your own, I don’t think you can go wrong with your mixed media Postcards.
Trust your instinct and go for it!
For my postcards, I have chosen a substrate, and decided on my main medium of choice (acrylic paint) and gotten started on a whole heap of do-it-yourself postcards for the DIY Postcard Swap. Now I am ready to finish the painting part of this exercise, to add in some details and even more colors.
I started my postcards out as a series, meaning they’re made at the same time with a similar theme, but in the end they end up looking rather different. I try different methods, ideas and tools on each of rectangle that I marked out (almost disappearing under all the paint, but I’ll just use a ruler when I get to the cutting these apart part).
In some cases I paint clear gesso (transparent) on top of the background, so that it’s not so slippery and smooth. The gesso layer underneath has disappeared, but the transparent gesso gives the painting some tooth so I can draw on top of it with crayons, pencil or graphite.
When all the layers are done, I varnish with a matte medium, so that the crayon marks won’t smear in the mail. I don’t like enveloping my handmade postcards. I love that the postal system can see them, and that they get to travel the world for just a few bucks.
I am not going to tell you to draw little humans similar to mine on your mixed media postcard, of course not. Instead I’m going to tell you how I “knew” what to paint on mine, and how you can find your own idea for a motif instead of copying mine. You can leave them abstract of course, or add words or graphic patterns for example, but if you too are feeling like going further this time, here’s how:
Go back to your own art and search for something you loved creating!
Don’t Copy these happy girl postcard style, Find your Own Way. But it doesn’t have to be that difficult…
Look through old Art Journals
You don’t have to always start from zero and invent the wheel. Maybe you’ve invented a wheel before in your life, and could pick spare parts from that? I.e. what do you paint in your art journal? What is one thing you keep returning too? What forms do you doodle over and over again? What did you draw when you were a kid? What comes easy for you and feels fun?
Maybe you draw houses or paint flowers in a particular style? Maybe you’re into rainbows or unicorns these days? Maybe lettering is your new thing? Or your old thing, for that matter. Re-visit something that is important to you, something that you love, weather it is the technique or the motif, and use that. I promise you, you will create magnificent postcards this way.
I re-found a girl style I have experimented with before in a shelved art journal this week, and as per usual, asked myself: Why haven’t I painted more in this style? Why haven’t I made more paintings of her? I ask myself this all. the. time, and I already know the answer: it’s because I have so many passions, that I’m pulled in several different directions all the time. But more on that happy problem another time.
For now, let me just state that digging through old art journals is like a gold mine for me!
I wanted to recreate the triangle head girl on these postcards, and I’m calling them Happy Girl Postcards. I totally got into a flow state and forgot to take step-by-step-photos, but that’s not what this series is about. It’s about inspiration!
In the above photo (upper right) you see one of the triangle block of color becoming a head (upper right), and on the photo below I’ve added a bit more detail to her here and there.
I found it a bit fiddly to paint this small, as I’m used to big journal pages, but also gratifying just getting into the flow of things and forgetting about time. That’s why I haven’t gotten too many photos of in-process-postcards. I simply forgot to photograph the different stages.
Happy Greeting or Happy Girl Postcards
You can try out most of your favorite art supplies on these small canvases. I have played with mark making, and also incorporating some kind of “happy greeting”. In fact, I think all postcards you send should be of the happy variety. Save your angst and worry for the world for the pages of your art journal or canvas. I don’t mean everything needs to be bright and pretty, but I don’t enjoy getting postcards with negative words or questions about our existences. I’d rather not share the hard life questions through postcards, if you know what I mean?
Favorite Mixed Media Mark Makers
Here’s a list of what I used on some or most of these postcards!
Note, the links leads to the product on amazon, and are affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and buy from that link, Ill receive a small compensation at no extra cost for you. But you can also just click on to read more about the product. :-)
- regular white gesso and clear gesso which help you draw or write on top of a painting
- paint markers like the uni-posca pens
- acrylic paint like liquitex classic beginner paint
- water-soluble pastel crayons by Caran d’Arche (II)
- graphite pencils (I love these, how black the line is and how they smudge everything out of control)
- colored pencils
- acrylic spray paint
- alcoholic markers from flying tiger copenhagen (new name for my favorite store TGR/Tiger, again)
- some sparkles and a little glitter, I like pink glitter glue
- gel medium as varnish (so hopefully all the crayon marks and graphite won’t smear in the mail)
When you’re happy with all the colors, details and mark making on each of the four postcards on a paper, you have to cut them apart.
Finishing the postcards
I turned my backside each paper (I painted three papers making 12 postcards) and re-drew the lines to know where to cut. I used an x-acto knife and quilting ruler to get sharp edges. You could also do this with scissors, but I find cutting easier.
Not until the final cut I got to see my own postcards as “individual pieces”, and it was a fun surprise. I liked working on the big sheet, but I also enjoyed seeing them as individual messages.
I’ll show the happy girl postcards and the others individually in my next postcard post.
I usually sew on the backside paper, but this time I used a good glue stick that I know will hold through the postal service, to glue on the printed backsides. You should always include your name, what swap it’s from and your own e-mail address so that people can write a little thank you-note when the get your postcard.
You can get your own free printable postcard backside here.
You can still sign up and have two weeks to create your own series of postcards for the DIY Postcard Swap. Join NOW!
Don’t miss the next part of this series, subscribe to blog posts via e-mail, and you’ll get the finished happy girl postcards in your e-mail inbox as soon as they’re up.
Hope you’re enjoying the series?
I didn’t realize that there is a translucent gesso option! Guess what I’ll be looking for this weekend? :)
I’m on the finishing touches of my postcards today. Have to wait for the rain to clear up before finishing off with spray acrylic to make sure everything stays adhered to my postcard backing. So much fun! Thanks for hosting the swaps.
I LOVE how your postcards turned out Hanna! I’m having a lot of fun with mine this time…still putting on the finishing touches. I enjoy your swaps so much. Thanks again for putting it on!