Tag Archives: writing

Illustrated Envelopes

Betty Birthday lores

Betty’s birthday letter

Pa Ray birthday letter

Ray’s birthday letter

Hugo bugs and chickens

Hugo’s letter, just because he loved this envelope so much. What could I do?

I’ve always loved illustrated envelopes and illustrated packages. For an earlier mention go here. But now I am lucky enough to own a book full of them, thanks to my friend Geri Barr who gave me one just because I like them…

Or was it because she has a secret agenda? Perhaps she buys them for all of her illustrator friends and is right now amassing a HUGE and VALUABLE (requires all caps) collection of illustrated envelopes addressed to her. Aha! That’s it!

I wonder if it’s too late to copy her… Geri, you devil.

If you don’t have lots of illustrator friends who are willing to be duped, you can buy a copy of the book, and I’ve just now found another one that I will have to buy! Oh my goodness!  Floating Worlds: The Letters of Edward Gorey and Peter F. Neumeyer

Some interesting things I was able to confirm while I experimented with illustrating standard (yes, cheap) envelopes:

• Wet media make your standard (cheap) envelopes buckle in an alarming way (but pencils and felt tips are great and very portable)

• Home made envelopes would be really, really special and you could make them from thick watercolour paper and use whatever media your heart desires.

• Illustrated envelopes look okay when they are drawn (and coloured – optional) but look so much better, after the address goes on. Unfortunately I can’t publish them on-line with the lettering intact because that would be rude to recipients. But you can take my word for it. If you want to.

• Choice of stamp can be crucial to success. If you live with a stamp collector, you’re set. If you don’t, you have to go to the post office and ask the people behind the counter to show you their REAL stamps which are hidden in a drawer. They will look a bit annoyed. Be prepared.

• All this is just dandy until you realise that you can’t send an empty envelope. After all the time you spent laboriously illustrating an envelope for your friend, you now have to write a letter! Or send them a cheque if you have more money than time. But do this quickly, cheques will be extinct even before  REAL stamps.

Enjoy envelope decorating, and letter writing if you can find some time, because it is very satisfying, and ever so much fun to receive one.


Oliver and the Seawigs

New book by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre – watch the video here

Find out more about the creators here and here and here.

oliver and the seawigs

Admire Sarah’s excellent poster below! Click on it for a link to her post about the lobby for school libraries.

This poster was used for a mass lobby of parliament for school libraries in the UK.

This poster was used for a mass lobby of parliament for school libraries in the UK.

Oliver and the Seawigs. This is a lively and appealing video promo. So effective that I immediately went and pre-ordered my copy of the book. Well… alright, I admit I was an easy target. But nevertheless I think video skills are a probably a good thing to develop to promote books these days.

Here’s one place you can learn how… I’m not sure yet. But I might… Video Idiot Boot Camp

Chicken supermodels: art by the grade 2s

But wait! There’s more!

Hugo came home with a box of chocolates, two thank you cards (one from the art teacher  – a lovely hand-made one) and a whole book of thank you letters! One from each child in grade 2. Wow! I feel privileged! These are originals! I had such a lovely time going through this book. These teachers are wonderful. They are teaching the children to think creatively, to draw, to write, and to have impeccable manners. (or should that be unpeckable?)

I was going to include just a few, but couldn’t decide between them. They are so wonderfully full of variety and individual style. Here they all are.


cover art by Hugo :-)

chicken thank you - Tanner

Tanner recognises a queen when he sees one. He also draws fabulous computer chairs.

chicken thank you - Sonia

No need for a photo. You can tell exactly what Poppy and Hilda look like from this

chicken thank you - Shuta

Shuta must be a scientist. He added a wonderful life cycle.

chicken thank you - Shanae

Shanae has drawn the girls chatting amiably together. Wish I knew what they were saying. It looks like it might have been funny.

chicken thank you - Shaedyn

Shaedyn has put so much work into this. Just look at those interlocking tail feathers and that delicate feathering!

chicken thank you - Ryan

Ryan has noticed a most important thing – the water bowl. He has also done some lovely work with overlaid colour to get the effect of the subtle colouring.

chicken thank you - Riya

Riya is very interested in animals of all kinds. She obviously worked hard to observe and draw the chickens and their environment and wrote a wonderfully descriptive letter.

chicken thank you - maybe Jesse

This letter is anonymous but very energetic. I get a sense of the whole class surrounding the cage. Something nobody else drew.

chicken thank you - Luke G

Poppy has a magical presence in this drawing! She is filling the whole cage with her majesty. It almost looks as though she is appearing between the curtains of a stage.

chicken thank you - Lucas

Lucas has carefully observed those decorated tail feathers, the shaggy leg feathers and all of the other details of the cage environment.

chicken thank you - Leah

Leah is a sensitive child like both of my boys. I can tell that she has worked very hard to get this drawing right and perhaps was not happy with it in the end. Leah, it is lovely! Also, this letter is very special as it is the only one addressed to Hilda and Poppy.

chicken thank you - Kai

Wow! Kai has created a distinctive design with his composition. (It would make a nice postage stamp.) Look at those interesting tail feathers, each ending in an arrow point, rather like a dragon.

chicken thank you - Jack D

I love the honesty of Jack’s letter and the effort he has put into his work. He has recognised the rounded shapes that make up a Pekin chicken and drawn the overlaid sections of feathering.

chicken thank you - Hannah

Some beautiful, bold drawings of chickens echoing each other’s shapes in contrasting colours. Lovely!

chicken thank you - Georgia

Georgia is so enthusiastic. She has put careful observation and effort into her drawing of the perch as well as the chickens themselves.

chicken thank you - Fiona

Fiona’s gorgeous girls are almost Manga in style. They have tails like flames. They are a celebration!

chicken thank you - Elyse

Elyse has done a wonderfully confident drawing. Her pencil marks are assured and strong, her shapes lovely.

chicken thank you - Ella

Ella’s chicken characters are so Hilda and Poppy, they make me smile. Hilda is industriously tidying the straw, and Poppy is sitting above and thinking Poppy thoughts… somewhat akin to Woody Allen thoughts, I suspect. ‘This perch feels like it’s about to break… Hilda will blame me… she always blames me…I think I’m going to lay an egg… everybody is looking at me. How embarrassing…’

chicken thank you - Eliza

Eliza wins the prize for drawing most accurately those delicate partridge patterned feathers on Poppy. She has also captured that special alertness that chickens have with their bright and beady eyes.

chicken thank you - Ebony

Wow! This is a drawing but also an illustration that tells a story. Poppy has been busy building a nest to sit in, and Hilda is standing on guard at the top of the pile of straw. Ebony has even given her letter a decorative border.

chicken thank you - Dylan

Dylan is a keen sportsman. I’m not surprised that he has taken care to draw those running legs. The chickens look as though they are ready to get out of the cage and do a bit of running around in the sun.

chicken thank you - Declan

Declan has wonderfully drawn the rounded shape of a Pekin. It’s mostly fluff. (They look funny when they’re wet) And he’s also carefully drawn the drinker.

chicken thank you - Daniel

Daniel has done some great work with his free lines and even given some great background patterning, suggestive of straw. Daniel and Declan both came up to me in the corridor with shining eyes to tell me about their day with the chickens.

chicken thank you - Daniel G

This Daniel has chickens at home. I wonder if this familiarity accounts for the confidence of his drawing? He has done a very large, bold rendering.

chicken thank you - Dakota

Dakota is a great character. I’m not surprised she recognised another (smaller) character in Hilda :-)

chicken thank you - Charlotte

Charlotte has worked so hard on this drawing and expressed the honey gold glory of the straw like a flame.

chicken thank you - Bryce

Bryce liked the way the chickens moved around. I wonder what he would have done with an animation :-)

chicken thank you - Bianca

Bianca has created her own individual characters here. They are sparkling with personality.

chicken thank you - Amy

Amy has done a sensitive rendering with wonderful, delicate use of black on black, with a hint of warmth in the wings.

chicken thank you - Aahliah

Aahliah obviously loved the chicken visit so much. They will have to come again :-) Notice the ghost chickens in the background, peeping forwards at the viewer. Aahliah must have decided that the profile view was irresistible, with opportunities for drawing feather patterning.