Two years ago, I wrote an article detailing eight behind the scenes facts about The Postman’s Knock. At the time, I was just about to have a baby, so I was reflecting on my first “baby”: TPK. Now that Remy is a toddler, I’m amazed at how things have developed, and I want to share some little-known snippets.
1. TPK Relies Heavily on the Adobe Creative Suite
When I first attempted to use Adobe Photoshop in 2011, I cried. I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated in my life (which later led me to make the Digitizing Artwork and Calligraphy eCourse). Now, I use a program from the Adobe Creative Suite to create nearly every piece of media for this website. For example, Lightroom and Photoshop ensure that the images on this website are fun to look at.
I use Adobe InDesign, a layout program, to make worksheets. Premiere Pro and Audition are my programs of choice for video (and audio) editing. Adobe and I had a rocky start, to say the least, but now I don’t know what I would do without it!
2. Most People Hang Out at TPK on the Weekdays
One thing that’s been interesting to observe is that people generally visit this website on weekdays. That when our traffic spikes … I’m guessing because people are bored at work and looking for fun projects to pursue on in their free time! With the quarantine, that pattern changed a bit, but it’s slowly going back to normal as states and countries are opening up. Interestingly, 50% of our traffic is from the US, then India and the UK make up the next biggest audience groups at 15% each.
3. Calligraphed Envelopes Have a Hard Time Leaving My Desk
I am so good about regularly making artistic envelopes to show you here on the blog and on Instagram! Writing a letter or making a card to put inside of those envelopes, however, is another story. I do try to get my mail art out in a timely manner. I’ll admit, though, that some calligraphed envelopes don’t ever leave my desk.
The longest I’ve ever waited to send an envelope is three years. The ridiculous wait time for sending some of my envelopes is a little quirk I have, but it’s something that I’m working on! I enjoy decorating envelopes so much, but sometimes I just can’t think of anything to put inside.
4. The Amy Style Calligraphy Worksheet is the Most Popular Product on the Site
Out of all the products on the TPK website, the Amy Style Calligraphy Worksheet is the fan favorite (by far). It’s been downloaded thousands of times since July of 2015. The second most popular product is the Kaitlin Style Calligraphy Worksheet, which was released in July of 2014.
My personal favorite calligraphy style is the Janet, but for some reason that worksheet has been less popular than other styles. I’m guessing that’s because it looks a bit intimidating?
5. TPK As We Know It Wouldn’t Exist Without Coquito
In 2013, I started writing blog posts about calligraphy — and I couldn’t help but notice that calligraphy-focused posts were the most popular. Hernán suggested that I make a printable calligraphy worksheet for people, like the Coquito writing workbooks he filled out when he was a little kid in Peru. At first, I was dubious, but I made a little printable calligraphy workbook anyway. An astounding amount of people downloaded it!
The success of that first printable worksheet led me to make more calligraphy worksheets. Later, I refined the worksheets to include much better instructions and practice opportunities. Then, I started making video courses, and, last year, we decided to start selling calligraphy supplies. Without the inspiration from a Peruvian child’s writing workbook, who knows what TPK would be right now!
6. Rodger Mayeda is TPK’s “Fairy Godfather”
Sometimes, the right person reaches out to help at just the right time. When I was learning calligraphy and blogging about it circa 2014, calligraphy enthusiast and penmaker Rodger Mayeda emailed me with a handful of kind and helpful tips (“Try using a Nikko G nib!”). He also offered to send over a couple of his oblique pens for me to try, which convinced me that brass is best.
I don’t talk a lot about Rodger on the blog anymore because he’s enjoying a quiet retirement in Longmont, CO. Even in retirement, however, he is a tremendous help to TPK! He came up with the design for our Brause EF66 oblique flanges, and then he spent an afternoon patiently showing me how to make the flanges. Every few months, he uses his guillotine cutter to divide a roll of brass into about 500 small strips, which he personally delivers to me, so I can continue to make flanges. Suffice it to say that without Rodger, I wouldn’t have the calligraphy knowledge that you can find all over the site today!
7. TPK’s Most Popular Blog Post of All Time is The Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy
With 1.5 million views since the post was originally written in October 2016, The Beginner’s Guide to Modern Calligraphy is the most popular article on this website. The post has been revised a couple of times to reflect common beginner problems that I’ve noticed while teaching workshops. Mostly, though, it hones in on the things I wish I could have known when I was at the beginning of my calligraphy journey!
How-to articles tend to perform the best on the site, but my personal favorite posts to make are project tutorials! The most enjoyable project/tutorial to create so far was probably the The Botanical Letter Tutorial Reboot.
8. eCourses Take a Long Time to Make Now That I’m a Mom
My son, Remy, was born in September of 2018. Before that, if I made up my mind to create an eCourse, I could create all the worksheet materials and film everything within a month. Now, things move much slower (especially since we lost our childcare in March due to the quarantine). I’ve been working on an intermediate calligraphy eCourse for three months now! It goes at a snail’s pace because opportunities for filming are few and far between.
While it can be tough to film, it’s always pretty easy to find time to blog, which I’m grateful for! You can always count on punctual blog posts and tutorials being published to the site. That’s because I can take/edit photos and blog while I keep an eye on Remy at the same time.
9. TPK’s Web Developer is Overqualified
This website is a huge creation. I know how to give it content (blog posts, products, video courses), but I have to admit that I don’t have the first clue about other things. Like, if you asked me to upload a new home page design tomorrow, I wouldn’t be able to do that by myself. That’s where my husband comes in! He started developing the TPK website while he was pursuing his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Colorado.
Since before his graduation in 2016, Hernán has been a WordPress wizard who works behind the scenes every day to make sure this site runs smoothly. In addition to the work he does for TPK, he has his own business, Boldermail, which made its debut earlier this year. He really enjoyed pursuing his Aerospace PhD, but WordPress won his heart in the end!
10. Our Airbnb is Now a Shipping Area
We are big Airbnb people. We’ve stayed in Airbnbs around the world, which inspired us to create our own once we settled in our Boulder, CO, home. (You can still see photos here, though we’re not operational.) After Remy was born, I realized that we would no longer be able to control noise level and give guests personal space. Hernán suggested using the Airbnb to store and ship out calligraphy-related products instead. And with that, the Supplies Shop came to be.
I was initially very hesitant to enter the realm of selling physical products. However, Hernán — ever the researcher — located wholesalers and part-time employees, so I said okay. Now, I’m glad we went for it. TPK now actually fulfills its mission to make you excited to hear “The Postman’s Knock”, even if shipping logistics can get a little challenging at times!
I hope that you enjoyed reading these snippets! As TPK evolves, things change a bit here and there, which is why I wanted to touch on some new behind-the-scenes facts. If you have any questions about anything that I mentioned in this article, feel free to ask. I’m always glad to answer!