Every couple of weeks or so, I post an envelope art mini-tutorial on the TPK Facebook page. Mini-tutorials aren’t as detailed as full tutorials that are posted here on the TPK blog; instead, they provide a burst of inspiration! In place of walking through the creation process step-by-step, the Facebook mini-tutorials break envelope art creation down into 4-6 different steps. This allows you to get a feel for the concept and modify accordingly to make it your own!
Though I enjoy the social, instantaneous nature of Facebook, I don’t love that it’s not necessarily easy to go back and reference past mini-tutorials. I also know that many TPK readers are not on Facebook. For those two reasons, I like to post a round-up of the envelope art mini-tutorials on the TPK blog! Today’s roundup includes envelopes made from a variety of media, including brush pens, dip pens, and watercolor.
1. Harmonious Vines Envelope Art
The contrast of soft watercolor with bold, black values makes this envelope a delight to behold! To make it, start by creating centered black calligraphy or hand-lettering on a white envelope. The example below shows Amy Style calligraphy, but any style will render lovely results!
Next, use gray watercolor to paint simple vines and leaves that look like the ones shown below. The color I used here is “Slate” by Greenleaf & Blueberry, but you could easily mix your own gray using black watercolor and water!
Once the gray watercolor has dried, paint more stems and leaves using a mauve-colored watercolor. You can and should paint directly over the gray leaves you made for a nice visual effect!
Finally, use a light blue tone to add small leaves and vines to the piece.
Give the watercolor a couple of minutes to dry, then use a fine-tipped permanent marker or a pen to draw black stems and leaves over the watercolor. I do not recommend that you use a dip pen and ink to do this, as ink has a tendency to react strangely when you use it to paint over dried watercolors.
Continue to draw black stems, leaves, and, if you would like to, flowers, until you’re satisfied with your work!
This mail art focuses a lot on the bottom of the envelope, so you’ll want to make sure to balance out that focus with a stamp collage at the top! If you’re in the US, you can purchase vintage stamps (the value of which is still recognized by USPS today) on eBay or Etsy.
This envelope art concept is fantastic if you want to send someone a quietly beautiful piece! Just keep in mind that a high-quality envelope should be used, one that interacts well with watercolor. I used a Royal Sundance envelope from Neenah Paper here (item #7223100 under the “Envelopes” tab), but you’d be equally safe with any of Paper Source’s PS Collection envelopes. For more information about purchasing high-quality envelopes, you may read the How to Choose the Best Calligraphy Envelopes post!
2. Brush Pen Block-Lettering and Lace Envelope Art
The charm of this envelope lies in its eclectic composition of elements: casual block lettering, elegant script, and lovely lace all come together to make a piece that is funky and respectable all at once! To create this piece, begin by using a marker or a brush pen (like the Tombow pen I am using here) to write your recipient’s name in bold, thick letters. The color of the marker doesn’t matter much, but the envelope should definitely be a light hue such as white, light pink, light blue, yellow, etc.
After you have written the recipient’s name in marker, use a dip pen and black ink to draw an outline around each letter.
Next, use a pencil to draw some horizontal guidelines for a calligraphed address; my lines here are spaced about 3/4″ (19 mm) apart. Once you have your pencil guidelines, you can write the recipient’s address in elegant calligraphy such as Janet Style.
When you’re finished writing the address, you can apply a stamp collage to the top of the envelope. Then, use the How to Draw Lace Tutorial to draw lace around the corners and edges of the envelope.
Whenever you feel satisfied with how the lace looks, the piece is ready to send off!
I like the block-lettering and lace concept because it doesn’t take itself too seriously; it’s a playful with a bit of a vintage feel! Make sure you have a few minutes to make it, though … the lace can take some time to draw!
3. Watercolor Stamps Envelope Art
Several weeks ago, one of my friends sent me a link to Abbey Sy’s work on Behance. I was immediately captivated by the vibrant colors and playful content, and I especially liked her mail-centric lettering! Abbey was the inspiration for this envelope, which features a mix of a few different watercolor “stamps”. To create it, you’ll begin by drawing a few horizontal pencil guidelines on the right side of an envelope so you can write left-justified calligraphy.
Use any calligraphy or lettering style to write your recipient’s name and address on the lines. Any lettering style will work well here; in the photo below, I chose all-lowercase Kaitlin Style calligraphy and walnut ink.
Once the ink has dried, erase the pencil guidelines. Then, write your address in the top left corner in the same calligraphy style used to write the recipient’s address. Wait for the ink to dry, then use a pencil to draw outlines of the “stamps” you plan to paint. You can use your imagination here! If you want to speed up the process by using an actual stamp or two, you can do that, too.
Fill in your pencil outlines with watercolor. You’ll want to make sure you’re using a relatively small paintbrush so you can fill in the little details!
This piece isn’t complete without a few colorful postage stamps in the upper right corner, so don’t skip out on those! Once the stamps are affixed, the envelope is complete and ready to be sent on its merry way!
You can’t help but love the watercolor stamps envelope art because it’s colorful and communicative, a fun piece that draws you in with its bold colors and lettering! Again, I have Abbey Sy to thank for the inspiration. If you would like to see more of Abbey’s work, definitely check out her Instagram profile — I know you’ll love her style!
Even if you’ve seen these three tutorials before on the TPK Facebook, I hope you enjoyed reading about them again and having the opportunity to “pin” them if you’d like to! If you’d like to see other mini-tutorial posts like this one, you can check those out by clicking here.
Thanks so much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your day. 🙂