Today, you’re getting two different mail art tutorials in one post! In the first tutorial, you’ll use iron gall ink and a light hand to make spindly, eye-catching flourishes. The second tutorial has a retro, constellation-like look with an understated color scheme. Create the tutorial that most appeals to you today, or try them both!
Thin Flourish Mail Art Tutorial
1. Write the Calligraphy
To make an envelope like this, use iron gall ink to write your recipient’s address in Janet Style Calligraphy. To do that, use the pen and nib combination that you’re most comfortable with. (My preference is a Brause EF66 nib + an oblique pen.)
Once the ink has dried, use a high-quality eraser to get rid of any pencil guidelines.
2. Add Thin Flourishes
Now, use a very light touch to draw curves and swirls coming off of the letters and numbers in the address. The placement of the curves/swirls should be totally random; don’t be afraid to intersect other letters!
The flourishes should be thin enough that, after you’re finished, all of the original lettering should stands out well. Once you’re satisfied with your flourishy envelope embellishments, just add postage stamps and send!
All in all, drawing the swirls and curves takes a couple of minutes to do. Keep this technique in mind next time you want to create a lovely piece of mail art that doesn’t take all afternoon to make!
Retro Constellations Mail Art Tutorial
1. Write the Address
To make retro constellations mail art, begin by writing the recipient’s name on the left part of an envelope in Roman Style lettering. I used Ziller ink in “Cardinal Red”, but you can use red watercolor instead.
Next, use brown watercolor calligraphy to write the recipient’s address under their name. Kaitlin Style calligraphy is a good choice here because it contrasts well with the bold Roman Style lettering.
Once all the ink and/or watercolor has dried, erase any pencil guidelines.
2. Add Watercolor Circles
Now, use brown watercolor to paint different sizes of circles around the envelope. The placement of the circles should be totally random.
After you’re finished painting, the envelope should look something like the one below:
3. Outline the Circles
Once the watercolor has dried, use your dip pen and black ink to draw an outline around each circle. Your goal is to not be exact! Non-perfect outlines give the piece a more creative look.
Continue to draw until every circle has an outline.
4. Make Connections
Now, use the same pen to connect groups of circles with straight lines, as shown below.
You don’t need to follow any set rules for connecting the circles. In the end, it will all come together to look like you meticulously planned the layout from the get-go.
Once the ink has dried, you can add a stamp or two and send the envelope on its way!
I hope that you enjoyed both of today’s mail art tutorials! They are different enough to keep things fresh, but they share an eye-catching and playful quality. Try them out, and feel free to add your own modifications!