Helen Scales

xmas card 2011 3

May your bicycles have mistletoe

Last year I didn’t make any christmas cards. I can’t remember why exactly but I assume I thought I was too busy or I didn’t get inspired by anything in particular. This year I found time and inspiration.

The first thing I decided on was that I wanted it to be a stylised line drawing similar to a silk screen submarine I saw at the St Barnabas Press a few years ago. I wanted it to be detailed, mechanical, anatomical perhaps. And it needed a festive twist. Submarine with holly on it? Nah. Bicycle with mistletoe on it? Now we’re talking.

It didn’t take me long to land on the idea of inventing a bicycle with a piece of mistletoe dangling ahead of it, in a donkey-and-carrot kind of a way so the rider can ride around town collecting christmas kisses as they go.

Out came the drawing book (which I haven’t used in a shamefully long time) and I started sketching bike outlines helped by some google image searches and studying the shape of my own bike.

It taught me a thing or two about how bikes are put together – you should try drawing a bike from memory as suggested on this website, and see what you come up with.

With my bike sketched out I added an overhead contraption to dangle my mistletoe – I drew the leaves on the large side to make sure they were recognisable when I shrunk the picture down.

Then I took a picture of it (I don’t have a scanner so I just used my SLR).

I played around with it in photoshop. The main thing I did to get the effect I wanted was the  stamp filter (Filter>Sketch>Stamp…). And I used the eraser to clean up the slodges and smudges from my drawing.

Then I cheated a bit and rather than figuring a way of making copies in the print workshop myself, I sent off my design to the good people at The English Stamp Company (based in a converted dinosaur museum in Dorset, complete with fossilised dino footprints set into the walls) and had them make me a rubber stamp. It was afterall a stampy look I was after.

While I waited for my stamp to arrive I mooched about looking at the gorgeous paper goods at Riky & Nina on Etsy and ordered a bunch of colourful recycled paper & envelopes.

And I found a paper punch to round off the corners (I didn’t even know you could get those).

Once the various components arrived (I didn’t have long to wait at all – everyone I bought from was super-efficient) all I had to do was figure out a way of making clean prints (turned out my design wasn’t ideal because the large area of ‘white’ enclosed by my mistloetoe contraption easily picked up ink and make a smudgy mess, so I had to wipe that area down for each print). But in the end it worked.

Happy christmas everyone. 


Discussion (1)

There is one response to “May your bicycles have mistletoe”.

  1. As always my dear Helen, it was so much fun working with you! I haven’t forgotten our shoot part II in Cambridge….shall we wait for the weather to warm up? With love xx

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