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.