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. 

1 Comment

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Ria Mishaalreply
January 9, 2012 at 11:59 am

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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