Sunday, December 20, 2015

Dec. 13 - 19, 2015

A hectic week last week, but I illustrated two envelopes and a postcard.

Mailed Dec. 14, 2015

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Monochrome on Toned Paper

Over the past several months, I've done a lot of monochrome illustrations on toned paper. I really like the look; maybe it's time for me to try some in different colors of ink and paper.

Postcrossing postcard mailed to California on Aug. 1, 2015

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dec. 6 - 12, 2015

Last week was an all flora week: I drew bamboo and two versions of a peony drawing.

Mailed Dec. 7, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Inspiration: Russell Stutler's Sketchbook

If you want to learn about sketching on the go, Russell Stutler's Sketchbook is well worth your time. Russell is an artist/missionary living in Japan, and an avid sketcher of the people and architecture of Japan. On his website, you can look through his sketchbooks from 2001 to the present or read one of his many articles about sketching. Russell has also written a nice little book on sketching which can be read in its entirety on his website. Here's a peek at some of his sketchbook pages:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Nov. 29 - Dec. 5 2015

Though last week was mostly gloomy, cold, wet, and gray, weather which always seems to smother my motivation, I illustrated three postcards.

Mailed Nov.30, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nov. 22 - 28, 2015

Last week was filled with obstacles, but I managed to illustrate one envelope.

Another lace pattern. Mailed Nov. 28, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Inspiration: DosankDebbie's Etegami Notebook

A Japanese-to-English translator living on Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, Dosankodebbie's interest in etegami has made her Etegami Notebook the place to go to learn the Japanese art of etegami.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Nov. 15 - 21, 2015

Last week I illustrated a postcard and three envelopes, and received an illustrated envelope as well.

Postcrossing postcard mailed to Russia on Nov. 16, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Inspiration: Koosje Koene Illustrations

Koosje Koene is a wonderful illustrator living in the Netherlands, and she has a blog devoted to sharing both her illustrations, and tips on drawing.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Nov. 1 - 7, 2015

A busy week, but little to show for it-- I managed to mail only one postcard. I received, however, 13 postcards.

Postcrosssing postcard mailed to Belgium on Nov. 6, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Oct. 25 - 31, 2015

I spent a lot of time drawing this week, but only mailed two postcards.

Postcrossing postcard mailed to New Hampshire on Oct. 27, 2015

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween and Los Dias de los Muertos

The imagery of Halloween and Los Dias de los Muertos makes fun and interesting illustrations for envelopes and cards mailed in late Oct. and early Nov.

A pen pal sent me a gift box of Halloween cookies, so I drew this postcard as
a thank you. Mailed Oct. 14, 2011

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Oct. 18 - Oct. 24, 2015

I had a busy and fun week working in different styles, and playing with some ideas for Halloween illustrations. I managed four postcards and an envelope.

Gray on gray postcard mailed Oct. 19, 2015

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Whimsy, Part 3

Here's the final group of whimsical envelopes. Part 1 can be found here, and part 2 here.

Nurse Ratched as a flamenco dancer. Mailed Mar. 3, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Oct. 11 - 17, 2015

Last week, I received an illustrated envelope from a new penpal, and I illustrated two envelopes.

Received from Amandine in France on Oct. 14, 2015

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Inspiration: Tommy Kane's Art Blog

In the column to the right, I've put a section of links entitled "Inspiration". These websites have helped me learn to draw, and have helped to keep my imagination fired up with Ideas for illustrating envelopes and postcards.

Tommy Kane's Art Blog is a website I use regularly to find inspiration.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

All About Art

I've done lots of envelopes with art-related illustrations: materials, techniques, learning. Here are some I haven't posted yet:

Pena & ink, watercolor, and a rip-off of R Crumb's Cheap Thrills album cover.
Mailed Nov. 7, 2011

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Plants, especially flowers, are not my favorite thing to draw, but I try them from time to time.

After a walk in the pastures in the summer, my boot laces and socks are full of "hitchhiking" grass seeds.
Mailed May 7, 2012

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


I haven't illustrated many envelopes with buildings or monuments; envelopes and postcards seem rather small to do the subject justice. Here are the few I have done.

I got to meet my pen pal Kelly when she vacationed in Texas and invited me to lunch in LaGrange. After lunch,
she gave me some pens, and I later used them to draw the restaurant on the back of an envelope to her.
 Mailed Oct. 3, 2011.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Last Week's (Lack of) Mail

Even though our temperatures have cooled, my torpor continues. I managed only one envelope last week.

Mailed Sept. 16, 2015

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Last Week's Mail

I didn't accomplish very much again last week, but at least I was able to work out the ideas I had.

Postcrossing postcard mailed to Germany on Sept. 9, 2015

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Talavera Tile

As part of a long-overdue kitchen face-lift, last year I began installing the Talavera tiles and ceramics my wife and I had decided to use to add color to the kitchen. I used the tiles and ceramic geckos as the basis for some envelope and postcard illustrations.

Watercolor of broken-tile mosaic. Mailed Jan. 21, 2014

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Last Week's Mail

Last week the ideas just wouldn't come, and I wasn't able to make the few ideas I had work very well. I ended up doing two envelopes with only one idea. I also received a Postcrossing postcard with illustrations on the message side.

Mailed Aug. 31, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Meta Mail

Occasionally the subject of my envelope illustration is the mail I've received (or possibly haven't received). These illustrations are fun to try to make as realistic as possible, almost like a forgery.

Kelly's whiffle-ball envelope sailing over home plate on the front, and a
bonus art tip on the back. Mailed Dec. 21, 2011 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

More Collections

Illustrating an envelope or postcard with a collection of subjects is fun, and can result in an interesting envelope, but can be a time-consuming endeavor as well. My first "collections" post showed envelopes done in the style of Gregory Blackstock's Collections. Here are some envelopes illustrated with collections done in my own style.

Beachcombing finds, natural on the front, man-made on the back.
Mailed Aug. 12, 2013

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Last Week's Mail

I've been learning to use alcohol markers, and used them to illustrate two envelopes, and one of the two postcards I mailed last week.

Mailed Aug. 18, 2015

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I'm not a very "musical" person, but occasionally I use music as the theme of an envelope illustration.

Mailed June 13, 2012

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Last Week's Mail

Last week was miserably hot, with temperatures above 100°F, and as high as 107°F all week. It was a good mail week, however; I illustrated one envelope and four postcards, and also received an illustrated envelope and postcard.

My first efforts with Copic markers. Mailed Aug. 10, 2015

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Postcards from the World

While I've received over 540 postcards through Postcrossing, only a handful have been hand-illustrated. 

Received from Ola in Poland, June of 2011

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Whimsy, Part 2

Here's another group of whimsical envelopes. Part 1 can be found here.

Siamese snake?!? Mailed July 30, 2012

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015


South central Texas is rife with bugs of all kinds. I hate bugs, but I do like to draw them. You really see the interesting ways they are put together when you study one up close to draw it. I've only illustrated a few envelopes with bugs, mostly the various kinds of stinging bugs we are so richly supplied with:

 I said I hate bugs above, but actually, I love dragonflies. They're harmless, and fun to watch.
Mailed July 24, 2012

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Like portraits, animals can be a challenge to my drawing abilities, but also are interesting subjects for envelope and postcard illustrations.

Portrait of Muriel, from my favorite O. Henry story, "Jimmy Hayes and Muriel". Mailed Oct. 12, 2011

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Sometimes events in one's life can feel overwhelming, and one just needs to vent to relieve the stress. A pen pal of mine has written more than once that a postage stamp is the cheapest form of therapy, and I agree wholeheartedly. I try to give a bit of a heads up to the recipients of my venting letters through the illustration on the envelope.

The front of the envelope signals that I was feeling burned out, while the back
shows off some new drawing nibs. Mailed Dec. 5, 2011

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Last Week's Mail

I picked up the pace a bit last week, and did a large envelope and three postcards.

Mailed July 13, 2015

Friday, July 17, 2015

Recycled Ideas

Every illustrated envelope and postcard I mail off is an original drawing; I don't make prints. But I do recycle ideas. I just do a new drawing using an idea I've done before. My most recycled idea is an array of drawing tools. Here are several versions:

Postcrossing postcard mailed to Germany on June 30, 2014

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I Don't Know What to Draw

I try to relate my envelope illustrations to something in the enclosed letter, or to something in the letter I am responding to, or to the postage stamp I've chosen for the envelope. But sometimes, I simply can't think of an apropos subject. In those cases, I usually just pick a subject at random:

Mailed Oct. 31, 2011

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Last Weeks's Mail

Last week, most of my time was taken up by yard work, so I'm woefully behind on my correspondence. I only managed one envelope:

Mailed July 10, 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

Envelopes Illustrated

Occasionally, I like to draw the mail I've received in my illustrated journal. So in a departure from illustrated envelopes, here are some pages from my illustrated journal depicting mail I've received:

The first mail art I received, from Australia in Aug., 2010

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Letters From Kelly

Kelly is by far my most prolific pen pal. She's a wonderful mail artist and a fearless mailer-- she'll mail anything she can stick a stamp and an address label on. I've received some very unusual mail from her. Kelly works in various media and techniques including hand-illustration, sometimes in combination with other techniques. Here are some of the hand-illustrated postcards and envelopes I've received from her:

Watercolor with a sticker. Received Jan., 2012