21 December 2015

Clip Art Illustrated Letters

Perhaps you didn't know this, or perhaps you did, but The Tale of Peter Rabbit began as an illustrated letter to a young family friend.  Now I don't possess Beatrix Potter's talent for illustration, but I like her idea of illustrating letters, so I have begun to incorporate my own fondness for old fashioned clip art--that is, clip art in hard copy--into my letter-writing.  If it sounds at all like fun, then I highly recommend that you try it.  In an age when adults are being recommended to return to coloring and jigsaw-puzzling as therapeutic, I recommend corresponding, and that with illustration.

I do most of my art-mining from catalogs and magazines.  I subscribe to catalogs for free, and try to get my magazines either at discount bookstores or in discounted lots on Ebay.  And then go through them with the dual purpose of pleasing both my own aesthetic sense, but also with my audience in mind.  I have amassed quite a library of clip art at this point, and use clear, plastic cases, designed for the storage of photographs, for the storage of clippings--some thirty-two small cases, plus larger portfolios for larger pieces.  One of the best gifts I ever received was a pair of stainless steel hair-cutting sheers, with a floral-patterned handle, from my mother.  (She gives the best gifts.)  Amassing clip art is a relaxing activity for me, much in the way that I imagine knitting is for others.  The making of envelopes is another use for found art, which I introduced you to in another post, How To Make Magazine-Page Envelopes, and there are still others uses, which I will introduce in future posts, but today I want to introduce you to the illustration of letters with found art.

Here are some illustrations of capable women for a capable sister.  Anne Bonney was a pirate lass who loved one Calico Jack, a pirate.  We've both loved a few pirates in our day.  The other is a fashion photoshoot image I can't get enough of.  My brother and I both collect images on our computers, and images of empowered women are a category we both find worthwhile.  Personally, I find women with swords symbolic; for him, it is women with guns.  This is one of my favorite images in this category.

An image to accompany a travel-themed passage for a letter to a penpal.  The addition of the luggage-laden lady to a moonscape is a tongue-and-cheek observation on my own tendency to what might charitably be called over-preparedness in packing.  I can only imagine undertaking interplanetary travel, so-laden.

I don't attempt fiction very often, but sometimes, within the confines of a letter, or perhaps even more challenging, on a postcard, I'll invent a small, picture-inspired world.  I have a sister who adores all things cute.  This is part of a border of Christmas tree ornaments which frame something... an adventure, an intratree dialogue, perhaps, starring the inhabitants of the border.  I find that images often make good story prompts.  I've tried sending images to correspondents before, asking to be told the story behind the image, but have yet to have any takers.

A custom "Air Mail" assignation.  I think I shall try more of these.

I have started including quasi-self portraits in some of my work--mostly of blonde women, with lit bulbs, in hats, garlands, bouquets, etc.  The first picture in this post is an instance of this.  I think it has something to do, in general, with being bright, and perhaps with bringing light.  I sent this piece to a penpal.  It is called "Bouquet of Bright:"
Be a Bright Something!

I sent it to him with this song:

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