Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sky's the Limit for a Baby-to-Be

Spring is approaching, and with it, adorably big-eyed and chubby-cheeked babies, and the baby shower invitations they rode in on.

Since my success in painting with wine (not to mention the sheer fun of My Dunk Valentine), I've been branching out from the consumable and experimenting more with actual paint-based watercolours. I have also been spending more time taking on digital print orders, which have been a lot of fun (InDesign and Google Analytics will have to battle it out for my heart). Put them together and what do you get? Bibbidi-bobbidi-beautiful digital watercolour flat cards. Now all I need are jolly blue robes to wear so I don't look silly while I saunter around the "shop". . . 

To get that image out of your head, take a gander at the finished products, below! 

Little Mr.

Watercolour base pages: The sky may have been done with paint, but old habits die hard, and I couldn't get enough of the naturally antiquated colour of tea, so I went pinkies up for the banner. The next step was to scan these pages in and pull them together digitally. Then, I could set the type to follow the curve of the banner, and by inserting negative space, I used the lack of colour to bring out the textured paper and make clouds (see below).

 Next came the army of hand-cut, antiquated paper planes: For consistency, I got the image the way I wanted it, mirrored it (so that the printed line would be on the back of the paper and still face the direction I needed), and then printed a sheet of them onto red card stock. I also did myself a favour and bought a new pack of blades, and replaced them each time the very tip broke off--which, for the record, happened about every seven planes. Using a clean edge really made all the difference in the quality of the cut, and the quality of my sanity by the end of it.

I brought it all together by attaching the little prop plane to the invitation with a mounting square, so that it would be raised up from the paper, and sewed a link of embroidery thread (also in the running as my one-true-love. . . now that I think about it, my heart seems to be a little slutty) between the end of the banner and the plane, to give it some texture and an movement. Lastly, I whipped up some custom return address labels, featuring "A Special Delivery From" in the official USPS font, and the same little red plane to tie the envelope and the invitation together. As a bonus, I threw in some vintage air mail stickers that I pulled together from some images online.

One of my favourite parts of finishing a custom order is being able to wrap each bundle up with a personalized band, featuring the names of the recipients. For these announcements I decided to showcase the first names of the parents-to-be on either side of their baby-to-be's.

Little Miss

Watercolour base pages: Painting an elephant becomes all the more difficult when you first have to teach yourself how to draw one, but I was really pleased with how the little stuffed-animal-esque illustration came out. Then, just like before, I scanned the pages in and pulled them together digitally.

For something a little extra, and to make use of the freedom that digital allowed me, I curved the text to fit the curve of the balloon.

 And once again, before no time at all, the invitations were printed, cut, and I'd reached my favourite part, and this time with the baby-to-be's full name.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Drunk Valentine

For Valentine's day, Warren Tales is bringing you a D.I.Y. tutorial on how to make three alcohol-based greeting cards. Rather than a succinct and cleverly edited video--and thanks to my own computer illiteracy (potentially encouraged, in part, by the fact that I spent all day drinking)--however, I humbly offer you two jovially written reports, and the only portion of a day's filming that has any functioning audio or general usability. And so, without further ado, I hope you enjoy this 35 minutes of delightful and bewildering banter as you, too, tipsily paint and craft your way to being My Drunk Valentine.

Número Uno: Tequila y Amor (Possibly More of One Than the Other)

The first card of the occasion was executed as a postcard, painted with an 1800 Tequila and Pomegranate & Lime juice combo. The Pomegranate & Lime juice, being mostly pear juice, however (funny what you discover when you read the ingredients of food products), lead it to paint on far too light, so I had to get my food colouring on. But a solid serving of what was probably more than a healthy dose of red dye later, and I was sitting pretty.

First, I drew a grid of hearts in pencil, leaving two squares blank near the bottom in favour of two trusty letters, "I" and "U". Next, I burst out of my kindergarten-trained box and painted outside of lines. Felt good. Admittedly, so did the cocktail. Finally, as I wrapped up my first card, I added some pizazz by going back over my pencil lines with a red LePen and a gold gel pen, as per the image below.

In retrospect, rather than breaking out of kindergarten, it would appear that I momentarily returned to it. Good times.

Nummer Zwei: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dark (Easier to Drink Than Say)

If I was born in the United States, it's possible that this video would eliminate my possibility of running for political office... Enjoy!

My Drunk Valentine from Warren Tales on Vimeo.

Opa, Cheers, and Wa Hey!

Numéro trois: Cabernet Sauvignon (This Wine Can Speak About as Much French as I Can)

My third, and last, card was the one I was actually looking forward to making the most (plus, I was in a curiously good mood at this point, and just happy to be raising another glass, hmm). For this card, I got to return to one of my favourite new tricks: wine watercolours.

I used a pencil and a stencil (and made further rhymes by investigating some tinsel) to faintly trace out an ampersand in the middle of my card, and painted the heart from the wine in my glass over the outline. Once the wine had dried, several people braced themselves and I proceeded to cut out the positive pieces of my design with a craft knife. Et voila!

So, somehow, over a day of increased alcoholic consumption (A.K.A. "Gettin' Krunk"), I managed to produce the best product last. Riddle me that.


And there you have it: three cards that you yourself can make, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, and in joy as well as in celebrate (and entertain) the people in your life.

I'd like to extend a big thank you to my roommate, Jack, for letting me borrow his computer after mine gracelessly ceased to fulfill it's primary function as my robot slave; the friendly man at the liquor store, for recommending a delicious beer (the very one you witnessed); the ever-intoxicated--but well fed--Hannah Hart, of My Drunk Kitchen, for inspiring the madness (I should send her a card); and all those who encouraged me to get drunk and publicly post it to the world wide web--so many! How curious...

Party on, Warren.