Hello lovely people,
Here is my next sweary paper review. For any new folks, the order of business is; paper deets and a TL;DR review first, then the finished artwork image, and finally the full review. This time it’s a weird one - I don’t think cheap blank postcards are usually considered up there with archival paper on the whole! But I’m testing them for a specific purpose, and they were actually surprisingly good to draw on!
Standard royal mail postcards
Source; local post office
Brand; County Stationery - which I guess is own-brand equivalent?
Description; smooth surface 9 x 14 cm (3.5 x 5.5 inch) blank postcards, sold at post offices. No real description on the packet so I have no idea if it’s acid free, made out of ground up chuffing bunnies, or whatever.
Price; £0.99 for pack of 25 (cheap as chips)
TL;DR review; I wanted to know if it was possible to draw something detailed with twiddly bits on a postcard, and ship it successfully without it being damaged. I didn’t actually expect it to work, but not only were these super-cheap postcards easy to draw on… The drawing below survived being mailed to the US from the UK without an envelope. That’s only N=1, but a good start. My only complaint is that the paper is a bit too smooth and slippery when it comes to layering colours.
Blue tack test; 3 out of 3, no tearing - probably because of the shiny.
Shading test; got through 8 layers, but was smooshy & slidey towards the end. The paper is too shiny tbh. But I mean, shit… For a cheap postcard that’s OK int it.
What did I draw; a tortoise beetle in the genus Botanochara in Faber Castell polychromos pencils and black Uni pin fineliner
I wanted to know if it was possible to draw something proper twiddley and detailed on a postcard, and ship it successfully (meaning; the artwork not getting too battered), without putting it in an envelope. There are many blank postcards aimed at artists out there, but testing on something expensive like that seemed a wallet-risk. So I picked up these postcards while pootling around my local Fast Fare & Post Office, singing Tiddley-pom-fuckmuffins, as you do. I didn’t actually expect these postcards to be any good, or for mailing a drawing on them to work to be honest - no shade to Royal Mail, but international air mail is a bumpy ride for a naked, no-envelope artwork to withstand. But I was pleasantly surprised on both counts!
As regulars here will know, I use oil-based pigment pencils (polychromos). They blend really well, but compared to harder, waxier species of colour pencil; it can be hard to build up layers on paper that doesn’t have a lot of tooth. That’s why I was really quite sceptical about it being any fun drawing on these fairly shiny postcards - and to be fair, the layer test did get tricky. But… Actually drawing on them wasn’t too bad! I… I think I enjoyed it as much as any tiny drawing tbh. Holy shitting crapweasels! For a 99p pack of postcards I am proper surprised at that, which just goes to show, some things do defy their price tag.
I think it helped that this beetle has a relatively simple red and black colour scheme. This meant I could use fineliners to outline black edges and add the dots in the pits on its elytra. Keeping my pencils pointy while shading was even more important than usual. And keeping em pointy is Really Tittyfucking Important to me all the time, so that’s saying something. Smooth paper is unforgiving to blunt pencils, and that slipperiness was my only real complaint here. But I gotta say, this paper worked out fine, and so much better than expected. As you can see, shading and blending reds and oranges worked fine, even building up a good density of black and grey layers wasn’t impossible in the end, and adding white highlights with a pencil point around pits worked as usual, without poking a hole in the surface.
It goes without saying that these postcards are not going to be acid free archival quality at 99p. And who knows WTF kind of paper they’re made of. They were genuinely a nice surprise though. How utterfuckingly delightful to buy something so cheap and not have it fall part at the first hint of pencil layering like a damp turd. There are some branded drawing papers 20 times more expensive that could learn a thing or too from these, I reckon.
Here’s the complete WIP series…
Welp, this was a surprise. Not only where these super-cheap postcards easy enough to draw on… The drawing below survived being mailed to the US from the UK. Impressive! That’s only N=1, but a good start in testing for a postcard project. I mailed it to twitter-friend Laurie Henthorne, who was the first person to put their hand up while chatting about it. Laurie sent me these photos, of the drawing on arrival - only minor dings, and kitten approved! What more could I ask for? :D