If you would like to make handmade cards for your friends and family this winter but don’t know which medium to use, Sarah Hamilton’s book ‘House of Cards: Step-by-Step Projects for Beautiful Handmade Greetings Cards‘ will provide plenty of inspiration.
The book is organised around ten projects, each of which is executed in a different style, in a different medium, by a different artist. The projects are as follows:
- Sarah Hamilton: Silkscreen Printing
- Lynn Giunta: Decoupage
- Sarah Morpeth: Papercutting
- Sam Marshall: Linocut Printing
- Kirsty Elson: Found Objects
- Gabriela Szulman: Collage
- Lucy Featherstone: Handstitch Art
- Jessica Hogarth: Digital Illustration
- Anna Jackson: Textile Foiling
- Kathryn Hunter: Letterpress Printing
Each of these projects starts by introducing the artist and the medium. This section leads into a short step-by-step guide which covers 3 or 4 page spreads. Each step is illustrated with helpful photographs which complement the text well. The book as a whole is very well-illustrated and sumptuously-produced – it’s almost a coffee-table book.
What I really enjoyed about the book was the combination of card-making history with practical projects. It’s great to be able to read Jakki Brown’s history of Victorian Christmas cards and then to flick forward a few pages to see the work of contemporary card-makers. The book has a very useful introduction; Sarah Hamilton even provides some advice for artists who want to start selling their cards commercially, or selling their card designs to companies for wider distribution.
It’s also great that many of the projects detailed in this book can be completed without the need to invest in expensive equipment; many of them make use of art supplies most people will already have around the house, such as tracing paper, tissue paper, pencils and PVA. (One of the lessons is in using ‘found objects’ to create imaginative cards.) I was surprised to see digital illustration among the ‘traditional’ card-making media; you’ll need Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to follow along with that tutorial, by Jessica Hogarth. If you have these programmes but have barely used them, don’t worry; the tutorial includes a lot of screenshots and you don’t need to be a whizz on Photoshop to follow the lesson.
Overall, this is a handsome and well-illustrated manual which will provide inspiration and instruction to many would-be card artists. The step-by-step tutorials are easy to follow and the images clear up any potential confusion. It’s worth noting that the sample page spreads we have featured on this page have not been selected because they are especially well illustrated; every page of this book is crammed with pictures.
Sarah Hamilton’s ‘House of Cards‘ is available from Jackson’s Art Supplies. If you would like more information about making your own Linocut greetings cards, you might want to take a look at our instructional article ‘How to make your own linocut Christmas cards’.