Birthday Card Tutorial

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I have always loved getting special cards for my friends and family on their birthdays.  Typically my go-to has been Papyrus.  However, ever since I started with calligraphy, I realized it was way more fun, convenient and special to make my own!  Plus, I’ve also noticed how much people really appreciate a hand made card.  Over the past few months I’ve definitely improved  my technique.  Suffice to say, the original cards were less than ideal.  Lately, I’ve been incorporating various elements into my cards.  I made a pop up card for my mother for Mother’s Day.  Then there was the footprint card I made for my husband from our son for his birthday.  It’s just so much fun to change it up and see what I can make!

My latest card was a really fun one to make and my friend absolutely loved it!  So, I thought I would share it here and show you how to make it yourself.  This will come in extra handy when you find yourself needing a last minute card and don’t have time to go to the store.  Just head over to Michael’s (or your nearest craft / stationary store) and stock up on a pack or two to have on-hand.

Here we go! 

First, I like to draw in my design with pencil.  This way you can ensure you have proper spacing and are able to fit in all the elements you want to include.  Also, if you are experimenting with different writing styles, this is your chance to test a few options before finalizing it in ink.  Be sure to write lightly as you are going to erase these lines later.

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Next, get your dip pen (I use a straight pen holder) and trace the lettering.  You can also use brush pens or faux calligraphy.  It is totally up to you!  I tend to prefer the dip pen for cards since they have a bit of a 3D feel to them and it adds a touch of elegance.  However, in a rush brush pens always do the trick!  Plus you don’t have to wait for the ink to dry!  In this case, however, since I did use a dip pen I let the ink dry before proceeding to the next step.

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The next step is to trace the banner.  Here, I decided to make a continuous banner across all three words.  I made it look as though the banner folded behind and over each piece.  You can also make three individual banners if you like.  Totally up to you!.

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The next step is to add some shading.  I used thin straight lines to create the shadow effect rather than filling it in solid so its less bold and doesn’t take your eye away from the main event.  You can use cross hatching or fill in with colored pencil.  Get creative!


Next, I moved onto the bouquet.  I wanted to add a floral element to this card since it is for a girl friend.  First, I started with the bow.  Starting with this gives you an anchor point for the stems.


From there I went on to creating the stems.  The flower I was going for was a rose so I included thorns.  Notice that I didn’t draw on the roses yet.  Those are being added later with a colored brush pen.


Next, using a Kuretake brush pen, I added on the roses.  This was a freehand design with light and dark strokes in varying patterns.  I suggest practicing on a separate sheet of paper first to get the hang of it before committing to your card.  I also used a pink Muji pen to add some definition to the petals just so they don’t appear so flat.


Then, I colored in the leaves, thorns, and bow using colored pencils.   And that’s it!  Once all the ink is dried, erase all of your pencil lines.


And there you have it!  Your own  personalized birthday card ready for the next time you need one.

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Let me know below in the comments what you thought about this tutorial.  Did you like it?  Would you like more?  I’d love to hear from you!





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