Charley Harper Inspired Cardinal Postcards

Charley Harper Inspired Cardinal Postcard

While getting a tour of the new Art Papers Online warehouse, Susan Pickering Rothamel showed me these amazing handmade postcard blanks from Thailand. I loved the natural look of the postcards and immediately thought SWAP! So, we launched an international postcard swap.

Once the ball was rolling, I had to art on 9 postcards to send to other swappers. I love paper piecing but just couldn’t come up with any ideas for the cards.

Then my partner, JoeM, found these beautiful napkins with white birch on a pale sky background. I looked at those, thought about cardinals (red against the light blue) and Charley Harper. I love 1950’s designs and his cardinals would be perfect!

Charley Harper was a Cincinnati-based American Modernist artist. He was best known for his highly stylized wildlife prints, posters and book illustrations. His style is easy to spot and easy to draw, especially with the help of the Charley Harper Sketch Book of 28 Birds. And, since I love paper piecing, the good news is the shapes are also very easy to cut on the Zing.

Charley Harper Inspired Cardinal Eating Berries Postcard

Here’s how I created these two postcards:

  1. Separate the napkin plies and collage the top-most ply on to the postcard blank using Perfect Paper Adhesive (PPA) Matte.
  2. Use a 1/2″ Bright Brush to apply Titanium White Perfect Pigment Pure Liquid Acrylic Paint to the bottom of the card to make snow covered ground.
  3. Cut the pieces of the cardinal from red, black and yellow cardstock. The standing cardinal only has 7 pieces! And the cardinal eating berries only has 5 pieces! You can download the Charley Harper Inspired Cardinals SVG File and import them into Make The Cut (MTC).
  4. Darken the wings and tail of each bird by applying a little dark grey PanPastel  to the pieces using a cotton ball or Q-Tip.
  5. For the cardinal eating berries, draw some branches and berries using black and red sharpies.
  6. Adhere the paper pieces to the postcard.
  7. Draw eyes, legs and knees using black and red sharpies.

These are very easy to make and come together very quickly. This would be the perfect card front or postcard to mass produce! You could even scale up the design concept to make a fantastic canvas as a home decor piece.

Happy Crafting!
Create & Craft

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About Joe Rotella

My mom always enjoyed crafting so I grew up in a crafty home. I love detail and 3D work and paper piecing is my specialty. My work has appeared in Scrap & Stamp Arts and Just Steampunk! magazines. I've filmed a segment of Crafting at the Spotted Canary with Joy Macdonell (airs on PBS Fall 2011) and won Archiver’s One-of-a-Kind Wall Art contest (Ohio, August 2011). I'm on the Viva Las Vegastamps! and USArtQuest Design Teams. When I'm not designing paper art projects, I works as CTO at Delphia Consulting. I'm the Web Optimization Expert for the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) for 2012.

8 thoughts on “Charley Harper Inspired Cardinal Postcards

  1. I especially like the first cardinal. We were just discussing how it is said when you see a cardinal it is a loved one who passed. While I don’t believe in such things I still smile every time I see a cardinal. With WI winters and everything being white they are easy to spot. Thanks for sharing!

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