Thank-You Card Tutorial, Raw-Art Style

By the end of this week, you’ll be writing thank-you cards for all those gifts. Here is an easy, foolproof way to write them.

Step One: have someone take a picture of you holding each gift in front of the tree, menorah, wreath or other decoration. If the item is clothing, wear it. Alternative: if the item is practical, show it in use. Print out a small copy of the picture to include in the card.

Step Two: make a handmade card, write a short, heart-felt note like, “Thanks for the X, you can see from the picture I’m enjoying it already!” If the present was a check or giftcard, this technique still works–make sure you are smiling in the photo.

Six windows make an interesting card, three windows need varied colors.

Step Three: Make the handmade card below. They are simple enough so even a young child can make them with some help from an adult. Add your own touches and techniques to make them uniquely yours. Include the picture in the card, address, stamp and mail, and you will bring the giver great joy.

Raw-art Thank-You Cards

Materials: card stock or pre-made cards and envelopes, available at art  and craft stores. Colored pencils or watercolor pencils, Pitt pens, ruler. That’s all you need. You can add more materials, but you can also make these cards with nothing more than a Sharpie. That’s what raw art is about–making art with you heart, not with a lot of equipment.

Steps: 1. Choose the size of your card. Do you want to make it vertical or horizontal?

2. Choose how many window you want on the card and their placement. You might want to sketch them lightly in pencil. This looks a lot better if you freehand the squares than if you measure and try to make the squares or rectangles perfect. A little imperfection adds charm.

3. Draw the frames using dark pencil, Pitt Pen, or colored pencil. Don’t use watercolor pencil if you are doing the inside in watercolor pencil; it will smear.

4. Draw one line in the first box without breaking any edges. You’ll get a more interesting image if you stay out of the middle of the box.

5. Draw a parallel line either above or below the first line to

Four windows allow a wrapped design. Uneven squares guide the eye down.

complete the first ribbon. Visually, this ribbon will be on top so use the brightest color. Since you are using three colors, you can use a bright, medium and dark hue of the same color. You can also use two similar and one different color. Use a color wheel to find the opposite color and make the first ribbon the opposite color and the next two different values of another color.

6. Draw the first line of the second ribbon, skipping the blank spaces. To cross the first ribbon, simply skip over the previously drawn part. Plan if the second line will go over and under. Look to see how it will fit on the page before you draw. This is very forgiving, so you can pretend the ribbon loops outside the box.

7. Complete the 3rd. ribbon. Write words on the ribbons–Thank you, Danke, Merci, Gracias or any “Thanks” in any other language you or the give speaks.  Use gold or poster pens for dramatic results.

-Quinn McDonald is a raw-art journaler, as well as teaching it. © 2009, All rights reserved.