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Etegami: Just a Little Note . . .

18 Aug 2017 9:05 PM | Nicole The Creativity Coach (Administrator)

Etegami: Just a Little Note . . . 

Recently, ARTstarters has been out in the community sharing a fun artform called Etegami, kind of like a Japanese mail art.  Etegami is perfect for sending just a fun little note! Senders usually draw a quick sketch, add a few words and then send it off postcard-style.  It literally means “picture letters.”  Like a quick “hi there” text with graphics except you get it in the postal mail!  How old school is that?

I love the expressive nature of the drawings!  They are meant to be quick and spontaneous, as if a random object caught your eye, usually something right in front of you. They are best done when you are on the go, sitting at a coffeehouse sketching the drink in front of you, or at the mall doodling a pretty dress from the display.  You may be out in your yard when you see an interesting flower or bird that you want to draw.  With modern technology we can even quickly snap a photo of a fleeting moment and then draw it later.

Pictured above is an etegami postcard that an artist did in my Monday morning session.  I love how Becci captured the fun of the wood grain pattern with her colored pencils and also her written reminder to "Drink your H2O. Mmmmmm"!

To get started, you need very few supplies:

  1. Black permanent drawing pen (we like the Fudenosuke Pen, a Japanese Brush pen to get thick and thin lines; see supplies below) *
  2. Watercolors, markers, colored pencils or crayons
  3. Index cards or cardstock cut to postcard size (Yes - you can mail index cards and they’re cheap!  Plus they already have lines on the back for you to write your message.)

During our art sessions, I place a variety of objects around the table to draw (such as art supplies).  

I also print out pages of sample doodles that they can copy.  The goal is for everyone to loosen up and feel comfortable drawing.  Call it doodling if that helps people relax!  

If I have more time with a group, I break it down into a curriculum of 3 weeks of playing with the brush pen: 1) Brush Basics and Modern Brush Lettering (words), 2) Doodling with Brush Pens (images) and 3) Putting images and words together into Etegami Mail Art. (See the supplies below that I like! *)

Because etegami art is drawn or painted quickly, there is no time to stress about perfection.  It’s the imperfection that makes them so fun!  And the quirkiness puts a bit of the artist’s personality into the art.  You can even time yourself and see if you can create 10 of them in an hour!

Imagine getting one of these in the mail and thinking, “Huh?”  “What’s this?” “Oh, it’s a random note from Nicole. Cool!”

It’s a visual, “Hey, I’m thinking of you.”  But so artsy and so unexpectedly random!  Wouldn’t that just make your day!

Watch out - you might just get one in your mail!  Better yet, sketch something quick on an index card and brighten up someone else’s day.

Send one to The ARTbar, and we’ll show it off at our October ARTwalk!

The ARTbar

207 N. Broadway, Suite B6

Santa Ana, CA  92701


IMPORTANT!  Want to keep receiving expressive art ideas like this one?  Make sure you are subscribed to our ARTstarters email list!   Just a reminder that our old email list will be ending after this, as we are cleaning up our addresses into a new system.  If you are ONLY subscribed to our local events, you will miss getting our blog posts filled with inspiring art exercises.

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* My favorite supplies for this project:




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