90th Birthday Card - Handlettering and Watercolour

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

We had a great Easter break here, Isabelle was on school holidays for two weeks. We were lucky with the weather, so we were out in the garden a lot of the time. It's a busy time in the garden, we've lots of seedlings in trays ready to be potted on, seeds to be sown direct and lots of weeding of course. We built a pond last autumn and I've just started planting it up. It's already full of wildlife including (much to Isabelle's delight!) tadpoles! She loves watching them swim around and can't wait to see them grow into little frogs! I'll take a few photos soon and share them here.

Anyway, I made this special birthday card yesterday for a lovely lady who's reaching the amazing milestone of 90 years. I wanted to personalise it so I included her name in the design. I took a few photos along the way as I created it so you could see how it came about.

I started with a pencil sketch of the design, directly onto some card because I was short on time. I used two different fonts as reference, VintageOne and Stringfellows. I typed the text on the computer and used it as a visual guide, drawing it freehand. If you're starting out, you could print it and trace the lettering to get the feel of the shapes and spacing.

I like to watercolour my letters, so I erased any heavy pencil lines leaving enough guidelines to see the lettering with ease. I erase any traces of pencil once the watercolour paint has dried completely.

I wasn't sure of the colour scheme but I wanted to keep it fresh and light. I started with the forget-me-not flowers in a cool cobalt blue and teamed that with some green lettering.

I have a good selection of pretty small paintbrushes which makes this type of work a bit easier. I added some touches of yellow and dark pink to add a bit of vibrancy and interest. I didn't stick exclusively to the sketch for the floral elements, as it progressed I added little bits here and there.

To add some dimension to some of the text I added a drop shadow using green. After that I just added some shading and a freehand border using a light blue coloured pencil and layered it onto my card base.

I do love the effect of watercolour, the flowers are very easy to create, they really are just blobs of colour. You can't mess it up, it's a very soft loose effect!

Forget-me-nots are very easy too, just 5 little circles of blue with a little yellow centre. Practise some shapes on a scrap piece of paper, you might surprise yourself with what you come up with!

That's all for now! I hope you'll take out your watercolours and give it a try! Thanks for dropping by today. : )


  1. So pretty and a really special, personalised card for such a milestone birthday! Love the fonts and your watercolouring. Do you design stamps other than those you handcut for personal use? If not, you absolutely should :)

    1. Thanks Sarah! I did design stamp sets for a company in the US for a while but unfortunately they closed down due to the downturn in the economy. I'd love to get the chance to do it again sometime!


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