Postcrossing: Received Card #4 And My First Design Efforts

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I believe that our local mailman — a very large man (think Samoan wrestler large) on a very small motorbike (110cc Honda Dream) — is getting used to seeing my name on items in his mailbag.  And the man and woman who man the front desk at my guesthouse seem to take delight in giving me my mail when they see me pass by.  It’s becoming an almost weekly occurrence!

This week’s missive was placed in my hands Wednesday evening — the fourth  Postcrossing-derived postcard I’ve received.  I now have an almost perfect sent/received ratio (5/4) with the received cards travelling a total of 19,264km (11,970 miles).

Postcrossing Received Card #4: CN-1043662 from China

The latest postcard — #CN-1043662 — arrived in an envelope from Wuhan, China, which is 3,010 km (1,870 miles) from Phuket Town.  On my Postcrossing profile, I have requested that cards sent to me be posted under cover as I feel envelopes have a higher likelihood of being delivered.  I may remove that request soon to see if the cards still arrive.

Postcrossing Received Card #4: CN-1043662 from China

This card took 28 days to make it’s journey and, oddly, it pictures a scene from Greece rather than China but I still love it. Greece is another place that I’ve long wanted to visit but have yet to get to.  Oh, to travel once again!

Postcrosser MPenfound has only been a member for about two-and-a-half months — not much longer than me — and wrote the following on the postcard:

Hello Mark!

Greetings from China!

My name is Nanuy, a 17-year-old high school girl.

This postcard is from my views of scenery collection, hope you’ll like it!

What do you think of Thailand?  Hot?  Rich in cultures?

You are an English teacher, and my English is poor.  If there are any mistakes, help me to correct them. 🙂

Thank you & Happy Postcrossing.

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With my renewed interest in postcards and letter-writing, I thought it would be great to start making my own postcards.  Well, the first thing I wanted to design was a marking (rubber stamp) that I could apply to the cards I sent out. It took me a while but I finally created a simple “postmark” using Adobe Photoshop — the first illustration I’ve ever made in that much-too-complicated piece of software.

My first difficulty was simply drawing the circle as my first attempts had the program giving me a solid black circle rather than the transparent outline I wanted.  And then it took me forever to have the bottom section of lettering appear right-side up instead of inverted.

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“Muang Phuket” is Thai for the central/downtown area in which I live — it can mean either Phuket Town or Phuket City, the latter of which is now it’s official designation. I have a hard time calling it that as the community still has a small-town feeling to it that I love.

The first of these markings features a map of Thailand while the second shows a silhouette of Phuket’s Two Heroines Monument, something that is featured on many local governmental emblems.  I made a third design with a stylized elephant but that was an image I found online so it’s not pictured here.  I’m also working at shading-in a map of Phuket Province for a fourth postmark.  I may end up creating an entire series.

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I had an idea for a postcard design similar to the vintage “Greetings from” cards I used to see all across America during my childhood.  I found an online tutorial for doing this using Adobe Illustrator in addition to Photoshop.  I mastered the lettering on the second try but once I pasted that portion of the project into Photoshop, the frustration began.  The greatest difficulty came when I tried to put portions of photos I’ve shot over the years into the letter outlines.  It just wouldn’t work no matter how carefully I followed the instructions.  I spent hours making attempts without any forward progress.

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But following a day-long break, I came back and found an alternative method in an online photo-editing forum. That worked the first time I tried it!  Simply place the desired photo over the individual letter in a new layer, resizing and repositioning as best as you can, and then right-click on the layer and choose “Create Clipping Mask”. So easy!  If the picture didn’t look good within the letter “frame”, I simply removed the layer and tried again.  I’m quite pleased with the final result and look forward to further design attempts.

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I created the address side of the postcard using Microsoft’s ubiquitous Paint using another image found online and adding the Postcrossing logo and one of my “postmarks”.  I printed a few onto 4×6-inch unlined index cards while at work a few days ago.  The end result looks very nice and I mailed one to myself as a test for durability. Hopefully it won’t take too long to travel the three kilometers or so from Central to my home.

Yesterday I requested three new addresses from Postcrossing.  These will be Sent Cards #6, 7 and 8 and will be traveling to Germany, the United States and the Netherlands.  The first two addressees have requested cards showing historical buildings so I’ll send them something with Phuket’s beautiful Sino-Portuguese architecture while the Dutch woman is interested in postcards depicting ships, water coastlines, and ports.  If I can’t find a card with either a Thai fishing boat (very colorful) or one of the noisy long-tail boats, I’ll send her one of the cards I bought on the MS Logos Hope when that library ship visited here last month.


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