What’s the best way to shake yourself out of a creative mail slump? Pick your favorite author and go to town with themed literary letters!
A while ago, I showed off a Jane Austen mailing from a pen pal, and I finally had the time to craft the perfect reply. I took my visual inspiration from an amazing vintage volume in my personal library: David Day’s A Tolkien Bestiary, published in 1979. Its surreally beautiful illustrations perfectly capture all the earthly and ethereal creatures of Tolkien’s world. The book is in great condition, so I’d never turn its pages into an envelope any time soon–but I did borrow its color scheme and general Middle Earth aesthetic!
There was a time early in my snail mail career when I spent a lot of time working on page-protector letters, a style first put forth by Janette Lane’s Pocket Letters. It’s a super cute idea, and a great way to organize lots of goodies in one envelope. To be honest, I think the reason why I stopped making them was because I’m really bad at cutting little rectangles.
All that said, these rectangles look fairly decent! I chose a variety of paper designs that channel a kind of Lothlorien-inspired Victorian garden.
My focus on pale greens, greys, and yellows emerged from this illustration of that dang scene that always makes me cry.
To add a little more of a Tolkien touch, I decorated alternating cards with cut-outs from some free typography printables.
It’s just about the most standard Tolkien quote out there, but it fits perfectly!
And here’s one last preview of the finished product! Now all that’s left is to fill all of the pocket(ses) with washi tape or recipes or mail tags written in moon runes–who knows what kind of dragon’s hoard my pen pal will receive in the end!