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Vintage Postcard Art

Much of my digital art has a holiday theme. One of my favorite resources for inspiration is vintage collectibles. If you haven't explored this special form of artwork, now is the time to get started. You can find a lot of Halloween and Christmas collectibles at flee markets and antique shows this time of the year. My favorite collectible is the vintage postcard. Postcards are a popular collectible and you can find a lot of Halloween and Christmas postcards. These postcards were produced around the turn of the nineteenth century and the first few decades of the twentieth century. The artwork on these postcards was created by some of the most popular artists of their time.

Some obvious subjects that you might want to study from these postcards are the popular icons for Halloween and Christmas such as witches, pumpkins and Santa. But don't miss out on the rest of the picture. For example, study how the artist painted the night sky. Notice the colors the artist used and how he blends those colors to create the night sky. Next study the moon. Chances are that it is not just a solid colored circle. What colors did the artist use to create the moon? Has he added a haze around the moon or has he painted a "man in the moon" face on the moon, which was very popular at that time. Study the highlights and shading he used to create the moon and sky.

By studying how several artists paint the same subject is a great way to learn. For example, the witch is a popular subject on these postcards. Choose several examples by several artists and compare how these different artists paint this same subject. How did each artist paint her hair, her clothes, the wood and straw in her broom? What part of the witch's face and head is covered by her hat? What are the similarities and differences in the artists' styles?

You might be saying to yourself that you are a digital artist. Why would you be interested in vintage art? Just because you are a digital artist doesn't mean that you should limit yourself to studying only the artwork by other digital artists. Study artwork of artists in several different mediums and ask yourself what you like and don't like. This type of study is an important step to developing your own style. If you can't get to any flee markets or antique shows, there are books about vintage Halloween and Christmas postcard art.

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