Heres a little walk through of the process. I start out with rough thumbnail sketches. I was brainstorming and thinking of valentines related puns. Honestly most of them were centered around cats like "you're purrrrfect".... but I did cat themed valentines last year. So I ended up focusing of the snail mail aspect. The whole point was to make people feel special by getting a surprise in the mail and people my age just don't send letters.
Once I got the rough idea down I gathered a lot of reference of vintage mail uniforms, classic letter packaging, and the singing telegram lady from Clue (because I like her outfit but also that's just a great movie). Then I went digital and sketched out a cleaner version in Photoshop. When I was happy with that I moved onto flat colors. For this color palette I wanted it to have lots of pinks and reds for a rosy look. When the flat color was done I duplicated the layer. So I had two layers, the first flat color layer and the identical copied version on top. On the copied layer I locked my pixels (its the little checkerbox icon about your layer panel). That basically just creates a mask so I can only draw within the preexisting pixels. So then I just painted in my light. For this I used a warmer/desaturated purple for the shadows and a soft light pink for the highlight. Then I set the new light layer to overlay and adjusted the opacity down a bit. Then I just added some line work to my letters and put in my background color.
I had them printed. I cut them out and stuffed them into some envelopes with stickers (who doesn't love stickers). I have pretty unattractive handwriting so I thought I'd go the extra mile and do some fancy lettering. After all the envelope is the first thing they see when they get the letter so I wanted it to be a little work of art on its own. Honestly I spent waaaaaaay too much time addressing the cards. I split it up over a couple of nights but it was still a lot of time. I wanted the envelopes to look similar to the one I had drawn on the card itself so I sealed them with stickers from Target designed by Alison Black.
It was a blast crafting these little cards and so rewarding! I loved getting photos from my buddies with them and their card. Its just nice to know you helped put a smile on someones face.