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LAUIL603 VINTAGE VALENTINE PROJECT I’ve been really enamored with vintage valentine card designs recently. There’s something about them which I find completely charming but also I can’t help but recognise how odd they are! Since I like to write and my practice is often concerned with wordplay/ themes of love I thought it would be a fun side project that I could possibly sustain into the future!

“Research vintage valentine cards and gather inspiration to come up with my own interpretation, replicating the style and feel of these traditional designs!”

I’ve gathered some of my favourite designs after researching the aesthetics of vintage valentine cards. I noted that the big and bright red heart is pretty much a staple on all of the designs. There’s also usually a silly pun and some kind of anthropomorphic object/creature or animal.

I came across this design featuring the scarecrow from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and instantly fell in love. (Pun intended) It’s just so up my alley and the just the kind of illustration which I gravitate toward. I think this is because it is just so quirky and irreverent, yet it also has a slightly macabre feeling in an unintentional kind of way and also I just appreciate the caption. I immediately had an idea for a tin-man inspired design and it turns out there were already a couple vintage tin-man designs but not addressing the fact that he doesn’t have a heart??? Which is the idea I had after finding the scarecrow design. I searched for some vintage stock free illustrations that I could manipulate and settled for the one on the right.

From the illustration of the tin-man I sourced I had a really clear concept in mind. I wanted a big heart in the background of the card design (Reminiscent of the designs which I researched earlier on for this brief.) I then wanted to have the tin man walking down the yellow brick road, chopping into the big heart with the axe that he is holding. I thought about potentially designing the big heart as if it were made entirely of a wood on account of the axe cutting into it but then I decided that I wanted the bright red tone which the traditional heart would provide. Below is the initial line drawing which I sketched out on Photoshop for my final design.

Here is the process of filling in my design. I used Kyle T Webster’s watercolour brushes on Photoshop as I wanted to replicate a painted approach my card. I added a brick pattern overlay to get an even pattern for my yellow brick road.


I had a lot of fun with this brief and I really like my outcome! I think there’s a possibility for me to keep making these using different ideas (I already have a few) and they could just become an ongoing project which could occupy my free time. I wanted to pay tribute to the oddly cut-out shapes of vintage valentine designs so I made sure not to divulge into a standard rectangular shaped card format. I used a lot of different textures to build up my illustration and I’m having fun exploring different brush sets and techniques in Photoshop! When I think back to second year and even the start of third year when I had one digital brush which I used for everything it’s so encouraging to see how far my skill set has improved! I sourced some weathered, stained card textures online which made the most difference in replicating that vintage aesthetic.

I decided to make a variant for this design and reimagined the big heart as if it were made entirely out of wood. I think this works well with the axe being swung into it but not sure if I like it as much as the original print! I toned down the saturation a little, I think I could maybe do something with the text to make it stand out a little more as it gets a bit lost in the tree ring texture which I applied over the top!

I printed my design using the digital print facilities at the university and I must say that the colours came out so vibrant and that it works so well as a print! Initially I wanted to scalpel the designs out and present them as actual Valentine cards but I scaled them too big for print so I just kept them as A4 and didn’t bother to scalpel them out. I framed one of them using a spare frame I had lying around it looks so cool hung up!! I’m definitely v.happy with this whole project and think that it was a big success.

LAUIL603 Vintage Valentine Project  


LAUIL603 Vintage Valentine Project