Over the years, whenever someone in my family has had a birthday, I somehow developed a habit where I would draw something on the front of the birthday card’s envelope. Usually it would be their name in fancy lettering, with some pictures of objects or little characters thrown in to personalise it. I always do these with a biro, which ensures that whatever comes out will be unplanned and spontaneous. This is what makes them fun – I just start with whatever comes to mind, and make it up as I go. I never know how it’s going to turn out!
My family members would usually hang onto these envelopes long after all the other regular ones were thrown into recycling. Even though it wouldn’t have really bothered me if they didn’t – I could always draw another one at a moment’s notice. They’ve come to call it my “thing”. When preparing for a birthday, my wife would hand me a birthday card with an envelope and say “Here you go – do your thing”.
What I hitherto suspected but now know for sure is that they have come to expect this from me as part & parcel of how I say “Happy Birthday”; My sister-in-law had a birthday recently, and received a card from my wife & I. BUT because I never saw this card, it didn’t have my “thing” on it. She wanted to know where her “thing” was!
I’ve sometimes toyed with the idea of doing these professionally. Like, take requests, prepare them in Photoshop, make them all neat & tidy, and print them directly onto envelopes. But then I think that that would take away some of the spontaneity that makes the biro creations fun. They wouldn’t have that same sense of ‘uniqueness’ that makes each one different.
I might be persuaded otherwise if the right situation presents itself, but for now that’s where I stand. What do you think?