Frogs, Trolls and Amigurumi

My challenge to revive the lost art of the handwritten letter continues to be, well, challenging. I am writing a letter a day, but also illustrating each one with an original Ziggy Elf. I wanted to post up what I was doing, but quickly realized that I couldn’t show the contents of the letters. That would spoil the surprise for the recipient. So, ingeniously, I decided to illustrate the envelopes. So far I’ve come up with something that has meaning to each person, but it’s taxing my drawing skills. Just check out the latest batch.

Number 34 is going all the way to CHINA! I was so excited to hear from Chenchen who is creator of Pure Sketch and Comics. This is a young man who is so talented. His ink sketches are fabulous. He lives in Nanjing which is famous for its salted duck….nom nom.

illustrated letter 34

Letter 35 is going to somewhere equally exciting…Hawaii. Well it’s exciting to someone who lives in the North of England. It is for Paul who is a ceramicist and is the creator of Paper, Mud and Me. Like the letter that went to Hansi in California, this one is adorned with Sunny the Campervan. How wonderful to tootle around Hawaii in a VDub bus.

illustrated letter 35

Letter 36 goes to Virginia who hails from Eldersburg, Maryland, USA. She is another 3D artist, a sculptor and you can find out more about her at Muse-ings. Virginia made some lovely frogs, so I thought I’d have a go too.


Letter 37 is staying in the UK and heading south to Dorset. Now this may not be the exotica of Hawaii but I can tell you this is one of England’s most beautiful counties, and pretty cool for a campervan adventure. The coast is known as the Jurassic Coast and is a World Heritage Site. Ha! Who needs palm trees now? It is home to Joanna who is creator of Pippin Run Wild, a veritable feast of all things vintage and crafty. Joanna made a beautiful bluebird pin cushion that inspired her envelope illustration.


Letter 38 is the first to go to Sweden and is for Janna. She is the creator of Janna’s Whimsies. This blog is packed with lovely images and creative stories. The envelope illustration is inspired by a post about an ancient forest and it’s trolls.


Letter 39 is going just up the coast to Amble in Northumberland, another breath- takingly beautiful county. It is for Jean Rafferty, an award winning journalist and author. You can find out more about this very talented lady at her website here. One of my favourite walks with the Skinny Dogs is from Warkworth, along the beach to Amble and back up by the estuary. You can always spot a magnificent heron or two, and here’s mine.


The penultimate letter in this batch is going to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. I actually have relatives in Vancouver going back two generations. I would love to visit. Maybe one day. This is for Caroline who is the creator of the very stylish blog The Girl in the Yellow Dress. The subtitle is Yellow Bird Dreams, so it had to be a little Tweetie Pie.


And finally, letter 41 is going to the Illustrated Letter projects favourite destination; Australia. In particular Melbourne. This envelope is adorned with the strangest thing I have ever dreamt up and it is especially for Sharon at Gentle Stiches. She is all about the stitchery and the “gentle art of repair.” But Sharon is particularly fond of amigurumi, the Japanese art of knitting cute mini animals. So I’ve had a go at an Amigurumi Elf. What do you think?


Phew! Around the world in eight illustrations.

Well, I still need help if I am to complete my challenge of a letter a day. I need 365 people to send letters to. Would you like to recieve an original Ziggy Elf? If so you’ll find all the details here.

44 thoughts on “Frogs, Trolls and Amigurumi

  1. Oh Ziggy! I love the amigurumi elf. He is so sweet and his eyes look just like an amigurumi’s. He is perfect and delightful. I am going to make myself one just like it. (I just realized I hardly ever make myself anything) also yesterday (before I even saw this) I nominated you for an “Illuminating Blogger Award” check it here.

    Thank you.

  2. I just caught WordPress out. This post does not appear on my reader. I’ve just scrolled back 5 days and there’s nothing by you. Now it makes you wonder what else does the vanishing trick…

  3. Ziggy. There you go again. Those pencil drawings are amazing. My favourite is the duck (nom nom haha) it’s so delicately shaded. Are you sure you’re not a children’s book illustrator blogging under some fake name… I mean.. Ziggy… it’s hardly a usual name is it? Hehe 😛 I thought at first that you were using soft pastels, but that wouldn’t make sense on an envelope, not in the current weather! WONDERFUL work.

  4. Got it! I love the frog, I wondered if you were inspired by the frog post on my blog. I hope to have new pix of the finished plaques up soon. Thank you for my letter! I am composing one back to you in my head and can’t wait to write it down.

  5. It is working Ziggy. People are starting to mutter about letter writing. I told my friend I would send her an email about something and she looked at me funny and said “or you could write me a letter”. She has read your blog and loves the idea of promoting letter writing. Also the children in my life are seeing the fun of sending their Grandparents an illustrated letter because it is hard for them to think of what to say on the phone and we live a full day’s drive from each other. It makes the Grandparents day!

  6. Hi Ziggy you have inspired me again. I purchased myself a very nice box of pencils and I am working on drawing you a very handsome Koala Bear to accompany the letter I write to you. I haven’t drawn anything for a 100 years, since I was a child. I am having such fun. The young people in my life have excellent pencils that I have always kept them stocked with but I wanted my own. 🙂

  7. Dear Mr Shortcrust (or is it Mr Elf?), yes please, I would feel so nostalgic to receive an Actual Letter from you. It used to be my main method of communication when I was living overseas and phone calls were for Emergencies or Special Occasions. I shall follow your link to discover how I can become a lucky recipient. Thanking you.

  8. Your animal art is adorable! I was so happy to have discovered your blog today via a post on Nic McLean’s blog regarding your handwritten/illustrated letters. I’ve signed up and eagerly look forward to receiving mine. 🙂

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