Dachshunds and Slipper Baths

I am over halfway through the first month of my yearlong challenge to revive the lost art of letter writing. I’m going to write a letter a day, 365 of them. That’s hand written letters that you slip into an envelope, attach a stamp to and pop in a post box. Remember doing that? However, I have decided to illustrate each letter with a Ziggy Elf.

I can’t show you the contents of the letters, that would spoil it for the receivers, but I have illustrated the envelopes. Letters 18 and 19 are heading Stateside.

The first of these two has gone to Texas to Donna L Sadd. Donna is a blogger and author of “Lucci the No Smoochie Poochie” the story of a dachshund that doesn’t like kisses. I’m rather fond of dachshunds, I think they have the loveliest of faces, but I’ve never drawn one……until now.

illustrated letter 18

Letter 19 is heading to Illinois and to Tawn another blogger and author. In one of her posts Tawn admits to being fond of bubble baths so a little elf in a slipper bath seemed appropriate. Tawn writes a variety of short stories that are TotallyTawn.

Illustrated letter 19

If I am to write 365 letters I require help. I need people to write to. Would you like to receive a letter containing a Ziggy Elf ? The details on how to get one are here.

Another Batch of Letter Elves Hatched

My quest to rekindle the art of the hand written letter continues. Another six letters have set off on their journey around the world; Boston USA, Tasmania Australia, Victoria Australia, Newcastle UK and two have headed to British Columbia Canada.

I can’t show the illustrations inside the letters, it would spoil the surprise for those receiving, but I have illustrated the envelopes.

Letter number 12 has set off to Jen Ross the creator of Winter Owls a delightful blog full of thrifty creations and of course Owls. Not surprisingly Jen gets an owl.

illustrated letter 12

Letter 13 is full of good luck and is off to Jade in Canada. Her Dad is the creator of Drawings for Jade. Each morning before he sets of to work he makes a drawing for Jade…how cool is that. Jade loves her ladybug boots so I thought a little spotty insect or two wouldn’t go amiss.

illustrated letter 13

Letter 14 is for Harini who is the creator of The Madras Designery. Harini, like me, uses fine liner pens for many of her drawings but takes the art to a whole different level.

illustrated letter 14

Letter 15 hasn’t gone very far at all, it’s stayed in Newcastle. It is for Erin who works alongside me at Seven Stories. Erin has given a home to some ex-battery hens who produce the most delicious eggs. So it had to be chickens.

illustrated letter 15

Number 16 is for Owlissa who is also doing a letter writing challenge. She has been far more sensible and is sending off one a week. Check out her blog Mum in the Woods   The little elf on the envelope is an homage to Owlissa who has a very cool hairstyle.

illustrated letter 16

And finally letter 17 has gone all the way to Canada to Shelley who lives in Honeymoon Bay. I hope that is as romantic as it sounds. Shelly popped by my blog and offered to help me out with my challenge by asking me to send her a letter.

illustrated letter 17

If I am to complete my challenge of sending a letter a day through 2013 I really need some help. I need 365 people to send to. If you would like to receive a Letter Elf from me you’ll find all the details here.

Illustrated Letter 11; For My Favourite Pirate

My challenge for 2013 is to rekindle an interest in the art of letter writing. That’s hand written letters, slipped into envelopes and popped into post boxes. I’m attempting one a day for the year. But not just words, each letter will contain an illustration; a Ziggy Elf.
So far they have travelled to Australia, USA, Germany and the UK.

Letter Elf 11 is the first to stay in the North East of England and is going to Louise who lives in Stockton-on-Tees. She is the creator of YellowHighWayLines a lovely blog full of her miscellaneous musings, photos and more. Louise also happens to work with me at Seven Stories, the children’s book museum. We spend a lot of time dressing up at work, and by dressing up I mean costumes; fairies, vikings, astronauts, gorillas, Christmas Elves and the like. But Louise’s default costume is Pirates and is now known as “Cap’n Corky”. So, although I can’t show you the content of her letter, it would spoil the surprise for her, I have illustrated the envelope with a pirate and skull and cross-bones. It couldn’t have been anything else!


Illustrated letter11 Louise

In order to complete my challenge of 365 handwritten illustrated letters I need people to send them to. If you would like to join in the fun and receive a Letter Elf you can find all the details here.




Illustrated Letter 10; A Little Closer to Home

In a bid to revive the lost art of letter writing I am composing and sending an illustrated hand written letter a day through 2013.

The first batch of letter elves have now flown the coop including number 10. This one is not roaming too far away from Newcastle, just a little further up the coast to Berwickshire, to nestle down with Hannah, creator of Cameo Curio. I discovered this blog back in February last year and love it. Inspirational art, beautiful photos….and Buddy the Puppy. Pop over and take a look.

As always the content is hidden so Hannah can’t see her elf, but there is a cheeky little creature peeping out of the envelope.

To see the other letters take a peek here.


Illustrated letter 10 Hannah

I am having so much fun with this challenge but I need people to send the letters to. If you would like to receive a Little Letter Elf the details are here.

Illustrated Letters 8 and 9; off to Germany and California

I have embarked on a challenge to revive the art of letter writing by composing one a day for the year. But not just the written word, each one is illustrated with a Ziggy elf.

Here are letters 8 and 9 for two lovely people who agreed to join in. Firstly a little elf is off to Germany to live with Geralin, creator of The Colourful Sketchbook. She deftly produces with simple lines delightful images. Take a look. I can’t show the contents of the letter, it’ll spoil the surprise for Geralin, but I’ve illustrated the envelope. Somebody had to get a Skinny Dog and Geralin is the first.

Letter number 9 is going all the way to Southern California. I wish I could squeeze into the envelope and bask in some of that lovely sunshine. But I don’t think Hansi would be too keen. He is the recipient of the latest letter and creator of Hansi’s Hallucinations. How can I describe his blog? Do you know, I don’t think I could find the words to adequately do it justice. His tag line is “The Drawings and Rants of a Mad Man” which does it nicely. Head on over and say hello. Hansi gets a VDub Splitty ‘cos campervans and California go hand in hand.


Illustrated letter 8 Geralin


Illustrated letter 9

But if I am to complete 365 I require some help. I need more people to send them to. If you would like an Illustrated Letter you’ll find the details here.








Illustrated Letter 7; For Little Miss Emma

I can’t tell you how delighted I am with the response to my challenge to revive the art of letter writing. And nothing makes me happier than to hear that the younger generation, those born into the world of texting and emails, enjoy writing letters too. This letter, containing a very chic elf, is for Jared’s 8-year-old daughter Emma. Jared is the creator of Lunch Sketch a fabulous blog inspired by his lunch time drawing. Now, if you want to see some fine pencil wielding head over and take a look. I understand that Emma is a brilliant elf creator too, and will be sending an illustrated letter back. I’m really looking forward to seeing it. And guess what part of the world Emma lives in? Australia! Yes this is letter number 3 off to Oz.

I can’t show you the contents of Emma’s letter, it will spoil the surprise for her, but I have illustrated the envelope.

You can see the letters so far here.


illustrated letter 7 Emma

I need lots of people to send letters to if I am to complete my challenge of a letter a day for 2013. If you would like to be a recipient of a Ziggy Illustrated Letter details are here.

Illustrated Letters 5 & 6; Heading to Bath and Ohio

Well, I did write a letter yesterday, I just didn’t get time to post it up. Too deep in reflection. So here are both letters 5 and 6.

Letter 5 is wending its way to the south of England to the very beautiful spa town of Bath. The little elf contained within has to remain a secret until, Becky, takes ownership. But the envelope has a couple of cheeky Puffins.

Letter 6 is travelling further afield to Ohio, USA . This little elf is going to Susan, creator of Chez Lilly; a chilled out art blog. On Susan’s “About” page is a quote from Alice in Wonderland so her envelope is adorned with the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit. Earlier last year I created an elf especially for Susan. You can see it here. If you would like an elf of your own or would like to be elfed take a look here.

Thank you so much to everybody who has offered to help me in my quest to revive the art of the hand written letter by writing one a day for the next 12 months. But I really need more of you to be recipients if I am to write 365!


Illustrated letter5

Illustrated letter 6

If you would like to take part in the challenge and receive a Ziggy Illustrated Letter all the details are here.



Illustrated Letter 4; Down Under…Again

Well, I’ve never sent a letter to Australia before, and now I’ve sent two in one week! Two Ziggy Elves winging their way to Victoria and now New South Wales.

Letter number 4 has gone to Joyce at Joyful Art Stuff, a wonderful creative blog full of whimsical portraits and handmade jewellery. Didn’t want to spoil the surprise for Joyce by revealing the elf contained in the letter, but here is the illustrated envelope.

If you want to receive an illustrated letter as part of my challenge to revive the art of letter writing take a look here.

illustrated letter 4 Joyce

Illustrated Letter Day 3; Off to Australia

I have set myself a challenge; to revive the art of letter writing by composing a letter every day through 2013. But more than words, each letter will be illustrated. Letter number 3 is going all the way to Australia. So my initial question of “How far will a Ziggy Elf travel?” has probably been answered. You can’t get much further than little old England to The Land Down Under.

This letter is going to Katherine who is the creator of the fabulous blog Photobooth Journal. In order not to spoil the surprise for Katherine I can’t show you the content. But I have illustrated the envelope.

If you would like to join in the fun and receive a letter from me email me your postal address. All the details are here.


letter 3 Katherine

An Illustrated Letter From Ziggy with Love

I read a very interesting post by Erin on her blog For The Love of Bookshops. It was about Nina Sankovitch who, in order to combat depression brought about by the death of her sister,  read a book a day for a year. You can read the post here. Erin also mentioned that she shared Nina’s support of endangered things such as books, independent book shops, libraries and the written letter. I practically live in book shops, read copiously, and hang around my local library. And I used to love writing letters. But who does that now? It’s so easy to text and email that very few of us put pen to paper.

So I have decided to write a letter a day throughout 2013. But more than words, it will be an illustrated letter in a Ziggy style. I could just restrict this to family and friends, but my family is small and I have no friends. Would you like to help me in this challenge? If you would like to receive an illustrated hand written letter, email me your address to ziggy dot shortcrust at gmail dot com. It would be great to see just how far around the world a Ziggy drawing could go. Of course if you would like to return a letter to me that would be fantastic. I’ll post it up on the blog.

Of course, if only I had thought of this sooner I would be prepared with writing paper and envelopes, and possibly a fountain pen….or quill. All I could find was some Wizardology paper, which actually is quite fun.

These are letters 1 and 2 to my Mum and brother. It’ll be a shock as I haven’t written in years. Mum and I are on the phone all the time and my brother and I email each other.

Illustrated letter 1

Illustrated letter 2

I do hope you can help me with this challenge. Lets revive the art of letter writing.