Flourish Forum Day of the Dead Calligraphy Exchange

Day of the Dead Calligraphy Exchange | Allocco Design and Crafts

I promised you skulls, so I’ve delivered. Earlier this month I sent out six of these beauties to calligraphers across the globe as part of Flourish Forum’s Day of the Dead Halloween calligraphy exchange.

If you’re not familiar, Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, is a Mexican holiday that celebrates deceased loved ones. It’s a…weird holiday, especially when it comes to decor. I wasn’t kidding when I said bright colors and skulls. That’s essentially the jist of it. As strange as it is, I actually love the festive nature of this holiday. I remember throwing Dia de los Muertos parties in high school Spanish class, decorating with skeleton brides and papel picado.

So far, I’ve received three of the six Halloween exchange letters and none of them are the Mexican Day of the Dead. In hindsight, I suppose by “Day of the Dead” the exchange organizer just meant “scary, Halloween, boooooo I’m a ghost.” Which is fine by me because it makes mine a little more original and now each letter I receive is a new surprise. For instance, yesterday I received a hand painted COFFIN in the mail filled with candy eyeballs, fingers, a Dracula themed calligraphy scroll, etc… It was amazing.

Dia De Los Muertos Calligraphy | Allocco Design and Crafts

Black Letter Halloween Calligraphy | Allocco Design and Crafts

I wanted to capture the spirit of the Mexican Day of the Dead in a few ways. To start, blackletter has been my JAMMMM lately. I didn’t think I could love a hand as much as I love Copperplate, but blackletter is quickly rising to the podium. For what I think are obvious reasons (it’s kinda creepy/Halloween looking), I chose to address the envelopes in a blackletter hand. (While I was proud of these addresses, I blurred out the street names for privacy reasons. No stalkers up in herrreee).

While we’re on the subject of addressing, let’s talk about how I miswrote my return address on FOUR of the six envelopes. I caught two and was able to fix them with an X-Acto knife, but I didn’t realize the other two until I was mailing them out. Sigh…

Calligraphy Envelopes | Allocco Design and Crafts

Day of the Dead Skeleton Calligraphy | Allocco Design and Crafts

I got these bright envelopes from Paper Source. I debated between pink and teal, but I like how both the black and white ink pop off the paper. I was really inspired by a classic image of a skeleton with a big feathery hat, so I practiced my flourishing and illustrating by drawing a skeleton and floral vines on each envelope. These were a LOT less time consuming than my bling envelopes, but I actually love them just as much. They’re simple, festive and just plain fun.

Papel Picado Cards | Allocco Design and Crafts

I enclosed each envelope with a teal card covered in piñata/papel picado style tissue paper. I wrote a simple note in silver Sharpie with a Mexican saying, slipped the note in the envelope and sealed the deal with a skull sticker from Paper Source. All my money goes to Paper Source now.

Day of the Dead Skull Letters | Allocco Design and Crafts

Day of the Dead Skull Letters | Allocco Design and Crafts

Calligraphy weapons of choice: Mitchell #3 nib for the addresses and a Nikko G for the illustrations. Black Moon Palace ink and Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bleedproof White ink for the envelopes and silver metallic Sharpie marker, plus a hint of pink Le Pen for the cards.

Calligraphy Holiday Envelopes | Allocco Design and Crafts

I have 11 skull stickers left and random envelopes in my arsenal. Holler at your girl if you need some Dia de los Muertos goodies in your mailbox.