Three handmade birthday cards

tapir card by Myfanwy Tristram

It took me about 30 seconds to decide what to draw on my daughter’s birthday card this year.

We’ve both recently been charmed by Neko Atsume, a Japanese kitty-based tomodachi-style game/app, bonding over our collection of pussy cats and trying out different virtual cat food to attract them.

If you’re hooked too, you’ll recognise the smiley cats below (apologies for all the phone snaps in this post, but hopefully you can still get the general idea).

Neko Atsume birthday card by Myfanwy Tristram

The cats in Neko Atsume are almost all the same basic shape, and are seen in one of a limited repertoire of poses.

My original plan was to make a little rubber stamp of one of those standard poses, but it turned out too be too fiddly for the amount of time I had at my disposal. For my second attempt, I went for the primary-school technique of tracing paper and pencil (basically a monoprint if I want to make myself feel better about it).

As always, I learned something from sitting down to try and replicate someone else’s drawings. The Neko Atsume cats are all marked in some combination of a small group of colours: dark grey, light grey, orange, light tan, white, and black — and all marked in a combination of stripes, spots or one colour all over.

Neko Atsume birthday card by Myfanwy Tristram

Inside was the greedy white cat Tubbs, who comes and snaffles all the posh cat food from time to time.

The card went down even better than I’d expected: those Japanese kitties sure provoke some strong emotions!

Just a week after my daughter’s birthday, it’s my husband’s. Recently, he’s been going through a mid-life crisis sporting a surprising range of hair colours: I never know what my own husband will look like next!

This quick card is meant to be a gentle mockery of that.

Hair birthday card by Myfanwy Tristram

That t-shirt was one I picked up at Thought Bubble as a way of saying thank you for staying home and doing the childcare while I flitted off to Leeds.

Finally, while I’m showing greetings cards, here’s one from last summer.

My friend and colleague Dave has a particular fondness for tapirs. Sadly, he also has a particular dislike of people making a fuss for his birthday, but it was too late by the time we’d discovered that: a rousing round of ‘Happy Birthday to you’ and a candle in his cafe breakfast granola it was, then.

Hopefully a nice tapir card went some way towards making up for the embarrassment:

tapir card by Myfanwy Tristram

It was a layered accordion-style card so that it had room for all my colleagues to sign it.

Inside, we wrote the very best tapir-based pun we could come up with after several days of hard thinking: Hope the celebrations don’t TAPIR out too soon.

Dave accepted the card, read the inscription, then replied, I don’t mean to sound UNGULATE-ful, but…’. Ah, his pun was better than ours.

Published by Myfanwy Tristram

I am an illustrator, situated in Brighton on the south coast of England, and with a special interest in comics and graphic memoir. I also work for a non-profit which encourages people to be active in democracy and to exercise rights such as the right to information through FOIA.

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