Kendal responds to collector's
frequently asked questions
175 envelopes having received the orignal ink rendering are
ready to be hand-painted.
Of the various cachet-making techniques, how is your's categorized?
According to American First Day Cover Society's defined categories,
the Bevil line falls into the printed/hand-painted (p/hp) category.
How can your covers be printed and also hand-painted?
Simply stated, I print my originally drawn ink drawing, then hand-paint each one.
Step-by-step, how do you produce the Bevil line?
I begin with an originally produced ink drawing. While I used to ink my
drawings on mylar using technical Rapidograph pens, for several years
now I have been inking using a Wacom pad and pen on the computer.
The result is much greater control and a higher quality rendering.
The downside is I have no original physical ink drawings. The ink drawing
is then reproduced onto envelopes by a printing process. At this point I will have
150-200 white envelopes, stamped and cancelled, with a black ink drawing
I then begin the glorious task of painting each envelope. And I thoroughly enjoy
painting every single one.
Here's #29 of an issue of 175 covers. Each cover has been
painted, numbered, and signed by my hand.
Is every cachet actually hand-painted?
Yes. Amazing, I will have to admit! I paint every cachet by hand. My hand! I mean, I have no one here in the studio painting for me. Any cachet you discover here on the Bevil website, if it has the KBevil signature signed in pencil, I painted it.
Covers from the same issue look indentical. How can that be?
At first glance, they appear the same. but upon a closer look, no two are alike. When I paint at least 150 covers of the same design, I find my rhthym pretty quickly, and settle into a specific look. If you ever collect two of the same issue, do like most probably do- put them side-by-side and you'll discover slight differences.
Why do you sign and number each cover?
Each of my issues are described as "limited editions". This means I must specify on each cover the size of the issue, and where that specific cover falls in the issue. If a cover has in pencil following my signature 22/175, that states this is cover #22 in a set of 175. 175 covers were painted, and the issue, or edition, is closed. I can never go back and add to the set, even if it sells out quickly.
Why do you sign in pencil?
This guarantees and assures you I have originally signed and numbered that specific cover. I mean, if my signature is in pencil, or graphite, well, graphite can't be reproduced by a printing technique. An inked signature can. This is standard protocol in the limited edition print market. If you're visiting an art gallery, most of the prints will be limited editon, with each print signed and numbered in the lower corner by the artist, most often in pencil.
How do you go about deciding on your color schemes?
When I begin painting an issue, I place 3 or 4 covers on my easel. I will paint each in a different color scheme. Then after settling on one, I paint the complete issue in those colors, rarely straying from my original decision. When I'm deciding on my colors for an issue, I consider these factors- 1. Will it compliment or go well with the stamp? 2. How will this color scheme fit into other issues? If my subscribers are getting an FDC with a yellow sunset this month, I don't want to paint a yellow sunset again. Or, if this FDC is part of a set, I must be very conscience of the colors of the other FDCs in the set. 3. Do my colors agree with historical facts, and established real-life colors? If I'm painting a Civil War set, I must do research and paint the correct uniform colors. Or if I place an existing building in the background, what color was it at the time-period my cachet depicts. And I can't change the uniform colors of the Boston Red Sox.
Do covers exist from the same issue painted in different colors?
Yes, a few. And everybody seems to want them. There are those 3 or so at the beginning of the painting process which were not chosen. I now sell these as "Color Studies". I have come to really like them. Even though they were passed up and not selected as the master color original, what makes them valuable and appealing to collectors is that they are different than the main lot. See them here. If you notice, I number them at the very top, or end of the set. Though rare, I have painted about 50 covers going int an issue, then decided to change my colors for the rest of the issue. Or, I might run out of a specific color of ink. Then I'm forced to change from maybe a blue sky, to a sunset. Hey, it happens. It defenitely isn't a perfect world here in the Bevil Studio.
What is your painting technique and what paints do you use?
I paint with an airbrush. There is a little bit of traditional brushwork on my covers, but very little. With an airbrush though, I'm not limited on what I paint with. I could airbrush with acrylics, watercolors, or even oils. From the beginning, since 1990, I have painted with Higgins Fadeproof inks. My painting medium must be transparent, like most inks are. I need a transparent product because I actually paint on top of my black ink drawing, so my ink must be somewhat transparent. I have stayed with this product because of it's unique fadeproof quality. I have a Babe Ruth cachet framed in my office, and after several years, even though the USPS stamp is faded, beginning to turn pinkish, the cachet is true to its orignal colors. Going into my 23rd year of painting envelopes, I'm very pleased with the longevity of the Higgins Fadeproof line of inks.
Do you paint the covers one-at-a-time?
Well, yes and no. I have an easel, if you can call it that, which holds 49 #6 FDCs- 7 across and 7 down. I paint 49 together because I constantly compare the covers to each other. Each cover, while I'm painting it, is totally surrounded by other covers. This keeps me from drifting with my colors, which is so easy to do. My goal is to paint an issue where all the covers look similar. So, after I hand-paint 49, I take them down, and put up another group of 49 covers.
How long does it take to paint a cachet?
I guess that depends when you start and stop the clock. By the time I get to the painting process, I've already spent at least a few days on the issue. I first lay out my design on the envelope, wrapping the artwork around the cancel and stamp. I then go on a hunt for the best reference I can find. If I don't have good reference, meaning a good photo to produce my ink drawing from, the cachet will not move forward. I then take a few days and ink my rendering. When all the envelopes have the ink rendering applied, I begin painting. After which I sit down and touch up, add details, paint the eyes and teeth, etc. Finally, I sign and number every cover. A full-color numbered certificate is produced and the cover and certificate are slid into a poly sleeve. I'll summize it to say, it is possible to paint about 4, maybe 5 issues in a 4 week period. That rarely happens though. Don't forget the newsletter. It's getting bigger and better all the time.