Postage Stamps for 2012
posted: August 1, 2011
The United States Postal Service is previewing stamps from the upcoming 2012 program on their website There's some great designs by Louise Fili, John Mattos, Craig Frazier, and Jim McMullan.  I’m very happy to have two stamp designs included.
The first is the Cherry Blossom Centennial Stamp commemorating the anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,020 cherry trees to the city of Washington, D.C. In March of 1912 the first two trees were planted and in 1927 local citizens held the first celebration of these trees. Today, the National Cherry Blossom Festival draws a million visitors each spring.
USPS art director Phil Jordan gave me the assignment of capturing this panorama of spring on two stamps. Throughout history there have been a lot of stamps depicting our nation’s capital, and the challenge on this one was to make an image that fit that tradition and also had a fresh modern feeling. And, I had to figure out a way of dealing with all those cherry blossoms.
sketch for Cherry Blossom Stamp...

The second stamp being issued in 2012 is a Holiday stamp featuring Santa and Sleigh, another subject that has already had a lot of designs produced over the years. I worked with art director Howard Paine on this one and when he called about a Christmas stamp I cringed a bit because I was worried about how to approach this corny subject without making it look corny. I took a look at the holiday stamps from the past and also drew on my memories of Christmas picture books from my childhood. This design had to work over four stamps as a complete image and each individual stamp had to be a satisfying design when used alone.
sketch for Santa and Sleigh...

some research images...

It’s always an honor to be asked to design postage stamps, and the entire process is a pleasure, from the first sketch to the first time a piece of mail arrives at the studio with a stamp I designed on it.
We’ll have to wait for 2012 for these two new designs, in the meantime, Jazz Stamps are still available.
Felix Sockwell August 1, 2011
Noice. Lets get some close ups on that cherry blossom stamp, eh? Timeless stuff as per usual.
Mark Fisher August 1, 2011
You licked both stamps! A beauty and a classic.
Yuko August 1, 2011
congratulations! These will make sending real letters fun again!
June August 1, 2011
Just luv it! Can't wait to get those stamps!!!
Owen August 1, 2011
Beautiful work on both, here's hoping my holiday postage works out to 1.76 so I don't have to break up the band.
Marc August 2, 2011
Great work as always, Paul. Postage stamps are a part of history--such cool projects to work on. I particularly like the folky quality of the sketch of Santa, which you retained the spirit of in the revised final. Nice job!
Harry August 2, 2011
These are so well done, very professional level as usual. It had never occurred to me before about the cherry trees. Surprised they weren't cut down during WW2. Funny and tragic how history unfolds. I know TR brokered a peace between Russia and Japan around that time, something like that. Sorry to get off track, beautiful work.
Dave Wittekind August 2, 2011
As a former philatelist, I have a soft spot for postal art. These are wonderful. Especially love that "widescreen" DC pair.
Jim Paillot August 2, 2011
Paul, these are wonderful. Love the Cherry Blossom stamps but I especially dig the charming Santa stamps.
Rob Dunlavey August 4, 2011
These are nice. Working small has it's distinct pleasures wouldn't you say? …Especially when it's digital art. Every part has its potency and reason for being there. Stamps invoke a kind of playful response for artist and letter writer combined.
Douglas Fraser August 4, 2011
Classical, and very nicely executed. I second Mr.Sockwell's thought, "Timeless".
Noah Woods August 4, 2011
Wowwwwww weeeeeeeee, P.R.-- BEAUTIFUL! BEAUTIFUL! BEAUTIFUL!
Gary Taxali August 7, 2011
What Noah said!! Simply amazing, Paul. Hat's off!
Michael Sloan September 6, 2011
Hi Paul - I love the cherry blossoms. Congratulations. 626 564 8728