"Life is painting a picture, not doing a sum."
    —Oliver Wendall Holmes


While Larry Yáñez makes pictures of the world he sees everyday, Joseph E. Yoakum made drawings of a world he may never have seen at all! He worked from his imagination.

He told amazing stories about leaving his family's home on a Navajo reservation and going

Joseph E. Yoakum
Art Linkletter's Ranch near Darwin, Australia
all over the world. He described traveling with a circus, in the army, and on a boat. There are "few places I haven't been, of any size that is. And there's nothing I haven't suffered to see things first hand," he said.

This might have all been make-believe, so his drawings are a little like souvenirs or postcards from places he has never visited.

They certainly look like official souvenirs! He always signed them (sometimes including his zip code and a rubber stamp to show the date), and he wrote an exact name for the place he said he visited.

Do you think it matters if he was ever really there or not? Sometimes you have a lot to say about places you can only imagine.

What places would you like to visit?

Will you send a postcard?

1. Get out these supplies:

  • pencils (#2 and colored)
  • scrap paper
  • lightweight posterboard (4 x 6 inch)
  • scissors (or pinking shears)
  • ruler
  • black felt-tip pen
  • tissue
2. Where are you?
  • You can pretend you're sending your card from anywhere—the playground down the street, or a city on the moon!
  • Will you put the name of your vacation spot on the front of the card? Yoakum always did!
3. Make your postcard.
  • Use a pencil to draw the outlines of your picture on your posterboard.
  • Go over your pencil lines with pen.
  • Fill in your shapes with colored pencil.
  • Try rubbing the colored pencil lines with tissue paper. This is what Yoakum did to make his pictures look like softly colored watercolors.
  • Lots of postcards have zig-zag edges. Use scissors or pinking shears to cut the sides of yours.
4. Write your message.
  • On the other side of your postcard, use your pen and ruler to divide your postcard into two sections.
  • Who do you want to read your message? Put a name and address on the right-hand side of your card.
  • What do you want to say? Write one or two sentences about your real or imaginary place on the left-hand side of the card.
5. Mail your postcard!
  • Even if you're just pretending to send your postcard, you need a pretend stamp! Don't forget the postmark!