The Matchbook Covers

The Matchbook Covers - student project

While I always seem to have a side project on the go, this one means a lot to me for a number of reasons...

It was the first real side project that I started, and I started it purely for fun (the reason I start all of my side projects!). In 2013 I bought an old matchbook from an antique store because I loved its design, and thus began my journey of becoming a phillumenist (someone who collects matchbooks :P). A year later, I was hooked on graphic design and had just begun trying out Adobe Illustrator which was when I had the idea to recreate some of my matchbooks. I thought it would be a fun way to share my love for vintage design and showcase my collection, all the while learning how to illustrate.

Five years later, I'm up to 46 illustrations and this side project was literally how I learned to illustrate. There are certain ones that I look at and can pinpoint a specific skill that I had to learn in order to complete the illustration, which is a neat way to remember some of the small milestones of the learning process.

I love that it's been a hobby and a side project with no external pressures. Because of this, I've always enjoyed doing it, and learning something new is so much easier that way!

I'm currently working on creating a proper website for the project at, but if you'd like to follow along I post all of the illustrations on my Instagram at If you don't want to follow me but do want to the follow the project, you can do that too by following the Instagram hashtag #thematchbookcovers :)

If you're interested in seeing non-illustrated versions of my matchbook collection, I have a side project for that as well at (it's a work-in-progress) and

Thanks very much for giving this a look!

Jenelle Carter