How Did You Make That Christmas Card?

Welcome! Thanks for asking.

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STEP 1: THE IDEA Step one is probably the hardest step. How do you come up with an idea that will be fun and fit on a card? As with most years, the looming deadline forced some inspiration.

STEP 2: THE SKETCH Next comes the sketch. I doodle around to try to figure out what works and what doesn't. Step 2 is really just an extension of Step 1. You can see some of the process here:

As you can (maybe) see, I had originally intended to show the barn and to have additional animals (chickens, camels) and people. But at some point, it just gets too cluttered. In this case---with input from the lovely JoAnn---I decided that simpler was better.

STEP 3: THE DRAWING Next comes the actual drawing. I take an 11" x 14" sheet of Bristol (a heavy paper), and using a mechanical pencil, I sketch out the drawing. I draw everything out in pencil, trying to make as few mistakes as possible. I use a very hard lead so that the image is very faint if I need to erase. Because of the "3-D" effect on this card, I actually drew 2 separate pictures.

STEP 4: INKING Next I go over all of the pencils with ink. Some people think this means "tracing," but it's not. Inking adds a whole different character to the image. I use a brush to vary the line weights (undersides are heavier than topsides) and to add some depth to the image.

Once all the ink is dry, I erase all the left over pencil lines. In this case, the inked versions looked like this:

STEP 5: SCANNING Next I scan the picture into my computer. This process turns the image into a digital computer file.

STEP 6: USING PHOTOSHOP and ILLUSTRATOR I take the scanned image and open it in a software program called Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. These program allows me to manipulate the image and make it ready for printing. I added color and resized the image to make it card-ready. I also positioned and re-positioned the animals until I got the "right" look.

STEP 7: PRINTING Then it's off to the copy store to print the card. I had them print 2 images on a page of card stock and then cut the page in half. We printed in black and white, because color gets expensive.

STEP 8: MAILING Then JoAnn and I just address, stamp, add something witty like "Merry Christmas," and drop the cards in the mail. See how easy it is! Anyone can do it!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Visions of Christmas Cards Past:

2005: 2006:2006

2004: 2003: 2001:

2000: 1999: 1998:

If you didn't get a card this year it probably means we don't love you we don't have your address. Send it to us!