Celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas with the New Guy

Click to enlarge.

So How Did You Make That Card?

STEP 1: THE IDEA The first step was probably the hardest. How do you come up with an idea that will be fun and fit on a card? Usually, something finally pops into my head.

STEP 2: THE SKETCH Next came the sketch. This one started on the back of some scrap paper. I doodled around, trying to figure out what worked and what didn't. Step 2 is really just an extension of Step 1.

Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I sketched the image out "full size" to get a sense of how things would fit together for a card shape. I also doodled around trying to get the right look for the faces.

STEP 3: THE DRAWING Next came the actual drawing. I took a large sheet of tracing paper, and sketched out the image. This is where I worked out all the "issues" that came up. For example, you can see that I decided to cut off these guys' legs (since they don't add anything to the image); and I decided to have Obama wave off the gift rather than take it (because that's funnier). These are big changes (especially when drawing hands), so it's best to work it all out first.

Next, I took a sheet of Bristol (a heavy paper), and using a lightbox, I lightly traced the image, leaving all the mistakes on the tracing paper.

Light box

STEP 4: INKING Next I went 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 used a brush to vary the line weights (compare Bush's chin line to his nose line) and to add some depth to the image.

Ink & brushes

Once all the ink was dry, I erased any left over pencil lines.

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


I took the scanned image and opened 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. With Photoshop I resized the image to make it card-ready. With Illustrator I created the word balloons and the text. It wasn't that difficult to come up with 12 "gifts" from George, but setting it to music was a little trickier. I also created the back of the card.

STEP 7: PRINTING Then it was 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.

STEP 8: MAILING Then JoAnn and I just addressed, stamped, added something witty like "Merry Christmas," and dropped the cards in the mail. See how easy it is! Anyone can do it!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Visions of Christmas Cards Past:

2007: 2007 2006: 2006 2005:

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!