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.

STEP 6: USING PHOTOSHOP and ILLUSTRATOR

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!

How Did You Make That Christmas Card?

Welcome! Thanks for asking.

click image to enlarge

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!

How Did You Make That Christmas Card?

Welcome! Thanks for asking. 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? Some people get paid for that kind of thing--and here I am doing it for free. I had several ideas this year.

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 ideas I had here:

A gift from the Dem
Friends are difficult to find… Geting goosed

I had some others, but I may need them for next year.

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. In this case, one of my sketches was pretty close to what I wanted, so I used a light box to trace the sketch onto the Bristol paper.

Sketch
Light box

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 (compare Bush's chin line to his nose line) and to add some depth to the image.

Ink & brushes

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

Inked version

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. With Photoshop I added some gray tones and resized the image to make it card-ready. With Illustrator I created the word bubble and the text.

If you look closely at both the original and the finished product, you can see some of the changes I made:

  • Filled in dress with black
  • Made some black lines into white lines (dress)
  • Drew a few sprigs of holly, scanned them, and then copied them multiple times to create the top and bottom border
  • Used several different gray tones on the goose to give it additional depth
  • Copied the goose and put it on the back of the card

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.

Click for larger view

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:

2004: 2003: 2001:

2000: 1999: 1998: