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New Year, New Art Experiments

watercolour art experiments

It’s 2024 and I’m planning to spend a lot of time on new art experiments this year. I’ve been playing around with watercolour painting for a couple of months just for fun and, although I’m not terribly good at it yet, I’m trying all sorts of things and having a ball with it!

Why watercolours?

When I started designing greeting cards they all started as little doodles in a sketch book, which I scanned in, cleaned up and turned into card designs. Even my early custom cartoon portraits were done this way, which was a bit of a challenge when changes were needed…

Then a few years ago I treated myself to an iPad and started using a drawing app called Procreate and my Apple Pencil to draw digitally instead (which made it all soooooo much easier). Last year I discovered some ‘watercolour brushes’ in Procreate and started experimenting with those and this is what led to me overhauling a lot of my early designs.

This in turn eventually got me curious about actual watercolour painting again. I had dabbled a little with watercolours previously but never really took it seriously or made the effort to get any good at it.

My art experiments

Painting with watercolours is so much fun, but I’ve found it really unpredictable and have had some truly terrible results 🀣

I went to Norway in November, which is just the most beautiful place ever, and tried painting some of the gorgeous seascapes and sunsets I photographed but I am really struggling…

I seem to be ok when I’m following a specific tutorial, like the ones in Emma Block’s The Joy of Watercolour. These are a couple of the projects I’ve done from her book on the right.

The problems start when I try to paint on my own without any guidance…

I can draw an ink outline and ‘colour in’ with watercolour, like in the drawing on the left which I did for friends of their cottage, but whenever I try and use watercolours on their own they end up either looking messy or a bit wishy washy. Flowers are easier but still a bit hit and miss and I haven’t yet created anything I’m really proud of (or brave enough to show you hereπŸ˜†).

That said, I’m enjoying playing around so much anyway that I’m carrying on regardless. I really love the time I spend painting no matter what the end results. I guess an insightful kind of person might say it’s good for me to just enjoy the process regardless of the outcome 😁

Once I get the hang of it and produce a few paintings I’m proud of, I’ll start sharing some of my own watercolour art experiments here on the blog, but for now I’m just going to keep practising and having fun!

I hope you’re also planning to do plenty of something you enjoy this year – let me know on Instagram what you’ll be up to if you are…

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Christmas Card Illustrations

4 different Christmas card illustrations on a white wood background

This summer I’ve been working on new Christmas card illustrations, ready for the festive season. I know it seems a bit early, and honestly it was a bit weird working on wintery scenes while sweltering in the heat. That’s how the greeting card industry works though – retailers expect to see your new designs anywhere from 3 months up to a year in advance, so they can make their buying decisions nice and early. If anything I was running a bit late…

Now that it’s October, however, I feel like I can start to share my new Christmas and holiday illustrations with you without freaking you out too much 😁

If you’ve been following my blog (or Instagram feed) for a while you’ll know that I did a design refresh on a lot of my greeting cards earlier this year, as my illustration style has changed quite a bit since I first started. So it was time to do the same for my Christmas and holiday collection. I’ve redone the illustrations for some of my most popular designs as well as come up with some brand new ones and I really hope you like them. I did enjoy doing them despite the weirdness of the timing!

Here’s a selection of some of the Christmas card illustrations I’ve been working on…

Christmas Card Illustrations

I’ve also redone the illustrations for my Diwali and Hanukkah cards…

Diwali Illustration

diwali diyas illustration

Hanukkah Illustration

Hanukkah menorah illustration

If you’re the type of person who likes to get organised early for Christmas, then you can shop my new Holiday Cards range already, featuring these illustrations and more. Every card design is available in A6 or A5 size, and if you have a favourite you can buy them in multiples of 5, 10, 25 or 50 to save money. Or take advantage of my bundle deals if you want to stock up on a few different designs at the same time.

I’ll also share a few more theme specific card designs here on my blog over the next while, so if it’s a bit too early to be buying then please come back to see what else is available in a few weeks…

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Etsy seller interview with me

Computer monitor with Alura interview with me on the screen

Alura has just published an article where they conduct an Etsy seller interview with me. They asked me several questions about my experience as an Etsy seller – from when I first started to recently making over 2,500 sales on Etsy. You might be interested if you’re an Etsy seller yourself or would just like a peek behind the scenes of the Etsy side of my greeting card business…

The interview covers questions about how I got started, my favourite and best selling items, how I get sales and manage my Etsy shop, my plans for the future and advice for new sellers.

Etsy is quite a substantial part of my greeting card business, being one of my my main sources of income. It was also how I first got started with selling my cards online. Before I had my own online shop I just linked from my website to my Etsy shop.

Nowadays I sell via my website, in person and wholesale as well as on platforms like Etsy and Viing, but it all started with adding one little set of cards on Etsy.

My very first order was on 28 July 2017 and it took until 24 August to get my next one. I then got one order a month until January 2018, when I started offering my cartoon portrait cards. I sold seven of these within a month and felt like I’d hit the big time! In those days I couldn’t even imagine getting orders every day like I do now.

It’s quite funny looking back at the first items I sold on Etsy, as the photos I used were really terrible and even the drawings themselves were pretty basic. But we all have to start somewhere and I’m really glad I did πŸ˜ƒ

Read my Etsy Seller Interview here.

[Please note that Alura approached me for the interview and I’ve not used Alura myself, so I can’t offer an opinion on the tools they offer.]

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Spotlight: Flower Vase Greeting Card

With Spring on the way this month’s spotlight is on the flower vase greeting card options I recently added to my Say it with Flowers Collection.

The illustration was actually done last year and was inspired by a bouquet I received with some gorgeous peonies in it (I got kind of obsessed with peonies in 2022…) They looked so gorgeous in the vase that I just had to draw them! I posted it on Instagram but then didn’t think much more about it.

This year I spotted the illustration again and thought it would be perfect as a greeting card, so I created a few designs centred around it.

I’ve currently got a few different flower vase greeting card designs available, for birthdays, anniversaries and to say thank you, as well as seasonal versions for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Click on any of the images below to see that card in my shop.

Flower Vase Birthday Card

flower vase birthday card

Wish someone special a happy birthday with this blooming gorgeous vase of flowers birthday card.

Flower Vase Anniversary Card

flower vase anniversary card

This blooming lovely vase of flowers anniversary card will win you soooo many brownie points with your other half…

Flower Vase Thank You Card

Flower vase thank you card

Say thanks to someone amazing and let them know how much you appreciated them with this pretty vase of flowers thank you card.

Flower Vase Seasonal Cards

I’ve also added the design to a Valentine and a Mother’s Day card, flowers often being a big part of both these occasions!

Hopefully this gives you several options if you like the design and would love to give a card to someone with the flower vase illustration on. Also, don’t forget that if you buy a bundle of 3 or 5 cards it works out cheaper. Why not stock up on the birthday and thank you cards so that you’ve already got them to hand when you need them?

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Updated Greeting Card Illustrations

Updated Greeting Card Illustrations - I'll always bee here for you

I’m excited to tell you that I’ve now added updated greeting card illustrations to several of my best selling designs. As I mentioned in my last blog post my style has evolved and changed quite a bit since I first started. So I’ve spent a lot of time redoing some of my earlier designs and I’m much happier that it’s all a bit more cohesive now.

It’s taken a while to get the photography sorted out and add all the new designs to my shop, but it’s finally done. Here are some examples, but you can see the full range here.

Little Creatures Designs

I’ve been redrawing ants, moles, octopuses (octopi?) and bees for this collection. Each illustration appears on several different designs for various occasions. So if you like the Ant but are after an anniversary card rather than a birthday card, just check out the full Little Creatures Collection to see what’s available.

Thirsty Business Illustrations

If alcohol is more your thing then I think you’ll like the updates in my Thirsty Business Collection. Covering a range of tastes including wine, beer, bubbly, beer, gin and whisky, you’ll also find designs for a variety of occasions and recipients too.

Sportsy Greeting Card Illustrations

This was one of my earliest collections and has remained popular. It’s always fun to reference someone’s sport and hobby obsessions in a card, with obligatory pun of course. I’ve updated illustrations for cyclists, runners, tennis fans, golfers, yoga bunnies and even my little trampoliner. Once again, there’s a wide range of different occasions with the updated illustrations so take a look at the full Sportsy Collection here.

I’ll continue to update more of my earlier greeting card illustrations over time, so if there’s a particular design you’d like me to work on next just let me know. You can get in touch via the contact form or message me on Instagram.