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…
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’ve always loved drawing flowers and the very first cards I designed featured some of my flower doodles. My latest obsession flower-wise is Cosmos (cosmos bipinnatus for geeky folks) so I decided I’d share some of my cosmos flower illustrations with you here.
There are so many things to love about cosmos flowers. Their simplicity, their symmetry and the wide variety of colours they come in. I remember seeing them on the sides of the road as a kid in South Africa and they always just make my heart happy whenever I see them here in the UK.
My other half’s mum gifted me a few from her garden last year and this year I have at least four or five cosmos plants in pots on the terrace of my little flat.
I did a quick cosmos flower doodle a few weeks back when I first started noticing cosmos flowering…
I even turned them into a sheet of stickers which I used on my last blog post about decorating envelopes!
More cosmos illustrations
Then this week I’ve been spending a bit more time on some cosmos flower illustrations which I think I might use in my next greeting card collection.
Here’s a single cosmos flower illustration…
And here’s a row of cosmos flowers…
I think they’re especially lovely because they’re wild flowers. I really love to see flowers like cosmos, poppies, daisies and buttercups when I’m out walking or on one of my runs. Check out these wildflower drawings I did early on). It’s like a little present when you see a gorgeous flower on the side of the path. Or a field of tiny flowers catching the sunshine out of the blue 😃
Expect to see lots more flower illustrations here and on Instagram. And for them to be a big feature in my future greeting card collections!
I have to admit that I’ve really been struggling with finding creative inspiration the last few months. I’ve had a few hard knocks this year and they really sapped my energy physically, mentally and emotionally. I just couldn’t seem to get excited about drawing, or anything much at all. And if you follow me on social media you might have wondered if I’d given up altogether. Social media is hard work for me even when things are going well so I pretty much disappeared for weeks on end 😆
I won’t bore you with the details of everything that’s gone wrong so far in 2022. I’m sure you’ve got enough of your own problems and hassles to deal with! But here’s what I’ve been doing to try and get my mojo back creatively…
Taking a break
I have a part time day job which covers the majority of my bills so am lucky that I can take it easier in my greeting card business occasionally without getting in a financial panic. The guilt makes it hard to do though! There were some days when all I was accomplishing was processing orders and I felt really ashamed of myself. Here I was in the very fortunate position of being able to do something I love and I was completely neglecting it…
I did step back regardless though. Between doing my day job and dealing with everything that was going wrong, I honestly didn’t have the energy not to. And at least feeling guilty and ashamed could be done on the sofa without any effort on my part!
I went for plenty of walks, cried a lot, whinged a lot and generally felt sorry for myself for ages. I still do sometimes! Hopefully it’s better than being in denial and then having a breakdown later on when everyone else has forgotten about it all…
I heard something on a Daily Pep podcast the other day about how when life gives you lemons you really don’t need to feel bad if you don’t want to making f**cking lemonade 🤣 – and I’ve totally taken this to heart!
Taking the time to grieve and opt out of life for a bit has helped. I can now see what I hope is the light at the end of the tunnel. And not the headlamps of another metaphorical lorry about to smack into me… 😁 I’m starting to look forward to stuff again so hopefully taking a break was the right thing to do.
Finding creative inspiration by experimenting
Another thing I’ve been doing to help me with finding creative inspiration again is experimenting. Even before all this happened I’d gotten in a bit of a rut in terms of my drawing style and card designs. I decided to try a few things that were completely different, with no pressure to fit in with the rest of my brand.
Here are a couple of the drawings I did…
It really helped. I found myself losing track of time while drawing again, which used to always be the case but hadn’t happened for a while. I’m going to keep doing this – making time for drawing whatever I feel like however I feel like!
Remembering the good stuff
Last week my favourite squeeze and I went camping together and it was fantastic. Getting back to the simple stuff like barbecuing our food, trying to stay warm in front of an open fire and going on long walks in beautiful surroundings reminded me of the things that make me happy and that there is still loads of stuff I enjoy and look forward to. I got back exhausted but feeling more inspired than I have in ages.
I’ve realised that to stay inspired I need to keep focusing on the stuff I love. Drawing what I think I should be drawing just leads to boredom or burnout. Drawing things I enjoy drawing and experimenting with new styles and techniques is how I can go about finding creative inspiration – and stay motivated.
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Earlier this year I designed some custom postcards in one of my favourite projects so far. I drew custom illustrations to be used on the postcards for an amazing glamping site called Tin Can Camping. They have four Airstream and vintage caravans to stay in in a remote area in South Norfolk and it’s really worth checking out. We’ve now stayed there twice so I was incredibly excited when they asked me to do custom illustrations for a series of postcards featuring their gorgeous trailers.
It turned out that the owners really liked a thank you card I’d made for them the first time we stayed, so decided to ask me to work on the postcard designs for them. Here’s a screenshot of when they posted it on their Instagram account
The four caravans on the custom postcards
These are the four postcard designs I created together with photos of the original caravans.
This little one is the Bubble and is the first Airstream we stayed in – the same one pictured in the thank you card. It couldn’t be any cuter, could it?! That visit it rained a LOT (like torrentially) but we still had a great time snuggled up inside this cosy little trailer.
The next time we stayed we chose the Caravanner. The weather was kinder to us this time so we got to take advantage of the BBQ and fire pit more often. It was also fabulous!
This is the largest Airstream on the site, the Sovereign. I can’t even imagine towing something this size around, but I suppose roads are a bit roomier in the US!
And this is the Jewel, an aptly named vintage caravan that really stands out amongst the silver Airstreams.
Which one is your favourite? I honestly can’t decide…
It was such a fun project to work on. I love drawing, I love camping and I love these Airstreams. So I felt really lucky to have the opportunity to bring them all together to create these postcards.
If you have a custom illustration project you’d like me to work on, please get in touch 😃
These dog themed cards, a Shih Tzu card and a Labrador card are two brand new birthday designs just added to my shop. I’m going to be working on a range of pet themed cards and these are the first . What do you think?
As with most of my designs, I drew them using Procreate on my iPad. Here’s a little replay video of each one to show you the process. I use layers a lot so when things disappear and reappear that’s me hiding and showing different layers 🙂
This is the Shih Tzu drawing…
And here’s the Lab illustration.
You can see that it often takes me several attempts to get something right 😆. For example I kept adjusted the Labrador’s head as it just didn’t quite look right. I feel like it’s important to show the real process though, rather than an edited one that looks perfect but isn’t real! It’s a good job I’m an illustrator and not a sculptor using marble or some expensive medium as there would be a lot of waste 🤣