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New Christmas Card and Seasonal Collection

snow joke Christmas Card

I’m very excited to let you know that my new Christmas card and seasonal greeting card collection for the holidays is now available in my shop. This collection is for those people who you want to give an extra special card to this Christmas or holiday. People like significant others, parents, best friends. The ones you love the most!
If you buy a lot of cards for a lot of people then I hope you’ll support a charity by buying your cards from one of their shops. My cards are for when you need something a bit different for your very favourite humans! They’re all A5 sized, which is quite a bit bigger than a standard card but can still be posted with an ordinary letter stamp.
You can see the full collection in my greeting card shop, or take a look at a selection below.

Cards for your significant other

For your other half you can choose from a selection of romantic, cheeky or cute cards…

Melt my heart snow couple card
silver jingle bells card
you light up my life holiday card
Or why not get a custom cartoon couple portrait drawn of you and your favourite squeeze in Christmas outfits?

Holiday cards from the whole family

For parents/grandparents, give a card from the whole family.

snow family holiday card
Or these family cartoon portrait Christmas cards are as unique as you can get…

Holiday cards for besties

And don’t forget your best friend!

Christmas cards for businesses

Of course if you have a small business, your top clients are also very special, so why not send a holiday card that stands out from the usual corporate seasonal greetings? They’re A5 size so there’s plenty of space for everyone to sign.

You can also order these in a smaller size in bulk, or have an inside message printed – get in touch with me for a quote.

Unique to 2020

And finally, we’re all going to remember the 2020 holiday season as the year of the pandemic. That’s no reason not to make this Christmas as special as possible anyway though!
xmas jumper lockdown card
I hope you like the new Christmas card and seasonal collection. I’m always happy to quote for completely custom cards too if you have something very specific in mind.

I also offer bundle deals to buy 3 or 5 ready to ship cards at a time, which give you a bit of a discount, as most of us have more than one special person in our lives 🥰

See the full collection in my greeting card shop.

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Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

Wedding Anniversary Gifts by Year

I’ve been selling a lot of unique wedding anniversary cards with my cartoon portraits on recently – I guess it’s that time of year 😍. I know about paper, silver, ruby and gold anniversaries but I started wondering, what are the traditional wedding anniversary gifts year by year in the UK? It turns out there are both traditional and modern anniversary milestone gifts.

Lists of traditional and modern wedding anniversary gifts (UK)

These are list of both traditional and modern anniversary gifts by year for the UK – it may vary in the US and around the rest of the world. Can you believe they have milestone gifts all the way up to a 90th wedding anniversary?!


Traditional wedding anniversary gifts by year

1st – Paper or cotton
2nd – Cotton or paper
3rd – Leather
4th – Linen, silk
5th – Wood
6th – Sugar
7th – Woollen
8th – Salt
9th – Copper
10th – Tin
12th – Silk and fine linens
15th – Crystal
20th – Porcelain
25th – Silver
30th – Pearl
35th – Coral
40th – Ruby
45th – Sapphire
50th – Gold
55th – Emerald
60th – Diamond
65th – Blue sapphire
70th – Platinum
75th – Diamond, gold
80th – Oak
85th – Wine
90th – Granite

Modern wedding anniversary gifts by year

1st – Clock
2nd – China
3rd – Crystal, glass
4th – Electrical appliance
5th – Silverware
6th – Wooden objects
7th – Desk sets, pen & pencil sets
8th – Linens, lace
9th – Leather goods
10th – Diamond jewellery
11th – Fashion jewellery, accessories
12th – Pearls, coloured gems
13th – Textiles, furs
14th – Gold jewellery
15th – Watches
16th – Silver hollowware
17th – Furniture
18th – Porcelain
19th – Bronze
20th – Platinum
21st – Brass, nickel
22nd – Copper
23rd – Silver plate
24th – Musical instrument
25th – Silver
30th – Diamond
35th – Jade
40th – Ruby
45th – Saphire
50th – Gold
55th – Emerald
60th – Diamond
80th – Diamond, pearl
85th – Wife’s birthstone
90th – Diamond, emerald

Of course there are no set rules when it comes to romance, so you can interpret them however you like, put your own original twist on them or ignore them altogether! Every couple will have their own original way of celebrating a milestone anniversary…


Special milestone anniversary messages

Did you know that in the UK you can get a message from the king or queen for 60th, 65th and 70th wedding anniversaries? You do need to apply to Buckingham Palace for this (other Commonwealth realms can also apply, via the Governor-general’s office).

In the US couples can receiver a wedding anniversary card from the President for their 50th anniversary and beyond. In Canada they can receive a message from the Governor-General for their 50th anniversary and every fifth anniversary following it.

And in Australia couples can also receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General for their 50th wedding anniversary and all subsequent anniversaries. They may even get messages from the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition leader, their local state and federal parliament members and state Governors for the same anniversaries.

Anniversary milestone cards

Would you like to give a wedding anniversary card for a milestone year that is extra special and more like a gift? My custom cartoon portrait anniversary cards are each hand drawn by me based on photos you supply so are completely unique. I can draw from the original wedding photos or as you and your other half look today. The text is also customisable so works for any milestone from the 1st anniversary to forever.They’re also great to give to other (very special) couples and you could even give a frame at the same time, making it easy to display and treasure forever. You’ll get extra credit if you match the frame material to the traditional anniversary gift by year!

Click on any of the images below to go straight to that item in my greeting card shop.

Custom Cartoon Portrait Ruby Wedding Anniversary Card
Ruby Wedding Anniversary Card
Custom Cartoon Portrait Silver Wedding Anniversary Card
Silver Wedding Anniversary Card
Custom Cartoon Portrait Golden Wedding Anniversary Card
Golden Wedding Anniversary Card
Custom Cartoon Portrait Anniversary Card
Anniversary Card
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Designing Greeting Cards Digitally

Designing Greeting Cards - my custom cartoon portrait process

A while ago I described how I create custom cartoon portraits when designing greeting cards to order. My drawing process has changed a bit since then though, so I thought I’d do an update.

I designed the cartoon portrait below for a graduation card using my new process so I’ve used it as an example. There’s another example at the end of this post too, which shows an anniversary cartoon portrait.

The main reason for the change is that I finally invested in an iPad and Apple Pencil for my greeting card business. And I’m so glad I did! Designing greeting cards digitally has made the process much quicker, both for drawing custom cartoon portraits and for creating other new greeting card designs.

I chose to use Procreate, which is an amazing drawing app. It has zillions of different ‘brushes’, including all sorts of pencils, pens, paints, chalks, charcoals and textures. Even aside from drawing designs for greeting cards I’ve had terrific fun experimenting and creating all sorts of weird stuff! And it’s all available instantly, which means I don’t need extra time to be able to unpack my art materials and put them away again afterwards.

Here’s one of the ‘paintings’ I created just to get used to what I could do with my new tools:

bottle with flowers

But back to my drawing process when designing greeting cards…

Creating custom cartoon portraits

I start by creating a canvas of the right size and then use the ‘6B Pencil’ to sketch the drawing in – this part is almost identical to how I started on paper (see here) except that I’m drawing straight onto the iPad with the Apple Pencil, instead of using a real pencil and paper. Next I sketch out the basic outlines and then fill in details until I’m happy with the overall drawing.

Pencil sketch
I then create a new layer above the pencil sketch. On this new layer I draw over the pencil sketch with the ‘Studio Pen’. (I find it gives a very similar look to the brush pens I use on paper). This part is where I save a lot of time, as if I make a mistake I can just erase and redo it. Before I had to leave it then edit it in my Gimp software using a mouse, which wasn’t that easy.

I also love that I can zoom right in (especially useful as my eyesight is awful!) This lets me get smaller details just right and get rid of small marks and mistakes. I keep hiding and reshowing the pencil layer as necessary until the pen completely replaces it.

Ink drawing
Once I’m satisfied with the ‘ink’ drawing I add the colours and then share it to my Mac. This is so much easier than scanning it in then removing any noise and marks from the scanner, adjusting the brightness and colour balance, etc. It’s just a simple AirDrop and I can add the image to a greeting card template I’ve created straight away.

Designing greeting cards - custom cartoon portrait

Designing Greeting Cards Videos

Another terrific feature on Procreate is that it creates a video replay of your creations. Would you like to see the full drawing process from start to finish for the cartoon portrait above? Well, here’s the video replay of it:

And here’s another – this time of a wedding cartoon portrait for an anniversary card.

So all in all I’m thrilled with my new purchases! Doing cartoon portraits is much quicker and easier. And I’ve been able to use it to draw quick images for blog posts or to design greeting cards for my ready to ship range as well.

If you’d like to see my range of greeting cards, including custom cartoon portraits and ready to ship cards, click on the Visit my shop button below or use the Menu.

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My custom cartoon portrait process

Custom cartoon portrait process

I’ve been doing a lot of custom cartoon portrait orders for cards and prints over the last few years. People just seem to love seeing themselves and others in cartoon form! Read on to find out how I go about creating my stick figure portraits step by step…

First steps

When I get an order for a cartoon portrait card or print the first thing I do is get in touch with the customer to ask them to send photos and find out if they have any preferences regarding outfits, etc. If the photos show anyone both with and without glasses or a beard then I’ll double check which version they want. (I did once get two photos of someone’s Dad for a personalised birthday card which both showed him with a beard, and I was only when I sent the first proof that she told me he no longer had a beard… in a tone that seemed surprised I didn’t know this…)

Once I have the photos and other information I need to get started I open up my sketchbook and get started.

Layout of each custom cartoon portrait

I begin by very roughly sketching stick figures on the page in the positions and poses I want them in. This is helpful for getting proportions right in even one person portraits but is especially important when I’m doing larger family portraits for making sure they’re balanced. Check out this example from a family cartoon portrait I worked on recently:

Custom cartoon portrait layout
This sketch shows roughly where each family member will be in relation to each other.

I sometimes send this to the customer to check they’re happy with the layout, but usually only if there are at least four people in a family portrait.

Filling in the detail

The next step is to start working on each person’s head, working from the photos. This is the most important bit to get right in order for the customer to recognise the real people from the cartoon versions.

Custom cartoon portrait heads sketch
Here I used pencil to draw the detail of each person’s head and try to capture their likeness

Once happy with that I’ll move on to the bodies and add in any props or pets. You can faintly see how I draw the bodies and clothes around the original stick figure sketches.

pencil sketch of family
This example shows the pencil sketch once finished

I try to make sure I’m completely happy with this step before I move on, as it’s much easier to draw with pencil than to edit digitally later on. When I’m content that I’ve captured each person’s likeness I’ll use my Tombow brush pens* to go over the pencil in black ink. If necessary I’ll use my Derwent Graphik line maker pens* for any very fine details before rubbing out the pencil marks.

Inked sketch
This shows the inked version in my sketchpad – ready to scan in

Digitising the sketch

The drawing is now ready to scan in. I use the ‘Text’ setting in black and white to get the sharpest outlines I can. I leave the image rasterised rather than converting it to a line drawing as otherwise some of the detail can be lost and it also looks less hand drawn.

Custom cartoon portrait scanned
Here’s what the digital image looked like once it was scanned in

At this point I leave my pens and pencils behind and do all the rest of the editing digitally. I sharpen up the contrast and remove any marks that have come through on the scan but shouldn’t be there. I also fix any slips or mistakes I may have made in the inking stage.

Time to add colour! All the colour is digitally added, to make it easier to make any colour changes if the customer asks for them. I send a first proof to the customer to get their feedback once I’m happy with the digital image and colours .

cartoon portrait sketch first proof
Here’s the first proof I sent to the customer with colour added

Final edits

A lot of the time the customer accepts the first proof. However it also often happens that they ask for colour changes or realise that the photo they sent showed an older hairstyle, facial hair or glasses.

In the example above I’d been given instructions for outfits of two of the family members but omitted to check what the others should wear and did my own thing. This was foolish of me… In this case the customer felt that the two figures in orange and blue were too casual looking in relation to the rest. As a result I needed to digitally redraw these two outfits. (She also asked for a few colour changes but these are very easily done.) I’m now trying to ask more questions and get as much detail as possible before starting. This is much easier than having to edit digitally later, and I’m hopefully getting better at remembering to do this!

The finished product – how this custom cartoon portrait turned out

Once I’d made these edits and send a second proof the customer was very happy with her family portrait. I’ll always keep going until the customer is completely satisfied with what I’ve created! Here’s the finished product:

The final cartoon family portrait as sent to the customer

She also asked me to sign the portrait as she said I should get credit for my artwork, which I thought was really lovely of her! I’ve also done quite a few other cartoon portraits for her, so despite my mistake she remained a very loyal customer 🙂

So that’s my process! I love doing custom cartoon portraits. They result in me having a lot more interaction with my customers than I do with ready to ship orders that are just printed and posted off. Some really terrific customers come back again and again and I’m always so pleased to hear from them when they ask for another custom cartoon portrait for a new occasion.

Take a look at the range in my shop to see examples of all the different custom cartoon portrait cards and prints that I offer.

* These are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and buy I will get a tiny commission on that product – it doesn’t cost you anything though! And I only add affiliate links to products I actually like and use (of course).

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Choosing a 60th birthday wishes card

Whiskey 60th birthday card

How do you choose a card to send 60th birthday wishes? 60 years old is an appreciable milestone, so you don’t want to give just any old card. I always think that if you’re going to go to the trouble of giving a card then it might as well be a great one!
Of course this applies to any milestone birthday, but I’ll use a 60th as an example. You have a few options if you don’t want to go the generic card route (and why would you?)

  • Choose a card that emphasises the 60
  • Choose a card that is tailored to them personally
  • Choose a card that does both!

If it’s someone you actually give a crap about then why not do both? (And if they’re not, then WHY are you sending them a card?!)

Make it personal

By choosing a card that shows that you remember that it’s their 60th birthday and that you know them well enough to know what they like, you’re also showing that you’ve given this card some thought and not just bought the first thing you saw.

For instance if you know they love their wine, then you could send a card like this one…

Wine 60th birthday wishes - 60th birthday card

Buy this wine 60th birthday card

But if they’re more of a whiskey drinker, you could choose this one…

Whiskey 60th birthday wishes - 60th birthday card

Buy this whiskey 60th birthday card

You could also give a card that reflected their favourite hobby, TV show or anything else you know they like. If they’re known for being a chocaholic, or pizza guzzler, or coffee fanatic… well, you get the idea!

Custom 60th birthday wishes

For extra brownie points, you could customise the card with their name. This way they’ll know you put some extra effort in, in advance, and didn’t just pick a card off a rack at the last minute.

You could also make a card yourself if you’re that way inclined, or if you have kids you could get them to do it, with a little bit of overseeing.

And if you really want to go all out then you could go for a professionally printed but completely custom card like the one below. These are all completely one of a kind, as I draw the cartoon portrait from photos that are sent to me. You can’t get much more personal than that 🙂

Custom cartoon portrait 60th birthday card

Order a custom cartoon portrait card to send 60th birthday wishes

There are so many great cards out there to choose from, so there’s really no excuse for sending a crappy one… And obviously these tips apply to choosing any milestone birthday card, not just choosing 60th birthday wishes.
Do you have any other tips for choosing birthday cards that are extra special? If so let me know on social media or by dropping me an email. I’d love to hear from you.