custom work, design process, finished product

Packaging is a really important factor when you are selling a hand-made product. I generally hand-wrap all large orders of wedding cards in tissue paper  and secure with a branded sticker. I wanted to try something different for this large order of coasters. Since it’s just one order of 16 coasters, I justified making the box by hand instead of ordering a set of 20 boxes. This way, I am able to make a box that fits my product exactly and out of high-quality paper; no one makes matchbox style boxes any where near these dimensions  4″ x 4″ x 1.4″.

I had to tweak the template a bit so I got the amount of overhang I needed to give the box a more polished look. Eventually, I’ll have a laser cutter to do the cutting for me, but for now I’m fine with hand cutting the odd box or 5.

I know everyone and their mom uses the two color baker’s twine, but here’s my justification for it:

  1. I had a piece that was just the right length leftover from another project.
  2. It goes with the black box and looks polished.
  3. Holds the card securely, unlike the hemp twine I tried.
  4. Ribbon I had looked lame.
  5. Couldn’t find a paper wrap that I liked and didn’t want to delve into my decorative paper collection to find something.

Next time I’ll probably use a layered paper wrap with circular seal.

3 cards in 3 days, or Maybe I Should Do This More Often

design process

I don’t know if it’s the fact that my grad classes at K-State are starting tomorrow, that my cousin is getting married in a week, or that Aggieville Mini Maker-Faire is in 2.5 weeks, but I have gotten a lot done in the last 3 days. Here’s the last of them. A card celebrating the life-long bonds of the gray wolf (and hopefully the future recipients of the card).

Bats? Bats!

design process

bats helloI started drawing these little charmers last night, and I worked on them intermittently today. I absolutely love my new brush set that I got from Creative Market. The set was $39 and made by Roman Melentyev. It has made a big difference in the effects I’m able to get with my Wacom tablet (Intuos Pro small). I’m able to draw in a way almost identical to what I do with a dip pen with various nibs, but in my less time because I can erase.

I really like having multi purpose cards. If a card is just for one thing, that’s ok, but cards should exist for any sort of correspondence, even if it’s just to reach out to someone and say “Hi, I’m here. I care about you. How are things?”. Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone and the ability to chat with anyone with any instant messaging app, but I still appreciate getting mail from my friends. Tangible things can be really special.

This card is for all the weirdos out there who want to give a little black and silver batty shout out to another weirdo, or maybe you want to use it for a Halloween card.

[A random observation: Bat heads kind of look like goblins dressed up in lion costumes.]



New Card Design

design process

tortoise happy bdayWith Maker Faire coming up on September 12th, I figured I needed to get my butt into gear. Between my other job and grad school, I’ve had enough time to fulfill wedding and other custom stationery orders, but not enough for my own R & D. I like to think my proud and sassy lady tortoise helps make up for lost time. Tortoises don’t give a shit about wrinkles, and neither should you :D The Aldabra Giant Tortoise is also a conservation success story, which in the midst of all the African elephant and White rhino sadness, is a glimmer of hope: a reminder that we can save species from the absolute brink of extinction.

Gertrude Stein, Japanese Cranes, and more Kafka

design process

New designs, nothing off the press yet. I’ve got a wedding job to finish before I can get back to my greeting cards, but these should be ready before the end of January.

New Products for Fall/Winter

design process

I just got my big paper order in and a new set of plates from Boxcar Press. These are digital mockups, but here’s what’s in the works right now:

Haven’t decided for sure on the colors for the I <3 YOU SO MUCH! cards. I am a big fan of the simplicity of black and red. The <3 cards will be printed as 4bar folded cards, blank as per usual.

I’m also liking the blood splatter Kafka the more I look at it. I originally made it on a lark, because it’s a bit overbearing/overdramatic, but the graphic punchiness is nice.

Konza Postcards: perhaps abstract is better…

design process

I’ve been trying out a lot of different ways of drawing these animals. I think I might have to go back to traditional media to do it quicker, but trying to figure out this tablet and photoshop brushes has been really useful, so I might keep using it, just to gain experience with that.

Tympanuchus cupido, the Love Drummer. This one is definitely more the woodcut/linocut style that I’m used to. I’m not a painter. I’ll illustrate things with gouache and ink, but I’m drawing with it and filling in colors, instead of treating it like paint and blocking out areas of color, doing washes, blending, etc.

prarie chicken konza mockI don’t know which I like better, so that means I need to do even more sketches. I’ve done a lot more permutations of the bison and prairie chicken than I’ve posted. I’ve probably only done about 15 different sketches total, not nearly enough. If anyone out there is going into graphic design or art, you need to draw all the time. Are you drawing right now? If not, you should get on that! I’ve spent about 7 hours today on the chickens, and when it’s all said and done I’ll probably have put in 3-4 times that. Also, don’t look at his feet, I didn’t even try on the feet. The feet will be so much better on the finished plate.


Konza Postcards

design process

This is something I’ve had churning around in my head for awhile. I’ve wanted to make a set of postcards/prints celebrating our native wildlife. In addition to the American bison, I’m planning to definitely make one of the Greater prairie chicken. Other possibilities are White-tailed Deer, Bobcat, Coyote, Red Fox, Great Blue Heron, Northern Bobwhite, Killdeer, Eastern Screech-Owl, Belted Kingfisher, Northern Flicker, American Crow, Loggerhead Shrike, Red-Winged Blackbird, Common Nighthawk, Poor-Will, Tiger Salamander, Ornate Box Turle, the list goes on. We have a lots of great indigenous species.

Birds on the Konza Prairie

Mammals on the Konza Prairie

Amphibians and Reptiles on the Konza Prairie

Plants on the Konza Prairie

If you have any favorites, I’m definitely open to suggestions.

UPDATE: Refining the sketch and playing with brushes. This is my first time working with a Wacom tablet. It is able to capture my mark making really well, the result looks very close to what a sketch with a dip pen and ink looks like. The bison will continue to get better as I get to know the tablet.

american bison konza card mock 2Josefin Slab is a mighty fine typeface.

Mock Invitations: Part 3

design process

Now you can see how changing the colors and motif completely changes the mood while keeping the text block intact.

This would be great for a traditional and refined outdoor wedding. Classy and rustic. I’d probably use GMUND’s Savanna paper for the enclosures or envelopes. Embossed woodgrain paper really complements the texture of letterpress and would highlight the oak leaf motif.