Holiday Windows: Two Cards

Color pencil Scandinavian Holidays Greeting Cards by Marion

I can’t say I’m excited about changing the clock to winter time next weekend. But then there are snowflakes on the weather forecast and soon, there will twinkling stars popping at the windows.

I remember taking the longer route home through the streets of Ullevål this time of year, gazing at all the delicately illuminated windows. For me, coming from places where fairy lights often tend to be overly flashing and unreasonably multicolored, the Scandinavian take on holiday decorating is perfection. It’s truly magical.

Drawing these cards, I found myself looking at those windows from the inside. Such a nice feeling !

Holiday card drawing process || by marion

 

My main focus these days was to create scenes in which something “happens”: this is something I want to get better at, because often my drawings are kind of “static”.

Interiors are also high on the list of things I want to practice drawing (I am a homebody, after all!). Several persons commented about my christmas tree design that I should try adding a background to the scene. So, it was time to give it a try.

What was the most difficult was to decide how to mix a “kid’s drawing-like”, geometric style with a little bit of perspective. Also, depending on the texture and the direction on the lines in the background, I either ended up with a cold, empty room feeling or (hopefully!) a warm and cozy one.

Here again, the best way for me to experiment and correct mistakes as I went was to draw everything on paper with colored pencils and merge the different parts digitally.

I am getting the files ready to send to the printer, and hope to add these two cards to my little shop soon!


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Designing Cards (And Painting Walls)

Holiday greeting card design || Created on Jovoto || bymarion

I finally completed this greeting card design for the Unicef crowdstorm on Jovoto.

Holiday greeting card design process || pencil drawing

I used the same characters I created last year, which are really nice to draw. This time I tried to mix the minimalist aesthetics with a little more classic holiday elements to better fit the brief.

Holiday creating card design process || colored pencil drawings

I got some great feedback from other jovotans, which pushed me to make a version with the tree. I drew it separately and merged it with my initial drawing digitally. It was more work than I though it would be, but it turned out to be very convenient to go digital at that point since my desk was transformed into a very messy workbench as we proceeded to paint our living room.

Home improvement desk

I did my best! Now let’s wait and see if my design gets picked. Fingers crossed!


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Love, Emma and the h-index

I love you more than your h-index || watercolor lettering || bymarion
After some failed attempts to come up with a satisfying greeting card design with watercolor calligraphy, I decided to give it up and go for a cut paper design instead.

Cards have been made and mailed and now I am back to my watercolor lettering experiments. I ditched the calligraphy nibs and switched to good old brushes and extra nice watercolor paper. I’m hoping to produce a couple of these “I love you more than your h-index” paintings to add to my shop in time for Valentine’s day.

I’m quite happy with the result so far, though it’s a very, very long, tedious process. I’m always wondering to what extent my using the wrong tools makes things take way more time than they should. But at least while I’m at it, I’m listening to an audiobook version of Jane Austen’s Emma, and laughing quite a lot. This makes for a good contrast with the actual h-index thing, the stupidity of which is more prone to making me want to cry!


other things on my desk


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Clean And Bright

A clean box of watercolors

After a somewhat unsatisfactory attempt to make a bunch of hand-lettered new year cards the past few days, I took a break from doodling today and just cleaned my box of watercolors. Meanwhile I happily caught up on two and a half episodes of the Craft Sanity Podcast, which if my calculations are correct adds up to a good two hours.

Logically, I made the following resolution for 2016: mix colors on the palette exclusively (not in the pots – ahem).

It’s not exactly the kind of painting productivity that I had envisioned for this week, but that’s still one thing out of the way. A clean and bright box of watercolors is as good a start as any to a new year, isn’t it?

Failed lettering

Happy new year watercolor lettering || by marion

watercolor doodles


other things on my desk


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On Anneli’s Desk

custom portrait by Anneli / www.anderssonkim.se
A custom portrait Anneli made as a birthday gift. Photo from Anneli’s blog.

Since my own desk is a mess, may I suggest that you have a look at Anneli‘s desk instead, today? She has just started learning to use Illustrator, and it looks like she got hooked! Being a total beginner myself also, I find what she does with it very inspiring. She made this super cute poster as a birthday gift for someone I happen to know quite well: I can testify that this is a perfectly accurate portrait of my little brother, full of sweet details that surely make it a very special gift. I love its cartoon-like style. In fact, I just think it’s awesome. How do you like it?


Other things by Anneli, here and there


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Time And More Time

to-the-woods_card02

A little package with my very own greeting cards arrived in my mailbox yesterday! I figured that my winter woods collage would make a nice touch of color alongside my black and white cards in the Alpha Angle shop. I had been a bit worried about ICC color profiles, but the colors turned out really nice.

I also wanted to add a “non-academic” option – because there’s a whole world outside academia!

publish-or-perish_sketch

Well, actually — ahem — this was the first idea I had in mind. I made this sketch last summer when I was very excited to try making a linocut. But finding the right combination of paper and ink turned out more difficult than I had thought it would be, and I set this project aside. It’s still there in the back of my mind, but it has to wait.

to-the-woods_card03

It’s been a constant this year: things taking way more time than I had thought they would. Although this fact is not really new to me — I constantly had the same feeling when I was a researcher — I seem to keep fooling myself about it.

on_my_desk

I would really love being able to do all the bag-sewing and card-printing myself one day. For now I had to let that go – and learn how to make a print-ready vector file.

Still, it’s such a satisfaction to open a package and see a tiny batch of something that you’ve imagined and designed and that has become real.

After the photoshoot

One thing at a time. Yesterday was for taking photos. And guess what?
It took a lot more time than I had thought it would.


other things on my desk


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On My Desk

handlettering_draft

Academic Greetings - A Set of 5 Cards by Alpha Angle

publish_a_paper

I have sent my family and friends a ridiculous amount of handmade cards over the years: they patiently followed my experiments with various styles and materials. There were scrapbooking-like cards, cut paper cards, painted cards, minimalist cards, maximalist cards. Cardboard, magazine cuttings, egg cartons, whatever. You name it!

They often joked that if I didn’t pursue physics as a carrier, I could always make cards instead. Well, here we go! Of course, one cannot leave academia without after-effects: so, these are academic greetings!

I started with a quick hand-lettered sketch, and used it as a guide to draw all the letters digitally in Inkscape.

Now that these are done, I am hoping for a few weeks with less screen time. I came back from my recent trip with a pile of old jeans to recycle, so I guess there will be more of these pouches soon.

denim_pouch