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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Some Things

some_things_12-11 Something to walk by while bringing in piles of freshly delivered firewood. I’m not complaining.

Some things about student life, and good advice on how to handle stress. Brought back a lot of memories. I agree wholeheartedly with point nr. 2!!!

Another thing that brought back memories about a totally different kind of stress: believe it or not, that’s actually what my phd thesis was all about!

Something colorful and delicate I could spend hours looking at: Anna Emilia Laitinen, one of my absolute favorite illustrators, has a brand new website.

Something to brighten up wintry salads. Yum! Reminded me of the beetroot story.

One last thing! I’m having a weekend sale over at Alpha Angle before putting the shop into hibernation during the holidays. 20% off all greeting cards with the code ALPHACARDS.

Have a great weekend!


other things


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Triangles And Winter Woods

geometric spruce sketch triangles bymarion

We’re still waiting for the first snow around here. I’m longing for walks in the quiet, white winter woods.

Meanwhile I’m experimenting with triangles, trying to find the best way to arrange them into a geometric version of a spruce. The first one looks like it’s flying, don’t you think?

geometric spruce sketch bymarion

I like it better this way, I think.

winter woods sketch bymarion

This is the idea I have in mind for my whole winter woods thing.

geometric spruce sketch gray bymarion

Trying to decide what to darken and what to keep white. There’s supposed to be snow on the branches!

geometric spruce sketch colors bymarion

I’m using my watercolor pencils for this one. I like it that they enable me to combine the transparency of watercolors and the texture of pencil drawings.

winter woods sketch color bymarion

That’s the progress so far. Now I’m working on some little fellows similar to these ones.

 

 

 

 


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

Some Things

calendula // https://bymarion.wordpress.com Something that smells wonderful, picked in the garden and put to dry to make some good tea this winter.

raspberries // https://bymarion.wordpress.com Something to start the jam making season.

baltic sea // https://bymarion.wordpress.com Something not pictured: a fire lighted on the beach and hotdogs grilling. When North Sweden gives you a nice summer evening, go to the beach: checked.

zippered pouch // https://bymarion.wordpress.com Something that was actually easier than I thought. I had saved the zippers from a worm-out raincoat, and when I came across this post by Carmella, I decided to sew a zippered pouch, too. I had never sewn a zipper before, but the tutorial she links to was very clear and helpful. I recycled fabric from an old pant and an old shirt — some of which I also used a while ago to make pillow covers.

And something I’m happy about: one of my greeting card designs made it to the top 100 of the UNICEF greeting cards design contest at jovoto. Here is a watercolor version, and here are some pics behind the scenes.

Have a good weekend!


other things


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Sketches And Color Tests

illustration // color test // bymarion

Cynthia’s Christmas in July post inspired me to try and come up with a greeting card design, too. Since summer seems to be over already here in the North of Sweden, this is perfect timing!

illustration // sketch // bymarion

The idea of a waiting line in front of a mailbox came to me randomly in the middle of the night. The next morning, I started with a quick and dirty sketch. I’m still using up the leftover student notebooks I bought to make lab journals when I was a physics postdoc. It’s not particularly good drawing paper, but the lines turn out to be quite handy.

illustration // sketch // bymarion illustration // sketch // bymarion illustration // sketch // bymarion

Then I practiced a little and made cleaner sketches of all the characters. I decided to stick to very simple shapes, so I could just focus on the characters’ attitudes – otherwise it would be too difficult for me to draw without a model.

clean-sketch

Finally I was ready to make a clean sketch of my whole layout. That’s the point where I have to force myself to draw ONE line, which I find to be a very good exercise. Before going any further, I scanned my finished sketch. Backup, backup, backup: this is a precious habit that I have kept from working in a lab and processing data!

illustration // color test // bymarion

So, at that point I could just print my sketch and try different things with colors and inking. The inking turned out really ugly, and this color version was too cheesy compared to what I had in mind: it wanted to make my card more modern-looking…

illustration // color test // bymarion

… so I stuck to pencil lines and tried more minimalist coloring…

illustration // color test // bymarion

… and then even more minimalist. This was getting closer to something I liked. My partner suggested trying to give the image a little rougher, sketchy look, and I thought it was a good idea.

illustration // color test // bymarion

So I dropped my beloved watercolors and turned to my (also beloved) color pencils.
Here I am now. What do you think? What should I try next?


other things on my desk


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cards I made

bookworm-cards-small
A little package from søciety6 arrived last week. From me, to me. I was looking forward to see how the greeting cards I designed looked like. I’m very happy to see my little bookworm in print.

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Follow this link for free worldwide shipping and 5$ off every item in my søciety6 shop (until December 14th). Please be aware that you may have to pay customs duties at reception if you’re ordering from outside the US.

See more of my illustrations on this page or on this pinterest board.

a greeting card to your loved ones

warm-winter-greetings-web-bymarion

About 20 years ago, one of my grandmothers knitted a pair of leg warmers for me, for dance classes. They stayed in a box for many years after the dance classes ended, but I took them with me when I moved to Scandinavia. Here I am, wearing them, sending her warm winter greetings. In case you wished to send greetings to your loved ones, too, I’ve made this piece available as cards and prints in my søciety6 shop.

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You can see more of my illustrations on this page or on this pinterest board.

seizing the moment

seizing-the-moment-bymarion

Light is scarce, here up north, these days. When your illustration work relies on photography, and the sun, at 2 p.m., decides to great you with one minute of grazing light before disappearing, you need to run outside. I doesn’t matter if you’re busy editing the story you want to send to a magazine before the end of the day. I doesn’t matter if you’ve got tons of emails to write. You need to run outside with the camera and tripod, and whatever chair you find to display your art on. You need to seize the moment. There is very little time to adjust your focus before sunset.

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This one will become a winter greeting card.
You can see more of my illustrations on this page or on this pinterest board.
You’ll also find some cards and prints in my søciety6 shop.