Oh Hello there September! My favourite month of the year is upon us and I'm excited for more than just the changing leaves and the pumpkin spice syrup in my coffee.
The Holidays are my favourite part of the year, and they have been for coming up on 8 years now. This will be my 8th year splitting the holidays between my family and my partners—and I honestly wouldn't have it any other way.
While some people dread being on the highway on Christmas Eve, nothing gives me joy like spending the first half of my holidays in a house with my parents, siblings and allll their kids and the second half peacefully sipping mulled wine at my kid-free in-law's place. (At least until our younger sister has some of her own.)
So it's no surprise to anyone that I'm spending this labourday weekend curled up on the couch watching Christmas movies and sketching out the line-up for my Hello Sweetie Holiday cards.
My design process
A bottle of red wine and the true classics of 'The Miracle on 24th Street' and 'Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer' are essential for the start of this process. While I won't break out the mulling spices until after Remembrance Day out of respect, nothing makes me feel the jolly holiday joy like merlot and the background noise of movies I've watched hundreds of times.
I always start with the first of my cards to get a feel for what direction I'd like to take for the collection. This also forms the basis of where my colour pallet will be developed.
I've been wanting to do a birch tree card with cardinals for ages. With my new branding being developed with a blue pallet, sticking with dusty blues and soft greys for this card marked a great start to the lineup.
I didn't end up finishing this one before heading into sketching the rest of the line, since there will be a lot of individual details and a few more cardinals to add now that the composition has been set up.
Building a Line of Hello Sweetie Cards
The most important thing for me to consider when creating a new lineup of cards is making sure that there is an underlying theme to them. Because I always want to try my hand at illustrating new things, I create a theme in my lines with the colour pallets that I choose.
Because my new branding will feature heavy on blues, I ended up selecting several blue colours to create a non-tradtional colour scheme that strays from the green and red usually favoured by the holidays.
I ended up settling with this lineup of colours from experimenting with them in Procreate.
Recently I started using block sketching to set up the visuals for my cards. This means spending an equal amount of time with paper and procreate.
The first half of the process is gathering inspiration. I spend about an hour looking through Pinterest and writing down ideas in a mind-map format (tres old school), and then while those ideas percolate, I do something else.
Walking, chores and taking a bath are some of my favourite ways to get away from the screen and let ideas sit.
Once I've taken some time away, I'll come back to paper and with a holiday movie in the background, I'll get to sketching.
Once I've had enough time to get my ideas down, I'll open up procreate and set up my card size. I use A2 Folded greeting cards, so I draw my illustrations 1" bigger than they need to be.
With a large brush selected with soft lines (I use these gouache brushes from creative market*), I start blocking in illustrations, using the eraser to add fine details that I need to remember.
This year I'm heavily inspired by folk art and illustration, so I'll be incorporating illustrations that are focused on shapes and fine details, rather than something more highly rendered.
At the end of almost 5 hours of sketching, I was left with a pretty good start.
With the base sketch of the cards done, all that's left is the illustrations themselves. You can expect this batch to be ready by September 15th for Wholesale orders!
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