While I understand the conventional wisdom that Christmas cards are a postal-service-propping hassle, my good lady Lilly and I do like the annual excuse to put our tiny letterpress through its paces.
Like every year, we try and make the card vaguely thematic to an event from our own past-twelve-months, and this year’s standout event was Lilly showing how excellently she does something when she turns her hand to it – she won the World Bread Award for her home-baked wild-yeast bread this autumn!
Alas, we don’t even have a garden for a wood-fired stove, but Santa’s affinity for chimneys made it a good way to link the season with the achievement. Like one of Lilly’s loaves, the card came out great!
Lilly and I were busy travelling a bit this autumn, so Christmas cards became a bit more of a clandestine operation than in past years. As usual, we struggled to come up with a design. When I sent Lilly a sketch of this it made her laugh, so in absence of a better idea I took a punt on it.
When the plates arrived, Lilly was worried that it wouldn’t be understood by most of our recipients, but sometimes you’ve just gotta be weird. Our rotund Santa has stolen the stollen (which wasn’t the only thing we believe to have been stolen in 2016… Ahem).
I went for slightly smaller cards this year thinking I would do a design that didn’t max out our tiny press so much, but I still ended up pushing the tiny Adana’s limits. We got surprisingly good results out of it though, and the silver ink highlighted the reasonable impression it made too!
With Christmas well and truly over, hopefully everybody has received all the Santa Cruiser cards destined for them by now! Here’s the story (and a few pictures behind the design.
I really wanted to do this illustration I came up with last christmas I called ‘The Nutkraken’ for our cards this year, but even after drawing it all up properly, the idea was nixed by Lilly.
Back at the
drawing board post-it pad, I set about coming up with some other ideas, including this one I called ‘Santa and his Elvis’. This was nixed too:
Eventually we came back to trying to reflect what happened in the past year, and decided that getting bicycles was probably the biggest thing. I put Santa on various bicycles, including some more conventional bikes like our own, and fancy racing bikes like my cat stickers, but his rotund nature meant he was best suited to a very upright cruiser bike. Here’s the final sketch, before tidying up:
Everything was manufactured and ready to print:
The pressing wasn’t without problems, but it came out pretty good in the end:
…And for our digital-native friends I did a special gif version to email them!
I’m selling christmas cards again this year. Click here to buy some!
Last year was my first year selling my letterpressed christmas cards, and in hindsight, it was a bit ambitious to try and sell every single design I’ve done all at once when I was printing them on demand. To keep things simpler, particularly under the time constraints, I’m just going to be printing and selling the one design this year, which you should be seeing a mockup of above.
This year was the year of the bicycle for me – Lilly and I got bicycles for the first time since we were teenagers, and spent the summer cycling around Hertfordshire, so we decided to reflect that in this year’s design. In developing the illustration, I tried to put Santa on a variety of bicycles (he looked particularly ridiculous on a racer bike!) and found he fit best on a slightly beach-ish cruiser.
As ever, these cards are being hand-letterpressed onto high-quality 300gsm Somerset card stock, and they will come with appropriately-sized envelopes. This year the envelopes are made of recycled paper, which is a big look!
Cards will be pressed and sent out to you during the first week of December, so they arrive with you in good time to send out to your people. It’s a small selling window, so get yours now!
Would you like some to send to your nearest and dearest? Go and get some here!
This year’s Christmas card was another mini-adventure. Lilly and I were kicking around several ideas before we arrived at the final design. The front-running idea we had I called Fat Santa Monkey Bauble:
He was cute, but Lilly was struggling with his sack and we realised a three-colour job (one of the colours white) would’ve been a bit ambitious for our tiny press. We sat there trying to think up some other ideas, and because our flat is littered with my washing-machine-based artwork, Lilly suggested we did some kind of festive washing machine.
It might be me with the washer obsession, but this card was Lilly’s idea. I’ve taught her well!
The post-it notes came out, and this scrawl met Lilly’s approval…
…Then with a bit of reworking (Lilly said he should be smiling proudly at his washer, not frowning at its extravagant spin as I had imagined the scene), we had our design finished. We thought it looked like it should be a New Yorker cartoon.
We sat on the design for a couple of days to make sure we were happy with it, then as soon as I sent the artwork off to the plate manufacturers to print, Lilly had an attack of second thoughts, worrying it was too weird. It was too late though, and after a couple of days’ wait, the plates arrived and we were in print.
Once they were all made, Lilly became a believer again, so into the postbox they went!
Merry Christmas to everyone, whatever your faith or washing machine brand!
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