Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Whiskers on kittens

I had to gaze at the walls and pace around nervously for a long time before I came up with this design.

It's a fun custom Christmas card project I completed earlier this month, and it needed to show: Kristen and Brian; their cats Dusty and Maisy; a lot of holiday spirit and some moving boxes (they're in the process of relocating from Manhattan to a riverside home of their own, north of the city).

Kristen loved the retro style of my Bella Figura collection, so I pulled all the details into a sweet 1950s-inspired design full of off-register colours, melamine shades and boxes and kittens. We actually ended up with more kittens than originally planned – Kristen had sent me photos of herself and Brian and their two cats, and when the card was nearly done, one more photo came in. It was Oliver, a tiny little bit of a kitten they'd rescued.

Really, who can say no to a brand-new kitten at Christmas? So Oliver made his Christmas-card debut just in time, playing with an ornament near Kristen's feet (you can see him in the picture below).

I love custom projects – they make me think in different directions and come up with creative solutions and stretch myself. They also make me nervous at the start – every time! Staring at a blank page (well, screen) with every idea and option as yet untouched can be daunting. And sending the completed design to a client for the first time feels, to me, like walking out on a stage. But the process is inspiring, and the rewards are fabulous. I love knowing that little drawings can help capture the spirit of a moment – big or small – in people's lives. I love the feeling of having done a great job, and breathing that sigh of relief!

It's always a little stress at the start and a lot of happiness at the end. A bit like Christmas, really.


  1. Congratulations on an amazing art design card. Your image is beautiful!

  2. this card is so dear to us, helen. thank you for taking the time to make something so special and beautiful. working with you was such a joy - and i hope your holidays are, too! xo, kristen

  3. That design is gorgeous! Great work!

  4. So precious, I love the custom card! You did a great job at including everything going on in Kristen and Brian's life and my favorite is the kitties :) Fabulous darling!

  5. It's gorgeous! How wonderful that Kristen liked it!

  6. You did such a great job, I love everything about the card!

  7. That is one super-duper card. You put my cgristmas efforts to shame. (Yes, there were efforts, but the result was so poor I decided to pull out last minute).

  8. it's genius!! so sweet. and although perhaps your clients might object, it would make a great general holiday card for next year! :)

    happy holidays, helen!!!