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Hello! Just wanted to share a couple of pix with you. One of my new cards is featured in the May edition of Progressive Greetings Magazine. I’m launching two new ranges at PG Live this month, ‘Cat Love’ and ‘Dog Love’, and it’s one of the cats who made it into the magazine. He is a tuxedo cat called Lloyd!
It’s quite exciting to have two mentions in the mag! Also featured in the article are Christmas card designs from Nina Green from Cherry Picked For You, Hannah Dale from Wrendale Designs, Linda Wood, and Julia Hook from Scotsgrove Studios.
Twelve artists took part in the project altogether and I haven’t seen the other seven designs yet. Really looking forward to the official launch of the AMR project at PG Live next week!
For more info on my Christmas card design, see this blog article I wrote at the end of April – Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.
Hello! I know it seems a bit early for this, but I’ve got some Christmas card news to share!
Toward the end of 2012, I received an exciting invitation to take part in a charity Christmas card initiative, being run by Lynn Tait. Lynn is a greetings card publisher and gallery owner, based in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex. She also founded the Ladder Club, which helps new card publishers launch their businesses and find their way in the greetings card industry. I attended the Ladder Club seminar in Southend last year, as I may have mentioned several times before on here!
Anyway, Lynn is a great supporter of Action Medical Research, a charity which funds research into the prevention, cure and treatment of diseases and illnesses affecting babies and children. She has supported them for a number of years, and last year alone raised nearly £10,000 through events and exhibitions held at her gallery.
Lynn was thinking of new ways of raising money for 2013, and hit upon the idea of coordinating a joint Christmas card initiative to publish 12 different packs of Christmas cards, with the entire retail price being donated to Action Medical Research. She invited a team of suppliers to join the project, and the list of sponsors includes GF Smith, The Sherwood Press, The Imaging Centre and Yorkshire Envelopes. The artwork for the card designs has been provided free of charge by 12 artists, all of whom have attended the Ladder Club seminar at some point since it started 14 years ago. And I was lucky enough to be one of the 12 chosen to take part!
As a newcomer to the industry and only a recent Ladder Club graduate, I feel very honoured to have been invited. There are some well established publishers taking part, and some newer, but all very talented and with different artistic styles – so there will be a good range of designs for buyers to choose from!
Lynn rang me up back in February to let me know the theme for my card – the Christmas Tree! Luckily I’d booked a week off work during March, so I spent a few days thinking up ideas and working on my design. It seemed more important than ever to get it right and took me ages to get going with it!
The final card will be square in shape, so I had to bear this in mind! I usually design in A4 or A5 size.
Lynn had specifically requested a red background on my design, to match the red envelope to be supplied with the card.
At first I was only going to include a tree, with some presents underneath…but as things started to take shape I decided to add lettering instead of the presents. Even though I was designing at larger than the print size, it was tricky to fit in everything I wanted, and I had to do quite a lot of unpicking and re-stitching before things looked how I wanted them to look!
This is my finished design…
Originally, we were only asked to supply the artwork for the fronts of the cards, with the backs to be left blank. But further down the line the decision was made for the artists to design the backs too, which I was quite pleased about! I decided to continue with the red theme. The bottom half was left blank for the charity’s details.
- It was exciting last week when the proof came through for checking. I saw the design as an actual card for the first time (complete with envelope!)
The charity have added their own details to the back. It’s such a great charity Lynn has chosen to support…I’m definitely really happy to be making my own small contribution this year. If you have never heard of Action Medical Research before, they were established in the 1950s, with the focus on developing a cure for polio, and since then they’ve funded some really important breakthroughs in medical research, all concentrated on helping babies and children. These include the development of ultrasound scanning in pregnancy, the Hib vaccine for the prevention of meningitis, pioneering the fetal heart rate monitor and the discovery of faulty genes for rare diseases. Action Medical Research awards thousands of pounds in funding to research projects every year, all raised through the generosity of the charity’s supporters. You can read about some of the latest research taking place here – AMR Latest Research & Project Grants.
The full range of cards will be launched at Progressive Greetings Live next month. I am really proud to be part of the sponsorship team and hope that between us, we can raise loads of money for Action Medical Research and contribute to the funding of more essential research projects for 2014 and beyond.
Later in the year, the full range of cards will be available to buy from www.action.org.uk and at AMR fund-raising events across the UK. They will also be available from the Lynn Tait Gallery shop at Leigh-on Sea, and I will be selling them through my online shop, as I’m sure the other artists will be too. Every penny will go straight to the charity, so I will provide more details towards Christmas if you would like to buy some.
Hopefully I will be able to get some photos of the launch next month as well to show you soon. Exciting times!
This song. Somehow I can’t seem to get enough of it. It’s surely one of the finest things I’ve ever heard!
My new postcards arrived yesterday, ready for PG Live. Everybody exhibiting at the fair had the chance to design their own card and get it printed free of charge, and I got mine in about a day before the deadline! These are to send out as invites in the next couple of weeks, or to give away at the fair. I will probably do a bit of both.
The postcards have been printed by the Imaging Centre, and I am really happy with mine!
I’m so glad I booked this last week off work. It’s been a crucial week, as I knew the preparation for print was going to be a huge job, but I had no idea just how long it would take in real terms. Because all my designs are handmade and not exactly the same size, it’s taken hours & hours to get them scanned and sized, with all the logos and wording added to the backs. I didn’t even put the finishing touches to the last designs until Monday night. Plus, at the last minute, I decided it would probably be a good idea to add reference numbers to each card. It’s basically taken the entire week, working ’til gone 4am most nights to get everything done. I missed my self-imposed print deadline, which was on Wednesday, but it became apparent that it wasn’t very realistic, and it’s now Saturday and I still haven’t sent the cards to print yet! However, they will finally go off today or tomorrow and it will be a weight off my mind. Am looking forward to seeing them go. I’ve only been out of the house about twice all week!
Am now putting together a trade section for my website, which I’ve been meaning to do for about two years. Am having to build it myself in WordPress, in the most simple format possible, as I have zero idea about websites and also have zero £££ to spend on getting it done professionally. I hope it will be sufficient, easy to use and mainly just do the job I want it to do.
Only 4 weeks to go!
Check out my page on the PG Live website, here – Dilys Treacle Treasures
For the full list of exhibitors in the Springboard section of the show, click here – Springboard
I’ve never known the weeks fly by as quickly as they have so far in 2013. There are now just over 5 weeks until the trade fair, which is very worrying indeed. I knew that booking up for my first fair would be a massive commitment and lots of hard work, and it truly is. Can’t say I didn’t get loads of warning about it at the Ladder Club event back in September of course, but even so! Until you actually find yourself going through the exhibitor’s manual and realising just how many jobs need doing in order to make the whole thing work, it’s hard to imagine!
Anyway, I’ve been doing as much as I can in the evenings after work, plus I had the whole of last week off to try to really get going on my to-do list. I did get lots done but the list just keeps getting longer and there is still so much to do that I panicked and booked next week off too. Think I’ll need all the extra time I can get!
The fair I’m doing is called Progressive Greetings Live, and it’s dedicated entirely to greetings cards.
I will be exhibiting in the Springboard section, which is for new publishers…
About three weeks ago, I decided to design a new set of ‘dog’ cards. I hadn’t been planning on coming up with any more designs to take to the fair, but once I’d finished the cat range, I felt it would be good if I could have some dogs in the collection too. This has obviously increased the work load, and I’ve made things even more stressful for myself!
So far, I’ve finished seven dogs, and have one left to do…am thinking of either a Siberian Husky or Westie design. Some of the ones I’ve drawn so far haven’t gone to plan, and I’ve had to abandon them, usually the ones which I thought would be easiest! Both the cat and dog ranges are a bit different to my usual style, as I’ve used oil pastels. I’ve quite enjoyed it and might do more of this! It’s good to mix things up a bit.
I still haven’t sent any of the cards to print yet, which is my main concern at the moment. Once they’re at the printers I know I’ll feel slightly happier, and once all the proofing’s been done and I’ve got them back, I’ll feel better than ever. But even then, I’m still only part way there. I’ve still got the stand to design (there are a few vague ideas floating round in my head for it, but will make a proper start as soon as the cards are sorted) business cards and order forms to design, the website to update, invites to send…just so much stuff!
Another big job has been re-scanning every design I’ve ever created. I bought a new scanner as the old one was on its way out, and got it in my head that I had to re-scan the whole lot, not just the new ones. I knew I wouldn’t be happy unless I’d done them all on the new scanner, but it was such a boring job! One of the main things I struggle with is the technical side of things..not the scanning, but the file prep and getting everything ready for print. It’s so time-consuming and dull, yet such an important job to get right. Rob has to help me with it.
This is what I’ve been listening to, whilst drawing dogs. I think I may always associate the dog designs with this album forever more!
Anyway, I’m about 75% there with the file prep, so hopefully all the cards will be sent off for proofing next week. All the designs will be on new board and I’m going FSC certified too, rather than just ‘recycled’. It’s important, I think. I’ve been using a plain recycled board, which I’ve been pleased with up until now, but after chatting about it with various people, I’ve decided that using a textured card will work better with my style of artwork. With FSC, you can trace the board right back to its source, and be safe in the knowledge that you’re using a sustainable supply. Am looking forward to seeing the new look cards!
Here are a few pics I took at the park this morning…
It was really sunny this morning, I hope it continues and that the weather is warmer by the time of the fair…it would be annoying trekking through snow and ice to get there. Not that it would ever snow in May. Or would it?
On with the final dog design now…
For more info on Progressive Greetings Live, follow the link – Progressive Greetings Live
The final line-up of exhibitors is here – Full exhibitor list
Another update soon!
Here are some cards I’ve liked so far this year…
This is the card I chose for my friend Sarah, for her birthday. It’s called ‘Magic Bean’ and has been adapted from an acrylic by Anita Jeram, and is published by Two Bad Mice.
I saw this melon card at The Bessemer Gallery in the Winter Gardens, Sheffield, and felt it would be very suitable for my good friend Anna for her birthday. It’s called ‘Melons from the South’, and is taken from the 244th Royal Academy of Arts Sumer Exhibition, 2012. A quote from the artist, Dr. Leonard McComb – “If one person smiles when they see my work it is enough, my life has had a meaning and a shape”.
This card was for my nephew’s 2nd birthday. It’s called ‘Bunny’s Flowers’ and is designed by Shelley Klein of Pootle Cards.
Birthday card for Rob. It’s got exquisite foxes on it, and other musical woodland creatures. Purchased from a really nice shop called Florin, in Langport. The design is by Barbara Behr and the card is produced by Roger la Borde.
Rob’s birthday card from my sister. Nine Sneakers, by Julia Rigby, published by Phoenix Trading.
Birthday card for Rob from Anna & Keith. A Woodmansterne squirrel.
Card from Rob’s bro… it’s a Marks & Spencer one with a circus scene. I like the monkeys best.
A Beano card from my M&D for Rob. Published by Hype.
This card was sent to me by my lovely friend Joey. I was in a bit of a panic during February, as the shop where I work went into administration and we weren’t sure if we’d all lose our jobs. Joey sent me some shopping lists for my collection and this card to cheer me up – a true friend! (*The shop is still open!) The design is by Helen Dardik for Paperchase.
I recently discovered the work of illustrator Anita Rickwood, who publishes greetings card under the name Hijinx at Noon. I think Hijinx at Noon is my new favourite! I got this Hedgehog card for my Mum for Mother’s Day from Anita’s Etsy shop.
I’ve had this Alice Palace card for ages. It was sitting in my card drawer, just waiting to be sent to the right people, and those people turned out to be our brand new next door neighbours. I have since seen it displayed on their window sill so they must like it!
Another Hijinx at Noon design. I got this for my sister’s birthday!! I LOVE this card. Animals on the bus. I think it’s amazing.
That’s all for now. More soon.
I’ve got some music to share. The music of The Castellers – a fine unsigned rock ‘n’ roll guitar band from the North of England.
The band was put together by my friend Russ who I work with. Their sound is cool mod, 60s, garage, psychedelic, rock + roll…with influences ranging from The Coral, Stones, Small Faces and Beatles, to The Seeds, Who, Doors & BRMC.
Their first three records are available to listen to on YouTube and with any luck there will be some gigs around the North and beyond later this year, starting in Sheffield next month.
Check out the AMAZING guitar work!
Five Days Time
Jackson in the Barrel
To The Gallows
The Castellers are : Russ Robertson, Ryan Healey, Paul Paterson and Alex Moretti.
The first gig of the year will be on Thursday 18th April at The Lava Lounge, Sheffield.
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