13 December 2012

2012 Christmas Cards

I decided to once again put up a tree, which of course required me to dig through stuff in storage around Thanksgiving. I happened upon a small box of Christmas cards bought some time ago but never actually used. I set them aside and then decorated the tree. A few nights later, I returned to the unused Christmas cards. I was feeling a bit of a creative impulse, so I sat down and set about dashing off sketches inside the cards. Just for the fun of it, I picked subjects that I had never before sketched at all with just a couple exceptions. Some turned out better than others.

I started by going through my contacts list and addressing an envelop for each person for whom I had a current mailing address. Then I made a pile of Christmas cards, one for each envelope, and over the course of about two hours I dashed off the following pieces. I then randomly grabbed one card and one envelope and that was that. I did add some captions, most of them taken from associated dialog, but I didn't inscribe any of the cards because I had no idea who got which card. I had rather looked forward to being surprised myself when my pals received them in the mail and let me know what I'd sent them.

(Side note: as of posting time, I've only heard back from three recipients that they've even got their cards and no one knew they were coming. Some may have their surprise spoiled by this post.)

Card exterior
I have no idea what order I did these things in, so the scans are alphabetized by subject.
Donatello
This was one of the few subjects I'd previously drawn. I could have told you this was any of the four Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but it's based on an ornament featuring Donatello so I thought I ought to be consistent with the reference material. Of course, there's the matter of his missing chest strap and bo, to say nothing of where the rest of his skis have gone!
Donkey
Never again will I attempt to sketch by hand a character that was created with CGI. Others can do it, but I'm not on that level!
Dumbo
Dumbo is one of my all-time favorites. The inscription here is taken from Timothy Q. Mouse's encouragement of Dumbo as they begin to inadvertently get drunk.
E.T.
I like the caption selection (though not my handwriting!) and I'm really pleased with the idea of this one, with E.T. holding up his finger and that really big wrapped box next to him. I just wish E.T.'s face had turned out better.
I loved the way this one turned out! The concept is taken from the Garfield: Holiday Celebrations DVD artwork. There, Garfield is sitting inside a jack-o-lantern. I moved him to a present box, though it's unclear just what's keeping the ribbon in place on either visible side!
Gizmo
I like the way Gizmo turned out, but the sketch itself is kind of plain. I wish I'd added something else to this one. It kind of looks like he's hitchhiking, or welcoming you into his parlor (don't go in!). I do recall this was one of the first sketches I did, and I think at the time my thought process was to just get through them instead of fully developing each one.
The Grinch
This is from the page where "The Grinch got an idea. A wonderful, awful idea." It's my favorite image in the entire book and one that I've sketched more than once over the years. This is the one card without any captioning, because I felt it worked better in its simplicity. To be honest, I think most of them would have been better without captioning though maybe that's just my self-consciousness about my handwriting.
Jack Skellington
This was the one that I think most excited me when I finished it. Jack turned out so well, in fact, that I very nearly kept him for myself! I can't recall now whether his right eye still needed to be fully darkened or if that was something with the scan that I took, or if maybe I fixed it after taking the scan. Still...I love this one!
Master Shake
I think I may have scribbled off a Shake once or twice, but I don't have any such work that I can find so who knows? Unlike Donatello's skis, I think Shake disappearing into the fold of the card works well here. I wish I'd given him more of his excitable look, though.
Peter Griffin
In the first few sketches, I went over the pencils with an ink pen. Nothing elaborate, just a typical ink pen. You can see how much ink was smeared on this card, and that's why Peter was the last card on which I used the pen. Ink aside, I thought this one turned out quite nicely.
R2-D2
I've done a few Artoos over the years, though it's been a while. I like that he's so "close" that even the arc of his dome is cut off on the side. I deliberately did not try to align each of his little compartments, to ensure that it had an organic sketch feel.
Scooby-Doo
Scoob turned out very nicely, I thought. I wish my handwriting wasn't so terrible because the use of negative space here is more effective than on most of the others.
The Tin Man
This may have been the most satisfying of the entire lot for me. I've loved The Wizard of Oz since my early childhood, and The Tin Man was always my favorite character. This card represents my first ever attempt at sketching him, and I was very pleased by it. Notice that I replaced his oil filter hat with a Santa Claus cap. I love the expression on his face!

Those are the Christmas cards I sent out this year. If you've received one, I hope you enjoy knowing the story behind it. Otherwise, I hope you got a kick out of seeing this gallery.

2 comments:

  1. Travis, these are terrific. I love both the idea and the execution. And no, this is not a "shameless" attempt to get one for myself. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! I had a lot of fun making these. It's something I'll very likely do again in some way.

      I only sketch because I like to do it, but a friend of mine has the kind of talent and skill that he could (and probably should) be making money off his work. I need to cajole him into uploading more of his scans to his very neglected blog. The stuff he's done just while sitting at the zoo is ridiculous.

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