Spring Snippets

Spring always sneaks up on me. One week it’s icing and snowing, and the next there are flowers popping out. It’s miraculous the way new buds and blooms emerge year after year from lifeless looking soil and branches. It always surprises me no matter how many times I see the transformation!

spring snippets

spring snippets

spring snippets

spring snippets

spring snippets

Afternoon Workspace

I’m still plugging away on new card designs! This spot on the couch is my office for the afternoon. Sometimes there just isn’t enough natural light in my basement studio. The papers on the couch are print samples of seven new cards I’ve wrapped up this week. My goal was to send all my new cards to the printer by the end of the day today, but it’s not going to happen. I keep coming up with just one more idea I want to crank out.

afternoon workspace

By the way, I’m going with the man for the “bare hug” card! Thank you for all the feedback! It was so great to read your comments. I counted up the man vs. bear votes here, on instagram, and on facebook, and it was basically a 50/50 split. I found myself rooting for the man to win, so I knew which one I had to choose. The man is edgier and fits well with the awkward humor in many of my other cards. Don’t worry though bear lovers, I’ve got other plans for our scantily clad furry friend.

afternoon workspace

Lately my afternoon snack of choice has been Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. It’s super spicy and great for snapping yourself out of afternoon drowsiness. Just don’t drink it if there’s any chance you might laugh and shoot it out of your nose. That would burn so, so, so much. You would probably end up in the ER or something…

Bare Hug Design Process

Hopefully you’ll get a chuckle out of this. It’s the play-by-play process I went through while working on a new sympathy/just because card. I laughed so much while working on this.

It all started when my mom first saw my “missing you is unbearable” card and suggested I make a “bear hug” card. I loved the idea and tucked it away at the back of mind to stew on. After a few weeks (or maybe months?) it hit me that I should do a bare hug card instead, which would be more inappropriate and therefore more funny.

My initial thought was to feature an awkward, sweet dude with his arms outstretched for a hug—bare naked of course. I quickly decided he shouldn’t be completely bare. Tighty whities were mandatory. Here’s my first rough sketch. Check out that lettering. Yikes. It takes me a long time and lots of erasing to end up with lettering that looks half decent. My first lettering drafts usually look like they were done by a blindfolded kindergartener.

bare hug card design process

I showed Daniel the sketch. He looked horrified and told me my bare man was creepy and not at all sweet. He said I should make him look less like someone’s dad. Weird feedback, but okay. I set to work sketching all sorts of bare men with varying amounts of body hair, but none of them quite hit the mark.

At last I had my lightbulb moment—I should make a bare bear hug card! It’s so many puns wrapped up into one! Okay two puns wrapped up into one, but that’s a lot for just one card. I tweaked the creepy dude sketch above, turned him into a bear, and reworked the lettering.

bare hug card design process

After inking the sketch and adding a little polish and color in Illustrator, my bare hug design is ready to become a card. It’ll be in the shop soon!

bare hug card design process

EDIT:
Thank a bunch for the feedback everybody! I whipped up a bare man version of the card for comparison purposes. Let me know which you’d buy! Sadly I can’t stock two very similar cards, so don’t say both! ;)

bare hug design process

The Makers Summit 2015

Last weekend I went to The Makers Summit, a business conference in Greenville, SC that encourages and inspires creative entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses. There were keynote speeches, workshops, panel discussions, parties, crafts, and scrumptious foodstuffs. I’m wistfully drooling just thinking about those big piles of soft pretzels with pimento cheese.

The best part for me was getting to meet other business owners and hear their stories. Running an online business can be alienating sometimes, and it’s awesome to know there are others out there doing what I do. I flipped through the notes I took at the conference, and I want to share a few little nuggets of wisdom I jotted down between doodles.

The Makers Summit 2015

What you say “yes” to and what you say “no” to define who you become. Understand the dream you’re trying to pursue, and choose your “yes”s and “no”s accordingly. —(paraphrased) Jeff Shinabarger, Plywood People

This is a great reminder. It’s a struggle for me to focus on my goals for Wit & Whistle: to revel in creative freedom, to make work I’m proud of and have fun doing it, to maintain a healthy work/life balance, and to avoid unnecessary stress. I have to say “no” to a lot of opportunities to achieve these goals, and I have to constantly reassure myself that it’s okay not to strive for somebody else’s idea of success.

“A great product is the best marketing.” —Nathan Bond, Rifle Paper Co.

I’ve found this to be true! Every time I’ve paid for advertising it hasn’t been worth the money. So, I concentrate more on creating new and better products than on my marketing efforts. If you make high quality products that people like, they have a way of making their way around the internet eventually. It was pretty unanimous among everyone at the conference that having a strong presence on Instagram is one of the best ways to spread the word about your work. I’ve resolved to post more regularly over there.

“Creativity is earned wisdom that comes with effort, time, and failure.” —Jeni Britton Bauer, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams 

Creativity isn’t some mystical super power that only certain people are born with. It’s a muscle. You have to use it often to strengthen it and practice to get good at wielding it. I thought “effort, time, and failure” summed up the process perfectly.

Shop Update

Whoa, did you realize Easter is less than a month a way? It really snuck up on me this year. I added a couple Easter cards to the shop today. Better late than never! Hey, do you guys ever send cards for St. Patrick’s Day?

funny easter cards wit & whistle

Most of you probably saw this on Instagram, but I’m offering “Blooper Bundles” of heavily discounted greeting cards and notecards with slight imperfections. They’ll be available in the “sale” section of my shop until my blooper stash is gone.

funny easter cards wit & whistle

I attended The Maker’s Summit this past weekend, and it was really great. I’m hoping to collect my thoughts and share the most helpful things I learned later this week. Stay tuned!