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

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


  1. Jo

    The bear is adorable, but personally, I love the first guy. I don’t think he’s creepy at all. I think he’s adorable!

  2. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

    You guys, for real?! I’ll ink up the “creepy” dude sketch too, and we can have a vote! :)

  3. Michelle

    I totally agree…the first guy is the winner, don’t listen to your husband! It’s hard to imagine a hairy bear as “bare”.

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Yes, if I do the man instead of the bear I’ll definitely go with “somebody needs a bear hug” so you can almost hear his voice in your head saying it! ;)

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      It’s a personal preference really. For my line drawings I prefer to work in Illustrator. If I were working with painted artwork I would edit that in Photoshop.

  4. Colleen

    I wish you could have both! I like the human (my sister thinks he’s creepy but funny, so if you sell him, I know the first person I’m sending him to, lol) The bear is adorable though, so really you can’t lose whichever you choose. But I hope you pick the dude!

  5. Michelle

    Yep! The “creepy” guy. He’s not creepy to me, but if it reads creepy to someone, all the better! I think that’s the point of this card, you want to make someone laugh, and think “Aw, you love me!…wait, you want THIS guy to hug me? Maybe you don’t love me!”

  6. Rebecca

    I love the guy! The bear is more of an “Awww” sympathetic, the guy is more of a funny this is going to cheer me up kinda feel. Either way – love the pun!

    1. Amanda (wit & whistle) Post author

      Bahahaha! Ok, leopard print undies would put him way past my creepy limit. ;)

  7. Marangelie

    So fun! Personally, I love the bear! :)

    I would love to see more of your process after you scan your image and work in illustrator! so fascinating!!

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