journal

The Process | A card's journey from idea to finished product

Kellie Semmelrock

One of the questions I’m often asked is how I make my cards. I wanted to write this post to answer this question and give you a behind the scenes look!

Each card starts with an idea. Many of the cards are from instances and situations that I’ve experienced personally. People I want to thank in my own life and situations I’ve encountered over the years. If I come up with the idea when I’m home I quickly text it to myself so that I don’t forget, and eventually I will add it to my Trello board. If I’m in my car when I think of the idea, and it’s a really good idea, I repeatedly say it over and over out loud and in my head until I pull in my garage and can jot it down. (scientific, I know) Many a great idea has been lost to my easily distracted self. Even more ideas have been lost to my toddler’s lack of reflexes and my need to save him from whatever dangerous situation he has placed himself in.

So from idea, to Trello board, I then label all of my super favorite ideas with a virtual yellow tag. (Very sophisticated method of organization). Those ideas are then brought to my sketch book(s). I draw and doodle out a scene or elements of a pattern with my trusty mechanical pencil and whatever scrap of paper I can find. Shout out to all my people that sketch on napkins, torn pieces of paper, and post it notes! Eventually when the sketch has morphed into something that meets my approval. I then trace the sketch with my favorite Micron pens. That’s what you see posted on Instagram most of the time. I know that in reality I could be drawing these on my fancy dancy Wacom tablet, but there’s just something different about using a good ol’ pencil and paper that I can’t ignore. I love being able to keep a physical book of my past sketches to reflect on and see my progress through the years.

Once sketched, it’s time to get digital. I scan all my sketches in and upload them straight into Illustrator. It’s there that I switch from using my Wacom tablet and my mouse in order to trace the sketch and vectorize it. Occasionally I might realize that I’m missing an element, or something doesn’t look quite right. I’ll either add or remove elements digitally. Once the sketch is digitized and the correct size, it’s time for color! I have a color palette of about 22 colors I use for all my greeting cards. I work hard to choose the right colors that work together, then I use Illustrator brushes to add texture and flair!

Once the card is finished on my computer, I create the print file and send it to my an awesome family owned printshop. I love supporting small businesses in as many aspects of my business as I can. When all is said and done I probably work on each individual card around 10-11 hours to make it just right. All of my cards are printed digitally on 100% Post Consumer Waste recycled paper. I add a signature Grateful Paperie yellow envelope and insert each card into a plastic sleeve. It’s my goal to drastically reduce my use of single use plastics by the end of this year. So starting 2020 my cards will be shipped out naked, instead of wearing their plastic ponchos. Sure, it’s a risk that the card could be damaged in transit, but my entire mission here is that small gestures can change the world whether it’s a simple card or a change in packaging. I want Bennett to have a healthy planet to grow up on!

 

Feel free to email me or message me on instagram if you have any questions on materials used!


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