Friday, December 13, 2013

A Gift, from my home to yours (Christmas Cards 2013)

Well, I've started to get confirmation that the cards I sent out last week have started to arrive so it's as good a time as any for this year's big reveal!

A Gift, from my home to yours. 2013
Photoshop. 8 1/2 x 11 original. 

Last December, in an attempt to stay better connected with my creative colleagues, friends from college especially, I sent out homemade Christmas cards with original art and a brief summary of how I was doing and what I had been up to in the past year.

Seeing as how last year I only got this idea after Thanksgiving, it was a real fight to the finish. This year I started trying to come up with ideas as early as Halloween. Now I have an inkling of what retail outlets go through when it comes to changing their holiday decorations.


Last year's card was of a dark room lit by the soft glow of a Christmas tree and by the heavenly light of comforting angels. After finishing a piece that involved such heavy blacks, I decided that next time would feature a scene with lots of white, likely an outdoor scene with lots of snow. 

Throughout the year, I collected various images in hopes of helping choose a subject.


From left to right: Wally Wood, Hal Foster, Norman Rockwell, Rudolph Guenoden, Ellison Hoover, Frank Cho


My first idea was for a romantic "winter wonderland" kind of scene with a couple and their dog climbing up a sledding hill. Not a bad idea, and I may come back to it later, but my compositions just felt too much like the cover of a Land's End catalog. It also seemed to lack substance. It was a winter scene, but not a "seasonal" scene, and felt somewhat insincere for a Christmas card. 

The idea for using squirrels came about as a result of a Skype conversation I was having with my friend Kirsten Zirginbl, were I mentioned the squirrels in the back yard which were "as big as housecats" and "always coming to the door looking for handouts. They have no fear of man!"

Thats when it hit me, the idea of a simple creature coming to the big intimidating house, to not ask for something, but instead offer a humble gift that was in essence, all they had. It just struck me as a better message for the spirit of Christmas.

However, even that got off to some rough starts:

Eventually I settled on a high angle shot inspired by similar shots in Hank Ketcham's Dennis the Menace. 


When I started getting towards the finishing stages, I started getting in the habit of taking screen caps at the end of the day so that I could get a sense of my own process and be able to identify what I accomplished each day and use it as motivation for the next.

Merry Christmas Everybody!


  1. Your card is beautiful! Loved hearing about your process! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. Well thank you for being so generous in your encouraging praise!

  2. Amazing. I so love that you share this process. It is just amazing. I also love the illustration you ended up using. It is just the coolest and cutest thing ever. I love it. I hope all is well, and thank you for sharing this with us!

    1. Many thanks Michael! But now I can't imagine what I'll do for next year's cards that could match this!

    2. Well the good news is that there will be plenty of time to figure it out! I look forward to seeing what you do end up doing next. (I also know I need to reply to your other comments, but work has been crazy this week before Christmas.) Talk to you soon!

    3. Haha. Indeed. Its back to collecting images from around the Internet again!

      What, someone who works in retail is busy around Christmas? Perish the thought! haha. Don't worry, its cool.

  3. Wow. Looks good Erik!

    1. Thanks! Sorry I wasn't able to send you one all the way in Hong Kong.

  4. I love your art. As someone who envies those who can draw, It was awesome to see the process you go through to get to the finished product. Very cool.

    1. Thank you ver much! Its hard to believe I though people would get bored or distracted by the whole "process" angle, when its become the thing I've received the most praise on. Go Figure!

      Merry Christmas! Thanks for dropping by, your presence is all the presents I need!


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