New Year’s Card for a Business

I draw a New Years card every year for Kohlhepp Investment Advisors, and we try to make it relevant to what’s going on in the news, whether economic or otherwise. Well, this year the prevailing feeling was that everyone wanted to be done with the year 2020, so that was the theme of this year’s card.

I thought of a mountain-climbing expedition where the staff members were happy to see 2021 in the distance, because I’d been told they wanted the characters to appear ‘socially distanced.’ That idea was approved, so I started with a pencil sketch –

We talked over a few changes, and I went on to tighten the characters in the sketch –

I had thought perhaps I could show full faces so I left the mouths in for the sketch, but was later asked to draw masks on everyone.

I did a rough color sketch with colored pencils, and tried making the mountain in the background a volcano – do you see the 2020? – because that idea was considered. But in the end we stuck with just distant mountains in back.

and finally did the finished art in acrylic paint washes, below. Inside the card the message read: “WE MADE IT! Looking forward to a bright new year ahead!” and some kind wishes to their clients. Kohhepp Investment sends several hundred of these cards out to clients and colleagues, and they get some really nice responses indicating that people appreciate them and enjoy the funny antics in which we often portray the staff. They also use it on their Facebook page and other social media – it’s an effective way to personalize a business to their customers.

Thanksgiving E-card Cartoon for a Business

Every year I draw a Thanksgiving-themed cartoon for Pro-Active Performance, a business that helps companies develop and train outstanding sales forces. They’ve picked the season of Thanksgiving over Christmas to send their greetings because it ties in so well with thanking their clients and colleagues for their business in the past year. This year to conserve paper Pro-Active decided to send an e-card instead of printing and mailing a physical card.

I was given some ideas to work with and started with rough pencil sketches –

My client liked sketch 3 the best, showing a turkey on a zoom call with 6 other holiday characters – so I tightened it up –

and painted a color version –

I designed the e-card as if you were seeing the front and inside of the card all together, so the final version was sent out like this –

And because Pro-Active clients in the US and in Canada, we designed a version that used Canada’s maple leaf mascot instead of Uncle Sam – they sent this out just before Canada’s Thanksgiving Day, which was October 12.

Illustrations that Personalize a Business to Clients

Every fall and winter I draw a number of holiday greeting cards – and now e-cards – for businesses who like to show the human face of their company to their customers. Some-times I draw the staff themselves, sometimes I use humor to engage industry trends, but in all cases the card is created to personalize the company’s brand so their clients get to know and like the people behind the logo more.

This year Gina Furia of Furia Rubel Communications, an integrated marketing and public relations company serving many industries, asked me to draw her and her staff of delightful marketing experts in an office scene, which would be used on a card and in an animation. In the scene Gina would be interviewing Father Time while her staff zooms in through a virtual meeting.

I started with a rough pencil sketch of the scene –

After some edits from my client, like adding her husky dog, I tightened it up a little –

and then was able to scan and digitally color the background and each figure, such as those below.

I put it all together, along with Gina’s caption, for the printed card –

and the little trailer cartoon that appears on the back of the card –

and then FRC worked with an animation company to turn it into a video greeting as well! Click he image to watch.

Holiday Cards and Gifts from my Shop

I have some of my cartoon holiday cards and some printed tees for girls available on my Etsy shop – and remember, if you are near the central Bucks County, PA, area and want to avoid the shipping charges Etsy places on packages, email me in case we can arrange for you to pick up your items and avoid the shipping fee!

This holiday I once again have my Rockefeller tree card for sale, done in my classic New Yorker-style ink wash drawing . . .

Click on the photo to go to this card on my Etsy shop!

I’m also re-printing an Elf Card from some time ago, because it seems to fit with 2020 . . .

Click on the photo to go to this card on my Etsy shop!

And I’ve added one more animal musician to my notecard line – a bear playing a French Horn – such beautiful instruments –

Click on the photo to go to this card in my Etsy shop!

I have a number of other cards and notecards in my shop for animal lovers and music lovers and Scout families – please browse through them as you think about holiday gifts for friends, teachers, and business colleagues!

Click the photo to go to my Etsy shop!

Years ago I created cute drawings of angels, dressed in various national costumes, and printed them on long sleeved tee shirts for my girls.

I now have these girls’ tees on my Etsy shop, and they make a lovely Christmas gift for girls interested in their family heritage. I have limited numbers of sizes, with quantities described in detail on the Etsy listing. While the tees are printed in one color, the purchaser may want to use fabric markers to color in the art for a beautiful full-color look – or allow the girls to color them in themselves!

The sample shirts below have been colored with fabric markers, which are not included in the purchase. I have a limited number of colored-in shirts like these, please email me for details.

Thanks for shopping from a small business this holiday season!

Artists’ Studio Tour Video

I am a member of the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce and once a year the Chamber organizes a studio tour to promote the artists in our area; it’s a great way to get your artwork seen. My studio is not large so I have not participated in the past, but this year they opted to do a virtual tour so the size of the room didn’t matter. I was invited along with a few other illustrators, and agreed to be on the tour.

You can see me and the seven other artists and craftspeople by going HERE to the Chamber’s Youtube video. The segments are brief, 3 minutes at most, and I think they show a wonderful variety of creative people in Bucks County. If you’re short on time and JUST want to see me, I’ll post my video below – it was edited & produced, by the way, by my talented son Tom Achilles!

Just a reminder, if you’d like to see more illustration art from the Philadelphia area, you can see the virtual Phillustration 12 exhibit of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, including a couple pieces by me, right here online. It’s available until December 6, so take a look HERE when you can.

Logo for 2020 Christmas in Doylestown

The Christmas in Doylestown House Tour, run by the hard-working volunteers at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church since 1992, needed to be re-imagined this year to accommodate social distancing. The highly-anticipated Tour is a holiday tradition for many in the Central Bucks area, allowing delighted attendees of years past to wander through four beautifully-decorated and designed homes in the center of a town filled with historic buildings. Throughout the years the House Tour has raised more than $193,700 for the Bucks County Housing Group to support the Doylestown Homeless Shelter.

My original logo for Christmas in Doylestown, which took place mostly during daylight hours, was this:

The team in charge this year has come up with a number of alternate activities to keep patrons entertained and healthy at the same time, and they hope to still raise some funds for the Homeless Shelter. To avoid crowds, the tour will be primarily in the evening, where anyone can drive or walk down the designated streets to see beautifully lit grand houses from outdoors. There may be entire streets of homes that will participate, so it should be quite a show! This outdoor tour will be free, though donations will be gratefully accepted on behalf of the Bucks County Housing Group.

In addition, St. Paul’s will still hold its popular Christmas Attic sale – with a twist – where shoppers can find great bargains on all sorts of holiday decorations. To keep this safe for patrons, the sale will take place as an online auction.

I updated this year’s logo with suggestions from the CID team, to reflect the changes for 2020, and I think it still makes an eye-catching design –

For further info on this December’s Christmas in Doylestown and Christmas Attic, and to learn how to donate to the Bucks County Housing Group, click HERE.

Mascot Sketch

I was asked to do a little cricket character for Maria’s House Montessori school in Doylestown, because in their variety of great learning experiences for children the school is introducing – cricket! (the sport, that is)

I sketched a pencil cricket with some of the appropriate playing gear, bat, helmet, shin guards –

and after tightening up the sketch I added digital color using the school’s logo and colors to tie it all in.

Pen and Ink Drawing of a Modern Home

I’ve been recently posting a series of architecturally historic buildings that I have drawn in pen and ink, but I’ve found modern homes to be great subjects as well. I was commissioned to draw this home in the Doylestown area for use on the family’s Christmas card a few years back.

I love the setting, with the rambling driveway from which you get a long lovely look at the home as you approach, the sleigh decoration on the front lawn, and the symmetry of the building.

I’m open for more commissions such as this, though I do get busy as the holidays approach; so if you are interested I’d appreciate a note sooner rather than later.

To see some of my other house portraits click here, here, here, here or here.

A Turn-of-the-20th-Century Home in Pen and Ink

Here is another of my pen-and-ink drawings of architecturally-notable houses of Doylestown, PA. This house may be termed vernacular Victorian – vernacular architecture is characterized by the use of local materials and knowledge, usually without the supervision of professional architects. It is a simple and practical style with none of the fancy gingerbread trim of high Victorian buildings.

(c) Pat Achilles

I’m working on drawing another house down the street from this one, and will post it soon. Illustrations like this look lovely when framed and can also be used for personalized stationery and holiday cards for homeowners. If you’d like to inquire on my fees for illustration please drop me a note on my Contact page.

More Pen and Ink Bucks County Houses

In addition to the house drawing I posted a few days ago, I also drew these two lovely homes a number of years back, for the St. Paul’s Church Christmas in Doylestown House Tour. I used pen and ink, which I think gives a timeless quality to a drawing.

The first is a two-story colonial with a charming wrought iron fence and gate and a bracket portico over the front door. It was designed by local builder Jay Maxwell.

The house below, behind a stately crenellated stone fence, was built by Asher Cox in 1828 and is the oldest brick house in Doylestown borough. It was sold in 1831 to cabinet maker Lester Rich for $600!

I’ll post some more ink drawings from my picturesque home town soon.