Sketches for a corporate holiday card

I have been asked again, happily, to draw up a holiday card for Safe-Guard Products of Atlanta. They’ve asked me to illustrate their eight execs in an outdoor winter scene, and I’ve seen fire pits becoming popular lately, so I sketched a very rough layout –


Then I got out my reference photos from 2013, when I last drew a card for them, and drew from each headshot they sent me, penciling in the figures with a little more detail. Toasted marshmallows & hot chocolate, anyone?


I’ll post more steps to the final art as it progresses.

2014 Illustrated Holiday Greetings for Businesses, Part 5: Family Caricatures

I’m very pleased to create a New Year’s greeting card each year for the team at Kohlhepp Investment Advisors, a congenial and successful family run business that guides its clients through every conceivable financial challenge to accomplish their dreams.  The Kohlhepps choose to do a New Years card, mailing them out the first week of January, because the idea of financial planning makes sense with the start of a new year and the mad rush of holiday cards is now over, making their greeting more memorable.

In the past we have shown the family and staff being pulled by a bull market:


And hanging on for a roller coaster ride when the economy was a bit unstable:


And dealing with the fiscal cliff –


and bolstering the debt ceiling –


This year we realized we had never depicted everyone celebrating the traditional ball dropping at Times Square.  I created a loose the pencil sketch, to show them the general idea:


In the color sketch I was able to get better likenesses of the staff based on the many photos of the staff that they have supplied me with –


and for the finished art we decided to give the Kohlhepp logo one of the best ad placements in the world:


– because in an illustration, anything is possible! The Kohlhepps also put the finished card image on their Facebook page after the card is mailed out, to make sure all their followers get the message.

Scroll down this blog to see other cards in the series.  And more is coming in the next post.

Flattering Caricatures for Business Use, Part 1


click images to enlarge

I realize the word ‘caricature’ has negative connotations for a lot of people, visions of ballooning noses, explosive eyebrows or quirky poses, like my drawing of Ed Rendell, left, for the Harrisburg Patriot-News when Rendell was elected governor of Pennsylvania. But I’ve been drawing caricatures for my business clients for years that aren’t that way at all, and I’m never sure what to call them. I usually say they are ‘Flattering Caricatures’ because, I tell my clients, whereas the camera puts 10 pounds on, I can draw 10 pounds off. And give guys more hair too.

The goal of a business caricature is to present the human-ness of my clients’ businesses – reveal the fact that there are real people behind the logo and brand, something their customers may nominally acknowledge, but gloss over in everyday business transactions.  Wouldn’t photos do the same thing? Certainly, to some extent. I’ll point out, though, that most media now is super-saturated with photography, while hand-drawn illustration distinguishes itself instantly to the human eye.

What do my clients use their caricatures for?  Greeting clarkcard96cards, Facebook icons, blogs, promotional material, to name a few.  A few examples:

Holiday cards. Many are used for their company’s holiday greeting card to their clients and associates; often business owners see the holidays as a time when they can be a little more relaxed and humorous than during regular business. They also like to send more personal messages to their customers – thanking them for their business at Thanksgiving, for instance, or wishing them joy and success at Christmas/Hanukkah or the New Year.

kohlhepp96wpWhen it’s a small company I’m often asked to draw the entire staff for a card – it helps clients know more faces in the office than maybe just the one or two with whom they have the most contact.  I also sneak the company logo into the drawings when requested.

And there have been a few requests for large staff cards as well.


Blogs. Some clients use their caricature as a friendly persona through which they give industry advice in their blogs.  One says, it helps her lighten up her writing so it’s more of a comfy conversation with her readers.


macoutfittersfinal96Promotions.  Caricatures of the staff were used by one client on this moving card, showing their new office space, and a law firm had me draw their partners, below, as if they were done by a courtroom artist, for a full page ad they ran in a law journal.corodemus96

In part 2 of this post I’ll explain what I request of clients who want caricatures done, and the process we go through to get the look and message that’s best suited for their product.

(If you’re reading this post on a third-party platform and want to read Part 2 when it’s published, I recommend you follow my blog on my site at

Caricatures for a corporate holiday card

Now this illustration, for an international data security company, has a lot of inside jokes based on the personalities of the people involved – so don’t expect to make a cohesive interpretation of what’s going on in it.  Some of these folks are tech people, some are directors, some hold props that they are known for.  The company sent me good photos of each person to be depicted, and we went from there.  I illustrated their card last year as well, with even more people shown, so I’m pleased they came back to me this year for another card.  I drew this in prisma pencil and painted it in with acrylic paints, thinned with water and used like watercolors, on cold-press illustration board.