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.

Bobsledding and Copyrights

I learned some interesting things about copyrights when I illustrated a New Year’s card recently for one of my clients, Kohlhepp Investment Advisors LLC.

Kohlhepp is a family business and I’ve been drawing the staff for years doing funny things to ring in the New Year – riding a roller coaster economy, holding up a crumbling debt ceiling,  almost falling off a fiscal cliff. This year, with the economy looking up in so many ways, they wanted to play on the upcoming Olympic games and have an upbeat drawing of the family members eagerly piling into a bobsled for a race.

I drew a pencil sketch with the younger members of the staff taking off, with Ed Sr., the patriarch of the family, coaching them from the crowd; then went on to a color-pencil rough color sketch.

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I agreed with the staff that Ed sank too much into the crowd in this composition, so I moved him out of the crowd, coaching them from the left with a stopwatch in his hand.  At this point daughter Mary Beth asked if I was sure it was ok to draw the Olympic rings on the wall – could that be a copyright infringement? I had to check into it, and she was right, the Olympic rings, or anything even looking like the well-known five interlocking rings, is copyrighted by the International Olympic Committee.

We came up with an alternative: how about putting ‘Pyeongchang 2018’ along the wall?  Looked it up – no, that too, as well as Sochi 2014 and Rio 2016, is copyrighted by the IOC. Upon further reading, I learned that the IOC is particularly aggressive in suing entities that appropriate their brand – in fact, they even filed suit against the first Special Olympics for using the word ‘Olympics’, until public backlash forced them to withdraw it. However, I can understand now why the IOC can be so particular – the companies that do become ‘Olympic sponsors’ pay an awful lot of money to be officially affiliated with the brand; and if organizations who are not an official sponsor start using Olympic branding to suggest that they are, that dilutes the value of the sponsorship of the officially designated companies.

We did not want to run afoul of this entity, obviously, so we came up with the idea of putting international flags – which are not copyrighted – along the wall. I drew the final art and I think the result still implies a famous sports event without treading on any legal  infringement.

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Completed Illustration for Company Holiday Card

My previous two posts showed my preliminary work for an illustrated holiday greeting card for Safe-Guard Products International in Atlanta. Below is the finished front of the card.

With a company as large as Safe-Guard, it is an important marketing contribution for their affiliates and clients to get to know and match a face to the directors they email or speak with on the phone. Safe-Guard feels that a personalized greeting card improves their relationship with colleagues, and that my illustration especially helps this association with the real people who manage their company.

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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.

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Sketch for corporate holiday card

For the last few years I’ve created cards for an intellectual property law office, always using their logo subtly in the illustration.  I just sent this sketch to them & happily they replied “This is awesome!” They suggested I put the indication of a hearth in the background, which I think is a great idea.  I’ll post the finish when it’s done.

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