My Illustration for a Business Birthday E-Card

I drew this car parade birthday illustration for Furia Rubel Communications last year. They originated the idea and needed me to make it into an image for them to send out with their best wishes to their clients. I think it’s a great way to make a touchpoint with each client – a beneficial marketing strategy – and remind their clients of the whole team of people working for their interests. I have often drawn the FRC team for projects in the past.

I started with a pencil sketch of the whole train of cars and caricatures of each FRC member.

When that was ok’d I printed out a copy and did a rough color sketch with markers and colored pencils. The great thing about sending out ecards is, there is no more expense in doing full color over black and white. On computer screens, color is free!

I decided to colorize this illustration using digital color, so the colors would match those in the FRC logo and other hues on their website. I drew each carload in black line, then filled it in with digital color.

After drawing and colorizing each piece of the picture this way I assembled them onto one page and added the banner, balloons and honking horns.

Another advantage of assembling this piece digitally is that if employees change from year to year, I can adjust the picture accordingly. And in fact, this year I was asked to add new team members and remove some who have moved on; so with some tweaks Furia Rubel will have an updated ecard showing their full team for 2022.

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 Video for a Marketing Firm

I’ve been drawing the staff of Furia Rubel Communications for over 10 years now for their holiday cards, and in the last few years FRC has also been animating my drawings into a video greeting to their associates and clients. Gina always slides a clever reference to their integrated marketing strategies into the card’s message, as in this year’s card. I send her pencil sketches of ideas – some mine, some of theirs – and the FRC team picks which scene to draw for this year’s card. I draw most individuals separately for the animation, as well as a separate background scene and important furniture pieces.

FRC’s trademark is to have elves be an integral part of the story. The finished card illustration this year looks like this –


– the top half being the front of the card, the lower half the back. The imaginative animation does quite a bit to make everyone move and speak:



Pretty clever, I’d say!


2014 Illustrated Holiday Greetings for Businesses, Part 3: Card and Animation

For years I’ve enjoyed working with the team at Furia Rubel Communications, an award-winning integrated marketing and public relations agency. FRC always looks to present their brand in unique and creative ways,.and in their holiday greeting to their colleagues and clients we work together to come up with an illustration that combines both gag cartooning and caricature of a sort. The joke invariably revolves around the buzzwords they use with their p.r. clients, then we angle it toward a traditional holiday scene, and finally include simplified caricatures of each member of the FRC team.

The theme of this year’s sketch dealt with media technology, with a little poke at its obsolescence:

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We tweaked it a little and FRC framed the caption better, as a solution to the problem – here’s the final:


Very apropos for their industry. The unique thing about Furia Rubel is, they don’t stop with this art as just a greeting card.  When I create the art, I draw all the elements separately so FRC can send them to their animator Tom Donnelly of TD Post and Animation to create this very fun, very short, holiday video card:

That’s FRC president Gina Furia Rubel’s voice in the video too – It all creates a pretty memorable greeting for their business friends!

More cards in upcoming posts – scroll down to see previous cards in this series.

Illustrated ad, Part 3: Finished art


After revising and tightening up my pencil sketch (you can see it if you scroll down a few posts) I printed out a small copy of the line drawing and used color pencils to rough out the colors for the finish. My client for this project was Furia Rubel Communications in Doylestown, a PR firm specializing in law firms and non-profits, and the colors they use for their website and promotional materials are orange, golden yellow and a medium purple.  I used those colors on the balloon to align with their company brand. I designed this illustration to leave two large areas for type in the ad – the area of lightly clouded sky below the balloon, where black type could be used, and the dark shadow on the grass where their logo and some reverse type could go.

hotairballonpartial1I transferred the drawing to illustration board and started outlining and painting in the ground and balloon, left the sky for last. I made the crowd unit mostly a dull version of the purple in the balloon, and added more color to the clothing of staff of my client.  I wanted them to be recognizable but still be a part of that unit, and not stand out so much that they took attention away from the dramatic launch above them.

I painted this illustration in acrylic paint, watered down a little to act like watercolors, and outlined with prismacolor pencils.


The finished art was used in two ads, one black/white, one cropped but in full color, in different publications.



Customized Holiday Cards set Businesses Apart, says WSJ

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Alexandra Berzon explains that, while ‘simple holiday cards from financial firms are pretty much the norm at this time of year . . . there are exceptions.’

The writer cites Kingsford Capital Management, a low-profile financial firm in California, that has won a reputation for giving unusual cards and gifts to their clients, ranging in genre from political cartoons to advent calendars to quilts, all customized to comment on the financial industry. “The novelty holiday gifts . . . could end up holding some value, art world insiders say, given that they are limited-edition items,’ often illustrated by artists the firm’s owner admires.

I’m happy to have a number of clients who also see unique holiday greeting cards as a sincere and creative way to engage with their customers and colleagues.  Below are the cards I created for this holiday season, Thanksgiving through New Year’s. My clients were Woodcock Washburn LLP, Lifetime Asset Management, Automotive Financial Services, Furia Rubel Communications, Inc., Hoffman Design Group, Safe-Guard Products International, LLC, Obermayer, Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP, Lennon’s Small Jobs and Pro-Active Performance, Inc.