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.

2014 Illustrated Holiday Greetings for Businesses, Part 1: Gag cartoon

Every summer and fall I am commissioned to create illustrations for a number of business clients, to grace the front of the greeting cards they send to customers, colleagues and friends.  The types of businesses vary, but their goal is pretty much the same: to reach out in a unique way to their acquaintances and sincerely thank them for their friendship.  Often my clients want a whimsical or humorous angle to the message, because humor is seen as an extra little gift – a wink and a nod, a special connection.  It says “Here is a situation we both understand and can share a chuckle over together.”

Humor, I’ve learned over the years, makes people remember your business.

In this post and the next few I will highlight some of the cards I created this past fall – I had to wait till now to write about them, didn’t want to spoil my clients’ surprise!

Some clients chose to do greeting cards for Thanksgiving. It’s a perfect time to literally thank your customers for their loyalty to you; plus, by mailing these cards in mid-November, the card is seen early, before the barrage of Christmastime greetings.

I’ve drawn New Yorker-type gag cartoons for a number of years for Pro-Active Performance, a company that works to improve the productivity and capability of organizations and their employees. I work with Pro-Active to come up with cartoons with business-buzzword themes – something to which all their colleagues and customers relate – and we always involve some kind of Thanksgiving symbol.  For this year’s card I first envisioned a turkey meeting where they were doing a SWOT analysis for the Thanksgiving holiday:


The punchline came when I inserted the turkey farmer – the finish here is drawn in Prismacolor pencil with india ink:


The card has a warm and sincere message inside expressing appreciation for clients’ support, and wishing them happiness in the holiday season.  Pro-Active Performance has told me they receive great comments from the recipients of the cards – for certain, no one would mistake these for generic off-the-rack greetings!

More in the next post.

My Eagle Scout Congratulations cards and posters

eagleflagwpI watched my son go through Boy Scouts, where he learned skills that I doubt I could have ever taught him – life-saving techniques, building projects, even archery and marksmanship. He also made some friends for life, both young guys and adult men who live their lives with intent and integrity; and I’m forever grateful to the Scouts for helping my son and many others grow from boys into men.

For one troop member’s Eagle Court of Honor years ago I drew a quick cartoony Eagle saluting, wrote ‘Congratulations, Kyle!’ below it and taped it to a little gift.  A lot of people commented on the cartoon, so I tightened up the drawing and made it into a lighthearted card, printed it up with my own sentiments inside, and it’s been a regular seller since then.  When my son made Eagle a year or two later I decided to draw another, and this time went for a more heartfelt image, a Scout planting an American flag on a hilltop, with an Eagle circling nearby.  This one has proven even more popular, and I’m happy to have two cards with two different feelings for people to choose from for their congrats to their favorite Scout.

My cards and posters of these images are available here on this site – just go to https://achillesportfolio.wordpress.com/eagle-scout-congratulations/ to see them and purchase easily online.

I’m planning to create a similar card for the Girl Scouts’ Gold Award, because those young women deserve a big congratulations as well!