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.

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.

Philadelphia Sketch Club’s Phillustration 12

The Philadelphia Sketch Club’s annual juried exhibit, featuring professional and student illustrators in our area, is now open – virtually, this year – and I’m very pleased to have two of my pieces included.

The entire Phillustration exhibit can be viewed, from the comfort of your computer or phone, at https://sketchclub.org/phillustration-12/#gallery through December 6th. Several of my friends from the Bucks County Illustrators Society have also had illustrations accepted, so be sure to see the excellent work of Joe DeVito, Glenn Zimmer, Gil Cohen, Piya and Christina Wannachaiwong, Mark Schaeffer and Deb Hoeffner.

One of my entries is the illustration I painted for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society’s production of The Pirates of Penzance –

and another is a black/white ink wash cartoon of the iconic NYC Rockefeller Christmas tree that I’ve made into a greeting card –

The little child in the drawing is pointing and saying, “They missed a spot.” This card is available on my Etsy shop HERE.

Please enjoy the whole show at the Sketch Club HERE to see the many styles of interesting artwork that illustrators in our area are creating.

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.

Pen and Ink of a Grand House

I drew this elegant home in the heart of my hometown, Doylestown, PA, for a Christmas House Tour years ago. I used pen and ink, which I think brings out the textural detail in the bricks and stonework. It was built in 1910 for Doylestown merchant J. K. Musselman.