Now that Christmas has come and gone, here is a behind-the-scenes look at our Christmas Card for 2014, because I have been asked more than once, “How did you do that?”
I had an idea for our Christmas card going around in my head for a while of us standing in front of some sort of winter scene. Of course, we don’t often have winter scenes around here, so photographing one would be out of the question. But that wasn’t really what I had in mind, anyway. I had planned all along to draw my own background.
I knew whatever I drew would be largely covered up by the people in the foreground, so there wasn’t much of a need to make it too extravagant. But I still wanted it to look nice. And I thought it would be fun to have the horses drawn in there, too, instead of trying to cut and paste their photos in with ours. They aren’t all that temperamental, but drawing them was still probably a little easier than getting their photos to be just like I wanted them to be.
So with all of that in mind, here is the background that I came up with:
That’s Daisy on the left and Bubba on the right, if you didn’t know, along with some rather simple evergreen trees covered with a light dusting of snow. And that big space at the right was intentionally left blank so that I could put some words there later on. This was drawn using the Manga Studio drawing program and a Wacom Intuos tablet, in case you were wondering.
Next, we needed a family photo to use, so here we are:
Yes, we got all dressed up for winter and stood in our den to take our photo. Isn’t that what everyone does? No? Well then, that just makes us special. For lighting, I did have a remote flash and umbrella to the left of the camera. Takes a little more time to set that up, but I like the look that it gives better than an on-camera flash.
Next, I removed the background from the photo and put it on top of the drawn background:
It looked pretty good, but I felt that something was missing. It needed just a little something more, something to make it look more festive and Christmas-like. So I went back to the drawing and added Christmas lights to the trees:
It was a subtle change, but I liked what the lights added to the background. A little more color, a little more Christmas.
So then it was time for the final addition, something in that big empty space on the right:
No pre-made computer font for me - I just wrote it all by hand! Which explains why it isn’t all that neat-looking. If you have ever seen my handwriting, you know why. And if you haven’t seen my handwriting before, there it is. But to me it added just one more personal touch that no one else would have (or want, probably.)
After that, it was just a matter of finding a printer who would allow you to upload your own design without using a pre-made photo template (Thanks, Vistaprint!), and then mailing the cards out once they arrived.
Just for good measure, I also did a quick Santa sketch for the return address labels:
So there you have it - maybe not the most interesting Christmas card in the world, but I was certainly happy with how it turned out. Now to come up with a different idea for next Christmas!