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ktrayn78
10-02-2004, 11:44 PM
Hi everybody!

My head is spinning, I just got my first big commision. My aunt is a hemotologist and she wants to sell 200 boxes of greeting cards to raise money for a bone marrow transplant fund raiser and she's asked me to do the art for the cards. We're thinking four cards, a pair of each in each box, so eight cards a box. She said she can sell them $20.00 a box. She said she'll cover the printing up front and then I'll pay her back out of my share of the sales (50%).

This is beyond anything I've ever done before. I'm thinking maybe four landscapes; a mountain, a rural, a nautical and a tropical (kind of a "sea to shining sea" catch all.) And I'm hoping that because they are just going to be greeting cards it will be fine if I paint them small (7"x5"). Does this sound okay so far?

I'd also like to know if any one can tell me anything about the printing process. What should I look for, how much should I expect it to cost, how long does it take, is it a bad idea to look for a printer on-line, or is Kinko's a good idea?

Thank you guys so much, I know with your help I can get this done! :D Kim

GOwenStudios
10-03-2004, 02:50 AM
Hi everybody!

My head is spinning, I just got my first big commision. My aunt is a hemotologist and she wants to sell 200 boxes of greeting cards to raise money for a bone marrow transplant fund raiser and she's asked me to do the art for the cards. We're thinking four cards, a pair of each in each box, so eight cards a box. She said she can sell them $20.00 a box. She said she'll cover the printing up front and then I'll pay her back out of my share of the sales (50%).

This is beyond anything I've ever done before. I'm thinking maybe four landscapes; a mountain, a rural, a nautical and a tropical (kind of a "sea to shining sea" catch all.) And I'm hoping that because they are just going to be greeting cards it will be fine if I paint them small (7"x5"). Does this sound okay so far?

I'd also like to know if any one can tell me anything about the printing process. What should I look for, how much should I expect it to cost, how long does it take, is it a bad idea to look for a printer on-line, or is Kinko's a good idea?

Thank you guys so much, I know with your help I can get this done! :D Kim

Hi Kim,
I have done this before for Christmas as a charity project. To do the cards, I have done them on a 5 x7" format. If you need to you can go 10 x 14 if the printer requires a bigger format that way he can reduce it to the cards. It will take at least $400...maybe more to print the cards. A printer like Kinko's can do it for you. It will probably be 3 ink offset. They will look better in CMYK but that might cost more. If it were me I would do 3 scenes and make a card set of 12 and 13 envelopes. If you want you can get your greeting card boxes from www.masonbox.com. Ask for sample GR-5I. Your cards and envelopes will fit perfectly in them. Clear top and solid bottom.

FriendCarol
10-03-2004, 09:31 AM
One of the more recent sponsors of WC is a printer (giclee?). I corresponded with them -- you send them your original art, so there's no danger of theft as there would be if you sent it scanned, as an e-mail attachment. (Their PC is actually not connected to anything online, which is the only way to be truly safe.) You could get a quote from them and see if it's competitive. :)

The important consideration, I would think, is to make sure your original paintings match the 'aspect ratio' (height to width) of the finished card size... unless you want them to put a wider border at the bottom of the card. ;)

ChicagoGirl
10-03-2004, 10:10 AM
Hey Kim,

I don't have any professional guidance to offer, but I wanted to say congrats and how cool is that?

It sounds like you are on the right track, and have a good plan. I like the idea of different scenes, people like variety.
Good going...you'll have to show us!!

Peggy

Cathie Jones
10-03-2004, 10:22 AM
WOW! Congratulations! I've never done cards in such a large amount, so I usually print them myself. Lulu sells cards - you might PM her for suggestions, too.

If you want lots of detail, you can paint larger and reduce them to card size, you don't have to paint card size. And you can use paintings you've already done - they don't have to be specific to the project. A good printer will photograph or scan and reduce them to the size he needs.

Good luck! Please let us know how it goes!!!

droll13
10-03-2004, 04:01 PM
Congratulations !!!

I have no advice to offer, because I have the same questions. (I'm considering offering cards for sale on my website.) So, I'll be following this thread closely.

Good luck in this exciting endeavor.

CharM
10-03-2004, 08:35 PM
Wow Kim!!! Congratulations!!! I often make greeting cards from my larger paintings... No need to restrict yourself to such a small piece of paper for painting the originals... Good luck with this...

Keep us posted as your progress through this venture... We'll all learn from it!

ktrayn78
10-03-2004, 10:33 PM
Hi guys,thanks for all the great advice and encouragement. I'm going to do some sketches tomorrow, try to get some ideas on paper. I'll be sure to update y'all on the progress.

Totally excited, Kim

Nitsa
10-04-2004, 06:02 AM
Oooooh, congratulations Kim and Good Luck!

Uschi
10-04-2004, 08:40 AM
Congratulations Kim!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have printed some myself but not enough to give advice. Don't know if it is better to have a printing company do it or printing it yourself. Doug has had lots of experience printing himself quite recently.
Uschi

ktrayn78
10-04-2004, 09:04 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2004/48299-card_demo.jpg

sketched out some ideas today and would love your feedback. Here are some of my concerns:

In #1 I don't like the grass and path and am thinking of putting in sheep instead.

In #2 I used Rodd's technique for the mountains (thanks Rodd!) but didn't take into account that I covered them in snow from top to bottom. I'm probably going to change the trees to evergreens and make it a winter picture but then what do I do about the lake, which is kind of blah right now?

In #3 I don't like the light house. Never done a lighthouse before and it could just be that but I kind of feel like it is blocking the nice view.

In #4 I may have gone overboard with the big rocks around the palm tree. Also, does that thing on the horizon look more like an aircraft carrier or an island?

Would love any and all advice. Thanks guys, Kim

Pars
10-04-2004, 09:23 PM
Hi Kim - the sketches look good. My preference is for the light house (always sell well) and the rock. I can't see as well as I'd like as I'm on a little laptop.

And I just thought I'd weigh in on the doing part. I don't do watercolour cards, but have done dozens of collage pieces for reproduction. I generally make the piece twice or three times as big so I have a good sized structure; then I reduce it 50% or more; and copy it four up (multiple copy function). I use my own paper and then cut at the local copy shop because they have a bigger machine on the floor. If you use good quality paper heavier than the usual 24 or 28lb weight, you'd have to print second generation copies. The multi-up function only works from the lower drawers and not the side-feeder. This is assuming you might want to keep your costs down. You could then, again if you are doing this yourself, use good quality PVA (such as Rhoplex or Jade) at the back center of your art-work and place it on card-stock. Voila!

If any of this appeals to you and you have questions, don't hesitate to ask. It's taken me about four years to figure out how to make this system work for me. :cool:

ktrayn78
10-04-2004, 10:16 PM
Zoe, thanks for the great info. Unfortunately I'm so clueless that just about everything you said went over my head. Are you talking about doing the copying myself at the copy store? What do you mean about the lower drawers and the side feeder and the multi-up function? What kind of paper would you recommend I use? Whew, I have a lot to learn! :rolleyes:

I looked around on the internet today for printing prices and this is the best one I've found. It's from psprint.com

8.5x6 (folded that would be 4.25x6)
four color front
black back
10 day turn around
usps ground delivery
2000 cards and envelopes

$625.50

10x7 was also available but seems pretty big. I'm not sure what the paper quality is, have to go back and check that out. But does that sound like a good deal or a rip off?

Pars
10-04-2004, 10:42 PM
Zoe, thanks for the great info. Unfortunately I'm so clueless that just about everything you said went over my head. Are you talking about doing the copying myself at the copy store? What do you mean about the lower drawers and the side feeder and the multi-up function? What kind of paper would you recommend I use? Whew, I have a lot to learn! :rolleyes:

I looked around on the internet today for printing prices and this is the best one I've found. It's from psprint.com

8.5x6 (folded that would be 4.25x6)
four color front
black back
10 day turn around
usps ground delivery
2000 cards and envelopes

$625.50

10x7 was also available but seems pretty big. I'm not sure what the paper quality is, have to go back and check that out. But does that sound like a good deal or a rip off?

$625.50 for 2000 - this sounds like an extraordinarily good price - but I would ask them to SEND you a paper sample to see if it suits you. It almost sounds too good :evil:

My way would be far more expensive probably but then again I've never done more'n 75. Do you have one of those paper outlets in your area - like Xpedex? I don't but they are supposedly the best for bulk paper and you could check out what you like. For watercolour itself I'd reckon a good photo paper for the actual painting, something like Epson or Ilford matte finish and card stock for the card itself.

And all that copier lingo is simple when you're looking at the machine. The ones up here are generally Canon's and they have 3 drawers (for paper) in the front for 8x-11-1/2 etc and one feeder at the left hand side (to feed one or two sheets at a time for heavier paper). Multiple copy is a function on the dial and if you wanted to try it I think I wrote up some instructions for my collage group - somewhere :evil: It sounds hard, but once you get the hang of it, it's nearly foolproof. :cat: With this function you get 4 copies at approximately 3x5 on each sheet of paper (costs about .24 per image that way).

Hope I'm not making it all more complicated than it is :cool:

ScarletLake
10-04-2004, 11:05 PM
Hi

That is great news. What an opportunity for you.

I don't have experience only did a couple of cards here at home.

Just saw your thumbnail sketches although very good not too keen on the subject matter for a hugh project like this.

How about some Chicago area landmarks, florals, something upbeat.

Remember you gotta hook your buyers.

Anita

ktrayn78
10-04-2004, 11:30 PM
Thanks Zoe, I'll try to contact these people for a sample or something.

Hi Anita, thanks! I'm not so crazy about the subject matter either. It's very generic. I did a bunch sort of like these when I was first learning to paint and my aunt saw them and thought they'd be good for this project. Hopefully once I get some color and detail in there they will be a little more interesting. I'd love the chicago landmark thing but the cards are going to be sold in Boston. Maybe if I narrowed it down to New England type stuff, similar to #3...I spent a couple of weeks in Mass. in January '98 and took a ton of cemetary photos, I think those would make cool paintings, but maybe not greeting cards. Maybe a Walden Pond theme! That would be fun and I could get some much needed practice doing water.

GOwenStudios
10-04-2004, 11:40 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/04-Oct-2004/48299-card_demo.jpg

sketched out some ideas today and would love your feedback. Here are some of my concerns:

In #1 I don't like the grass and path and am thinking of putting in sheep instead.

In #2 I used Rodd's technique for the mountains (thanks Rodd!) but didn't take into account that I covered them in snow from top to bottom. I'm probably going to change the trees to evergreens and make it a winter picture but then what do I do about the lake, which is kind of blah right now?

In #3 I don't like the light house. Never done a lighthouse before and it could just be that but I kind of feel like it is blocking the nice view.

In #4 I may have gone overboard with the big rocks around the palm tree. Also, does that thing on the horizon look more like an aircraft carrier or an island? Would love any and all advice. Thanks guys, Kim


In the pastoral with the grass I would suggest making the path more S- shaped for movement and be more free with the grass. Make your grass a bit more taller and different heights.. In the mountain scene reduce the snow and put in a tree line about 1/3 rd of the way up the mountains in addition to your tree line in the mid ground. Place reflections of the trees and mountain in the water..wet in wet. With the Lighthouse I would direct my light 1/3 from the right of the composition. Add movement in the water, such as breakers. In the tropical scene move the rocks out from the base of the tree. Add two more trees. Trees in a composition look better when grouped in odd numbers.

Also, I would suggest the paper weight to be no less than 60 lb paper. With my cards I have used 110 lb extra white gloss Georgia Pacific cardstock.
:)

droll13
10-05-2004, 03:57 AM
All these sketches have the potential to make excellent cards. Good advice from AnointedArtist - I agree with all his suggestions.

Especially regarding #1 - your path directs the viewer to the building in the distance (which is well situated to be the center of interest). But I feel the path's curve also tends to lead the eye out of the picture. You could use something to stop the eye from leaving. I think a flatter, S-shaped path would still invite the eye into the picture without leading it out.

The lighthouse is my favorite.

Be careful with your horizon - it's almost dead center in 3 of the 4 sketches. But in general, I think you have a good feel for solid composition.

You've inspired to test the waters and see if I can print & sell cards myself. I've written the code for my website to offer cards (and perhaps prints of my photos and personalized calendars); just have to see if I can price them low enough to sell but high enough to be profitable.

According to her website, Nandie (Andrea Levasseur) sells cards. Maybe I'll PM her to see if she has experience to share.

Let us know how this works out.

ktrayn78
10-05-2004, 06:44 PM
Thanks Zoe, Anita, Annointed Artist and Dave for the feedback on yesterdays sketches.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_1.jpg
I changed the shape of the path.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_2.jpgI show some of the mountain peeping out under the snow on the lower half of the mountain. I wasn't sure how to achieve the look of trees growing on the mountain. Not sure if what I've done here with the trees makes the mountain look too small.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_3.jpgNew and improved light house. I like this one much better.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_4.jpgI added two more trees so there'd be three. Is it okay that they are seperated like that? Got rid of the island and put in a little wind-surfer (or maybe it's a sailboat) instead. I already know I'm going to get rid of the rock under the wind-surfer.

Thanks everybody, Kim

ktrayn78
10-06-2004, 12:33 PM
Um, hi, just pulling the little bumpity bump trick. Sorry to make a nuisance of myself. I just thought there was probably somebody out there who was dying to give me some feedback on these new sketches and couldn't find the thread. So here it is, go ahead, shoot, I'm all ears!

GOwenStudios
10-06-2004, 06:27 PM
Thanks Zoe, Anita, Annointed Artist and Dave for the feedback on yesterdays sketches.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_1.jpg
I changed the shape of the path.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_2.jpgI show some of the mountain peeping out under the snow on the lower half of the mountain. I wasn't sure how to achieve the look of trees growing on the mountain. Not sure if what I've done here with the trees makes the mountain look too small.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_3.jpgNew and improved light house. I like this one much better.
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Oct-2004/48299-cards_4.jpgI added two more trees so there'd be three. Is it okay that they are seperated like that? Got rid of the island and put in a little wind-surfer (or maybe it's a sailboat) instead. I already know I'm going to get rid of the rock under the wind-surfer.

Thanks everybody, Kim

Hi Kim,
The sketches are a lot better this go around. With the grouping of trees I would have put 3 together on the left, but I believe what you have works because I sense that my eyes are not leaving the page. With the distant timberline on the mountain scene you could just suggest that treeline by using a lighter green or a gray-green wash to give it the sense that it is receding. In the pastoral scene only thing I would add is a bit of grasses that are shorter in height in the mid-ground in random and you should be good to go. The lighthouse scene looks good.
Usually, you can use any medium to produce the scenes for greeting cards, however oils, acrylic, gouache, and casein are the choice. They will reproduce better.

ScarletLake
10-07-2004, 09:53 AM
Kim

I like these sketches much better. All the advise you got really made a difference in the total picture.

I'll keep following your thread to see how it all goes.

I think doing cards to sell would be a nice way to break into a little business.

Anita