I don't know exactly how someone finds free time during the christmas season, but somehow I had it. During the fall of '92, I decided I was going to make my own christmas cards. Aside from schoolwork, finals, commuting, shopping and everything else, somehow, I could fit it in.

First, I did sketches. Tons and tons of sketches. I really wanted a different look than the traditional card but it still had to be stylish. I thought of everything from christmas trees to santa claus to snowmen to a mitten lost on the ground. It really got to be a pain in the ass.

It did work out in the end, and as a result I managed to keep a cool tradition of artwork for the holiday season.
click for larger view
  Christmas of '92 is what started it all. Santa Claus with the sunglasses was my first christmas card ever and boy was it a pain in the ass.

How did I do it ? This was somewhat before computers were at hand or at least reasonable to work on, at least for me. I wound up silkscreening it. Yep, the hard way. I set up a little slot that my silkscreen frame would fit into and throw all the cards in there. Then after silkscreening all the cards, (black ink only), I would hand paint each one of them in acrylics. The final touch was to add some glue and put some glitter on for the ball on the end of the hat. You'd think that it's not that tough, but don't forget that these are card blanks, meaning nothing is printed inside. I'd then have to write a few words for each card and try not to sound like the usual hallmark kind of comment. Some of them were more personalized than others, but still each one unique.

It was the spring of '96 that I got a computer (Macintosh, baby...yeah), and then christmas of '96 that I got a drawing tablet with some drawing programs. Hence, christmas of '97 was yet again an opportunity to once again do a christmas card after 5 years.

I don't think I did any sketches, I just started screwing around with the tablet and this drawing program and came up with the finish. To be honest, I didn't like the way it came out. I don't know if it was the colors or the resolution or the layout, I just thought it kind of sucked, but sent it out nonetheless.
click for larger view
click for larger view
  Winter of '98, I was looking at the nightmare that was my christmas card that I sent out the prior year. I didn't want to go that same route. I had some luck and had purchased a scanner. By looking around this site, you can see how handy it's come in. I decided to go back to traditional ink and colored pencils and do a drawing for christmas of '98.

This worked out much better in the sense that I really pounded out some sketches that were pretty involved, much more than the quick sketch eye-catching drawings you saw above. Only thing I regret is since I worked on a much larger size, when I shrunk it down to the size I needed, you almost couldn't see some parts of the image and you'd lose some of the detail. The other downside was that the colors weren't as vibrant as working them out on the computer. In any case, it still was a success and I still sent out plenty of cards. Up to this point, I can honestly say that for each one of the 3 cards I've sent out during those past years, I must have done about 25-40 or so cards every year.
Winter of '99 was a real bummer. I was laid off from my last job in october, I had some money in the bank, had school bills but no job and christmas on it's way just made everything depressing. I'm usually pretty alright during the holiday season, but this year I could definitely had done without it.

I think it was for those same reasons, that I chose the design for christmas of '99 to be somewhat sarcastic. Just a bit over the edge. I kind of look at it as, "oh, how sweet", but something about "swell christmas" and a mouse caught in a trap just puts a twist on it. I did do plenty of sketches again, I just kept coming back to this one. In the end, after they were all completed and I had done my standard amount of cards for starters, I had only really sent out about 10. I think it was holiday stress that led me to forget some people and not want to bother with others.

The neat thing about this card was that after doing a finished ink drawing, I wound up scanning it and worked it out on the computer. Came out looking pretty great with really nice vibrant colors. So I guess after all it was a success, although not many people got to see it.
click for larger view
click for larger view
  Winter of 2000 was even more of a bummer than the year before. Granted I wasn't unemployed as I was the previous christmas, I still wasn't in the mood for this year's holiday. Regardless, I did manage to pull out a drawing for christmas of 2000.

In an effort to give something back to the many people who visit this site, I set up a form where people could sign up for a free christmas card. It was of course a lottery situation, I only had 20 extra cards to send out, but as a result of the details and chances, nobody really went for it. Aside from the normal amount of cards that I sent out to my own friends and family, through my site, I only sent out 2 cards to people who signed up. (Wes and also Jenn, you know who you are... thank you...). The attempt could have been a complete failure, and granted that I really wasn't in the mood to make cards this year, and literally forced myself to get them done at the risk of sending them out too late, I did manage to get them out and so far had gotten pretty good results from those who have received them. So after all, no matter how crummy the season was, and however much I lacked the holiday spirit, this year became the 5th "successful" year (if you can call it that), for making my christmas cards and keeping it a tradition.
Christmas 2001... ! I'm glad to say it was a success, had my normal amount of cards to send out to friends and family, and then had about 5 signups on the christmas card form for card requests, (thanks to an unknown friend in boston who referred me time and time again) :)

Like I was saying, was pretty happy with the result... had even managed to send a card to england, and even one to australia, which makes me glad to see that my site is "gettin' around". Thank you everyone who came by to say hello, I'm hoping this year's card was a pleasant surprise to everyone who got one as far as design and idea, (I thought it was wickedly funny), and... I'm at a point where I'm considering having some designs available for sale for next year. Just for those who might like cards for themselves to send to their friends and family. I'm excited that the cards have been the success they turned out to be, I do predict that next year I should get more signups, and I'm glad I'm gotten this 6th year tradition this far.
click for larger view
click for larger view
  Christmas of 2002 has been quite an interesting one. I had wanted to have the cards over and done with in august and yet I wasn't quite so inspired. It was only during thanksgiving weekend that the idea and design came to me, and if I'm so shamelessly allowed to recycle old work, the 2002 card also included some peeks from a few of the older cards.

One of the more fun aspects of this particular card was that it had used a lot of scanned images for patterns in the drawing. The wallpaper was pattern from a pillow, the fireplace was from a cinder block in my basement, the christmas tree pattern was a photo of an actual pine tree, the blanket on the boy, (me), was a banana republic pullover I have and I just added stars to it, the fur used for the dog was actually from a photo of cat fur and even more exciting... the pattern used for the sofa was from a pair of my underpants. hee hee hee.

m sure not many people knew my underpants were adorning their christmas decorations this year, but it made it out to perhaps about 18 people of which maybe 5 of those were internet signups. I guess you can say it's just a little harmless holiday fun.
If I remember correctly, I was in the middle of moving into a new apartment during the winter of 2003 so I didn't have time to work on a card that year. I always regret when I don't get the chance to work on one. Then for Christmas 2004 I was in a new place, then living with my new girlfriend who later became my wife and I had a chance at doing cards again for both of our families.

Looking at it now, it's not as detailed or elaborate as the one from 2002, so I'm assuming I may have been short on time, and not trying to cut corners on the job, but pull something together quick. This particular card features a cat we had where I depicted him as a trouble maker and caught in the middle of knocking over the Christmas tree.
click for larger view
click for larger view
  We were living in Florida during Christmas of 2006 since we had relocated for work. It seemed kind of ironic to do a card where me and my wife were wearing sweaters and flannel shirts and you can see the snow falling in the window. This just seemed so out of touch and perfect for the heading on the drawing that read, "Merry Christmas from Florida". I mean, I'm even smoking a pipe... !

Anyway, our whole family was in this particular shot, me, my wife and our two cats. As a small bonus detail to the drawing, there's a framed picture on the wall which features the drawing for the christmas card for 2004, just to secretly tell people which was the last card made.
Christmas 2007 is here. As of this writing, cards haven't gone out yet, but here is the drawing that will we handed out to family, friends, co-workes and relatives abroad. That's right, these are also going to South America and Europe.

I'm pretty happy with the result of this drawing. It features me and my wife, and three cats, one pictured in a frame that was featured in the two previous cards. I decided to include him in the frame since he "passed away" just this past year and is still in our thoughts. The other two cats in the image are currently part of our family.
click for larger view
In 2007, "Homemade Cards", the stamp that I place on the back side of each card is finally in the process of getting legally trademarked. This is a huge development for a project that started out in 1992 and has the potential for many more opportunities.

Originally started as an actual rubber stamp that was hand-cut out of an eraser, this graphic became the symbol for staying up late nights and working on creative projects. The drawing as well as the text has gone through different revisions which included in some cases hand-writing the name on every card sent before turning it into an actual self-inking rubber stamp with a specific font type.
click for larger view
  Then came 2008...

Now that I had a trademarked logo, I wanted to also try my hand at selling a few card decks and coming up with multiple and more generic designs. The design on the left went out to family and friends, while the 3 designs below were placed on Etsy in hopes of generating interest and sales with main concept that they were "home made" cards. Sadly, they didn't sell, either because they were posted too late in the season or due to lack of exposure. They were however convenient and small 10 packs of which I produced 2 decks of each. The design in the middle was the very first design/card I produced in 1992 using silkscreen and reproduced here digitally.
For 2010, I wanted to try a different approach. Not so much because of a lack of time, but I thought I'd try and simulate a paper cut-out style like collage using pastel paper as the texture for all the shapes. Unfortunately the printing came out somewhat dark, so the style/effect was lost during the process.  

© 2007 g.hernandez