Andrea Brown Holiday Card: Step by Step

I thought for sure I had shared this here, but apparently the craziness of the holidays took its toll on me and I completely forgot. Better now than never, right? Well, I had the wonderful opportunity to illustrate the annual holiday card for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. My agent, Jennifer, is of course, one of the agents and she asked if I could offer my talents for such an honor. I immediately said yes. Here's a little step-by-step of my process working on the card (click on each to view larger in Flickr):

ABLA holiday card: rough sketches
Here are my first initial ideas put together and presented to the powers that be at the agency. Idea A was too similar to an earlier card that was done several years ago (and I think that I might've remembered my agent mentioning the idea to me and just had it in the back of my mind - by the way, the agency is based out of San Francisco, hence the 'painted lady' reference). Idea B would've been too involved, considering that our time was of the essence at the time (trying to get it out before the holidays, of course!). They went for Idea C, which I thought would work best anyway.

ABLA holiday card: 1st rough After getting all the reference photos of the agents together and doing some rough sketching in my sketchbook, I then scanned what I thought were the best rendition of each agent and put them together to see how it would all look. As you can see, the background was a separate drawing and I just shifted and moved around the faces until I liked what I saw.

ABLA holiday card: 2nd rough After getting the composition down and all the agents in place, I drew over the rough pencil sketches on my Cintiq a more refined sketch - this was then printed out in greyscale and I drew over that (on my animation disc) the final pencil lines for each of the agents. They are all drawn separately, in order for me to have the freedom of moving them around, just in case.

If you look at the final, you can see that I changed the hair for two of the agents, as they had since changed their hairstyles. No biggie!

And violá! The end result:

Andrea Brown Literary Agency Holiday Card 2011
I had such a great time working on this card! It's always a pleasure for me to do something Christmas-y or wintry - the ribbon-like lettering was really fun for me to work on as well.

Hope you enjoyed this process post! If you have any questions as to how I work or my thoughts on what I did here, feel free to ask away in the comments.


  1. I loved getting my card in the mail, and it's so cool to see how you did it! Thanks for the post!

  2. And...I got that card! And it was delightful. And I'm glad to know more about how it made its way to my mantelpiece.

  3. I got one of these in the mail as well! Looked great, loved the scroll writing.

  4. Oh, I love this! And I always love process photos...it reminds me that even the pros start simple, loose, and with blocks and circles.

  5. it's so interesting to read the "behind the scenes" of your process. i'm intrigued!

  6. I like seeing the design process as much as I like the final outcome. Your blog is a lot of fun to read.

  7. Great post, process drawings are always so interesting.