Friday Roundup: 25 Illustrated Holiday Cards (+ Where to Buy Them!)

This year, I’m going to feel like a real adult; I’m send­ing out Christ­mas cards to my friends and fam­ily, finally! After years and years of receiv­ing thought­ful, beau­ti­ful cards, I will have my own to send. Per­haps you’re like me and are ven­tur­ing into the world of hol­i­day card buy­ing. Well, have no fear. I’ve com­piled a list of 25 dif­fer­ent appropriately-themed designs to peruse and purchase.

All of these cards fea­ture illus­tra­tion, hand let­ter­ing, and are made by small busi­nesses. Enjoy brows­ing these unique cards. Let me know if you find any other designs that you like (that aren’t included here)!

Hello! Lucky. (I include this because I'm spending my Christmas in Texas!)

Hello! Lucky. (I include this because I’m spend­ing my Christ­mas in Texas!)

Illustrative Paper Toys Make DIY Fun!

Paper toys are so much fun! And, as illus­tra­tive char­ac­ters, these objects have per­son­al­ity and and life. Here are two Etsy shops that each sell dif­fer­ent DIY prod­ucts for you to assem­ble and have fun with.

Furze Chan is based in Hong Kong and cre­ates move­able ani­mal puppets.

Most Likely Shop col­lab­o­rated with the artist BOICUT and cre­ated a unique kit that forms a lamp­shade, poster, and more!

If you’re inter­ested in paper toys, check out this book by Esther K. Smith: Magic Books and Paper Toys.

fuzchan4 fuzchan3 fuzchan2 fuzchan1most-likely-shop-5 most-likely-shop-1 most-likely-shop-3 most-likely-shop-2most-likely-shop-6

Get Lost in the Wild and Colorful Worlds by Mügluck


The illus­tra­tor Mügluck writes that “her style is char­ac­ter­ized by all the lay­ers of col­ors she uses and her kalei­do­scope com­po­si­tions.” And, I’d have to agree. Just take the time to look at all of these gor­geous details and you’ll get lost in the paint­ings. But, I’m not com­plain­ing; Mügluck’s world is a fas­ci­nat­ing cast of char­ac­ters who have a Cubist-like dis­tor­tion to them. At times, I feel like I’ve entered her dreamscape!

Via Gems.

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Illustrators with Ink: Lisa Congdon

Lisa Congdon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon.

It’s another install­ment of Illus­tra­tors with Ink, which is quickly becom­ing one of my favorite fea­tures I’ve ever had on Brown Paper Bag. Today, let’s take a look at illus­tra­tor Lisa Congdon’s tattoos!

Lisa Con­g­don is a cre­ative lady who prob­a­bly needs no intro­duc­tion. Her col­or­ful work is fea­tured in mag­a­zines, on wall­pa­per, tex­tiles, and in dif­fer­ent gal­leries around the United States. In addi­tion, Lisa is also a blog­ger and pub­lished author! She def­i­nitely keeps her­self busy, and I’m elated to share with you an inter­view with her about her ink.

How many tat­toos do you have? 12
How old were you when you got your first tat­too? 29 (I am 46 now).
Did you design any your­self? If not, would you ever?No, I don’t have any of my own design on my body, but I have designed many tat­toos for other peo­ple. And I do have a plan to design some­thing for myself soon.
Do you have a favorite? If so, which one and why? My favorite is prob­a­bly my tat­too of my chi­huahua, Wil­fredo. He’s my soul mate, my con­stant com­pan­ion, my anx­i­ety buffer. I love that he’ll be with me for­ever, even after he dies.
Where did you get your work done? I have got­ten tat­toos by a few dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but for the past eight years or so I have been going to Cicely Dani­her at Cyclops Tat­too in the Mis­sion Dis­trict of San Fran­cisco. She’s the best, in my opin­ion.
Is there any mean­ing behind any of your tat­toos? Any sto­ries?I had a really dif­fi­cult and trau­matic life expe­ri­ence last year and dur­ing that time I got my tiger tat­too with the words Je suis fort — which means “I am strong” in French. Hav­ing a tiger on one arm and a chi­huahua on the other keeps me pro­tected.
Do you see a con­nec­tion between the type of tat­toos you have and your illus­tra­tive work?Most of my tat­toos are visual sym­bols of things that I find beau­ti­ful or inspir­ing or sig­nif­i­cant, and so in that way they relate to my work, because my work is often about things I find beau­ti­ful, inspir­ing or sig­nif­i­cant (even dif­fi­cult or sad things). But visu­ally they are super dif­fer­ent because I didn’t design any of them.

lisa congdon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon.

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Photo credit: Sarah Deragon

Photo credit: Sarah Der­agon

Thanks, Lisa!

And, here’s some of her work:

lisa congdon

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Amanda White’s Cut Paper Collages of Writers’ Houses


Do you like lit­er­a­ture, poetry, and col­lage? Then you’re going to enjoy the work of illus­tra­tor Amanda White. The Span­ish cre­ative spe­cial­izes in depict­ing the homes of British writ­ers, and she does so with orig­i­nal cut paper col­lage. I love the com­bi­na­tion of tex­tures and col­ors that bring these places to life in ways that a paint­ing couldn’t. Amanda explains why this series is per­fect for her:

Writ­ers’ houses seem to have taken over my cre­ative life right now and for the fore­see­able future. They sat­isfy my crav­ings for Eng­land, my love of books and writ­ers, my pas­sion for archi­tec­ture and land­scape and my finick­ety inter­est in his­tor­i­cal research (which prob­a­bly dates back to my the­atre design train­ing all those years ago). And the means — recy­cling old mag­a­zines — allows me to indulge my over­rid­ing fond­ness for pattern.

You can pur­chase these images in her Etsy shop.

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Interview: Kirsten McCrea Talks Papirmass & Work + Life + Art Balance

Kirsten McCrea is the cre­ator of Papir­mass, an afford­able art sub­scrip­tion ser­vice that she runs with her hus­band, Jp King. Each month, they thought­fully curate the pair­ing of con­tem­po­rary artists and authors and gen­er­ally make the mail more fun! There’s a print on one side and a writ­ing on the other. So, after you’ve fin­ished read­ing, frame the print and hang it on your wall!

For those play­ing along at home, I’ve teamed up with Kirsten to bring you the Col­lage Scrap Exchange. Let’s get to know her bet­ter — read the long­form inter­view below!


Tell us a lit­tle bit about your back­ground and how you came up with the idea for Papir­mass. What was your ini­tial inspi­ra­tion for it?

I founded Papir­mass after grad­u­at­ing from art school mov­ing from Mon­treal back to my home­town. I was struck by the lack of access to excit­ing, con­tem­po­rary art (that is so easy to take for granted in large urban cen­tres). I was also work­ing mul­ti­ple jobs and had absolutely no free time, so I wasn’t able to make it out to the art events that were hap­pen­ing. I wanted great art to come right to my doorstep, and as an artist, I of course wanted it to be fairly afford­able. I Googled ‘afford­able art sub­scrip­tion’, and when noth­ing came up I knew I had to cre­ate one.

In the 5 years since then Papir­mass has mailed over 45,000 art prints to peo­ple around the world! Each print fea­tures art on the front and con­tem­po­rary writ­ing on the back. It has moved with me back to Mon­treal, and now to my cur­rent home in Toronto.


 You started Papir­mass in 2009. How many dif­fer­ent artists have you fea­tured dur­ing that time? How do you decide who/what makes it into each issue?

By the end of this year we will have pub­lished the work of over 100 artists and writ­ers! Each issue fea­tures a dif­fer­ent pair­ing of art and writ­ing, so it can be a chal­lenge to find works that res­onate with each other. We work well in advance, select­ing pieces based on qual­ity and wait­ing until we find the right artis­tic or lit­er­ary match.

We have an open call for sub­mis­sions, but with me being an artist and Jp King (our lit­er­ary edi­tor and my hus­band) hav­ing a back­ground in Cre­ative Writ­ing, it’s also excit­ing for us to approach the long list of cre­ative peo­ple we admire to ask them to participate.

Con­tinue read­ing

Michelle Summers’ Nebulous of Gingerly-Drawn Designs

michelle summers

Michelle Sum­mers is a ceramic artist liv­ing in Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota. She dab­bles in dif­fer­ent artis­tic media like paint­ing, draw­ing, and jew­elry, and you can def­i­nitely see the influ­ence in these phys­i­cal objects. The multi-layered designs fea­ture gingerly-drawn por­traits of peo­ple and birds, in addi­tion to non-representational shapes. Each piece feels like a neb­u­lous or stream of con­scious­ness; it reminds me of all of the things that I see every­day and how their mem­ory floats in and out of my mind at any given time.

Michelle has an Etsy shop (although at the time of this writ­ing it’s tak­ing a lit­tle break) and a blog. Visit them both!

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Colleen Tighe: The Newest Illustrator of BPB’s Header Picture!

colleen tighe

I’m delighted to share the newest header pic­ture for the Brown Paper Bag. Colleen Tighe, a Brooklyn-based illus­tra­tor, has cre­ated this gor­geous illus­tra­tion of girls play­ing with mar­bles. I love the tex­ture and sub­tle nature of the image.

Leran more about Colleen and the illus­tra­tion below. As always, the work is for sale in the Brown Paper Bag shop as a 4″ x 6″ print — per­fect for fram­ing! Grab one before they’re all gone.

Loca­tion: Brook­lyn, NY
What was your dream job when you were 7 years old? I wanted to be an artist, nov­el­ist, and vet. I’m at least one of those, and I live with some­one else’s dog, so 1.2/3 isn’t bad.
Your pro­fes­sion now: Hope­ful illus­tra­tor and a cus­tomer ser­vice email robot on the side
What’s your favorite thing to draw? Oh hm, I’ve always had a thing with hair, I love draw­ing hair, and I like draw­ing sim­ple repet­i­tive pat­terns on things. I’ll end up doo­dling lit­tle flow­ers and leaves over every­thing.
How did you cre­ate your illus­tra­tion? Was it any dif­fer­ent than your reg­u­lar process? No dif­fer­ent than my usual process. I do a sort of pho­to­shop col­lage now, where I’ll block in the image on Pho­to­shop with flat col­ors and cre­ate the shapes of the peo­ple or objects, and then I go back and add in tex­tures I’ve scanned in and brushes I have in Pho­to­shop, and then I’ll add the lines and defin­ing fea­tures last.
You men­tioned to me that you were inspired by the Mar­garet Atwood book titled Cat’s Eye. Can you describe what that story is about and how it influ­enced your illus­tra­tion? Cat’s Eye fol­lows the life of a woman named Elaine from her child­hood to her present day life, cut­ting back and forth from the past to the present. It focuses on a lot of things, but espe­cially women and their friend­ships. I found the most inter­est­ing parts were of her child­hood. Elaine has a manip­u­la­tive and abu­sive best friend, and it shows how weird and dis­ori­ent­ing it is as a child to expe­ri­ence that, and how intense toxic friend­ships can be. This illus­tra­tion was inspired by that rela­tion­ship, and Cat’s Eye comes from the cat’s eye mar­ble Elaine car­ries with her, so that’s where the mar­ble cir­cle came from.
Do you have any excit­ing projects on the hori­zon? Cur­rently I don’t! I’m doing another Mar­garet Atwood inspired piece for the sec­ond vol­ume of Ladies of Lit­er­a­ture, a great zine, that will be com­ing out I think some­time in early 2015. Besides that, I grad­u­ated from art school in the spring and I’ve been try­ing to let myself get really inward and exper­i­ment with my stuff pri­vately to try to fig­ure out what I want to do with­out the pres­sure of show­ing it on the inter­net or to a group of peo­ple. I would actu­ally love to con­tinue on this theme of young girls and games, though, and cre­ate some more pic­tures based on that.

Friday Roundup: 17 Illustrations from #Inktober

Are you famil­iar with #ink­to­ber? If not, it’s a fun cre­ative exer­cise that chal­lenges artists and illus­tra­tors to com­plete one ink draw­ing a day for the entire month of Octo­ber. I kept see­ing the hash­tag crop up on my Tum­blr, Twit­ter, and Insta­gram, and so I started col­lect­ing some of the draw­ings that I liked. Here are 17 of ‘em that were com­pleted dur­ing #ink­to­ber.  There are, of course, tons and tons more images that were tagged, and these are just some of my favorites. Search any num­ber of social net­works and you’ll pour through so many drawings!

This sounds cool, right? Any­one is wel­come to play, so if you missed it this year, keep it in mind for 2015.

And happy Hal­loween! Are you dress­ing up in a cos­tume? If so, as what? Check out my Hal­loween round up from last week. There is some adorably spooky stuff on there.