Christmas Card Watercolor Art
The first time I painted watercolor Christmas cards I was sitting at a table in the cafe of my local book store. It was a brisk, cold morning in early November in my hometown of Bloomington, Indiana. My daughter was visiting from the Pacific Northwest and while she worked on a blog, I painted. It wasn't long before I had a number of cards out on the table, drying.
My cards started drawing the attention of shoppers who had come into the cafe for a coffee and sweet holiday snack. Unexpectedly, a young man came to my table and asked me how much I charge for a card. I told him twelve dollars. He bought five. Then he stepped away, called his sister, and came back to the table and bought four more, including the one I was working on at the moment. I soon realized making Christmas watercolor cards was not only a lovely distraction from the time commitment of creating larger paintings, but it was also a way to make a little extra cash.
It was a total surprise to me that doing something so fun, quick and easy would be so admired and sought after. I ended up with a number of commissions and I delivered on all of them, on time. People want something special at Christmas time, but honestly, the cards do not even have to be Christmas-y in nature. They can just be snow scenes. They can be mountains and skiiers, trees with branches laden with snow, it really doesn't matter. It's the essence of winter, and the joys of the season that comes through, that matters.
What Happened Next?
As it would so happen, the young man who bought my cards also wanted me to write the name of the place (the scene I just painted on them), on the back. He mentioned that he had been to the northwest before, which is what moved him to purchase my cards. Now, I wasn't painting particular scenes so I was a little unprepared for the request but it didn't take long for me to put names to the characteristics in my paintings. The young man was happy, and I learned an important lesson that day. Always name your cards. It's important to people.
My Card Painting Kit
It doesn't take a lot of pigment to create a card, and you don't need all the colors on the color wheel either. My advice is, keep it simple. A small travel kit will do nicely, along with a couple of your favorite brushes, a water cup, a tube of titanium white gouache (for snow), and your cards. I also like to bring clear card sleeves for packaging cards and envelopes when I've finished painting (and the cards are completely dry). If you don't have the clear sleeves, you can purchase these at most arts and crafts stores. The most important thing is to get going on painting cards. It is the season. The countdown has begun.
If you love Christmas as I do, and for that matter if you love the winter holiday season, then you'll enjoy making cards, and selling them! Try going out somewhere public. If you've never painted like that before, or never painted cards, just remember there's a first time for everything. You may be surprised, and making Christmas watercolor card art may just blossom into something you look forward to doing every year.
Questions & Answers
How did you know how much to charge for your art?
I really didn't know how much to charge, and I wasn't prepared for selling at that time. My price varies depending on where I am and what the situation is, but I charge anywhere from $8 to $12 a card. For example, if I'm producing ten cards on commission, I'll tend to give a break on the price. I hope that helps, and I hope you'll try it out. Post a picture of your cards; I would love to see them.