For My Daddy, This Father’s Day…

Father’s Day is fast approaching (Sunday 19th June, FYI), and we want to show the father’s in our lives how deeply appreciative we are of them!

We understand the importance of making somebody feel loved and special with our greeting cards! Nothing is more personal than a heartfelt, handwritten message, which you can create using our handwriting tool within our app.

It’s a simple, handy feature, which is handy for the kids who want to write their own message to their Dad, but takes out the hassle for you, as we post and deliver your card.

Susse Linton sat down with her adorable son, Rocket to demonstrate how easy it is for children to upload their own messages of love to their Dad’s this Father’s Day

rocket-1Rocket creating his handwritten message
rocket-2Choosing his choice of Father’s Day card

 

rocket-3Taking a picture of his handwritten message
rocket-4Message successfully uploaded to his card

Need a little inspiration for your child’s message or perhaps your own? We’ve popped some heartfelt suggestions below:

‘To Daddy, Happy Father’s Day to the best dad in the whole wide world.’

‘To Dad, You’re my hero! Wishing you a very happy Father’s Day!’

‘To the best Dad, I love you loads. Happy Father’s Day!’

‘To the best Dad EVER! Have a wonderful day – you deserve it this Father’s Day!’

‘To Dad, Happy Father’s Day you old chap!’

‘To Daddy, This is your day, so enjoy! Happy Father’s Day.’

Our Very First #thortfulillustrates Design Brief!

Psssst… In case you didn’t know, one of our original thortful creators Jon Higham teaches illustration to the rather lucky students of Sussex Coast College, Hastings! In aid of givingsomething back, a little while ago, thortful decided to team up with Jon and his students to give them a shiny new project: to design some AWESOME greeting cards!

Students brief

Eager-faced and pencils in hand, ten budding illustration students all arrived at the thortful office to receive a live briefing this week, and we want to share some insider info on what we told them! 

The brief was to design three cards, for three of the top-selling occasion categories across the industry: Birthday, Thank You and New Home. With this in mind, we gave them some top tips on how to create fantastic (and most importantly!) commercial cards. Check out this informative guide we created:

7 Tips for creating amazing greeting cards

Psssst… In case you didn’t know, one of our original thortful creators Jon Higham teaches illustration to the rather lucky students of Sussex Coast College, Hastings! In aid of giving a little something back, a little while ago, thortful decided to team up with Jon and his students to give them a shiny new project: to design some AWESOME greeting cards! Eager-faced and pencils in hand, ten budding illustration students all arrived at the thortful office to receive a live briefing this week, and we want to share some insider info on what we told them :) The brief was to design three cards, for three of the top-selling occasion categories across the industry: Birthday, Thank You and New Home. With this in mind, we gave them some top tips on how to create fantastic - and most importantly commercial - cards! Check out this informative guide we created: Biscuits were eaten, cards were studied and assessed, and ideas were mulled over, but to see the finished results you’ll have to wait until October! Hopefully the project will offer students some valuable work experience so that they develop the skills and confidence to work professionally, not to mention help them to get on board as thortful creators and conquer the greeting card market… Stay tuned to our social accounts for some behind the scenes shots of our students working on their designs in the build up to the submission date!

Biscuits were eaten, cards were studied and assessed, and ideas were mulled over, but to see the finished results you’ll have to wait until October! Hopefully the project will offer the students some valuable work experience, so that they gain some insight into the skills and confidence needed to work professionally, not to mention help them to get on board as thortful creators and conquer the greeting card market…

Stay tuned to all thortful news with our social accounts for some behind-the-scenes shots of our students working on their designs in the build up to the submission date!

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The Great British Bank Holiday Essentials

Nothing quite says a British ‘summer’ like a bank holiday. Whether you’re headed off to the coast with family, embarking on a road trip (and inevitably getting stuck in gridlock traffic), or prepping the BBQ despite the threat of rain – what does bank holiday mean to you?

We’ve rounded up the most quintessentially British things to do on a typical bank holiday weekend – how many can you tick off?

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CAMPING
The classic British tradition whenever a three-day weekend comes around. Whether you’re packing up the camper/caravan, or pitching a tent in a muddy field, this bank holiday staple is guaranteed to bring tears, laughter, stress and a lot of mud. Don’t forget to pack the wellies!

ROAD TRIP
The extra day suddenly inspires us to fill up the tank, jump in the car and head out on the road to explore a different part of the country. Whether you’re heading towards open countryside, or escaping to a forest retreat – make sure you stock up on the car snacks and create a jam-worthy car playlist!

THE CLASSIC BBQ
We’re a nation who LOVE BBQing at any opportunity and regardless of the weather. Bucketing it down? No problem, pop the barbie under a gazebo, umbrella or makeshift shelter. Blazing hot sunshine? Fill up an old wheelie bin to cool the beers. Come rain or shine, there will be a lot of BBQs being fired up this weekend and we’re already looking forward to ours!

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ONLINE SHOPPING
A long weekend means some hours to kill, and what better way than chilling on the sofa, with your laptop, a cuppa and biscuit (we highly recommend chocolate hobnobs), whilst perusing the online stores. We’re even offering FREE delivery on orders for the bank holiday using the code SPRING2016.

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NETFLIX
There’s no better time to catch up on your favourite programmes, and we’re definitely dedicating some time to the sofa with some snacks in hand, whilst watching the latest TV obsession.

BRUNCH
Catching up with friends is valuable, and it’s made even better over a glass of prosecco and Eggs Royale. How do you eat yours?!

COUNTRY WALKS
Getting out in the fresh air with loved ones is the perfect way to spend time together. Why not pick up your camera and practice your photography skills whilst enjoying the great outdoors?

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DIY
Got some redecoratin to do? Is the house or garden in need of a makeover? Then bank holiday is the perfect opportunity to get the overalls on, lop those bushes and paint on that wall you’ve been talking about doing forever!

Shop the latest designs this bank holiday on thortful here.

The Chelsea Flower Show Edit

Wild Flower Card

Wild Flowers Card

It’s time for our favourite annual floral extravaganza- The Chelsea Flower Show  and 2016’s is a petal packed delight. Don’t fret if you didn’t bag tickets we’re bursting with beautiful blooms to share with you.

Since 1982, the Royal Horticulture Society has always named a “Rose of the Year” and we can see why, these fragrant blooms are a regular favourite. Share the romance of this lovely flower with Liane Brookes’s  stunning card.

Roses in Bloom

Roses in Bloom

Each year there is always a memorable poppies tribute, with this year’s provided by Phillip Johnson, keep the memories and sentiment alive with Damian Ward’s delightful photo.

Poppies in Meadow

Poppies in Meadow

What better way to celebrate Harrod’s English eccentrics garden than with these fuchsia foxgloves with their tiny trumpet shaped blooms. Don Hooper‘s snap captures them in all their glory here.

Foxgloves

Foxgloves

For fans of a tipple, you’re not being left in the shade, Cloudy Bay’s garden designed by Sam Ovens is designed to echo the flavours of Sauvignon Blanc. Either way we feel wine and flowers are a great combination and this lovely card by Cat Coquilette is the perfect way to share this sentiment.

Vino Veritas Card

Vino Veritas Card

The Queen’s 90th birthday is also being honoured with a garden of it’s own. Sure to be full of busy lizzie’s and lots of other lovely floral tributes too.

HRH 90th Birthday Card

HRH 90th Birthday Card

The Watahan East & West Garden, designed by Chihori Shibiyama & Yano Tea is the perfect example of Japanese inspired elegance. Share the beauty of the delicate Sakura with this lovely card by Jenny Lloyd.

Geisha and Sakura Blossom

Geisha and Sakura Blossom

Finally it wouldn’t be a real garden event without some lawn ornamentation too. Here’s some gnomes courtesy of Sophie Corrigan to finish off your florals in style.

Garden Gnome Card

Garden Gnome Card

If you’ve still not got your fill of florals then fear not we’ve got a great selection of flower filled cards to help you brighten someone’s day.

A Cup of Tea With…oi Doris

After meeting Ann Worsnip aka oi Doris at #PGLive, we were left wowed by her incredible, artistic designs created just with a TYPEWRITER! 

Ahead of her #thortfulTakeover this coming weekend, we sat down for a chat with the face of oi Doris to find out her secrets to creating greeting cards using only a typewriter. Oh, and she let us in on a few tricks as well…

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A typewriter is considered a real vintage gem! When did you think of creating artwork using one?
It all started by chance! I made portraits of my nephews children for Christmas presents – I thought it would be something a little different.  That was 2 years ago and I haven’t stopped typing since.

Is there a certain trick to it?
It’s actually like colour by numbers. I put down a sketch first and then fill it in with different letters and symbols.

What’s been the trickiest design you’ve made using this method?
It has to be Lytham Windmill, which is a local landmark.  I just couldn’t get the sails to look straight.

How long does a typical design take to create?
A typical design can actually take me anything from a couple of hours to a few days. Lytham Windmill for example took me three days!

What inspires your designs?
My inspiration seems to be mainly focused on boys toys! If you notice, a lot of my designs are cars, bikes, planes, which probably comes from having a family full of boys! I do like to do local landmarks and buildings too.

Tell us a story behind one of your designs…
It has to be the story of the Ferrari.  This was originally a commission I did for a friend. He actually owned Nigel Mansells Ferrari and when he sold it, his wife commissioned me to do a type of it, so it could hang in the garage instead. When he sold it, it eventually was then owned by Chris Evans, and it was one of the many cars that was being auctioned off by him last year.

Are there any designs you’re particularly proud of?
I do like the hare – I think he is a very cheeky chap!

What do you do after a long day of creating artwork?
You would think I would stop being creative, but I swap the typewriter for the potters wheel. I have just bought a second-hand one from eBay and I love it! It’s very tactile and relaxing. I also like to do Aerial pilates, where you hang upside down in a hammock type thing!

Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you…
Lol! I’m 50 and have two grandsons!

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook.

Lastly, name three designers who we should definitely be f0llowing right now…

A local chap called Robin Ross, who is a screen printer (@Robinprint). Another designer whose work I love is Helen Gillespie of Betsy and Els (@betsyandels). Helen laser cuts her designs and I love Grayson Perry! Have you seen his new sculpture?

See all of Ann’s designs on thortful here.

A Cup Of Tea With…Liz Harry

What happens when thortful teams up with Liz Harry ahead of her #thortfulTakeover? The lady who has designed legendary artwork for some of the world’s biggest music stars?

Well, a huge catch-up for starters as she spills the beans on all the famous artists she’s worked for. Juicy!
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What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up?
Switch off the alarm…haha! This usually drifts into a bit of a look on the phone at Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook – as a work-from-home-office-freelancer, it’s a great way to get a quick inspirational fix over a cuppa and to feel connected to the outside world. I try to squeeze in visits to exhibitions, galleries, arts events whenever I can, but it’s amazing how much I can find globally, all from my kitchen table!
 
What does a typical working day look like in the life of Liz Harry?
The great thing about my work is no two days are usually the same – I can be illustrating from home one day, then building an installation in a theatre or on set the next. I do have a structure to the day, which is mainly to fit around my 3 kids.
So in the morning I’ll respond to emails, then onto the job in hand. I usually work through lunch when I’m absorbed in what I’m doing and then have a break at 2.30-3.30 to pick up my middle child from school, which gives me a quick refresh! Sometimes if it’s a quiet day, I’ll stop there, other days I’ll carry on till 5/6 until everyone’s home for dinner. After the kids are in bed, I’ll sometimes pick up work again.
Depending on the job, working of a night can be amazingly productive and there’s nights where I forget the time and stay up till the wee hours. Of course that all changes the next morning if I’ve only had 3 hours sleep! I generally like to complete works ahead of a deadline, then I have time to ponder it a bit and make any tweaks I feel it needs. I think I’m possibly a workaholic!?
 
You’ve created artwork for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Which artist was your favourite to work with?
Argh – so many to choose from! There’s artists you just click with personally and feel are a kindred spirit, even aside from the work (though the two are almost always intrinsically intertwined!), and I’ve really enjoyed the time spent with Sparrow And The Workshop and Pearl And The Puppets.
Then there’s the artists that enable you to create something that you not only get joy from doing, but it boosts your career too. I couldn’t leave the Arctic Monkeys out of this list, or Jessie J and The Zutons. I have to especially mention my long standing clients The Feeling – whom I’ve worked with for 10 years this coming December – whom have been a joy to know personally, professionally and creatively.
I also have to mention the two labels that I credit my career to Deltasonic Records and Universal – who took chances on a young upstart.
 
Were there any artists who were difficult to work with?
Not that I can recall, but there’s obviously been many stumbling blocks along the way! For all the fantastic clients, there’s been ones where I’ve struggled to ‘realise the visual’. I find that most issues with creative work arrives when you don’t have a similar visual language.
Most people working within the creative industries have developed and been educated in terms and styles their whole life, so communicating creative-to-creative is usually easy.
 
What’s your inspiration soundtrack?
My partner is also a freelancer working from home in animation. Essentially I create still images and he does moving ones, so its a bit of a battle of playlists! He definitely broadens my musical tastes, but when he’s out, I play all the pop and as he puts it, ‘sad, singing ladies’.
 
What’s the best thing about illustrating summed up in a sentence?
I get to do what I love and pay the bills with it.
 
Share one tip that every aspiring illustrator needs to know…
If you don’t have an agent you need to get a little business savvy! Boring I know, but it’s the one thing that can take you from hobby to career. Also persistence and self belief is key, which is something that can’t be taught but can be developed!
Set realistic goals alongside dream ones – break it down into steps! Start with the realistic ones, crossing them off as and when you can. You can’t control how your work will be received, or if you’ll get a certain commission, but if you have goals you’re constantly working on you’ll always feel like you’re moving towards your dream.
 
Tell us one of your favourite places to go for inspiration (can be online or offline!)
Online I’m a big pinner and would be gutted if Pinterest suddenly didn’t exist! As mentioned before, I always try to get to cultural events, but if a creative block becomes a problem, just doing something else for a while helps. I take short breaks in trendy coffee shops, as a break can give me time to mull things over more organically until inspiration hits.
 
Lastly, what’s the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? 
I like heavy metal. Goes back to my teenage years as a headbanger.
 
Check out Liz Harry’s designs on thortful here.

Starting out and getting seen: 4 top tips for thortful success!

So you’ve created your account, customised your profile, and uploaded some fantastic card designs…but what now?

As with all new creative ventures, getting your thortful cards in front of the right audience will really help to ensure they are a success, especially if you’re starting your design career from scratch. Read on for our top tips to make sure your cards get seen by the right people and start to become the bestsellers they’re meant to be!

Tell your friends!

Tell your friends!

1. Start with who you know

The best place to start is with your pre-existing network of superfans: friends and family! They’re already your biggest supporters, and your cards are giving them a way to send beautiful, unique designs made by someone they truly care about – you!

It’s not just friends and family that can help you out here though: past clients or colleagues, old teachers, your hairdresser or even the postie! Anyone you know (even if an acquaintance) will already be a ‘warm connection’ for you, so will be more likely to be interested in your cards.

Chat to them in person, and try to make it personal by telling your story: where did your inspiration come from? Make sure to ask their opinion whilst you’re at it too – it will give you valuable feedback and give them a sense of being involved with the designs themselves, which will mean they’re more likely to tell their friends about them or buy them themselves!

Engage an influencer

Engage an influencer

2. Approach an influencer

Write down a hitlist of people who could really help you if they see how great your cards are. They might be people with strong social networks or an engaged audience which might be interested in your cards: bloggers are a great place to start, as they have dedicated followings who they can influence.

But how to identify these people? Maybe your cards feature some cute kittens, so you might want to approach a cat-themed magazine to feature them, or perhaps your cards show some Star Wars characters and might be worthy of a mention in a fan group’s newsletter?

These people won’t necessarily be too easy to get on side, so you need to think about how you can convince them. This is a matter of playing to their interests! What will they get out of featuring your cards? Will it interest their audience? An endorsement from an influencer could be just the thing to kick-start your sales, so get chatting!

Get social

Get social

3. Get social

Identify which social network best suits your potential audience and work to develop your following! Whilst Twitter is great, people often find that their posts can get lost in all the noise, whereas Instagram can be a great way to showcase your cards and pique a potential customer’s interest whilst remaining authentic to your brand!

Make sure you’re posting quality content by sharing and re-sharing things which will interest your audience. Behind-the-scenes and ‘work in progress’ imagery works really well for creatives, so give your followers an insight into who you are and how you design.

Share your cards themselves! No-one wants to be spammed with sales posts all the time, but if you’ve uploaded a new design, or have a card for an upcoming occasion, perhaps a new collection, this is a great way to create a buzz around the launch of your thortful collection.

Send your cards

Send your cards

4. Send your cards!

Of course, if you don’t, then how can you ask anyone else to? But more importantly, once someone sees the quality and uniqueness of your card design in their own hands, they’re ten times more likely want to send them to their network! Send your cards to business contacts, bloggers, even your aunt on her birthday: the more you can send, the more people you’ll convince.

Do you have any tips for getting started and getting seen? Share them with us here or tweet us 🙂

Post adapted from Red Lemon Club.

7 inspirational photographers you should be following on Instagram

A picture can speak a thousand words and evoke so much emotion, so with that in mind, we wanted to celebrate all things photography here at thortful this month.

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Aside from our talented photography creators who capture beautiful moments from behind the lens, Instagram is an exceptional platform to seek photography inspiration.

Search a host of popular hashtags such as, ‘#photography, #photographer, #photooftheday, #photographylovers’ etc. and you’ll discover a treasure trove of imagery waiting to be devoured.

Here’s some of the best photographers we uncovered on Instagram who left us wanting to brush up on our photography skills…

1. Simone Bramante: @brahmino

Simon Bramante

2. Victoria Siemer: @witchoria

Victoria Siemer

3. Sarah Palmer: @heysp

Sarah Palmer

4. Theron Humphrey: @thiswildidea

Theron Humphrey

5. Annonymous: @sejkko

Sejkko

6. Will Burrard-Lucas: @willbl

Will Burrard-Lucas

7. Dirk Bakker: @Macenzo

Dirk Bakker

Check out our photography collection on thortful here.

If you have stunning images you would like to share with the world in the form of a greeting card, we’d love to see them in our catalogue. Size them perfectly using our downloadable template and guides and upload away!

Brush up your designs

Let your imagination run wild with these free PS brush sets hand-picked by the thortful team. Download our favourite kits of high-res brush strokes to fuel your creativity. Why not show us the results and upload those card designs here!

1. Coloured Pencil Brush Pack

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Download Pencil Brushes

2. Paint Brush Pack

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Download Paint Brushes

3. Watercolour Brush Pack

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Download Watercolour Brushes

4. Watercolour Splatters Pack

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Download Watercolour Splatters

5. Spray Paint Pack

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Download Spray Paint Brushes

6. Drip Spray Paint Pack

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Download Drip Spray Paint

We hope you enjoy these brush packs as much as we do! Happy installing 🙂

Association of Illustrators announces call for entries – The Prize for Illustration 2017

The Association of Illustrators (AOI), in partnership with London Transport Museum, is delighted to announce that submissions are now open for The Prize for Illustration 2017.

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Image: Eliza Southwood

This year’s theme is Sounds of the City – an illustrated interpretation of urban sound.

The aim of The Prize for Illustration 2017 competition is to attract artwork for display in an exhibition at London Transport Museum that is colourful, inspiring and celebrates the sounds heard in the hubbub and quiet spaces of the UK’s vibrant, diverse, multi-layered cities. The deadline is 26 September 2016.

Entrants are invited to visually capture sound heard in our UK cities in a single illustration. We want to see quiet and relaxing through to loud and frenetic city sounds. Inspiration might be from natural or man-made sounds. Where does your ear meet your eye? You may be inspired by the lyrics from a song about a city. You might illustrate sound in a recognisable UK city, or your visualisation might be a soundscape heard in any UK city. You might just illustrate the people, activities or things that produce the sounds – imaginary or real, past or present. Your imagination is the limit.

The roar of traffic. Shrieks of children playing. Honking of car horns. Rattle and hum of music on a radio. Barking of an urban fox. Banging of a door. Rustle of trees in a green city space. Drilling of road works. Ticking of a clock. Song inspired by a city. Calls of a market trader. Thump of drums at a concert. Shouts of people on the streets. Blaring of a police siren. Murmurs of people talking in a meeting. Screech of brakes on a bus. Ringing of bells.

Impress the judges with your illustrated interpretation of the common, the curious, the persistent and the distinctive chorus of sounds we hear around us day and night and be in with a chance of having your work displayed at the famous London Transport Museum and winning the top prize.

Prizes will be awarded in three levels:
First prize: £2,000 and display of the winning image on a London Transport Museum poster to be displayed on the London Underground.
Second prize: £1,000
Third prize: £750

There is also the possibility that shortlisted images will be featured on merchandise sold in London Transport Museum’s shop.

The competition is open to illustrators and students of illustration throughout the world. The top 100 entries selected by a panel of independent judges will be displayed in an exhibition at London Transport Museum that will open in May 2017 and run until September 2017. The winners will be announced at a private award ceremony that will take place in May 2017.

The Prize for Illustration 2017 continues Transport for London’s legacy of design that dates back over 100 years. London Transport Museum’s collection of graphic art is one of the most important in the world and includes over 5,000 posters and artworks by famous artists including Man Ray, Paul Nash and Edward McKnight Kauffer.

To enter visit theaoi.com