Happy Cards To Welcome In Spring

A new season is here, and whilst we’re experiencing the typical April Showers, we’re welcoming the change in temperature and the fact it’s still daylight on our journey home. Spring calls for a good clear-out, so throw out the old, dust off the winter residue and brighten your home with these uplifting cards…

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By Tom Parsons. View it here on thortful.

This design sums up the beauty of spring perfectly. The man behind the lens is Tom Parsons, who is a natural light photographer, and shoots both pretty flowers and austere landscapes. This card would look perfect placed on display next to a vase of fresh blooms.

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By Sarah Defriend. View it here on thortful.

Sarah Defriend’s whimsical illustrations are a wonderful reminder of warmer times. A chance to experience the outdoors, immerse yourself in nature, appreciate the greenery and teaming wildlife. We’d also quite like to replicate the incredible hair in this card.

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By Sophie Corrigan. View it here on thortful.

Sophie Corrigan’s hilariously cute illustrations speak for themselves. If you’re a fan of animals and puns – she’s got plenty of characters to suit: our favourites are Chaihuahua, Pugtato and Instaham.

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By Lucy & George. View it here on thortful.

We couldn’t think of a better card to represent springtime in Britain – a spattering of rain (pronounced pou-ri-ng!) with a sprinkle of sunshine, but this sunny design reminds us to stay hopeful! If you’re looking for a card to spell out perfectly how you feel, check out their page here.

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By Victoria Black. View it here on thortful.

Victoria Black’s typographic cards are bloomin’ gorgeous (and searingly honest – one of our favourites is “I hate you the least”). This particular image reminds us of cherry blossom in Paris. See the rest of Victoria’s cards here.

Check out more spring cards here!

The Iconic Children’s Book Illustrators of All Time

We’re celebrating International Children’s Book Day as you’re only as old as you feel, and at thortful, we’re never too old to enjoy a brilliant children’s book. No one forgets the feeling of reading a book for the first time and being absorbed in its pages. The best stories leave us envious of everyone we recommend them to, who’ll experience them with fresh eyes. So, for International Children’s Book Day, we decided to write an ode to some of the most iconic children’s book illustrators of all time:

  1. Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

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A book which has stood the test of time – this tale is still read to children all over the world. The vivid colours, organic patchwork style, and its relatable story of a caterpillar who comes into its own is an aspiring one for all children. 

2. Maurice Sendak, Where The Wild Things Are

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This novel really captured the spirit of a child’s imagination and encouraged us all to dare to explore our inner minds. Spike Jonze created a beautiful adaptation of the same book into a film, and the movie has since inspired a full-length novel (sans illustrations).

3. Dr. Seuss, Collected Works

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Dr. Seuss was both a talented American writer, and an illustrator. The Cat in the Hat, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax etc. have all become synonymous with the powerful messages they convey. If there’s a life lesson to learn for both children and adults, you can bet you’ll find one on every page within his novels. 

4. Quentin Blake, Collaborations with Roald Dahl

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Roald Dahl deserves an honourable mention on this list for creating the beautifully vivid imagery that inspired Quentin Blake’s most famous work. Blake’s pen, ink and watercolour illustrations are completely distinct and pioneering in style: our personal favourites are Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach and The Twits.

5. Thomas Taylor, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Of course this series had to feature in our definitive list and without a doubt, every child should read Harry Potter and immerse oneself in the magical world of Hogwarts. Harry’s friends (and enemies) have been illustrated thousands of times by talented fan art creators across the world, but Thomas Taylor’s original depiction of Harry in front of the Hogwarts Express for the first time transcends language barriers, borders and crucially, ages.

Can You Guess the Real from the Fake this April Fools Day?

We’re suckers for April Fool’s Day. And we mean we’re fooled every single time! 

This year, to save ourselves from falling for another joke, we decided to let you play the guessing game instead. Can you guess which of the cards below are legit, and which are there to throw you off?

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We all know someone who can relate to this one. But is it a ‘Thinking of You’ card for your friend or just a quote?

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If (and only if!) this is a real card, it’d be useful to own! You and your significant other would never buy another card again.

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Slightly controversial, but the question is: Would you send this to someone going through a divorce for a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour, or is it one celebration too far?

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This certainly made us chuckle and if this is a real card, you could just reuse again and again. (See last years card for more details)

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Ouch. Is this banter you would trade with your best friends, or is it too mean to have ever been invented?

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Is there anything more ingenious than a shot-glass card for an 18th (or if you’re in the US, 21st)? Perhaps it’s just too good to be true.

Answers under the cut!

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5 things we love the most about Easter

Easter – a four-day bank holiday extravaganza, which means eating copious amounts of chocolate, spending time with family and devouring a good roast dinner. At thortful HQ, we think it’s definitely among the most underrated holidays, so we decided to take a look back at the things we love the most about it!

The Chocolate.

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Whether or not you observe Lent, an unmissable part of Easter is the amount of chocolate – in every shape, size and colour – which becomes available around this time of year. We can’t help ourselves! Mini Eggs, anyone? 

The Spring…

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Easter usually follows the March Equinox, which means after months of dreary cold, we’re finally free of the Winter! Though we can’t say the same for the rain though. 

…And the animals that come with it!

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Spring lamb, spring chickens, bunny rabbits – if you’re a sucker for baby animals, (which we certainly are!) this is the holiday for you to let your obsession run wild!

The Eggs.

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Most of us were lucky enough to decorate eggs as kids in classrooms and at home, but if you weren’t, what are you waiting for?! There’s something incredibly festive about a basket full of Easter eggs in every colour and size.

The Weekend.

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We don’t know if it’s the warmer weather, but Easter doesn’t tend to be as high-maintenance as other holidays. You still have something to celebrate, but not the added pressure of making it perfect.

So whether you celebrate with family, friends or both, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

The Luck of the Irish

At thortful HQ we’re big fans of St. Patrick’s Day, and to mark the occasion, we began to wonder where the ideas of Irish luck and four-leaf clovers come from – not to mention how do we get some for ourselves?

Originally, the term “the Luck of the Irish” wasn’t actually coined in Ireland, but by Americans when the Irish emigrated to the United States.

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The same Irish people who had emigrated across the Atlantic became miners, and were responsible for a lot of the day-to-day success of the gold rush of the 1800’s in America.

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Because the gold rush was often the fruit of Irish labour, the Irish became known as lucky – and if you found a pot o’ gold thereafter, you were said to have “the Luck of the Irish”.

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The idea of shamrocks as symbolic to Ireland came a lot earlier. Saint Patrick was said to use shamrocks to illustrate the idea of the Holy Trinity, and they were a regenerative symbol of growth. When the Irish took to the United States, they took shamrocks with them as their country’s symbol, like an English rose or a Scottish thistle.

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…Which leads us to the idea of the lucky four-leaf clover. A shamrock is just a young clover, but the odds of actually finding a four-leaf clover are roughly 1 in 10,000. If you happen upon one this Saint Patrick’s Day, make sure to spread the luck!

A Very thortful St. Patrick’s Day!

Did you know St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more countries than any other National Holiday in the world? We think Paddy’s Day is a wonderful celebration of Irish culture and its people, so to help add to the merriment, we found out the best classic St. Patrick’s Day traditions:

1. St. Patrick’s Day is a traditionally Christian holiday, but Lent restrictions are lifted, so everyone can eat, drink and be merry!

2. In Ireland, natives ‘drown the shamrock‘ or ‘wet the shamrock‘. At the end of the party, a shamrock is put into the bottom of a glass, which is then filled with whiskey, beer or cider and drank as a toast. The shamrock would either be swallowed with the drink, or be taken out and tossed over the shoulder for good luck!

3. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St. Patrick’s Day since at least the 1600’s. In the 1700’s there was a time when St. Patrick’s Day was blue, but it only lasted around 7 years, naturally.

4. The wearing of the ‘St Patrick’s Day Cross’ was also a popular tradition in Ireland until the early 1900’s. These were a Celtic Christian cross made of paper that was “covered with silk or ribbon of different colours, and a bunch or rosette of green silk in the centre”.

5. The Queen Mother used to present the Irish Guards with bowls of shamrock flown over from Ireland. The regiment in the British Army consists mostly of soldiers from the Emerald Isle and the Irish Guards still wear shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day!

Interview with Charly Clements

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View this card on thortful here.

How did you start as an illustrator?

I have always had a passion for drawing. Ever since I could hold a pencil you would find me sketching away on anything I could get my hands on! I knew I wanted to have a creative career, but it wasn’t until I started University that I decided to specialize in Illustration. Just before moving to Berlin I took part in New Designers in London, where I showcased my final major project, ‘procrastination’. I was very lucky to get picked to do an internship at Tigerprint. While there I had the opportunity to learn new techniques and even got to design greeting cards for Marks and Spencers. That was a great experience! I have always been big on puns and word play, so it’s been amazing that I can combine my two biggest loves.

Do you remember your first illustration?

I remember my first detailed illustration when I was 8. I decided to draw all of the Beano characters on one A4 page, and my mum secretly sent it into the Beano where it got published. That is still one of my biggest claims to fame actually.

 

How do you remain consistently inspired?

One of my biggest inspirations has got to be my followers. I enjoy making people happy, and knowing my work brings a smile to people’s faces is why I love my job so much! I find inspiration from everywhere, and constantly doodle whenever ideas pop into my head. I have also just invested in a waterproof notepad that I keep in the bathroom, as I always have my best ideas whilst in the shower.

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View this card on thortful here.

Do you have a personally favourite project up to now?

My boyfriend and I have nearly finished a project we’ve been working on called ‘Gin & Juiced’, which specializes in naughty greeting cards and quirky prints. We have very complimenting skills, and it’s been a lot of fun working together. We will be launching very soon so I can’t give too much away!

 

Could you pick your favourite thortful card you created up to now?

It would have to be my ‘Gin to my Tonic’ card, because gin.

 

What’s your favourite social network to promote your work?

I would have to say Instagram! I find it’s a great way to get your work reached by a lot of new people daily. I also love how you can follow tags, and see when people have bought a card and tagged you in it. I still get that warm fuzzy feeling inside when someone buys one of my cards.

 

Tell us about your professional plans for the future. Where do you see yourself in 2 years?

I’ve actually just bought a one way ticket to South East Asia, so it’s very hard to say. But I am planning on freelancing on the road, and hope that the beautiful surroundings and many adventures will inspire my work in exciting new ways. Watch this space!

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View this card on thortful here.

Name: Charly Clements

City: Berlin

Favourite Quote: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”

Dream destination: Mars

Favourite Colour: Vibrant pink and teal

3 things you’d take on a desert island: Art supplies, music and my boyfriend (It was a toss-up between him and pizza).

Most embarrassing moment you’ve experienced: Putting a euro in a man’s coffee cup thinking he was homeless, to then realize he wasn’t actually homeless, but in fact just holding a full cup of coffee. I never turned back to see his reaction.

Favourite joke: Why did the scarecrow get promoted? Because he was outstanding in his field.

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Check out Charly’s profile on thortful here.

Website: www.charlyclements.com

Instagram: @charlyclementsillustration

Twitter: @charlyclements

Facebook: charlyclementsillustration

Interview with Peter Cole & Claire Barrie

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How did you come up with the idea of Reigning Cats . . . and dogs?

Claire and I had previously collaborated on a card range which was licensed and distributed by UK-leading greetings company Paperlink, but for this range we decided to publish independently. We wanted complete creative control in order to create cards we loved and hoped others would love too. Pets bring so much simple joy to their owners, and it is so lovely to acknowledge, share and foster that. Our furry friends bring so much humour and love to our lives, and this is just what we hope our cards will bring to their recipients.

What inspires you?

We love the big personalities and quirky behaviour that our furry friends possess. They naturally provide a constant source of humour which we tap into to create cards that other pet owners can identify with and be tickled by. We wanted cards that celebrated this, and suspected that other people would too. So far our sales and pawsitive (sorry, couldn’t resist) customer feedback show this overwhelmingly to be the case. Cats and dogs are beautiful creatures, and a real joy to illustrate. Besides this, we think what makes cats and dogs such purrfect (Claire could have resisted, but I couldn’t) subjects for greeting cards is that they are, in essence, precisely what the best jokes should be, short and sweet. 

Do you remember the first cat/dog illustration?

Claire: I think the first idea I illustrated was the one with the curled up cat hogging the entire bed (“She’ll wake up feeling a little catty”). That was a regular occurrence for about 10 years of my life.

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#ThortfulDesign

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Today’s Thortful blog is another example of how great illustration and design can be used to raise awareness for fantastic causes. For those who don’t know, the Tumblr/Instagram #Blackout this year was a viral hashtag event created by the Black Community to elevate a diverse and honest representation of themselves – there’s been a ton of research in the past regarding BME representation in the media, and the numbers aren’t at all progressive. So, with the general principle being that selfies help us all to feel better about our own appearance in a harmless and fun way, participants of the #Blackout all posted their best selfies, all at the same time. It was a heartwarming way to uplift a community which has generally seen more than its share of marginalisation in the mainstream media, with each #Blackout participant praising and sharing other members’ selfies.

Enter Oskar Vega, illustrator extraordinaire, whose vibrant and colourful portfolio is influenced by a range of styles and movements from pin-up to Manga. As a way to celebrate the movement, Oskar took four great selfies from Tumblr and illustrated them. So the ladies above went from humans to Disney characters in moments, which we thought was a fitting and very thortful addition to the #Blackout (Oskar’s original post has around 300,000 notes). Oskar has also illustrated the Addams family and the witches from American Horror Story, if you’re into fan art. Check out Oskar’s fun, uplifting and slightly risqué portfolio here or connect with him on twitter. Additionally, you can check out the Blackout for Human Rights blog here.

To be at the forefront of the movement, register here

And while you’re waiting, hang out with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

#ImageOfTheDay

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Perhaps the reason we love typography so much is because we often find our best sources of inspiration in the quotes spelled out and used by creatives. We’ve featured Fran Efless, and the entirely different Christian Mugisha, and today our spotlight is on home-grown illustrator and designer Haydn Symons. We’re always interested in seeing different creatives’ own interpretation of the ‘personal motto’ medium, and Haydn’s work, above, is no exception.

We’d testify under oath that Haydn is a stand-up guy too, and we also love that he included the earlier drafts of the quote and hand-lettering to give us more of an insight into his process. Haydn’s work is very often handmade, which gives it an organic kind of aesthetic that sets it apart, but he isn’t afraid to create the odd razor-sharp vector with equally vibrant and eye-catching colours. Check out his personal website here, or his twitter here.

To be at the forefront of the movement, register here

And while you’re waiting, hang out with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.