Christmas card illustrations



Tis the Christmas season again and the time when people spend too much on gifts, eat and drink too much, drape a thousand lights over their houses and put up their Christmas trees. I still enjoy Christmas (probably don’t get as excited as I did as when I was a wee girl) and how decorative towns, villages and shops are, especially at dusk – seeing the contrast of the brightly coloured, festive lights against the dark night background.

What appeals to me the most about Christmas are the vast ranges on display of greeting cards and gift wrap designs. There is so much choice and I have collected quite a few cards that people have given me over the years. I do tend to buy cards from the same stores mainly because I know that they will have the style of illustrations that I like. These include Paperchase and stores that sell designs by Hallmark. There are a few bespoke designs that I like too, which are sold in boutique shops.


Boy on skates

This is a card that I bought from Waterstones. It has a real retro feel and the design is made up using bold shapes.



This card, which I think resembles a Christmas jumper, is very decorative.

Let it snow tag

This tag is really pretty. The snowman and robin characters are cute and I like the overall drawing style too.

Xmas decs

A friend of mine gave me this card. She said that it reminded her of my sketchbook work. I just love the different scaled baubles and how some are outlined and others have patterned details.


Girl on sledge

This card design demonstrates a variety of textures, colours and looks fun. I love how there are lots of elements and even though there is detail, the overall composition works.


5 xmas jumpers


A trend that is popular at the moment is the Christmas jumper. In this design the jumper designs are all colourful and patterned, sitting on a plain white background. My favourite, and those to which my eyes are drawn, is the blue and white polka dotted jumper with the centred Christmas tree.


Other designs that caught my interest were on the Here are just a few examples:



dotty wren advent


dotty wren advent 10






dotty wren advent 1






Illustration Exhibition – Talya Baldwin



Carrying on from the fun fair theme, I came across some work by Talya Baldwin, whilst browsing on her site. Talya has used the fun fair theme style typography within some of her illustration work, yet they are hand-drawn.



I love how precise and clean the hand-drawn typography sits in the left hand corner, balancing the detailed pencil-drawn elephant in the bottom right hand corner.

Talya uses a range of media including; pencil, ink and paint. You can see the refined mark making in her illustrations and in some of her work, she has used old sheets of paper or postcards as a base and applied her work on top. This is demonstrated in the image above (La Belle Boutique).

I recently visited an exhibition of Talya Baldwin’s, in Leeds, Yorkshire. It’s a solo exhibition displaying human and animal characters, as well as botanical pieces. These are drawn on A2 paper and pinned delicately on the gallery wall. Some are cut out and strategically positioned around the room to catch your eye – adding an extra element of interest. The characters and found objects that Talya has drawn are that which are lost, unwanted or marginalized and who do not sit comfortably in the common imagination of storytelling or have not won a place in history.

Exhibition Poster

bowery flyer


Exhibition pieces that caught my eye:











Close up of above male character


You can really see all the fine pencil mark-making detail and how Talya emphasises and adds texture in the male character’s skin tone. She also appears to make each eye different in scale i.e. obscuring the facial features. Her work is quirky and detailed, and drawn in a mature way, that would appeal to both a younger and an older audience.

I love Talya’s illustrations. They seem surreal, yet grotesque when you look more closely. I think Talya’s work is meant to provoke an emotional reaction. For example,the grand dame’s hat is made of star fish, newts and an octopus. On another illustration,you can see a pair of octopuses tentacles positioned either side on a lady’s head. She’s like the Marmite in the illustration world – you would either like or dislike her illustrations, and I love them!

Here is the link to her website