Last week I put two belated birthday cards in the mail. While I felt bad about missing the actual birthdays, I was excited to be able to shop for the cards, because belated-themed cards are typically more amusing. Birthday sentiments have been done to death, on-time or otherwise. If the card is meant to be funny, nine times out of ten I can guess the punch line before I open it. You try it: A little bird told me that I missed your birthday… Say it with me, so I ate him!
I try to avoid this problem by buying blank cards and writing my own message. Sadly, the artwork tends to feature cute animals and flowers. I love cute animals as much as the next person, but it’s not about me, it’s about you. There are interesting cards out there, but you pay a premium for them. A traditional card from the local pharmacy, produced by Hallmark or Shoebox, may cost as much as three dollars, but if you wander into a local boutique shop to find something more interesting, you’ll easily pay twice that.
There is a designer I’m quite fond of that you may be able to find in Target. Her name is Kate Harper. Kate made a name for herself with a line of greeting cards called Kid Quotes that use funny things that kids have said on the front. I’m not talking saccharine, here. I’m talking funny. For instance:
But she has quite a few card lines, including Tech Humor, Grunge Graduation and Atomic Romance. Sadly, Kate’s work is so successful that it’s only available through stores. Fortunately, my two other go-to-artists for greeting cards both sell online.
My absolute favorite is Thomas Philbrook. He does photography, with Photoshop enhancements. According to his Etsy site, his subject matter is, “…either the natural world around us — or the whimsy that leaks out of my imagination.” Here are two examples, both of which can be purchased online:
Another greeting card artist with a whimsical touch is Caroline Gray. I list her blog on my blogroll because I find her work fascinating. Her cards, called Teeny Tiny People Greeting Cards are available online as well. She photographs little figures in odd circumstances, like the man glued to the television, literally, or with unexpected accessories, like the woman with a walrus on a leash. While she does have birthday cards, I particularly love the cards whose sentiments can be used for anything. For instance, there is one whose caption is, “Emily accepted it was just going to be one of those days.” Caroline has very cleverly engineered her site so that I can’t download any of the images, but I urge you to go explore her work.
Now I’m off to order more cards since my list of birthdays keeps rolling along. Which of my favorite artists would you like to find in your mailbox next year?