Tuesday, October 6th

Design Challenge Winner, August 2020, Holiday Season – Mindy Pierce,

Design Challenge Winner, August 2020, Holiday Season – Mindy Pierce


Happy Holidays Christmas Tree Snowman Squirrel Bunny Red Green

What was your inspiration for your winning card? Please walk us through the process of how this card went from an idea to a greeting card.

Several years ago we lived in a house that had trees really close to it. There were tons of squirrels and they would jump back and forth from the trees to the roof like little spastic acrobats. It was our first house so everything seemed magical and I was mesmerized  by the show they were putting on. It wasn’t long until one of them chewed a hole through our wood roof and built a nest in our bonus room attic. That brought an entirely new meaning to the term “going nuts”.  I never quite looked at them the same way after that. It turns out squirrels have to chew things to keep there teeth clean and sharp. Who Knew? I would have bought them dental accessories if they would have left our roof alone. With that revelation I mused about what a squirrel could accomplish if you could channel all that destructive behavior. I still think they are cute despite our previous clash. As illustrators often do, I started thinking about them doing human activities. Since I much prefer to sit on my butt during the holidays I imagined squirrels decorating my Christmas tree. I never allow enough time for it and usually don’t get to it until the last minute. I was also thinking that if squirrels did decorate trees they would probably use found objects. I am pretty sure Target does not cater to squirrels(not sure about amazon) so I’m thinking acorns would be the ticket for the decorations. I put the tree in a woodland setting so that no wood roof would be harmed in the process. Then I added a snowman and a bunny just to keep an eye on the twitchy energetic squirrels. That bunny of course is close to my heart since he is sitting on his butt.

You offer many different cards featuring snowmen in your GCU storefront.  What are the key makings of a good snowman and what is your favorite part about making them?

A good snowman is in the eye of the beholder. I think as long as you are able to impart emotion into him/her/them any snowman can get your message across. One thing I will say is when I really started trying to develop my own style for a snowman I drew on my personal experience of how I built them as a kid. You know…traditional carrot for the nose, rocks for the eyes and mouth, and sticks for arms. In my very first snowman collection I painted all of them with rocks for their mouths. I proudly showed them to an art director and he told me they looked like they had rotten teeth. Now I needed those dental accessories for my snowmen.

They say Christmas in July and in this case August.  Aside from the Design Challenge prompt, how did you get inspired and in the “merry” mood?  

I usually start thinking about Christmas in July because I like to make Christmas gifts. I need a lot of extra time because they never turn out to be the greatest most thoughtful gift ever and I have to allow enough time to go shopping for the real gift once I get over the disappointment of my failed attempt. Usually by august I am rummaging through my research(Christmas related imagery) that I have collected over the years. Then I pull out all my old thumbnails that haven’t germinated yet. The “squirrels going nuts” idea  has literally been a scribble in my files since my kids were in grade school. You never know when inspiration will make an existing thumbnail a complete idea. I try to jot down ideas on paper no matter how stupid they seem whenever they strike. Some times they make it to my files but other times they are notes on napkins or an envelope and get misplaced all over the house. I find them in my kitchen cabinets, on top of the washing machine and even in my sock drawer. I think a lot of my ideas have to percolate for a long time in order for me to bring them to life.

Which card is your favorite of your Christmas cards and why?

At this moment I think my Santa in a hippie bus is my favorite( Product Id: 1549658). I like it because it was an accidental joint effort with my daughter and I can be sentimental about these things. I wanted to give Santa a new mode of transportation since drawing a sleigh can be a real drag. When I thought of a van I realized I could use poinsettias instead of those 60’s flower power painted ones. I generally do the art first because I can never think of what to say and I love ridiculous whimsy in general. Needless to say coming up with a sentiment stumped me. I printed out the image in my studio and took it upstairs to consult family at the dinner table. I showed it to my mother and daughter and they both laughed out loud that Santa was doing a peace sign in a hippie bus. Then my daughter blurted out “Let your holiday hippie loose!” It was the most painless instantaneous completion of an idea I have ever been gifted with.

Tell the truth, will you send holiday cards this year and if so will you send one of your own cards or send a design by a different artist? 

There is probably a 75% chance that I will send cards this year. I always intend to but sometimes I just run out of time. Preparing for the holidays requires organization and planning and I find that I am getting more deficient in that skill set every year. I usually send my own cards since family and friends like to see what I have been doing but sometimes I find one out there that is so perfect that I have to have it. Then I have to spend the entire next year confessing that I didn’t create it when I run into someone and they compliment me on it. I think this year I will have to make an extra effort. I plan on sending a photo card this year because travel will not be an option. Making communication as personal as possible for all my extrovert friends and family will be a priority. It won’t be as good as being there but maybe it’s the next best thing.

Ok, now for the fast five, fun questions …

Describe your first car and what you loved or hated most about it.

The first car I ever had was an American Motors Gremlin. It was a dirty gold color and the humiliation of my young adult life. It had a very cartoonish lopped off back end to it and there was just really no way to look cool while cruising around in it. If I could I would have thrown it in a microwave and blew it up. It did turn out to be reliable and hardly ever needed repairs. You really can’t argue with always getting where you need to go.

Which is your favorite, puppies or kittens?

Kittens are cute but I am absolutely a puppy junky.

What is your greatest irrational fear?

Ticks or maybe a mutant tick spider.

Pick up pennies or walk past them?

I pick them up. I need to bend over for exercise.

List something that is on your bucket list.

I am mortified that I have turned into my parents. I want to buy a camper and visit all the national parks.

One Response to “Design Challenge Winner, August 2020, Holiday Season – Mindy Pierce,”

  1. Charlize says:

    very informative post. Thanks for sharing!

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