An Illustrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Seems that the time of year for an illustrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve is once again upon us.

I used to make elaborate illustrations to share with friends at Holiday time. When I was not churning out daily illustrations and hedcuts for The WSJ, that is. Recently, I went through my files to find some of these pieces from yesteryear… Here they are:

Typographic New Year Illustration

Typographic New Year Illustration

Typographic New Year Illustration

This one is a mostly typographical treatment. When this was done, many designers were using a thing called Letraset. These were plastic sheets you could buy, enabling you to lay down type, letter by letter, to make a design. In this example, I used two or three different sizes of the font and embellished them with hand-drawn ligatures, etc. The stylized bloom on top was icing on the cake, colored by hand.

Personalized holiday illustration

Personalized holiday illustration

Personalized holiday illustration

I created this personalized illustrated Christmas and New Year’s eve drawing for a friend who had a painting business. It has a good graphic feel and nicely flowing lines for the bristle.

A Christmas card illustration

A Christmas card illustration

A Christmas card illustration

I especially like this one. I was experimenting with some templates at the time and tried my hand at creating a snowstorm with the circle template. Note the two old codgers in the foreground, heading for the castle. They’ve got some ways to go, but I’m sure they’ll make it!

The inside of this card looks like this…

Inside Christmas card illustration

Inside Christmas card illustration

If you study the design, you’ll find three faces, that of myself, my wife, and son. I would try to involve my family in my Holiday pursuits, as you’ll see…

An illustration featuring my son…

An illustration featuring my son, Brendan

A holiday illustration featuring my son

I took this collection of figures from a Harvest festival of sorts (There was an Oom-Pah band). For the classic Christmas effect, I dressed them for the season. You can see the amount of work that was involved in this illustration, including the hand-drawn type!

Oh, oh, Santa’s Not Happy

A stern Santa illustration

A stern Santa illustration

An Illustrated Christmas and New Year’s Eve wouldn’t be complete without Santa. Even if he is a little stern this time.

Here’s a copy of an etching by Albrecht Durer that I translated with technical pens. The inside of the card reads, “Ye Better Watch Out, Ye Better Not Cry, Ye Better Not Pout!” Yes, it was kind of mean, but I had a good time with it, and it’s all in good fun, after all!

An illustration featuring my daughter…

As I mentioned earlier, I used to hook my family into service when producing these Holiday greetings. Here is a take on my beautiful, impish daughter:

A holiday illustration featuring my daughter

A holiday illustration featuring my daughter

I was trying to imitate the steel engraver’s art here, with mixed results. (My daughter was not at all pleased!) I consider it a good illustration overall. The hair was challenging and required a very steady hand.

A New Year’s Sun Illustration

Finally, I thought an uplifting sun would be apropos for this New Year’s greeting…

A New Year's Sun Illustration

A New Year’s Sun Illustration

For a change, it was simple!

That’s all until after Christmas. I wish all of my readers a Blessed Holiday Season.

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