Christmas cards: 2017

Most years, I make my own Christmas cards. (See the 2016 series here.)

In 2017, I did a lot of travelling. One of the most memorable places I visited, and not long before Christmas, was The Hague in the Netherlands. I was very excited to visit the Escher Museum while I was there–M.C. Escher being a fantastic graphic artist and particular favourite of mine.

Unsurprisingly then, when I was racking my brains for inspiration for that year’s Christmas card design, I remembered my trip to see Escher’s works and I decided to make some tessellated designs. (In case you’re not familiar with his work–though you probably are and don’t even realise it–Escher was a master of tessellation. I mean, just look at these beauties!!)

As I’m not a natural at geometry or tessellation, I had to do a bit of internet searching and make some prototype designs before getting something that worked:

First attempt: flat-bottomed trees. Easy to tessellate but visually just a bit dull. Also, at this point I was already severely regretting not having bought any graph paper before starting this project…


Stage 2: flat-bottomed trees vs. trees with trunks. I think the ones with trunks look better, don’t you?

Now it was just a case of creating a template (see tiny green tree on left-hand side in pic above), carefully tracing around it, then going over these pencil tracings with a festive (glittery!) pen…

(An aside: glitter might just be the best thing and the worst thing about Christmas. (Aside-within-an-aside: …that said, it is actually a surprisingly interesting substance!))

Experimenting with dual-colour designs


Experimenting with half-completed tree shapes

I actually quite liked the half-completed design. It reminded me a bit of David Bowie’s lightning makeup. But in the end, my favourite was the complete single-colour design:


Glittery, smudgy hell. I suspect most people seriously underestimate how much swearing is involved in crafts…

Anyway, after plenty of tantrums and generally cursing the existence of slow-drying glitter pens, I finally achieved the result that I’d wanted: a suite of a simple tessellated Christmas card designs in four colours.

These cards didn’t fold open; I just wrote my festive messages on the back. Perfect for sticking on the fridge or wherever else you stick postcards, photos, etc., as I was delighted to discover a friend had done when I visited her after the holidays: