The process for designing holiday cards starts EARLY. It feels weird to be thinking and drawing about the winter holidays in the Spring, but that's when I started developing my cards. I started off researching different art and design styles that I liked, and different ways of illustrating holiday motifs. With the help of the internet, you can really go down the rabbit hole and be both inspired and overwhelmed. This year I was really inspired by Scandinavian and Northern European design. I love the blue and white color palettes that permeate that part of the world. (Though it's not found solely there, it's also used in lots of Asian and Mediterranean art as well.)
After doing my research, the next step is to draw, draw and draw some more. Here are a few snippets from my notebooks where I work out ideas and start working on the composition of my card designs.
Once I finalize my ideas, I re-draw my illustrations on a tablet, tracing over photographs of my drawings so I can retain that hand-drawn quality. I use these computerized drawings to create my final cards and after experimenting with different variations, I select the completed designs. The last step is to get the colors just right by color correcting. This part is challenging and fun. It's a lot of work, but it is really rewarding in the end. I love how the final cards turned out.