Hibiscus, pastel: making the yearly Christmas card

Technical stuff: I blocked out the drawing to be three times the size of a standard 5 x 7 greeting card so that when photographed to send to the printer, the resolution would be very high when the size was reduced from 15 x 21 to 5 x 7.

Choose paper color and go! The drawing of my hibiscus bloom, seen in the photograph attached to the easel, is blocked out with a white pastel pencil on green paper.

Drawing a hibiscus

Starting my 2021 Christmas card

Over several weekly sessions in my teacher’s studio, I added layers of pastel. I don’t generally blend the colors with a tortillion or paper or my finger, not until I layer in the color for hours and hours. If I get stuck at the end, I spray workable fixative to give the paper more grip. Finally, I might touch up edges with a pastel pencil and tortillion.
Hibiscus pastel

Adding color to the drawing

When the pastel painting was finished, we photographed it, and added the greeting using Photoshop. I also adjusted the colors of the leaves a bit to push them back, to not compete with the flower. The big impact here is supposed to be that vivid Hibiscus bloom I had admired last summer on my deck.
Christmas card of hibiscus bloom

The finished drawing for the Christmas card

I uploaded the finished image to Vistaprint to turn into my 2021 Christmas card. If you read the stories of my other greeting card misadventures, this year was a much smoother experience thanks to the technical and artistic guidance of my teacher. Thank you, thank you to her. And Merry Christmas to all!

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