Dramatis persona*

helenhead Helen Chick

I've always wanted a bumper sticker that said "I'm a female, LDS/Mormon, Scout leading, geocaching, piano-playing, bicycling, mathematics educator with a PhD in maths ... and I VOTE"!

I think this makes me a minority group of cardinality 1!

* Since there's only one of me and "personae" is plural (I think), I've gone with dramatis persona.
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Happy Christmas 2013

2013Oooh, dear, I’m running late.

Here it is, December 22, and what with one thing and another I’ve been way behind getting this year’s Christmas cards into the mail. I did prioritise the overseas ones, and so I hope that they’ll all arrive on time.

For this year’s design I’d hoped to learn more about using Illustrator, but it was going to be a steep and time-consuming learning curve, and so I have postponed that plan until next year. Instead, I decided to use a different app, namely Procreate on the iPad, which has a definite drawing feel to it, once you get the hang of enlarging things so that you can manage the fine motor control to get the details that aren’t possible with a stylus or finger on the standard screen size. The range of colours and brush and pencil textures is good, and by using layers you can work on different sections at a time without interfering with the rest of the design.

I did an initial quick sketch on real paper with a real pencil and then used a photo of that as an underlay/template for the digital creation. I used a “6B pencil” with varying degrees of weight and width to get different line thicknesses and intensities, and then there are a couple of yellow highlights in the stable. The background was originally transparent/white, but I printed the design onto a grey card; for the image here I just added a blue-grey background layer to simulate the same effect (although with a bit more blue). The finished Christmas card is probably not among my absolute favourites, but it works well enough.

The giving of cards seems to be a tradition in decline, but for me it is a very personal and important aspect of the Christmas season. I enjoy the design process and executing it as best I can (despite time pressures and my own artistic shortcomings), and I look forward to it as one of my few creative acts for the year (although this year’s creative catalogue was a little larger than usual thanks to an overdose of poetry!). More importantly, however, I enjoy reflecting on the value of my friends and family, and although time and practicalities and social conventions mean that not everyone whom I regard as a friend will receive a physical card, I do think about how much I appreciate the people who play an important part in my life. I feel blessed, and the card is just a token of my celebration of those blessings.

So, a happy Christmas to you all. May your own lives be blessed and enriched, and may the new year be full of peace, joy, and opportunities.

If you are interested, the following links go to a gallery of all my previous Christmas card designs.

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