Start with the Finished Product

“Kohlrabi” Original Watercolor Painting #29 – Mindy Lighthipe ©2012

Would you like to reproduce your artwork onto a greeting card? I have had many of my students over the years ask me the best way to go about doing this. There are many different ways to make a greeting card. It depends on the following things:

  1. How many cards do you want/need to make?
  2. What is your computer knowledge?
  3. What editing software do you have?
  4. What is your budget?
  5. When do you need the cards finished?
  6. Is this a job you can hire someone else to do?

If you have NO computer experience, it is still possible to create a descent quality greeting card. I am going to go through the beginning of the process and as time goes by I will add more information about how to create your own greeting card in future posts.


  I can not stress this step more. Let’s say that I want to make a series of greeting cards out of my Kohlrabi and Heirloom Tomato paintings. The finished product size is going to be a 5″ x 7″ folded card. My painting must fit into this proportion or parts of it will be cut, cropped off, or have too much white space around it.

The Kohlrabi painting is 10″ x 14″. I did this intentionally because I wanted a 5″ x 7″ card. The painting is exactly twice the size of the card I want to make. The reason I did it this large is that I knew that I would not be able to paint all the detail in a 5 x 7 so I multiplied the width and height by 2 and got the exact proportions I needed for a 5 x 7 card.

The Heirloom Tomato painting is 8″ x 8″. I was not thinking about what my finished card would be. Here is an example of some of the troubles you can run into if the proportions are not the same.

In example A. I scanned the tomato into my computer and placed it into a 5 x 7 format. As you can see part of the tomato as well as the banner is cut off. The card will look awful if I printed it this way. 

In example B. I made the image smaller using an editing software program called Adobe Photoshop Elements (I will explain more about Photoshop and simple things to do in another lesson.) I then placed the tomato into the 5 x 7 format and found that the tomato had so much white space around it that the tomato was floating. It looked lost to me and I wasn’t crazy about the look of it.

In example C I dropped a red background into the card and placed the tomato on top of it. This is the one that I liked the best. However, it doesn’t look like the kohlrabi. If I put a colored background around the kohlrabi I will have to crop off some of the painting. So I now have 2 cards that look good, but they do not work as a set.

What could I have done? What should have I done? I should have decided that I was going to do a series of 5 x 7 cards and created every painting in a 10 x 14 format. I probably would have added another tomato or some leaves to make the card more substantial and match the complexity of the kohlrabi.

I hope that this beginning step will help you in the process of creating your own greeting cards. I will talk about  different options for printing the cards from going to a local office supply store, ordering cards online, creating one of kind hand made cards and more. If you have any questions please post on the blog.

To find out more about scanning your art check out my e-Book, “Scan YOUR Art”.