Christmas Freebies: 30 icon sets

*Always check copyright guidelines on digital art for reproduction rights.

30 Christmas Icons Sets by Design Modo Blog

Christmas Icons

Interview with Licensing Artist Patti Gay

At our annual Art Licensing Party in Berkeley, CA, I interviewed Patti Gay, and artist who has licensed a variety of Products, including the art in these photos.

She has done illustration work for cards, gift bags, mugs, stickers, clings, stationery, plates and gift wrap for a wide variety of clients.

Patti has also illustrated children's books, magazines, advertising promotions, and was an art director at Portal Publications, which gave her a good feel for the industry.

She has lived in both New York and San Francisco, and now has her studio in the Santa Cruz mountains.

Just a note: This is only my 3rd experience of using a video camera.
Excuse my learning curve! -Kate

(2 minutes)

Greeting Card Rep Talks about Trends

At our annual Art Licensing Party in Berkeley, I interviewed Ginger McCleskey, a Greeting Card Sales Representative in the San Francisco Bay Area.

She talks about:
  • Mistakes Greeting Card Designers Make
  • Trends in the Card Industry
  • The Future of the Industry

(6 minutes)

7 Hi-Tech Gifts for Artists

All of the items in this gift guide were recommended by artists who read this blog, and online design groups.

I asked the question "What is something in your studio you can't live without?"

I got a wealth of responses, and because of this, I wrote three blog posts on gift ideas by theme: 7 Hi-Tech items for Artists, Re-purposed & Free items, and Art Supplies.

I tried my best to locate a link and picture of the suggested item if the contributor did not. The comments next to the items are by the artist who suggested it.

Filter Forge $44 and up

"Filter Forge is a truly is an amazing tool that quickly allows you to create various artistic styles, change color themes, turn a photo to a sketch, create your own patterns and seamless tiles - really, the possibilities are endless. It is the perfect companion to Photoshop."
-Deb Trotter

IPad $499 and up
New and used on Amazon

My favorite tool at the moment is my iPad. Great for sketching, holding reference photos, which can easily be magnified, research and just plain FUN. I resisted for months and finally gave in. I am so happy it. It is useful in more ways than I could have imagined".-Eva-Maria Ruhl

Digital Camera $55 and up

"Something I use a lot before I even start drawing is a point and click digital camera for photo reference!" -Brooke Luder

Mimobot USB Drives $24 and up
On Amazon $29 and up

"Mimobot line of designer character-based USB flash drives." -Evan Blaustein

Photoshop $79 and up (multiple versions)
On Amazon $55 and up

"I couldn't function without Photoshop! I create most of my artwork now on the computer as well as manipulating traditional art on it. I love using layers to experiment and not have to worry about ruining anything." -Deb GallagherVocal Greetings, LLC


Artograph Light Tracer Light Box $34 and up

As an illustrator, I can't live without my light box. I use it constantly and would be lost without it. I use it for:
-working up new illustrations,
-retracing key lines before cutting greeting card mock-ups,
-placing handwritten text on greeting card mock-ups, etc.
Some people use transfer paper but that never felt comfortable for me. While in art school, I probably spent under $40 for an "Artograph Light Tracer Light Box". There are higher end models -- but I was on a "student" budget and this inexpensive model has served me well and become my number one, go-to tool. Beverly Ann Hayes, Illustrator

See-Rite Light Box $83 and up

"A great light box. I can refine my sketches and trace onto canvas paper to start painting away! Also a decent scanner is indispensable to transfer art to digital".- Laura Cantu Smith,

Wacom Tablet $60 and up


"My artistic item I could NOT live without: WACOM tablet. Intuos4 Medium is the perfect size. Tote-able & offers plenty of space to draw. $349." -Barbra Ignatiev Surface Design, Illustration

"The Wacom tablet at least 9x12" in size is a game changing accoutrement for the computer using artist." -Brian Lee Boyce

"I couldn't function without a Wacom tablet!" -Deb GallagherVocal Greetings, LLC

"A great idea is the Wacom tablet. It is a great tool". -Eva-Maria Ruhl

"A Wacom tablets is a fantastic gift. It allows the Artist to a have greater control and precision when designing. -Janice Savage
-For digital work, I would say a Wacom tablet, and if you you have the extra money:) go with a Cintque". -Andre Saunders

"Wacom Intuous tablet. For tablets Wacom is higher end...I have heard people say they love the Bamboo as well." -Karen Harris

"My wacom drawing pad." -Patti Gay

"Wacom Tablet - Why I love it is because it allows me to draw with the same hand position that I do when I use a pencil. It feels like an extension of my hand, letting it move easily. I have two. One for the road to take with me and my laptop. And one for home that stays on my desk". -JC Langford, Artist

Greeting Card Designers Sing For Apple: Funny Video

On Saturday we held our art licensing anniversary party in Berkeley, California. Over the next few weeks I'll be posting interviews and a presentation by Ginger McCleskey, a card sales rep, who spoke about trends, and the future of the card industry (below in green sweater).

Recently, I was thrilled to learn that Apple Computer is opening a new store in Berkeley, near our meeting. At the party, we made a video to celebrate that fact. It is the Christmas song "Apple Store is Coming to Town."

(1 minute)

Why the big deal about Apple? Most designers work on Macs as the industry standard, and graphic design software works better on Macs. I also continue to have excellent customer service when I walk into an Apple store with tech problems. Now, even die-hard PC users are coming around and deciding they are tired of the Blue Screen of Death.

But on a more serious note, I remember the day of the '89 San Francisco earthquake, when my neighbor came home from working at the San Francisco Chronicle, and she told me the only way they got the newspaper out that day was to put it on a Mac.

Today, publishing a newspaper on a Mac might sound like no-big-deal, but then, the general attitude was: Macs were toys and businesses used PC's.

At that time, the San Francisco Chronicle was something we could rely on, since telephones, TV, and radio stations were down, and a lot of communication came to a halt. Freeways collapsed, the Bay Bridge was closed, bus service was limited and people couldn't get home.

So when I think of Apple Computer, I don't just think of laptops and ipods. I also think about how my neighbor was stunned that this "toy" had published the newspaper in the middle of a crisis.
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