Week 33: Botanical Watercolor Birthday Cards

August, September, and October feature birthdays for the majority of my friends and family. A hand-painted birthday card is a nice way to send some “I’m so glad you were born” feels to my loved ones on their special day (typically late, because that’s how I roll).

I am trying to learn how to create good quality time-lapse videos of my creative work and birthday cards seem like a good opportunity to test out some of my new equipment and ideas.

Disclaimer: Creating videos is something that I do NOT excel at – I have expectations that don’t exactly match my present capacity (but I’m learning).

The first video (above) was a total disaster – way too overexposed due to the mismanagement of my auto settings. I ended up with the two paintings below at the end of the first session.


My studio gets a little crazy while I’m making stuff like cards because I rarely know what I’m going to do before I begin. When you add in the element of video documentation – in which you need anything you might want within arms reach things really get chaotic.


I was able to create a somewhat decent documentation of the second half of this session but as the evening light shifted outside of my (non-curtained) windows toward the end and the whites blew out… again… minor details I’ll soon work out, I’m sure.

The cards turned out quite a bit better than the videos though, thankfully. I love negative space and botanical imagery and am still trying to explore various ways of creating some interesting layered imagery with watercolor and gouache while maintaining the clean and graphic aesthetic that I admire in vintage botanical illustrations.


These two will be off to their recipients soon but I have additional cards to make for upcoming celebrations – maybe by the time I shoot the last one I’ll get the video stuff under wraps. (Wish me luck, I’ll certainly need it.)

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