This will be the third year in a row that I have used a quote for my card. For each of those years I have felt that the world situation has been such that a completely celebratory message wasn't quite right. And the same is true this year. This quote from Susan Cooper from the fifth book of The Dark Is Rising series (wonderful children's books that I encourage you to read if you have not) spoke to me and seemed to have a good message for these times.
I started by lettering the quote with a Speedball C-3 nib and Higgins Eternal Ink and scanned it into the computer. I had to scan it in two parts and then did some fiddling in Photoshop to straighten out some of the lines. I prefer to write without lines as it gives me greater freedom and appreciate the ability to tinker later in digital work.
I knew I wanted the lettering to look like fire. Since I didn't have any pictures myself, I found a small one online. Unfortunately I don't remember where it came from to give credit. I made an image in photoshop the size of the card by repeating the fire image.
I placed the calligraphy on top in another layer. In the layer palette I changed normal to screen which made the fire replace the black in the lettering.
I liked it but felt that it looked a little flat. I remembered a book about flowers that I liked that had a textured white background on the pages and thought that might be just what was needed. I scanned in a piece of very textured Shizen handmade watercolor paper from India.
I flattened the layers on the lettering image (after saving it as a new image—I find it helpful while working to save things separately so that I can go back if I need to). I then placed that image as a layer on top of the scanned paper. This time I changed from normal to multiply in the layers palette to create the finished image.
I set up the card for printing in indesign which is where I added the attribution to Susan Cooper.