Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Postcard and Business Card Printers

As an illustrator and artist, I have used online printers to make promotional postcards, bookmarks, and business cards. Here's a brief review of the printers I've used recently, with their current prices for a pack of 50 cards:


4by6.com

I have loved everything I've gotten from 4by6.com. They produce top quality cards, but can be pricey. Their prices include full color double sided printing. I've gotten the following from them:

Regular business cards (50 cards = $14 matte, $16 recycled, $58 satin; these are satin that I got on a special promotion):


Skinny business cards (50 cards = $13 matte, $22 recycled, these were recycled, shown in front and back, a little worn from hanging out in my wallet):



and 4 x 4 in. square postcards (50 cards = $28 in matte, $31 in recycled, these are recycled; I got four different designs but the backs were the same):


PROS:
  • super high quality
  • unique sizes (4x4 postcards, skinny business cards)
  • you can order in small bunches of portfolio packs (20 cards of one image)
CONS:
  • higher prices 

OVERNIGHT PRINTS (www.overnightprints.com)

I have used Overnight Prints for my promotional postcards. I like their matte card (it's not very flashy), they do rounded corners (kind of classy), and the quality is very good. They also do our Kidlit411 bookmarks.


PROS:
  • fast service
  • high quality
  • bookmarks (I haven't found other places that print the size I like)
  • reasonable prices (50 4x6 double-sided, matte postcards is $8.95)
CONS:
  • I recently sent out a batch of cards to art directors and a couple came back misdelivered. One of the cards that came back suffered through the postal machines and the ink in part of it had smeared. I mailed myself a few other cards to double check and I didn't have the problem with the other cards. But it does worry me that these cards may not withstand the machine handling. For handing out cards at conferences and in person, these are great.


VISTA PRINT (www.vistaprint.com)

Like Overnight Prints, Vista Prints provides quick, reasonable, and high quality cards. I use Vista Prints for their nice linen notecards.

I tried their postcard and didn't like the glossy look. I haven't tried their matte stock yet. Their quality is very good (50 cards start at $6.69, if recycled, add $4.68)

A glossy postcard

Linen note card

PROS:
  • Fast service
  • High quality
  • Nice linen notecards
  • Reasonable prices
CONS:
  • With the linen notecards, you can't get rid of the Vista Print website on the back side


Before I got my excellent printer, I used Artful Color to make fine art glicees (museum quality paper and inks). I found them to provide amazing quality and reasonable prices. These were prints I'd make to sell on Etsy or to give as gifts. An 8 x10 in. print (the paper size, not image size) was about $4.00.  They also make archival quality art cards, the kind you buy at art fairs (Artful Colors charges about $2.50 for a folded two-sided card).


What printing services have you used and do you recommend?




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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alphabet Soup November (NaNoWriMo, PiBoIdMo, SkADaMo)

If it's November, it's time to get my butt kicked by an alphabet soup of writing and illustrating challenges. Because there's not much else to do this month, right? No need to prepare for Thanksgiving, holidays, or family birthdays.

I am probably overdoing it, but here are the challenges and classes I'm doing, and my grades on effort/productivity.

1. NaNoWriMo: The international frenzy in November when writers pound out the first draft of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. I did this last year for an MG novel, didn't reach 50,000, but finished the story. I'm revising it, happy to have a complete manuscript to work with.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Halloweensie Writing Contest: A Spooky Fight

A pumpkin we carved yesterday


Here's my entry for Susanna Hill's Fourth Annual Halloweensie Writing Contest. The rules: write a Halloween story for children under 100 words, using the words broomstick, pumpkin, and creak.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Almost Ready for the Mid-Atlantic SCBWI Conference


I am excited to be heading to the annual Mid-Atlantic SCBWI conference tomorrow. But, as usual, I left everything to the last minute.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How I Landed My First Contract: Yvonne Mes

Yvonne Mes signing the contract
The great news from my critique group keeps coming! My friend, the wonderfully talented author and illustrator Yvonne Mes has landed her first picture book contract!

You signed a book contract! What is the book about?

The book will be called MEET SIDNEY NOLAN, part of the Random House Australia MEET ... series.

It is a nonfiction picture book for children from ages 5 to 8. The story will focus on the Australian modernist painter Sidney Nolan. I am not sure who the illustrator will be yet, but I have loved the illustrations in the other MEET ... books so I am sure it will be amazing ... I don't envy the illustrator illustrating the story of a well-known artist!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tia Bourne Mushka: An Illustrator Going Places


© Tia Mushka

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing my talented friend Tia Bourne Mushka, who I met through the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program. She was in the program being mentored in writing, but she is also a children's illustrator. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Morning with Gong Gong: An Illustrator is Chosen!

Image from Christina Forshay's portfolio @ Christina Forshay


I'm so excited to announce that Christina Forshay will be illustrating my picture book, A MORNING WITH GONG GONG, to be published by Lee & Low Books. Check out her awesome piece above (giant octopus & pirates, some of my favorite subjects!) and more at her website (www.christinaforshay.com).