Behind the scenes of a mother & daughter's 
 humorous journey in creating new characters, writing, illustrating,
and publishing a children's book. 

American Greetings, Here I Come!

January 25, 2017

 

 It all started in their basement. 

 

This is where the recently-hired fledglings were expected to master greeting card design, roses (for sure), color theory, die cut, landscapes, and of course, New England's churches. For some reason, those church steeples resulted in a lot of money for American Greetings. Most of us were fresh out of art school, but those months down in the depths of the building, resulted in an education comparable to another year of art school. All we could think of, however, was escaping to that mysterious universe upstairs. 

 

At last, our day of reckoning arrived. One by one, we and our art portfolios were studied and scrutinized until the moment our fate was sealed: I caught the eye of art directors, Wayne(Clovis) Martin and Dan Forst from the Humorous Design Department where I would soon begin working. 

 

 

WHAT??? 

 

With my portfolio filled with THIS....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was chosen for a department that made cards that look like THAT!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Were they kidding? Was it my interview? My artwork was certainly not amusing, but they must have thought I  was. I guess this girl had cartoon promise. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it."  Vincent Van Gogh

 

 

As I settled into my Cubicle, Sweet Cubicle upstairs, the artists quickly warned me to watch out for the following: 

 

First, I will be the object of continuous tour groups, so when you see them coming...escape. I did. 


Secondly, American Greetings' original founder, Jacob Sapperstein, searching for wasted paper, will quietly creep up behind me and search through my wastebasket.  He did. 


Thirdly, I should not be alarmed when the company's "High Brow" artists, led by Tom Wilson, creator of Ziggy, conduct black-draped funeral processions throughout the hallways.  

 

I was. 

 

But I shouldn't have been-not after attending years of art school at Cooper School of Art, populated by talented, unorthodox artists. (That's me in the zebra striped vest... behind the woman smoking a pipe) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But I wasn't prepared for the amazing array of talent at American Greetings: 

 

 

                                                       

 

 

 

 

 

Barbi Sargent, creator of Strawberry Shortcake 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Laessig 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                       "G.G." Grandins 

 

 

 

 

   Tom Wilson 

 

 

 

 

 

... plus watercolorists, Fred Leach, Richard Chiara; Linda Wirt, Ariel Mather, Maxine Masterfield-just too many to list. But of course, not to forget the aforementioned Tom Wilson and the upcoming Those Characters from Cleveland with Ziggy, Care Bears, and the Strawberry Shortcake Phenomenon.

 

This era will go down in the history of American Greetings as its most spectacular.

 

 

Irrelevant Quote for Today: "I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade and try to find someone whose life has given them vodka,

and have a party."

~Ron White 

 

 

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Author, Kelly Tooman with illustrator, Lynn-Tooman Cser

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