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christmas photo card and a quick announcement

calobee doodles christmas card 2011

calobee doodles christmas card 2011

I took a few minutes to work on a simple Christmas card design for our family–with a focus on showing off the babes, of course. Now let’s see if I actually work up the ambition to get them sent out before the holiday!

I’ve had inquiries about custom work from a couple of my best customers since I had Gwen, and I thought I should make a shop announcement: I’m not currently taking custom orders. Between family and work, my free time is limited, and I’m currently focused on WordPress theme design and development and getting my fat butt into some semblance of shape.

So I apologize, particularly to my regulars–ya’ll are awesome and I very much appreciate your continued support over the last few years. I’ll make another announcement when I’m accepting custom orders again.

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snowflakes revisited

snowflake window clings

snowflake window clings

(I got so caught up in the holiday that I completely forgot to post this earlier! Oh well. It’s still seasonally-appropriate, and better late than never!)

One of the great things about putting my work out there is when someone stumbles upon it seemingly at random and has an idea for a new and creative way to use it.  I was pleasantly surprised when Caron from Green Imaginations, a new printing company based in Portland, Oregon contacted me about creating some custom window clings from my snowflakes desktop wallpaper in exchange for a couple sets of the clings. I’m pretty picky about trades, but this was a no-brainer–I’d even been musing the other day about how my windows needed a little extra holiday pizzaz. I got the clings just before Christmas and immediately put them to work–and I love them! And I’m highly impressed by how well their equipment preserved the intricacy of the designs (my photos don’t do them justice.) Now I’m seriously considering creating a few sets of window cling doodles for different holidays and offering them in the shop next year. Thanks again, Caron!

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how to make vector snowflakes in adobe illustrator

I posted this guide on how to make vector snowflakes in Adobe Illustrator last year at, and thought it would fit well here at Calobee Doodles. You can still download the free snowflakes desktop wallpaper here.

1. Create a new document in Illustrator. If you want your snowflakes to be white, it’s helpful to set a background color so you can see what you’re doing. I usually drag a quick rectangle shape to fit the document, set the fill to my color of choice, and lock it by selecting the rectangle and going to Object -> Lock -> Selection.

Create a colored backdrop using the Rectangle tool.  Fill your rectangle with a color of your choosing.

Lock the background so it doesn't shift around while you're working.

2. Draw the first “leg” of your snowflake by creating an elongated shape or pattern of some kind. I do this mostly using the line and circle tools, but you could experiment with any shape. This is the shape that will be repeated in a circle to make the snowflake.

Create any shape to be used as the pattern for the rest of your snowflake.  Lines and circles work well.  I'm using a 7 pt. Round brush with a white stroke.

One leg down!

3. Once you’re satisfied with your shape, click on the Rotate tool. Hold down the Option key on your keyboard and click on the bottom center of your snowflake’s first leg. This will bring up the Rotate dialog.

Option-click with the Rotate tool in the bottom-middle of your pattern.

4. The angle of rotation should be set to a number that, when repeated, adds up to 360 degrees. I usually go with 30, 40, or 60. The lower the number, the more legs your snowflake will have.

Set the angle of rotation.  A smaller angle means more legs on the snowflake.  Hit the Copy button to rotate and copy the pattern.

5. Once you’ve set the degrees to rotate, hit the Copy button. You’ll see one repetition of your initial pattern appear… if you don’t like what you see, hit Ctrl+Z to undo and repeat steps 3 and 4 to try a different angle. In this case, I initially set it to 40 degrees but decided 60 would look better.

Two legs are better than one...

6. To finish off your snowflake, simply hit Ctrl+D to repeat the pattern until you complete a full circle. Voila, you have a snowflake!

Ctrl+D will repeat the rotation to complete your snowflake

7. You can play around with different angles and shapes to get the look you want. For smaller or more detailed snowflakes, you’ll probably want thinner lines. For larger snowflakes, thicker lines look best. It helps if you group your final snowflake (select all the pieces, right-click or Ctrl-click, and hit Group) so you don’t lose bits and pieces as you create more and move them around the page.

Highlight your snowflake and Ctrl-click or right-click and select "Group"


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holiday postcard – season’s tweetings!

holiday postcard design - season's tweetings

holiday postcard design - season's tweetings

I’m trying to think ahead this year, so I’ve been brainstorming holiday-oriented designs. This clever little birdy amused me, so I think you’ll see this offered in the shop soon as a postcard design!

And yes, I know I’m very late with November’s desktop wallpaper. I’ve been so busy with custom work (more on that soon) I haven’t had as many opportunities to focus on my own things. November is hardly an inspiring month in this neck of the woods in any case–so bleak and gray. But I’m sure I can come up with something involving Thanksgiving turkey. Mmm, turkey.