When I started the journey of making my own cards, I started designing my own characters, too. My first set and the ones I have used by far the most have been these silly birds. Before I knew it, I had a regular set of around 20 different bird doodles.

Oddball Art Labs is a non-profit artist based organization in Elgin created to advance the presence of the arts our area. They work to build individual artist recognition and to create opportunities within oour community for artists to show their work. One of their most successful projects has been the Oddball Art Lab Art Machine, which repurosed a vintage cigarette machine to sell wooden blocks designed by local artists.

I had been drawing my bird doodles for a while and felt I could reproduce them, so I decided to apply to make a set for the Art Machine. It took me about two months to complete, but in late February I dropped off 18 blocks (which I named Oodle Doodles) to go into the machine. Just a few weeks later, COVID19 hit Illinois, so I have no idea if any of them have actually sold yet.

Once I finished the first set of blocks, I wanted to start branching out to other oodles. I decided to try fish and that opened up all sorts of silliness. The fish really allowed me to add my meditative doodling back into my designs. At the same time, I started playing around with using my Tombow markers as watercolors. I really want to create a second set of blocks for the Art Machine, but they have such a backlog from the Stay at Home order that I am going to hold off for now.

Fast forward to May and I was thinking about what I wanted to do for our neighbor’s daughter’s graduation card. She has such a wide range of activities and talents that I was not sure how I could accurately pay tribute to everything with the characters I already had developed. Enter into the world my Space Bird series- a ridiculously simple creation based on a few circles, a triangle and a dot. Madisen’s card featured a soccer player, a runner, a ballerina, a baker and a singer along with a set of generic space birds to accompany the life text in the card.

Who knows where I’ll go from here. Our nephew’s birthday is next week and I need to create a card for him, so anything is possible.