Artist sketchbooks inspire new card collection

Many of the best ideas start in artist sketchbooks. Thoughts, doodles, thumbnails are all little sparks of inspiration. So when one of our greeting card planning teams was working on a new line, that’s where they started. Greetings Creative Director Holly W., Trends Art Director Cece M., and Studio Art Director Laura H. talked to us about how—and why—they transformed artist sketchbooks into card designs. 

Sketchbook Cards |

Card with abstract patterns in a warm color palette from our Sketchbook Gallery collection


CECE: Our Trends Studio created a prompted sketchbook—a kind of creative workbook. We wanted to inspire our artists to do exploration based on trends: Create a new pattern, try mark-making, think about a new plaid. Come up with an unexpected icon for birthdays. Fill a page with nature.

HOLLY: This project allowed us to tap into their subconscious creativity and let that flow naturally from their sketchbooks, rather than going to them with a specific request for a card.

Gold foil heart on a background of black and gray painted stripes

Card featuring a watercolor painting of mountains and a lake with a sailboat

Card featuring graphic pastel ice cream cone designs


HOLLY: We ended up with a collection that showcases creativity: a range of situations and artistry, from classic watercolor to organic lettering.

CECE: For every piece of art that lands on a card perfectly, there might be 12 other pieces in their sketchbook. We’d flip through these books and see all this amazing work and ask, “Why isn’t this on a card?”

LAURA: Doing it this way gave the artists freedom to explore other styles of working.

CECE: And it reminded us not to put limitations on them—not to just rely on them for what they’re known for doing.

Sketchbook Gallery card drawing featuring multiple flowers in a clear mug

More from artist sketchbooks: Multiple watercolor hearts in reds, pinks, oranges, and one gold glitter


HOLLY: The results inspired a lot of us to think differently about how “cleaned up” our artwork needs to be. The imperfections of work created by a human hand made it even more special.

CECE: We focused more on exploration, so the designs aren’t overly fussed-with.

HOLLY: The finished pieces look more like the sketches of what they’re doing, what inspires them, their doodles.

CECE: There was a ripple effect: The artists started inspiring each other. They started creating new directions—so refreshing and unexpected.

Card featuring photograph of red, blue, orange, green, and yellow balloons

Artists sketchbook card featuring quote: "Let there be happy"


LAURA: We put a lot of these cards on paper stock that feels like watercolor or sketchbook paper—just to capture more of the original feeling. So they seem more like artwork—like something you might use to decorate.

CECE: The art is flexible enough that you can come up with different reasons for sending. And the messages are casual and conversational and simple, so they work for a lot of different situations.

LAURA: They suggest an occasion, but they’re not limiting.

HOLLY: It might make you think of someone…and then you put your pen to paper and put your own message in it.

Photo of two sleeping kittens on a blue and white striped background with hand-drawn hearts

Take a look at all of Hallmark’s new Sketchbook Gallery cards online or at Hallmark Gold Crown stores. And try out some of the exercises in our Trends Studio workbook in our Outside the Lines sketchbook.

Tell us your thoughts!

We’d love your thoughts on our new Sketchbook Gallery collection. Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below!


Leave a Comment