Hallmark illustrator Ken Sheldon puts his love to paper

Hallmark Illustrator Ken Sheldon draws what he feels—and when it comes to his three daughters, the feeling he draws on most is love. Today, we’re talking to Ken about his Hallmark history, his varied creative inspirations, and his beautiful Hallmark Gold Crown collection that highlights the significant gestures of joy and love that define our lives.

Hallmark Artist Spotlight on Illustrator Ken Sheldon | thinkmakeshareblog.com

First, your details:

Ken Sheldon, 44 years old, Senior Artist in the Visual Studios, BFA in Illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design.

What’s your Hallmark history?

I was a creative Intern in Illustration the summer of 1995 and started full-time in 1996.

What’s your creative process like here?

Lately, I am always on a mission. In other words, I have a vision of where I am going and a deadline. And I am busy! All this helps me to edit, focus and produce work both I and my clients are happy with.

Hallmark Artist Spotlight on Illustrator Ken Sheldon | thinkmakeshareblog.com

What kind of products do you work on? Do you have any favorites?

As an illustrator, I work on just about everything we do that is two-dimensional: greeting cards, gift presentation, stationery and gifts. I have also recently done some three-dimensional product. My favorites include recent work for Mahogany, Hallmark Gifts and Hallmark Books, where I have been able to do both illustration and lettering.

Where do you go or what do you do to feed your brain/soul/spirit?

Often I go outside. I go walking. I try to be as quiet as I can and just watch. I also try to spend as much time with my family and friends as I can.

Hallmark Artist Spotlight on Illustrator Ken Sheldon | thinkmakeshareblog.com

What kinds of trends are you seeing in the world that inform your work?

Perhaps the biggest trend that informs my work is “the busy” we all get caught up in. I don’t know anyone who is immune. Each of us needs to eat and sleep. We also need to be emotionally healthy and connect meaningfully with each other. The busier we are, the more we notice that need. That need is the place I create artwork out of.

Who are your artistic heroes or influences?

Well, it used to be artists like Sargent and Wyeth, but lately I have realized more and more that they did their work in their time. Now is my time to do what I do. I still look to my heroes for inspiration, but I am also trying to put my finger on essential truths and answers to questions.

Hallmark Artist Spotlight on Illustrator Ken Sheldon | thinkmakeshareblog.com

How does your personal work reflect on your work at Hallmark and vice versa?

My schedule outside work is even busier than inside. All the drawing, painting, lettering and other work I do happens in-between more important things. A busy, full life is a good editor—at least that’s what I tell myself!

What are your favorite things about working for Hallmark?

What I enjoy most about working at Hallmark is doing artwork I love and doing it with great people who make the process and the product even better. I owe a lot to the magic mix of being a part of this creative staff. Another favorite is making things that bring joy to people and help them celebrate and reflect on important times in their lives. Also, we have an ice rink next door to our studios here in downtown Kansas City. I love to skate.

Hallmark Artist Spotlight on Ken Sheldon | thinkmakeshareblog.comWhat was it like putting this Gold Crown artist collection together?

Putting this collection together was the sum of everything that drives me. It was collaborative (with great people), it was personal, and the styling was a new direction. The process challenged me and caused me to dig deeper and go in new creative directions. I had an opportunity to explain it all in this video:

Photography and video by Hallmark’s Union Hill Studio.

Learn more details about Ken Sheldon’s featured artist collection here.


Leave a Comment

  1. 9.14.15 | Reply

    Inspiring! His images are ethereal and wonderful.

  2. 3.6.16 | Reply
    Melissa wrote:

    I love the drawing of a dad teaching his son to ride a bike. I was married almost a year ago and my dad’s speech at my wedding was a metaphor about teaching me to ride a bike and knowing when to let go and when to hold on as a parent. It was beautiful. I was wondering if the drawing is available with a father and daughter. I would be interested in giving it to my dad as a gift for his upcoming birthday along side a photo of us dancing at the wedding. Thanks!

  3. 4.1.16 | Reply
    Melissa wrote:

    Just wondering if there is any response to the inquiry above…thanks!

  4. 6.20.16 | Reply
    Sandra D Sacks wrote:

    Love all the art, but looking for father with son; father with daughter; siblings, brother and sister. Want to put together a collection for my son’s office. He has a son and a daughter.
    There are several mother pieces, would like some of the same sentiments with fathers.

  5. 8.16.16 | Reply
    Denise wrote:

    Love Ken Sheldon’s artwork! More, more, more!!!

  6. 6.4.17 | Reply
    Gloria wrote:

    I love your collection and have brought several for gifts. I am looking for a gift for my son in law who is going to be a new dad. I love the small dish where the mother cradles the babies feet in her hands “and so the love begins”. Do u have one with the dad cradling the babies feet.

  7. 6.14.17 | Reply
    Penelope Hartman wrote:

    Where can I locate the black metal figures that I have seen in some Hallmark stores?

    • 6.14.17 | Reply
      Think.Make.Share wrote:

      Hi Penelope,

      Try searching “metal figurine” on Hallmark.com.

  8. 11.18.17 | Reply
    Dorinda Keeler wrote:

    I have been hunting for the Love Never Lets go ornament because I love it! Unfortunately, I can’t find it anywhere online or in NH.

  9. 1.21.18 | Reply
    Rachel Laird wrote:

    I love Ken Sheldon’s collection. My absolute favorite is the “First Friends” design. I would desperately like to get it on a mug, but haven’t been able to find it. Does that option exist? If not, why? And can it be??

  10. 5.12.18 | Reply
    Mary Hendrickson wrote:

    I ran into a Hallmark this weekend and found your work. I love it. I especially love the two boys, “so much more than brothers.” I have a son, and I will be adopting another in about a month. I wondered if there was any way to get this piece but with the sweet boy on the right having darker skin…

  11. 6.6.18 | Reply
    SHERYL wrote:

    Really love the art work. I can really feel the connection of family! Will the collection eventually include the elderly, grammas and grampas, the care-givers in the future? Recently my mom died at 94 after 12 years in a nursing home. Would of loved to of had a memento of an elderly lady hugging her mom to remember her by.

  12. 6.17.18 | Reply
    Dawn Luersen wrote:

    Good evening
    I was at a halllmark store today and found a trinket box that said Love Never Let’s Go
    With a couple embracing and I was wondering if you make a pillow with that on it
    The salesperson said she there was one but they were out
    If you do make them I need two
    Thank you

    • 6.18.18 | Reply
      Trish B. wrote:

      Hi, Dawn! That pillow is available on Hallmark.com! So glad to hear you love it!

      Uh-oh! Right message, wrong pillow. The pillow with the couple isn’t available, but this framed version is.

  13. 7.30.18 | Reply
    Zenobia Garner wrote:

    Hi Ken … I love your pencil art especially and wondering if you have other images that you are working on? Would love a reply to my email address so that I might share a thought with you.

  14. 1.1.19 | Reply
    Theresa wrote:

    I’m trying to figure out what the sketching is of on the , and so love begins , pillow. I can see the feet and the hand but WHAT is the center of the pillow between babies legs? I can’t make out anything from it no matter how long I look at it.

    • 1.3.19 | Reply
      Trish B. wrote:

      It’s the baby’s diaper!

  15. 4.16.19 | Reply

    I love your work!!
    Do you do book illustrations, too? Or are you pretty much committed to working for Hallmark?