Self Publishing

Christmas 2020

This year I managed two new cards as well as reordering a couple of old favourites. The Robin on the half-buried boot is from an original painting by the elusive Irish artist W Huston who was active in the late 1970s, and the gift exchanging Robins from original Christmas card artwork by English artist Patricia Champness.

The W Huston painting cost me €120 incl. p+p from a dealer in Co.Limerick and is the seventh painting by the artist in my collection. The Patricia Champness original card artwork was purchased from a UK eBay seller together with another similar for just £50 incl.p+p. Either way it all adds up to an expensive way of buying Christmas cards and that’s before the costs of printing with Vistaprint. Their quality of work remains unsurpassed but this year their deliveries have been slow to arrive which I suppose is hardly surprising given the new volume of mail in the system.

Christmas 2019

Cheated this year as I couldn’t find a suitable original piece of artwork in time and instead rebuilt a card from my collection. The original card was published in the USA circa 1930. With the careful use of Kolourpaint it was possible to expand the card size from its original size (4″ x 3½”) to a more satisfying (5½” x  5½”). As luck would have it I picked up three suitable paintings shortly after Christmas – at least that’s 2020 sorted.

Christmas 2018

Another blow-out year which saw me produce four different cards – two of which worked and two that didn’t.

Left to right: Carolina Wood Ducks from an original painting by D R Hamblett – purchased for just £30; and the first of the unsatisfactory cards which I created using a 1930s cover from an American school magazine. The duck card was on a linen finish and was one of my best yet. I still have most of the cards of the snowy town as I was so disappointed with it.

Another of my failures but it was only an experiment. Based on ancient postcard I went for an unsatisfactory gloss finish but I’m going to try again on linen .

Another card – possibly my favourite ever – created using a hand painted card posted over 100 years ago and delivered on Christmas day! Printed on a linen finish. The original card had some damage but with the careful use of paint and an application of sparkle!

3rd September, 2018

Still dabbling and this prototype Art card by Northern Irish artist – Ronnie McClune – is my latest attempt. Only a sample print-run so far as I’m still not completely happy with the design and typeface.

Christmas 2017

I went a bit mad in 2017 and produced three different cards – left to right: an Art Deco style card from original unpublished artwork by Scottish artist Violet MacNeish Kay (1914-1971); a contemporary card for overseas family members using original artwork by amateur British artist Georgina English; and a wonderful religious-themed card using original artwork by Mongolian street artist Ganbaatar – I’m ashamed how little I paid for his original artwork and I have tried hard to contact the artist but to no avail so far.

12th December, 2016


This year I lost the run of myself and went for two different cards.

For the choirboy card I used original Christmas card artwork from the firm of Arthur Burkart & Co., London purchased from Sulis Fine Art, and for the winter scene I recycled an image from an American Art Deco card. As usual, I used Vistaprint and I’m very happy with the results.

15th January, 2016

Great Granny Cattley Christmas Card

It seems that I’m late to the party with my self-published Christmas cards as I found the one above when looking through a box of my family heirlooms yesterday. It was done by/for my Great-Great- Grandmother circa 1910/13 and is charming in its simplicity. Back to the drawing board for me.

19th December, 2015

Above: My 2015 Christmas card – from a fine watercolour by Anthony Mandara. I picked up the original on eBay for just £7.10 and with a minimum of editing on the Vistaprint site here it is. I hope to return to some serious postcard production in 2016.

2nd August, 2015

I have to admit that I have already taken some experimental steps down this road – for my own personal pleasure rather than for commercial reasons. I started off with Christmas cards for family/friends and then onto high quality postcards with strictly limited print runs.

To date, I’ve used Vistaprint and have always been very pleased with the quality, but they can be quite expensive. That said, it’s better to be stuck with a small number of expensive cards than a larger number of cards which will have cost more even if the unit cost is less.

Years ago I commissioned cards by the late Dudley Farrar, and these were printed by Graham’s of Omagh (now The Postcard Company) with quite pleasing results, but there’s loads more choice in the printing market these days. My recommendation is to dip your toe in the water with Vistaprint and take it from there.

Three of my vanity projects below:

Top to bottom: South Rock lightship by Clive Sweetingham. The South Goodwin lightship from an old Revell model box – original painting by Holger Koppelmann and ‘Travel Luxuriously by CIE’ from a 1950s publicity flyer – original painting by Costelloe.


The Postcard Company


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