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Artist Interview: Ross Peterson

September 27, 2011

Today we’re interviewing Ross Peterson of Cards by Ross, who joined GCU in 2010. He won the Design of the Day award on September 22, 2011 for his very well done October Anniversary card.


Ross PetersonRoss, what drew you to join GCU?

I did a few illustrations for a friend of mine who sold cards on the site, so I thought I’d give it a try for myself.

Tell us who you are, where you are, and what you do.

My name is Ross Peterson and I live in a southwest suburb of Chicago. I worked for nearly 29 years in the prepress printing industry until my job magically went overseas. Luckily I was laid off, because the commute would’ve killed me. I’m currently in the process of bleeding my savings dry. I really should start looking for another job soon.

What’s your favorite greeting card on GCU that you’ve created?

Probably the Christmas card with the elf being laid off. The elf actually kind of looks like me, but then it is autobiographical.

Where else can we find you?

I’m on Facebook, but I haven’t done anything card-related on there yet.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I have a paralyzing fear of drowning and dancing…or more accurately, drowning while dancing.

How did you become an artist?

I’ve always enjoyed drawing since I was small. I had no interest in business or engineering when I entered college, so I studied graphic design and photography. In retrospect, I really should’ve given that decision a little more thought.

What or who inspires you?

My favorite cartoonist is Gahan Wilson, every since his National Lampoon days. And I’m a big fan of Arthur Rackham and Winsor McCay, both long gone.

What motivates you to design greeting cards?

An intense fear of being forgotten.

Where do you find ideas for your work?

Usually from a dark place. Then I try to lighten them up a tad. One of my Christmas cards was initially rejected for being too bloody. Even I found it kind of disturbing.

What’s the most indispensable item you use to create your art?

I go through a lot of tracing paper. Oh, and the occasional beer.

What tools do you use to create your work?

I do a rough sketch on tracing paper, then scan it and redraw and color it in CorelDraw (because I didn’t want to pay for Illustrator). I’m also starting to use some watercolors.

When and why did you start selling your designs as greeting cards?

I’ve been drawing my own Christmas cards since 1979. A lot of people have told me that I should try selling them. So I finally took their advice after 31 years. Baby steps.

What do you do to promote your greeting cards on GCU?

That’s a good question. Any suggestions will be appreciated, especially with Christmas coming up.

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say…financially secure.


Thanks, Ross, for letting us get to know you a little better!

17 Comments leave one →
  1. September 27, 2011 6:30 am

    My favorite interview so far. A special artist and person indeed.

  2. September 27, 2011 7:23 am

    Loved your Design of the Day card and loved reading this interview (even though it’s waaaay past time from me to hit the hay).

    You’re writing is delightful, Ross; and I wouldn’t be surprised if you’d be a successful stand-up comedian, as well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself.


  3. September 27, 2011 7:32 am

    Fab interview and meeting another lovely person 🙂 your cards are so chuckle chuckle 😀 that is a lot of tallent you have and I am sure you will sell oddles of your cards 🙂

  4. September 27, 2011 9:24 am

    Sorry about the lay off but … with all those little elves laid off, no toys to buy, maybe card sales will go up for the holidays, I’m sure you’ll sell many. Great interview and great sense of humor, I enjoyed both.
    Janet Lee

  5. September 27, 2011 10:28 am

    Ross, you have a wonderful sense of humor and it translates to your fun cards. I know I will be getting your DOD card for a family member with a Halloween anniversary. It is perfect. Great to get to know you.

  6. September 27, 2011 12:26 pm

    What a great interview! Ross, hope you’ll consider a FB page to advertise your cards. You have a delightful sense of humor!

  7. September 27, 2011 2:36 pm

    I too was spellbound by the interview and your wonderful responses. Great sense of humor and I’m a huge fan of your illustration style. So much you can do with your talent! I wish you the best!


  8. Gail Pepin permalink
    September 27, 2011 4:30 pm

    Great interview! Ross, I wish you oodles of success here at GCU. You sound like a really neat guy!

  9. September 27, 2011 5:41 pm

    Dear Ross, I can’t stop laughing… Love your creative cards and your wit! You had me from when you said your job ‘magically’ disappeared to how the commute would have killed you. To say you are talented is understating for both your illustrative and literary skill. Thanks for the chuckles today – I will definitely be back for more. Cheers, Lisa Charlton

  10. September 27, 2011 7:56 pm

    Funny, such an enjoyable read!

    As for the declined card, “serial santa”? I remember that one clearly … you made some wonderful edits to make it, ehem, palatable. Removing blood splatter usually works 😉

    • October 2, 2011 12:32 am

      I know what you mean. I’m trying not to use so much red these days, but it isn’t easy. I just have to turn on the news or get into traffic and I’m ready to buy a gallon of the stuff. The two cards I have pending don’t have any blood (maybe just a little) and they’re set in a hospital.

  11. Oma - Caribbean Ink permalink
    September 28, 2011 2:00 am

    Indeed, a comedian at heart. Thanks for being so amazingly honest about yourself and sharing a part of your life with us.

    Your cards great … you’re very talented … keep pushing forward and you’ll be even more successful than you imagined.


  12. September 28, 2011 3:29 am

    Thanks for the laughs! Don’t let anybody give ya drugs, we love ya just the way ya are! Much success is coming your way!

  13. September 28, 2011 4:00 pm

    funny combo: Gahan Wilson & Arthur Rackham!

  14. September 29, 2011 6:15 am

    Ross, that Santa card is a breath of fresh air!! OK, morgue-scented air… whatever. It cracked me up, as did your interview.

  15. October 2, 2011 12:49 am

    To my commenters,
    I just want to say thanks for all the kind words about my cards and the September 27th interview. I don’t think I’ve had that much positive feedback since I was potty trained…another fond high school memory.

  16. Suzanne Walsh permalink
    October 6, 2011 2:50 am

    I’ve been a proud recipient of Ross Peterson Christmas cards for years………funny, though, sometimes I shutter a bit before and after opening them?! Then a scratch of the head and shrug of the shoulders ?! Kinda quirky doesn’t even begin to cover it, Ross. Bravo!
    Rita’s sister

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