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GCU Community Newsletter #18 – October 6, 2011

October 6, 2011

Rain, rain, go away, come again some other day…

We’ve been busy since the last newsletter, so let’s not waste any time!

Doreen Erhardt’s column, A Dash of Inspiration – a Cup of Creativity gave us fantastic resources for Chinese New Year and the upcoming Holidays like Valentine’s Day. We had a wonderful interview with artist Ross Peterson; we began our Blog Carnival V: THE BIG C in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month; and our Design Spotlight shone on me, Corrie Kuipers, and Nan Wright with greeting cards for cancer patients,which we’ll be continuing throughout the month. We also chose a winner (Pam J Arts) for our first Design Contest.

Until next time, don’t forget to pass the love around!



I’ve noticed some of the new artists joining GCU aren’t including inside verse in their cards, and thought it was time for a refresher.

Yes, we’ve had this debate before – in the U.S., consumers seem to prefer greeting cards with inside verse. In the UK, according to some UK artists, blank cards seem to be preferred. Since GCU has a 3x use policy, it’s not a problem to include both versions of a card. Today we’re focusing on greeting card verse.

There are three types of inside verse, the three P’s: punchline, prose and poetry.

I think punchline is pretty self explanatory – you set up the joke on the front of the card, and you deliver the punchline on the inside. Here’s a good example, if I do say so myself…

The inside verse reads: So eat a whole cake, and a whole gallon of ice cream, and have yourself a happy birthday! (Corrie Kuipers)

Do not attempt to make a joke in a greeting card that isn’t immediately funny, and easily understandable. If at first hearing the concept doesn’t get a chuckle, you’ve gone wrong. Show the concept to several people and ask for an honest opinion. Include a child if possible, especially if the intended recipient is a kid, too.  Of course, sense of humor can vary from one person to another, but even the most sober minded person can tell you if they think someone else would find it funny.

Prose means a message in ordinary writing. Here’s a good example:

The inside verse reads: May your breast cancer journey bring you completely cancer free and healthy in mind, body and spirit. I am here for you. (Sandra Rose Designs)

Don’t be too long winded. Make your point succinctly. Be sure your prose matches the purpose and tone of your card, and be equally certain the intended audience will not be offended, baffled or bored. Again, solicit opinions.

Finally, there’s poetry. Here’s a good example:

The inside verse reads: And… you are a great father to our children. Thank you for all of it, and Happy Father’s Day, my darling husband. (Card Art From the Heart)

This is going to be a matter of personal preference, both for artists and shoppers. Some artists use rhymed, metered poetry (and you’ll see this sometimes at Hallmark or American Greetings, but other greeting card companies don’t want rhymes) but if you go that route, you need to be careful. A forced rhyme, or a rhyme that’s awkwardly constructed is not appealing. Such as, “I’m sending you my love today, with which you may be warm all day.” Read your poem aloud. Does it sound good? Does it flow naturally? The example I just gave would sound better rephrased like “Sending love your way to keep you warm all day.”

In general, keep your inside verse relevant. Try to tie it into the design on the front of the card. There’s nothing more nonsensical than a photograph of a duck with ‘Happy Birthday’ on the front, and an inside text that reads, “hope you have a great day.” You’re limiting your potential audience to people who like ducks so much, they’re willing to pay money for your photo. On the other hand, if you tie the verse to the photo, you’re expanding your audience to include people who have a sense of humor, such as “hope you don’t go completely quackers!”

And don’t forget to include a good description of the card in your Artist’s Notes! I’m already seeing the benefit. Are you?



The deadline is approaching!

October 12th ends our current Blog Carnival: THE BIG C. Since it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re making blog posts or Squidoo lenses on the subject of cancer. We’ve had some touching entries already. If you want to join us, read this post for all the details. I’d like to see as many artists as possible participating to help raise awareness of this disease that has touched so many lives.


The Critique Clinic is open every Friday, Saturday and Sunday to all GCU artists seeking peer review, advice and tips. Any artist may submit or leave a critique. All artists are encouraged to check the comment threads – you’ll learn something that may help you with your own marketability. Not sure if your inside verse is funny, makes sense, or is good enough? Not sure if your new design works? We’ll help you with that, too.

There is a GCU artists’ group on Facebook. We encourage you to join, post cards for your fellow artists to admire, share news, and have fun!

The Salon of Art Facebook fan page (by Doreen Erhardt) is a great place to go to find links to all kinds of helpful resources like tutorials, brushes, news about competitions and contests, marketing tips and a lot more. Check it out!

GCU Artist Cindy Johns is keeping a blog archive of the Design of the Day. The link to the Archive is on the right side of the page. Check it out!

DID YOU KNOW you can “like” this newsletter or any post on the GCU Community blog, or include them in your social bookmarks? Or Google +1 them! Just click the title of the post, which takes you to the permanent link page. At the bottom of the page you’ll see buttons for social sites like Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.


The next Newsletter will be published on September 1, 2011

9 Comments leave one →
  1. October 6, 2011 2:47 pm

    Great advice as usual . . .THANK YOU Corrie! I know that I certainly have already seen the benefit of a good description in the artists’ notes. I still have hundreds to add descriptions to, but it will get done eventually . . . LOL!

  2. October 6, 2011 4:56 pm

    And I’ve seen huge benefits from the Critique Clinic! 🙂 I just sold 7 more “Thank You” cards yesterday that underwent the fabulous scrutiny of my peers after I submitted it to a recent clinic session (!

    Thank you, Corrie! And thank you, too, Doreen for your excellent feature: A Dash of Inspiration – a Cup of Creativity! I love all your fantastic resources and tips that you provide. 🙂


  3. October 6, 2011 7:06 pm


    you, nene, and doreen, have a ton of knowledge about card design and the business. Any chance all of the community newsletters and tips can be compiled into a book or pamphlet that can be purchased? It’s all very helpful for me and I’d pay for a central resource I can hold in my hand. Just a thought! thanks as always 🙂

    • October 7, 2011 5:26 am

      How about a .pdf document you could print out?

      And the rest of the artists… would you find a printable .pdf of tips, etc. useful?


      • October 7, 2011 5:58 am

        Yes! but only if I can pay for it or make a donation. I’m not looking to make more work for you-I was thinking of a win-win thing 🙂 thnx

      • October 7, 2011 6:43 am

        OK, at the moment I’ve got some pressing projects, but I’ll try to find the time to put something together. It may take a while, though.


      • October 7, 2011 12:47 pm

        I think that would be AWESOME, Corrie! I’d pay for it, too, because it would be THE most helpful resource available to greeting card artists (great idea, Sharon!). 🙂

        Also, I’ve been remiss in all the times I’ve thanked you two, Corrie and Doreen, and not included Nene. Nene, I know you work incredibly hard, too, and our community would not be what it is today without you. So here’s a very heartfelt “THANK YOU” to you, now. 😀

        Eternally grateful,
        Cindy 🙂

  4. October 7, 2011 6:43 pm

    I appreciate it 🙂 Maybe I can figure out how to do it? Would it be okay if someone else put it together?

    • October 13, 2011 9:03 am

      You’re welcome to print out anything on this blog… I think there’s a PRINT button at the bottom of each post.


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