Skip to content

Critique Clinic – September 29-October 1, 2012

September 28, 2012

How does it work? For three days a week (Friday-Sunday midnight), I will open the clinic to any artist who wants an honest peer review and critique of a card which gets plenty of clicks but no sales, so something’s probably not quite right, or you’ve got a new design you want to test drive, or you’re unsure about the marketability of a card. Or perhaps you’re a newbie who isn’t sure if a recently submitted card is up to a marketable standard. Anyone is welcome to participate. In fact, I encourage everyone to at least look at the cards in question and read the critique comments – you may learn something. The purpose of the clinic is to help artists improve the commercial appeal and marketability of their cards.


  • ONE card per artist only.
  • Card must be for sale at Greeting Card Universe.
  • We will take an unlimited number of artists, including those who have submitted recently, HOWEVER I reserve the right to close a clinic for the day if the submissions become overwhelming. If the clinic has been closed, and you submit a card, your comment will be deleted.
  • To submit a card for critique, post a link to the card at GCU in the comments section of this clinic post. Allowances will be made if you’ve had a card declined, or made a new design you’d like advice on. Give us the link where we can see the card, such as your private gallery, Flickr, Tinypic, etc.
  • Any artist is free to comment and/or give a critique of a submitted card. HOWEVER, post-and-run comments like “great card” or “you suck” will not be tolerated, nor will abuse. Criticism should be constructive, not destructive. Play nice or you will be banned.
  • I also won’t tolerate temper tantrums if you decide your “artistic integrity” is being stepped on because you asked for a critique, and someone told you the photo you’re using isn’t in focus. If you can’t take honest criticism, don’t submit. Once gets you a warning; twice and you’re banned from submitting in the future.
  • Artists who critique may do so by giving their opinion, posting an example of another card, or pointing the submitter to a video, on-line article, or other helpful suggestion.
  • Don’t forget that artists who are giving you tips and helpful advice are volunteering their time and trouble. Be nice. A link back to their store on your website or blog is appreciated (but not mandatory).
  • You are free not to take any advice offered. There’s no guarantee any card will be a bestseller, so don’t come into the clinic with unrealistic expectations.
  • Rules may change as we go along and we see how things turn out, okay?

So without any further ado, I declare this week’s Critique Clinic open!

14 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2012 12:52 am

    I really don’t have a comment but wondered if you could tell me what you think of this card. It is a new design and I would like some feedback please. Thanks, Bettie

    • September 29, 2012 2:18 pm

      Hi Bettie,
      I have to agree with Corrie on the background, it’s kind of ‘loud’ and to me the sunflowers clash and clutter up the fall feel of the card. The photo appears to be nicely composed and the ‘canvas’ texture applied seems to work with that image. You should heed Corrie’s advice though and simplify this card … there is too much that is competing with each other here, i.e., colors, patterns, textures … I too would love to see you work with the photograph as more of a focal point.

  2. September 29, 2012 6:07 am

    I can’t comment on the quality of the photo as I’m not an expert (one of our photographers will chime in here, I’m sure). I can tell you that the colors chosen, while certainly having an autumn feel, seem kind of stark. And I’m not sure your ultimate patterned background really “goes” with the colors you’ve chosen. It’s a difficult thing to work with. Do you have the photo at a size that would fit over more of the card and allow you to simplify the design a bit?


  3. September 29, 2012 11:50 pm

    I do have the photo at asize that would fit over tmore of the card. Thanks for both comments. May I post another link to the “new”photo?

  4. September 30, 2012 2:29 am

    Hi Bettie,

    Okay, well from a color choice and design standpoint, you certainly are ahead from your previous design. However, I fear that the lack of sharpness, overall it’s blurry, and the appearance of being ‘stretched to fit’ may cause this version to not meet the submission guidelines.

    Here’s what I would suggest, use the photo size as in the first version with the slight canvas texture applied only to the photo, then keep the card very simple by placing that small square photo in the upper 1/3rd of a portrait (5wx7h). Use the space below for your message. That’s what I’ve done when I had a photo which just wouldn’t support a large enough size. If you add the slight canvas texture ONLY to the photo and border it like you’ve done,then keep the background light and simple; you might be able to create a very marketable card with an image which has significant limitations.

    Here are a couple of examples of mine using this formatting … if you work within the limitations of the image, sometimes you can get nice results, it rarely works to push beyond the imitations of an image’s quality and dimensions.

    Hope this helps a bit 🙂

  5. September 30, 2012 4:38 pm

    Hi Doreen,
    Thank you so much for your help… I tried to do this card just as you suggested and I hope it is better. Suggestions appreciated.

    Momand dad Thanksgiving

    • September 30, 2012 5:57 pm

      Hi Bettie … it’s better! If it were mine I would lighten up that background to give the card more punch and choose a different font, but that may very well be personal choice 🙂 Good luck with your card!

  6. September 30, 2012 7:00 pm

    Would a very light green say the color of the squash in the foreground be be better and perhaps the quill font?Or would a lighter shade of the present color be better.I never know which font to use with what.

    • September 30, 2012 7:23 pm

      As long as it’s lighter to make your image pop, what you want is a warm color not a cool color. Personally, I would go with a warm off-white. Your image is kind of dark, so you need a color that will make it appear bright rather than darker.

      When it comes to fonts, the trouble is that many of the more ornate fonts, such as the one you were using, are just too much. The trick is choosing a font that matches the feeling of the card, both Corrie and I have done many articles on choosing fonts and offered many, many links for font downloads, so look through the posts and you’ll not only find some great choices, but also some great tips for choosing fonts.

      The font you were using is not only old fashioned, but considered elegant and neither, to me anyway, suit your card.

  7. September 30, 2012 8:46 pm

    I promise you,the is the last one . I know you have spent a big part of your day trying to help me. I appreciate that so much and if you were nearby I WOULD BAKE SOMETHING FOR YOU OR SOMETHING.

    As always suggestions are welcome.

    • September 30, 2012 9:28 pm

      LOL! It’s the thought that counts Bettie … the clinic is here to help and you are wise to take advantage of it!

      So much better! See how it makes your image pop while still giving a feeling of the coming season? I wish you much success on your new card series!

  8. September 30, 2012 9:57 pm

    Thanks. I will post it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: