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Critique Clinic – October 26-28, 2012

October 26, 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!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. October 26, 2012 7:58 am

    Product Id: 970859 not sure if I’m doing this right, but this is the ID of card I want to submit to Critique Clinic. It has been pending since 30 Aug, incidently.

    • October 26, 2012 8:07 am

      If the card is still pending, we can’t see it on GCU. You could upload to someplace like Flikr and give us a link.


      • October 26, 2012 12:42 pm

        Hi, it’s probably me being thick, but I can’t see where to post a link to wiki. I have read the guidelines and looked for a dollar sign to click on but don’t seem to have one. All I can put card on is pinterest, or facebook from another site, which I don’t think you’d like (: thnks for your time, janet

    • Kati Cheldelin permalink
      October 26, 2012 4:22 pm

      Hi Janet,

      A simple alternative is to post a copy of your card in your private gallery on GCU with no review. Label it as a sample for the Critique Clinic and put a note to reviewer that you are using the card in the critique clinic. That way you can make easy edits to the card and even check the margins. You will need to give the link to your private gallery here and indicate which card is for review … or … click on the card in your private gallery and give the link to the card page that comes up. (Giving the number of the card will not work) When you are all through here, just delete the card from your private gallery.

      That way too, if you have made changes to the image during the critique clinic that you want to keep, your can easily edit the original card on GCU.

      Hope that helps. Good luck and happy creating!


  2. October 26, 2012 1:17 pm

    You can post a link to wherever you park the card. Not sure why you’re going to Wiki. There are many photo sharing / photo hosting sites out there like Flikr or elsewhere. The point is, if the card isn’t approved on GCU, we can’t see it, so you need to put it up somewhere and give us a link to that site.


  3. October 27, 2012 12:54 am

    I would like to submit one of my cards to the Critique Clinic. I just started my GCU store a few weeks ago, and I appreciate any constructive critique on the card at the link below:

    Just fyi, my cards are cartoons.


    Manly Thweatt

    • October 27, 2012 6:20 am

      I like it! The cartoon is simple and clean, and gets the point across with great humor. I would have chosen a different, “friendlier” red, but that’s a matter of personal aesthetics. Will you have an inside verse?


      • October 27, 2012 2:57 pm

        Hey, Corrie. Yes, the inside verse is at:

        Thanks for your critique! I truly value your advice.


      • October 27, 2012 6:36 pm

        Can I make a suggestion? It’s a fact that shoppers are attracted to a card because of the picture on front, but they buy it for the inside verse. I think if you have something more like a “punch line” that would suit your cartoon better. As an example, something short and sweet like, “Guess that means Christmas is a go! Happy Holidays!” or something like that.


      • October 27, 2012 11:57 pm

        Fantastic, Corrie! These are the kinds of things I’m learning while designing cards. I’m also an aspiring writer, so perhaps I need to separate a little better the longer verse from a punchline. I hadn’t thought about it like that before, but now that I do, it seems most every card I see has a shorter verse inside rather than longer. And the fact that people are attracted and buy at different parts of the card is GREAT for me to keep in mind. I’ll be in the process of refining that inner verse of my cards.

        Thanks again for your help. I’ve gotta tell you–this is fun. This is really fun!


    • October 27, 2012 2:53 pm

      Welcome to GCU Manly … I like it too, great sense of humor! I would prefer to see just a pinch of color in the cartoon to draw the eye; like Santa’s suit maybe, but that too is most likely just personal opinion. Good luck!


      • October 27, 2012 4:06 pm

        Thank you, Doreen. I appreciate you looking at it. If I can make a little color work, I’ll do it.

        And thanks to this Critique Clinic. It gives a preliminary scrutiny before the public views it. I can see it being very helpful.


      • October 31, 2012 6:56 pm

        I agree, a little dab of color will add some appeal as John Crowther has done with his Lacrosse cartoons, see here for example:

      • October 31, 2012 11:23 pm

        Mindy and Doreen, I’ve been working on my cartoons and adding some color. It helped to see a cartoon that Mindy suggested. I’ll tell you–that’s not much color, is it! And yet it seems to draw the attention of your eye a little more than just black and white. In my mind I was thinking that I’d have to color and shade every single item in the picture, but I realize that’s not necessary.
        I’ve uploaded a new colored image for my Santa and the Aliens Milk and Cookies card. I guess it may take a little time for the online image to change over, but if you click on the magnified front link, it shows the updated colored cartoon.

        Thanks alot you guys! As I said before, to me, this is fun!


      • October 31, 2012 11:30 pm

        That’s PERFECT Manly! Just the right amount so the customer immediately recognizes your characters and it draws the eye (especially when first view is a thumbnail image)! Great job … I’m confident it will serve you well to add that little bit of punch!

        Good luck!


  4. October 27, 2012 8:26 am

    Thanks Corrie and Kati, and working on it.

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