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Nuts and Bolts: Re-invent your Creativity – No Change, No Gain.

February 14, 2020

Nuts & Bolts – Re-invent your Creativity – No Change, No Gain
An inspiring and honest guest post by GCU artist Trudy Wilkerson of Trudy’s Impressions on learning new tricks for your trade and not being afraid to step out of your comfort zone to improve.


Trudy shares …

Now that 2020 is upon us, what are your goals to increase profitability within GCU? Do you wish to
increase your sales? Are you hoping to be rewarded for all the long hours you’ve invested in designing?
If the answer to these questions is YES, then allow me to share with you how I have turned things
around and now enjoying the monetary results of my hard work.

First, a brief history of my time with GCU. When I joined GCU approximately ten years ago, I have to
admit, I knew zilch about designing cards. Photography was my thing at the time so I started submitting
tons of flowers and bird photos. Popped a title on the top then waited and waited for them to sell. Then I
realized I had to be more creative in what I submitted. That’s when I started my journey with Photoshop
and began to teach myself that program. Little by little my cards became a little more interesting as I
added different elements to my cards.


Fast-forwarding to the present day, I have researched new ways to improve my graphics. Just recently, I
have added Illustrator to my workload and am presently teaching myself new things to help make
my cards more interesting.


All that being said, my advice, especially to those who have been with GCU for a few years but haven’t
felt they’re getting anywhere in sales, is to stop and begin to think of ways you can REINVENT YOUR CREATIVITY.

We’ve all heard that saying, If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get the
same results. Think about that? That’s what I discovered. I knew I had to find ways to make my cards
more interesting and stand out.


Have you had an idea for a card and after you first designed it you knew deep down inside it’s not looking like you had imagined it to be? Perhaps, like me, you convinced yourself you’ve done the best you could, so you submit it for review regardless of your lack of confidence it would be accepted. Then low and behold you get this dreaded message from one of the reviewers, ‘We like the idea but such and such needs improvement before we can approve it. Please try to improve it and resubmit.’ Has that happened to you? Don’t be offended by the reviewer’s comments because believe me, they know what works and what doesn’t and fortunately for me have encouraged me to work on an image until I finally get it approved. The gratification kicks in from feeling, YES, I can do this!


Here’s an example of a recent card I designed which took me three times to get it right. I can’t even believe I submitted the first one because trust me, I knew it wasn’t going to fly.I designed this little angel to be used for Valentine’s Day and some birthdays intended for young daughters from their parents. I wanted it to be sweet to go along with the title, You’re Our Little Angel. The
first one I submitted I had to laugh at the reviewer’s comment which was, “Her face doesn’t match the sweetness your card speaks of, actually she looks a little naughty. Please try to make her expression look sweet.” My thoughts were, yep, she’s right but I can’t do it.

So I researched faces of graphic little girl images online and could see the error in my ways. After picking up ideas how to change her hair and eyes from observing other graphics I redesigned her
and submitted the design for the 2 nd time thinking it was a good improvement, however, the reviewer came back and said, “We’re getting there, much better but still not quite right because
she looks startled, please try again.” My thoughts were, AGAIN, I don’t think I can improve it any more but I was still determined to get it right and attempted to improve it for the 3rd time.


After carefully observing the graphic faces of little girls and getting ideas about what I could do to make them look sweeter, I went back to the drawing board for the 3rd try but this time I had a good feeling I got it right . . . she looks much sweeter and so I submitted it. The reviewer was pleased and approved the card and was very appreciative I put in the effort taking take her advice.


My simple and humble advice to those beginning and those trying to increase their sales is simply look for ways to improve your designs. Use unique fonts for titles and don’t be afraid to change fonts within the title for interest. Placement of the design on the card is huge and doesn’t always have to be centered. Get those creative juices flowing.
Strive to make your cards stand out from the others by having something in the design that grabs the attention of the consumer. It might only be a vivid color. The sky’s the limit.

Research other designs on the internet to get ideas but use your artistic abilities to make them your creation. There are plenty of tutorials and tools out there that can aid in teaching you knew things through Photoshop, Illustrator and other great programs that will help you achieve and be the best you can be in designing your cards.

Bottom line, GET OUT OF THE BOX and start learning new techniques and incorporate new ideas into your designs and you’ll be surprised by what you are capable of. Make it a point every day to learn something new because it will give new life to your designs which equal more sales. So, if you want to be successful and make all those long and hard hours you put into designing pay-off, you MUST keep learning and finding new ways to improve your designs. You can do it!


Thank you to Trudy for sharing her improvement process and not hesitating to step out of the box to
learn something new. And a big thank you for working so well with the GCU review team to make your
submissions marketable and the best that they can be.



The difference is made in the details!


GCU Community Manager
3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2020 10:33 pm

    Big thanks to Trudy for this helpful guest post!

  2. February 15, 2020 12:23 am

    Great advice, Trudy! I am always stepping into unknown waters and there is no better way to inspire a creative soul AND to improve skill level as an artist, than explore new territory! Bravo!

  3. February 15, 2020 1:39 pm

    Thank you, Trudy, for sharing your experience of learning and growing your business. It is so refreshing to hear a success story from a fellow artist. How are you finding Illustrator to work with? I have been on the fence for years to try it! Thank you again!

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