Drawing greeting cards

At the end of the 1990s – it was almost certainly 1997 – a small publisher in Rome contacted me. He published greeting cards. He is closed, now, because I haven’t find him, nor I’ve seen his cards around anymore.

It was the first time I worked for a publisher. It was located in the eastern suburbs of Rome and took almost an hour to get there. The office was practically at home in a cottage.

He commissioned me a series of greeting cards and I drew some sketches for him. At that time no one had the email nor I had a scanner, so there were two ways to show the drafts: sending them by fax, to be discarded because the photocopy of a pencil drawing sent by fax would have produced an almost white sheet, or bring them by hand, what I did.

He approved 5 drafts, told me the price – 100,000 liras (right price, as I expected) – and I drew them. At that time I colored my drawings with chalk pencils and then I fixed the drawing with a fixative.

I also submitted him a series of soccer greeting cards, but he refused them. I still have the sketches. They are now very old drawings, my style is changed, but I intend to take them back to submit them to another publisher.

The 5 birthday cards that I drew, instead, were not published. The editor said that the print was not good because of my chalks, but he paid me anyway. Thanks to him, however, I met for the first time the Pantone markers (his drawers used those markers to color the cards) and since then, until a few years ago, I colored with that technique.

Drawing greeting cards for various occasions is an ideal job for a cartoonist, a job that I have always appreciated, even if my last collaboration, which dates back to 2011, was negative.

For a Sicilian publisher I made at least 30 cards for baptism, communion, confirmation, birthday and marriage. They were small, like those found in wedding favors.

It has been hard to get a 30% of payment in advance. I sent him the drawings, but he never paid me the balance of 70%. The guy made up banal excuses, so I asked my lawyer to write him, without result. Experience is a hard teacher.

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