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Wake Up And Smell The Candles

May 19, 2014

Ever misplace your car keys? How about your glasses? Ever spend 20 minutes looking for your coffee cup, only to find it sitting in the microwave?? Good– join the club!

Occasionally I’ll discover a forgotten illustration in an odd folder on my computer. Take this birthday card design, for example. I found it by accident the other day.

The idea made me laugh, but I was embarrassed about my font choice and the smoke. The “Hey…” is almost unreadable, and the smoke looks very sloppy and unconvincing.

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happy birthday greeting card guy sleeping in bed big cake with many lighted candles teetering on bedpost hey wake up and smell candles

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“I must clean this up and get it into my online store!” I cried. Yes, I’m subject to these occasional bursts of resolve… : )

Here’s the revision. The smoke looks more realistic, and the white-on-black text really catches the eye. I added a line of reflected light on the cake, and used the same font for the “wake up” pay-off line.

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happy birthday greeting card guy sleeping in bed big cake with many lighted candles teetering on bedpost hey wake up and smell candles

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I know what you’re thinking: Shouldn’t the pay-off line go inside the card? You’re right.
So what’s it doing on the front of the card? Good question.

It’s like this: I’ll be selling the card in my online store. My fulfillment partner, Fine Art America, can only print it as a blank card. I didn’t want to lose the pay-off line, so I put it at the bottom. Not what I’d prefer, but the best I could do.

Here’s a detail image:

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detail of happy birthday greeting card guy sleeping in bed big cake with many lighted candles teetering on bedpost hey wake up and smell candles

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    *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *       *blank vertical space, 16 pixels high

Do you buy blank cards at all?– or do you prefer inside captions?

Ever had a smoke detector go off while you were in bed?

Have you ever reprimanded a birthday cake for smoking in bed??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:


Oh, No– Abducted By The Cake People!!

Look! Up In The Sky! It’s A… Clock??

Happy Birthday To Folksinger Patty Larkin And Her Machine Gun Guitar

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footer for all future blog posts showing picture of blog author Mark Armstrong, along with short bio and contact information

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2014 11:49 AM

    Do you buy blank cards at all?

    Sure! Those are the best, IMHO, because then I get to come up with my OWN captions!

    Interesting that you should present a birthday image, Mark. My daughter’s birthday was last Friday. But, she only turned 12, so your image is a little closer to mine, although Cimmy stopped humoring me– doubtful that she’ll put 40 candles on a cake this August.
    (Maybe she’ll do what she did for Princess, and put trick candles on it.)


    • May 20, 2014 9:29 AM

      Ha! Hi, Jak. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for coming up with one’s own captions– a must, really, for inside jokes!

      Tell your wife to put all 40 candles on the cake– a 40th birthday deserves a blaze of glory!! : )

      Good to see you, thanks as always for your kind support!


  2. May 19, 2014 5:47 PM

    Now that’s something that will never happen to a 10 year old [well, unless they are using dinner candles on the cake!]. That’s one ominous cake there! Only a brilliant brain like yours making use of your exceptionally skilled hands could create this! I’ve always been very fond of first versions so I really don’t mind the illegibility of ‘Hey’ -or your smoke, but, you’re the boss, so chapeau one more time! 🙂


    • May 20, 2014 9:46 AM

      I think every 10-year-old should wake up to a giant, ominous, blazing, smoking cake teetering above them– well, at least once. It’s good training for the vagaries of life… : )

      You know, I entirely agree with you about first versions. There’s something about a quick sketch or a dashed-off piece that has great energy; a kind of “truth” you can’t get with a more studied, careful painting or drawing. In this case, I had a very loose, quick line, and slapped-on, rather sloppy color– and I left most of it alone. But the “Hey” and the smoke seemed like jarring notes, so like a wrathful Greek god, I had to hit them with a lightning bolt: ka-BOOM!! : )

      Thank you for your lovely comment, my dear chapeau-tipping Marina!! : )


  3. soul . to . earth permalink
    May 19, 2014 6:10 PM

    When it comes to funny, brilliant illustrations, no one can hold a candle to you, mon ami! 🙂


    • May 20, 2014 9:51 AM

      Ha!! My dear Radhika!! You are waxing eloquent here!! Then again, you always do! : )

      Thanks for a comment which simply drips with kindness, and for being your uniquely wonderful self!! : )


      • soul . to . earth permalink
        May 20, 2014 11:09 AM

        😀 Oooh, I was burning to add “candle in the wind” quips but my efforts flamed out. If I could compete with Elton John’s (…ahem, Sir to you Lady Quipster!) ability to recycle songs to suit…….that would be the icing on the cake!


        • May 22, 2014 8:14 AM

          Ha!! Your funster-punster reply knocked the Quip-O-Meter off my wall, and warmed the smoky embers of my heart!! Old Sir Recycle John could take lessons from you, Lady Quipster, because you take the cake– in the top-hole sense of that dessert idiom!! : )


  4. May 19, 2014 10:48 PM

    I’d say the fire company better be on standby. Delightful illustration, Mark. Made me laugh. (I love how you repurpose ideas. Very creative.)

    I sympathize with your dilemma. I prefer the punch line to be on the inside of the card.


    • May 20, 2014 10:03 AM

      Ha! I think The Three Stooges Fire Company would be a good match for this particular blaze– they always knew how to take calamity to the next level… : )

      Many thanks, my dear Judy. I must agree with you: the punch-line here needs that element of surprise, which means it needs to be inside the card. Ah, well. As we all know, you can’t have your char-broiled cake and eat it, too! : P

      Thanks as always for your cheerful support!


  5. May 22, 2014 8:01 PM

    So much prefer the blank cards. Great illustration. I laughed out loud.


    • May 27, 2014 12:47 PM

      Thanks so much for your feedback and very kind comment– both sincerely appreciated. I don’t think I could ask for a nicer compliment than someone laughing out loud– you made my day! Thanks for your visit, hope to see you again! : )


  6. May 25, 2014 9:27 AM

    i waked up without smell the candles, some problem? thank you, Mark, great post and lovely pics. this is beautiful, I really enjoyed your “dam good work.”


    • May 27, 2014 1:12 PM

      You woke up and you didn’t smell any candles?? Ha!! No, not a problem, I guess it just wasn’t your birthday, that’s all… : )

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Mario, and for sending me the link to your music. I thought your slideshow and your composition were both beautiful– extremely fine work. Thanks again, wishing you all the best!


  7. May 31, 2014 6:48 AM

    Happy Birthday to you dear Mark!!! All my best wisches for you! Either in advance or delayed – good wishes are never wrong 😉


    • June 5, 2014 10:36 PM

      What?? You assumed that was me lying in bed?? Well, it’s true, I did use myself for the model. I am a handsome chap, if I do say so myself… : )

      You’re so right: good wishes are never, ever wrong. And coming from you, dear Tutti, they are worth their weight in bratwurst!! Thank you!– I’m putting on my cute little birthday hat now. But where are my presents? There should be presents. Oh, Tuttiiii… : )


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