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  • Writer's pictureKevin Roeckl

Carly portrait - Custom Notecards

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

The final steps of a portrait...

When the portrait is finished and the client approves it, the job is not finished by any means. I mount and varnish the portrait — there are several steps to that which have to dry in between - that takes about a week. And I make notecards of the portrait. Some of my portrait categories include custom notecards in the price. I design the notecards with the wording that the client wants on the back. Here's how I make the custom notecards.


I create a layout of the cards in Photoshop, with the portrait on the front, and whatever the client wants printed on the back. People might include their loved one's name, registered name and titles, “Loved by…” or anything they want to say about them. I print the cards on a high-quality inkjet printer. It takes many “proofs” to get the color to exactly match the original, which I compare it to under studio lighting. I print a proof, adjust the color, print again, until it’s just right. Then I run off 8 cards to include with the portrait.

Custom notecards of a fine art portrait of Golden Retreiver Service Dog
This pic shows the finished result. Here are all the steps…tap each photo for captions.

Click each picture to see it larger


In my studio I use a t-square to trim the cards, cutting them on a cutting mat. You can score a cutting mat with a sharp blade thousands of times (I have) without damaging it. It's made of a special “self-healing” plastic.

I run the t-square up and down along the edge of my worktable with my left hand (on the right in this pic) so it’s always parallel to each cut I’m making.


First the printed card is lined up under the straight-edge using the crop marks I’ve printed on the cards.


Each card is trimmed by hand, using a sharp x-acto knife.

Holding down the t-square and pressing firmly, I run the blade along the stainless-steel straight-edge….


…re-position the t-square and cut the upper edge….


Then turn the card sideways and cut the two sides. (In this pic you can see the cuts that have been made along the top and bottom of the card.)


After the card is cut, I remove the excess. You see the cut-off strips piled at the left.


Next I fold each card….


…pressing down the edge with a tool called a “bone”.

I don’t know if it’s actually made of bone.

Maybe it is.

I think it’s hard plastic. ;-)


I count out the number of envelopes to go with the card set….


And package them in a clear plastic card-bag with a sealable flap.

My client receives a set of 8 cards with envelopes. They will be shipped in the crate with the portrait.

Custom portrait notecards with envelopes of a Golden Retriever Service Dog portrait by Artist Kevin Roeckl

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