Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tulip & Iris Cartoons

In January I was approached to do some work for a flower and bulb company in Holland. The company, Breck's is one of those firms that sends packets in the mail inviting you to buy bulbs for your garden.

Previously, they had hired cartoonist Ted Fine, the creator of the "Hazel" comic strip, as well as the Mr. Peabody & Sherman cartoon characters from the Rocky & Bullwinkle show, (characters I used to love as a kid.) Sadly, Ted passed away in 2008 after a long bout with cancer.

The company's main offices in the USA are in Indiana, but a design studio in Pennsylvania that had worked with Ted contacted me and served as my liaison with the company.

The trick of the cartoons is that they are personalized with the name of the addressee appearing in the caption of the cartoon, peering through the envelope window. (A very effective way to increase response rates from direct marketing.) I have done personalized cartoons for many clients, so it was old hat to write concepts for that purpose.

I was asked to create 4 concepts for their bulbs, (tulips or irises), and then after they selected their favorite, to finish it as a color cartoon.

Rough sketches of concepts, below: (click to take a closer look)

After seeing the concepts, they decided to do two personalized mailers rather than one...and asked me to create a second finished cartoon.

The second cartoon, (below), along with a sample mailer. (We decided to add the main characters' wife, with her expression of disbelief, to add to the humor.)


  1. Zack Collier3/2/11, 11:29 PM

    Cool cartoons! I've received mailers from Brecks, and so have my parents over the years. I'll have to keep my eyes open for these.

    I noticed that the finished art for the iris cartoon is turned around 180 degrees from the sketch that you did. Any particular reason?

  2. Very observant! At the request of the client, I flipped the artwork, so that the irises were the last thing the reader saw before looking at the printed material next to the cartoon.

    As for the flowers from Brecks, I actually thought the giant tulips sounded terrific, (supposedly they are larger than your hand), so I will be ordering some of those for my wife's garden.


Let me know if I can answer a question.