Photo by Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record                                Anna Cosper paints a design for a commissioned holiday card in her studio.

Photo by Kira Erickson / South Whidbey Record Anna Cosper paints a design for a commissioned holiday card in her studio.

Langley illustrator taking commissions for the holidays

Langley illustrator Anna Cosper likes to joke that she’s been drawing since birth.

She believes in the handmade art of illustrated holiday cards. Her hand-drawn cards, she said, are more “open to happenstance” than digitally produced art, meaning mistakes in her work show that art really can imitate life.

With Cosper’s help, even the artistically impaired can send holiday cards with drawings that depict important things in their lives, whether it’s a scene from a beach, a pet curled up by the fire or just about anything else. She offers unique custom-made cards for a price, as well as those with partially customized drawings.

When Cosper studied at an art school in Holland, she initially worked with animation and puppetry. She recalls a 15-foot tall skeleton puppet she built for a theme park in China.

“Art school was crazy difficult over there,” Cosper said. “It’s very prestigious, but at the same time, very experimental.”

Despite her history of attending a prominent Dutch art school, she acknowledges that artists can come from varying backgrounds.

“I definitely don’t think that art school is a necessary part to becoming some kind of official artist,” she said.

After her graduation in 2006, Cosper worked for animation studios and puppet companies. But not having the time and energy to spend on her own art made her antsy, so she transitioned to starting her own business.

“The biggest challenge for me was developing enough of a business mind to make it work,” she said. “That’s the really cool thing about this, that I can live on an island and still work with people all around the country.”

As a freelance artist, Cosper has recently been writing and illustrating children’s books, a dream she’s had since she was eight years old.

Illustration has been her focus for the past three years, although she said someday she may return to puppetry.

Between the wood-paneled walls of her studio, Cosper paints a watercolor of sandmen — similar to snowmen, but made of sand and surrounded by palm trees. The commissioned holiday card is for a couple living in Florida. Many of her clients she has met in person at some time in her life.

“I like to know the people I’m working with,” she said.

Cosper’s holiday cards are $25 for a set of five pre-determined drawings. For $150, 25 cards with these designs can be partially customized with a family’s silhouette and text. For $160, they can get 50.

Fully customized holiday cards are $350 for 25 and $375 for 50. Customized cards must be ordered in advance to ensure time for completion.

Cosper also does baby and wedding announcements, and any other year-round commission you could possibly imagine.

To see more of her art, visit http://annacosper.com.

Photo courtesy of Anna Cosper                                An example of one of Anna Cosper’s holiday cards.

Photo courtesy of Anna Cosper An example of one of Anna Cosper’s holiday cards.

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