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Journal

Filtering by Category: Mpix Photo Gifts

Custom Photo Graduation Announcements and Invitations

elena wilken

At the beginning of this year I had the honor to work on a couple of new projects with Mpix, and it's been really exciting to see many of the new designs being released over the past month.

The new foil art print collages are exquisite, and they'll get a blog post all to themselves, but how fun are all these photo graduation announcements and invitations? If you have a graduate in your life send them their way. They’ll be well taken care of. Lots of designs that guys will love too! Designs that allow the photographs and memories you hold dear to take the spotlight.

...For that matter, while we are at it, do you know anyone in need of bridal shower invites, gorgeous memory boxes or mini albums, wedding invites, magnets or large print collages, to name a couple of other things? If you do, check out EW Couture Collection with Mpix! ...Now my shameless plug feels complete 😉

graduation-announcements-invitations-senior-grad-custom-photo-cards-ewcouture-mpix.jpg
graduation-announcements-invitations-senior-grad-custom-photo-cards-ewcouture-mpix.jpg
graduation-announcements-invitations-senior-grad-custom-photo-cards-ewcouture-mpix.jpg

Christmas season, all year long

elena wilken

It's Christmas season over here - as it is for probably every other greeting card designer out there. I am also going through a brand overhaul for EW Couture Collection, so there are books and notes everywhere around the office :)
...But, it is one of those days when the room is soaked in sunshine. And I thought it would be so fitting to share this image, along with these snapshots of illustration details from one of last year's holidays cards available in the EW Couture Collection line with Mpix.

office-space-cork-board-illustrator-designer.jpg

Hope you enjoy the close up look :) It was so much fun creating the numbers for this design!
For the curious minds, the vector based floral illustrations were done digitally, with the Apple Pencil on an iPad Pro, using the Adobe Draw app. The final design was created using Adobe Illustrator CC and Photoshop.

From Adobe Draw digital illustrations to final product

elena wilken

Any tool you might be holding in your hands - pens, graphite pencils, watercolors, an Apple Pencil, ...a zucchini dipped in ink, for that matter - they all hold so much potential. That is fascinating to me, and it will always be. You can bring worlds to life, with a simple Bic pen - just check out the artwork of this Iranian artist!
I happen to favor quite a bit the iPad Pro + Apple Pencil combo.

Here is a little work progress and what came of a handful of florals I drew one evening while re-watching the Giver.
That's a favorite thing of mine - drawing while a favorite movie is softly replaying in the background, and the house is all quiet :) ...It's my version of "me time" and I find it quite recharging and inspiring.

Illustrations done in the Adobe Draw app • iPadPro & Apple Pencil

Illustrations done in the Adobe Draw app • iPadPro & Apple Pencil

customizable bridal shower invite, created for the Mpix EW Couture Collection, using Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop

customizable bridal shower invite, created for the Mpix EW Couture Collection, using Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop

vector illustrations turned into a seamless floral surface pattern design - the dream is to see this one part of a fabric line one day, soon :)

vector illustrations turned into a seamless floral surface pattern design - the dream is to see this one part of a fabric line one day, soon :)

vector illustrations turned into a seamless floral surface pattern design - more color explorations

vector illustrations turned into a seamless floral surface pattern design - more color explorations

My Little Home Office ...and How it All Started

elena wilken

A few months ago I moved into a work space outside our home.
The new office is beautifully lit on sunny days, and the streets outside the window delightfully buzz with life. Aside from the background noise it is very quiet. ...There are no children running around or hopping in as they pass by the door. I dearly miss the thought of those moments some days, but just as dearly, I appreciate and welcome the quietness :)
This new space feels like home and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be there. 

Here is a little sneak peak at this new spot I am spending my working hours in these days, with a little Meyer Lemon tree by the window.

Here is a little sneak peak at this new spot I am spending my working hours in these days, with a little Meyer Lemon tree by the window.

...But it’s not this space I want to show you. Not today.

...Let me first introduce myself.
I am Elena, an illustrator, letterer, graphic designer, and a self-declared photographer at heart. And before that, a wife, a mom to our 3 loves, and one part of a less traditional family with a working mom and a "domestic engineer" dad (aka our most awesome stay-at-home dad).

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

Almost 9 years ago to the day, out of my love and passion for photography, intertwined with my graphic design knowledge, I started EW Couture Collection. It was about one year after our first baby was born.
EW Couture Collection is a line of designer Photoshop templates and marketing materials for the professional photographer - Christmas cards, business cards, albums and mini accordion albums, CD, DVD and USB templates, presentation boxes, baby announcements, graduation invitations... you name it. All photographer marketing materials you could think of. 

7 years ago, before our second baby was born, I left my associate graphic designer position, and the part time gig became a full time contracting job.

Fast forward to almost 4 years ago after our third boy was born - my husband took on the role of a stay at home dad, and I took my work more seriously than ever. We strongly felt that it was the right direction and fit for our family and it made the most sense for us and our kids. So we stepped out into this adventure, and never really looked back. Only forward.
Along the way, I also started a collaboration with Mpix, creating for their beautiful collection of handmade photo goodies and keepsakes, and stationary.

It’s been a whirlwind ride that's been leaving me speechless and still fills me with thankfulness again and again. It allows me to make a living doing something that I enjoy, while leaving a mark on other peoples’ lives.
The people I've met, the friendships I’ve made, the things I am learning about myself and the way this journey is shaping our family, will forever stay with me.
That's not to say that there are no sacrifices we've chose or had to make along the way, or that life is in bright shades of pink everyday. But we both know we are in the right place, and wouldn't do it differently, given the choice. The kids are thriving, and they love having Paul around so much! ... I am sure I will be sharing more about our experience, as I become more friendly with my blog again, so stick around ;)

But for today, I wanted to take a moment to be thankful for - and honor - the little  place where I started my journey.
If you'd know me, you'd learn that I get attached to places, and they become very meaningful to me. That was the case with my little home office, too.
This place saw me at my highest and at my lowest, and it's here that I've learned to navigate the complex world of owning a small business. ...The place where so many projects were birthed, where I first tried modern calligraphy and lettering, where I first ventured into watercolors and illustration, and where I first started thinking of myself as a professional artist and small business owner. I love this little room and what it meant for me and implicitly, for our little family!

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

The cork board wall was one of my favorite features, and something that I recreated in my current space, as well. I love being able to pin on it inspirational pieces, torn magazine pages, things I might be working on at the moment, or little notes from the kids.
I happened to photograph how my husband and I installed it, so if you are interested in the process and how we went about getting it done, check out the blog next week for a feature.

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

In an effort to stay relevant in the industry, and out of curiosity and delight too (once I got the taste of it), I learned and taught myself new skills. It would be dishonest of me not to admit that a good part of the drive to learn new things was linked to getting a paycheck and making a living for our family.
I am an introvert, I am not a thrill seeker, and I am very happy in my comfort zone ...I have yet to take on something new without any fears, and fully believing it will turn into a smashing success :) So, anything that gets me motivated and pushes me forward, out of my comfort zone - I'll take it!

I am sure many are plagued with the fear of getting started, but what I learned is that most times that's all it takes. Getting started is half or more of the journey.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite classes that I took, while learning lettering, calligraphy, and watercolors. I'll update with a link to the feature, this coming week. I started adding them here, but this post is getting lengthier than I intended it, as it is :) 

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

Watercolors and gauche are two other mediums that I've fallen in love with, in my creative explorations. And sure enough, I have a few awesome and very affordable online classes to recommend for these, too ;)

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

...And then, there is digital illustration. Oh, the possibilities!
I can completely blame my stumbling into that, on Paul :)
A couple of years ago, we went in to pick up a new desktop machine, and I walked out with the iMac - and an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Because "This is going to open up so many possibilities for you!" And indeed, the iPad Pro has been one of the best and most lucrative investments I made for the business, aside from education! I am thrilled he insisted I'd get it.
It's been part of my workflow on about every other project I've worked on since I got, and it will be part of every single one, as I wade into surface pattern design this year.

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

...About a year ago when I contacted Heidi of Velvet Owl Photography for updated head shots for the website, I didn't know I was going to move out soon. I am so glad that I decided to have the session in this little office.
With the move, this room is now a bedroom, with no sign of what is has been. I will forever treasure the memory of this little space as my little creative heaven.

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

...This is our gift baby, the one that has my heart wrapped around his little finger. And also, one of the reasons I started to seriously consider a work space outside the house :)

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

I've been fascinated with the world of surface pattern design ever since I've became aware of it (thank you Sillshare!) I am so excited to take this world by storm this year, and completely immerse myself in learning all I can about it, in a comprehensive Surface Pattern Design Immersion Program, taught by Bonnie Christine. I am not taking this on without feeling anxious, but I fully trust it will be a smashing success! ;)

Keepsake boxes - treasure chests of the past

elena wilken

 “Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.“ ~ Bob Dylan

....The Watercolor Daydream memory box, from the EW Couture keepsake boxes collection, with Mpix. Senior images courtesy of Nicole Eastman Photography. Thank you for the beautiful photographs Nicole!

...And because I'll never tire of the Storybook Illustration box, here are a few fresh snaps of it, too.

Mpix cards eye candy

elena wilken

I've been featuring regularly Christmas and holiday cards from this year's EW Couture Mpix collection, over on my @elenawilken.life.essays Instagram account, and plan to continue that. Hop over if you want to check out the posts or keep up with the eye candy.

A few favorites from this year's Mpix designs.

A few favorites from this year's Mpix designs.

...Sparkly berry wreaths in silver, gold or red... customize your Mpix foil cards with either, or make a few smaller orders and enjoy all three foils!

...Sparkly berry wreaths in silver, gold or red... customize your Mpix foil cards with either, or make a few smaller orders and enjoy all three foils!

Accordion Minis - a perfect little gift

elena wilken

Have you ever found yourself stumped while trying to shop for a meaningful gift that makes a lasting impression, for mom, or grandma, or for an aunt? ...What do you get someone, when they maybe have most of their needs met and taken care of?

...Accordion mini albums! These little albums make for great gifts that are especially loved by moms and grandmas! A festive, pocket-sized photo book you can customize with your favorite images. They make for the perfect gift any time of the year, but during holidays these mini albums make for GREAT Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers for grandparents and family.

Bird Melody - EW Couture/Elena Wilken design for Mpix.com.  The perfect gift – a festive pocket-sized photo book filled with your favorite photo memories from the year.

Bird Melody - EW Couture/Elena Wilken design for Mpix.com. The perfect gift – a festive pocket-sized photo book filled with your favorite photo memories from the year.

Bluebird Couple - EW Couture/Elena Wilken design for Mpix.com.  The perfect gift – a festive pocket-sized photo book filled with your favorite photo memories from the year.

Bluebird Couple - EW Couture/Elena Wilken design for Mpix.com. The perfect gift – a festive pocket-sized photo book filled with your favorite photo memories from the year.

Bluebird Couple - EW Couture/Elena Wilken design for Mpix.com.  The perfect gift – a festive pocket-sized photo book filled with your favorite photo memories from the year.

Bluebird Couple - EW Couture/Elena Wilken design for Mpix.com. The perfect gift – a festive pocket-sized photo book filled with your favorite photo memories from the year.

Watercolors - from brush strokes to greeting cards

elena wilken

Hand-drawn, hand-made, watercolors - are a hot trend across industries in 2016, especially in gifts and all things stationary. The Christmas and holiday cards and custom photo gifts I've created for Mpix.com's EW Couture collection, reflect that trend and my love affair with watercolor and hand lettering. ...And song birds :)

Singing Birds  - 5x7 EW Couture/Elena Wilken Christmas greeting card for Mpix.com

Singing Birds - 5x7 EW Couture/Elena Wilken Christmas greeting card for Mpix.com

Serene Tune  - 4x8 EW Couture/Elena Wilken Christmas greeting card for Mpix.com

Serene Tune - 4x8 EW Couture/Elena Wilken Christmas greeting card for Mpix.com

Watercolor Birds  - 5x7 EW Couture/Elena Wilken Christmas greeting card for Mpix.com

Watercolor Birds - 5x7 EW Couture/Elena Wilken Christmas greeting card for Mpix.com

Keepsakes, stories, hope and bridges...

elena wilken

This is my absolute favorite memory box from the collection I've designed and licensed with Mpix, thus far. There is something special and unique about each one, but the Storybook Illustration memory box is the closest to my heart.
It reminds me of my growing up and of my grandma. ...It's happy, bright and exuberant but classy and elegant at the same time, holding oh so many stories and memories between its covers.
...A perfect gift for old and young souls alike.
I love this thought from Mattie Stepanek, and it's so fitting, so I'll share it: "Keep all special thoughts and memories for lifetimes to come. Share these keepsakes with others to inspire hope and build from the past, which can bridge to the future."

Fresh Beggining - a box for memories and soulful treasures

elena wilken

Welcome all the new beginnings...and celebrate them 💌
"One of the best ways to make yourself happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good." ~ Gretchen Rubin ••• Fresh Beginning Mpix keepsake box, a fun and perfect custom gift.

Special thanks to N-E Photography for the use of the beautiful photographs showcased on the Fresh Beginning custom photo box. /// An EW Couture Collection design for Mpix.

Keepsake Box through Mpix - Sweet Louie

elena wilken

"...and I say to myself, what a wonderful world" 🎶 ...Sweet Louie - for when you are looking for the perfect keepsake box, to save your favorite mementos and memories.

Special thanks to N-E Photography for the use of the beautiful photographs showcased in the Sweet Louie keepsake box. /// An EW Couture Collection design for Mpix.