Christmas Twist Tree

"Christmas Twist Tree" by Debi Payne Designs
“Christmas Twist Tree” by Debi Payne Designs

Every year for Christmas, I design a Christmas card that I send out to family and friends.  I send them a card with a design that has never been seen before.  Each year this is a “top secret” project!  I carefully guard the design so that nobody sees it until I send out the cards.  It my special gift for them to receive a new design before anybody else.  It amazes me how so many of these family and friends has saved each of my cards over the past 14 years and have their own personal collection that they set out each year among their Christmas decorations.

The year that I created this Christmas card I knew that I wanted to do something with a Christmas tree.  I started out with a simple line drawing of a three tier Christmas tree.  As I sat there looking at this very blank Christmas tree I couldn’t figure out what to do with it.  Then I started putting in different shapes that at the time I thought were ornaments.  Before long I had the tree filled with all these different patterns.  

The tree then looked like it was too confusing and didn’t make sense to me.  I then added the black and white checkerboard ribbon and put a star on top.  Then I liked it!

With all of my designs I first start with a hand sketch on paper.  When I get the sketch how I want it, I then scan it into the computer.  From there, using a Wacom tablet and stylus (pen), I redraw the design and add color and shading.

After I had the design digitally drawn it was time to add color.  As I sat there thinking about what colors I wanted to use, I knew that this was such a different design and I didn’t really want to use the traditional red, green and gold colors.  After getting over my fears I started adding pinks, purples and other bright tropical colors.  Several times I tried to stop myself saying, ‘this will never work’.  But I just couldn’t stop.  And I was loving the design.

Once I had the tree finished I was left with a real dilemma, what am I going to use for a background.  I tried one thing after another and absolutely nothing worked.  Then for some reason I tried a solid black background.  The result was amazing!  The black background made the colors pop.  I loved it!  But then I thought, ‘I can’t send out a Christmas card with a black background’.  So I tried many other things, yet none of them worked.  I kept going back to the black background. 

Finally I decided, this is it!  With that I started making all the individual cards.  When they were finished and the envelopes were addressed and ready to be mailed, I got really nervous.  I couldn’t stop thinking about what everybody was going to say or think when they get this Christmas card with so much black and tropical colors instead of traditional colors.

With every ounce of courage I could muster up, I finally took the cards to post office and put them in the mail.  For the next couple of days I fretted and worried about what everybody was going to say.  Finally people started to receive their cards and I started to hear from them.  Much to my surprise, they loved the card!  Over the years this has become my most popular Christmas design. 

Since the tree I have added three other Christmas Twist designs to the collection.  They are Christmas Twist Stockings, Christmas Twist Ornaments and Christmas Twist Bells.  Who knows what will be added to the collection in the years to come.

To see Christmas Twist Tree products, click here.

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