Annie Dornan Smith - behind the scenes blog posts

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New in for Christmas 2022 - Inside the Sketchbook

a set of three christmas cards featuring christmassy birds (robins, doves and partridges) lay next to a stack of gifts wrapped in matching bird-patterned wrapping paper

 An illustrated Christmas collection  of cards and wrapping paper inspired by vintage book covers, and featuring our feathered festive favourites! Sneak a behind-the-scenes look at 2022’s bird-themed delightful Christmas Collection.

Festive Birds Christmas Cards and Wrap


illustration of christmas partridges - created with gouache paint on sketchbook paper
original paintings of christmas doves and robins - made with gouache paint on paper

Another Winter approaches, and as always, along with it comes another Christmas collection! 2022’s Christmas collection was always intended to be small but perfectly formed - a micro collection of three beautiful illustrated Christmas Cards, matching wrap, and a few extra Christmas treats thrown in along the way!

Covered in beautiful illustrated birds, this collection is made up of three key designs - the Robins design, the Dove design, and the Partridges, all forming their own lovely, gold-foiled Christmas cards, and coming together in one pattern to adorn the birds Christmas wrap - in a choice of two colours. 

source - National Library NZ Flickr

The collection started life inspired by some beautiful old book covers I found during an evening Pinterest scroll - beautiful old books embossed with intricate gold foiling and often full of plants, insects and animals. With this feel in my head, I began sketching, and way back at the start of 2022, the Robin design began to take shape, because what little bird is more festive than the beautiful red-breasted Robin? Each design is created, as always, with my favourite medium: Gouache, and from sketches, after layers and layers of paint, I created the Robin design.

Robin Gouache painting - Annie Dornan Smith


From there, I expanded the theme out to two other festive birds - choosing the Dove as a symbol of peace and love, which felt very appropriate for the season, and a pair of Partridges, as a nod to the beloved Christmas carol. Whilst they’re not quite perched in a Pear tree, I did give the uppermost Partridge a sprig of Pear blossom as a sweet little nod to the traditional Christmas tune.

Illustrated Birds Christmas Cards

three illustrated Christmas cards with beautiful festive bird designs - robins, dove and partridges

Choosing three contrasting backgrounds, and three differing messages (Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings, and Festive Greetings) each illustrated card design is versatile and perfect for mix-and-matching (which of course is easy with my 3 for 2 Code on Christmas Cards! Just use XMASCARDS at the checkout - works across any and all Christmas Cards!)

Naturally, they are finished with a final layer of shimmering Gold foil - picking out leaves in the foliage, as well as the lettering for a shimmering, eye catching finish that will flicker in the fairy lights and candle flames of the festive season. 

Check out all of my Illustrated Christmas Cards here.

Bird Patterned Christmas Wrapping Paper

a pile of gifts wrapped in lovely bird pattered christmas paper, finished with grosgrain ribbons

I couldn’t just leave it at cards, as I had vision of a deep, dark sheet of wrap, dotted with flitting birds in my head, so then begun the painstaking process of turning each design into a repeat pattern, so that I could apply it seamlessly to my wrapping paper. Selecting branches, birds and berries from each of the three bird designs, I combined them into one pattern, with a choice of two background colours for a gorgeous selection that will look wonderful under the tree.

As always, my wrap is printed on a thick, 130gsm paper with a silky finish, for that just-wrapped sheen, and you can select folded shipping, or upgrade to Rolled for the ultimate crease-less finish. 

Mix and match the two new wrapping paper designs, or pair it with patterns from other collections for an eclectic under-the-tree look. Perfect for personalising to each family member, or giving certain gifts that extra bit of festive magic.

Check out my Illustrated Wrapping Paper here, and get rolled shipping FREE when you order 6 or more sheets of rolled wrapping paper. 

One More Festive Addition

a large, A2 print of an illustrated christmas tree - perfect christmas wall art!


Finally, one last addition that I couldn’t resist sneaking into this year’s Christmas collection, was the large-format A2 Christmas Tree print. After the success of my Christmas Tree mini-print last year, I longed for a big, beautiful piece of Christmas Wall Art to make an impact in my Christmas decor this year, and thus, the Christmas Tree Wall Art Print was born! Featuring my best selling Christmas Tree design, now available as a beautiful A2 size print, it’s perfect for swapping with your existing art this Christmas, or hanging in high-traffic areas that often miss out on the Christmas decor! Pop this beauty in your hallway, kitchen or landing for that extra splash of Christmas cheer. 

Shop the Christmas Tree Wall Art Print.