Martinka Crystal sits down with in house artist Martina Krivankova to get the scoop on her new line of hand drawn greeting cards. Martina Discusses her passion for drawing and how she’s transformed her hobby into a surprising home decor item.
MC: When did you first start drawing? Did you always know you had a knack for it?
MK: I have been drawing since I was a kid. I remember always signing up for art classes during my academic career and drawing at home during my free time. I always found it soothing. As far as a knack for it, both sides of my family have artistic abilities. On my mom’s side it’s my grandmother, and then I get it from my dad as well. Art has always been an outlet for me, but it’s never been anything that I thought to share with others beyond friends and family.
MC: How did the idea to create greeting cards first come about?
MK: I think it was a collision between strategy and chance. I had always wanted our brand to be part of the gift giving experience. We had the beautiful crystal and the gift wrapping, but there was one component missing in our gift cycle, the message. However, as a brand you always strive to do things in a special way. You try to work in a way that will delight your customers. I didn’t just want to type a message for my customers on a generic card stock note card. I wanted their message to become a part of the present. I wanted it to be something they would always remember giving and their loved one would always remember receiving. For a while we tabled the idea, until one day when I started doodling on my iPad. At first it was like going back in time and using art as a way to decompress. After a while though, I realized I enjoyed it so much and I wanted to share it. Slowly, I put the pieces together and that’s how we came up with Martinka Crystal greeting card line.
MC: What medium do you use to draw your designs?
MK: When I was growing up, I remember how much I loved pencil sketching and using oil pastels, but that was a while back. Today there’s so many ways to execute and display your art and one of them is through the day to day techie tools we use. In my case, I discovered I loved drawing using my iPad and Bamboo stylus pen. Overall, I just find the whole experience amazing that we as a society have transformed from a pencil and pen to paper society to one where we can do virtually anything in the digital sphere.
MC: You seem to enjoy drawing animals themes, where do you draw your inspiration?
MK: Yes, I find animals to be so tranquil to look at. I love their natural colors and patterns. Some drawings I pull from my travels, like my camel greeting card. I fell in love with camels when I saw one for the first time in the desert in Abu Dhabi. They are just the kindest and gentlest animal.
I also love drawing faces. It’s amazing that no matter how many times I draw noses and eyes, I’m still surprised at how the subtle differences in curves yield such uniquely distinct features. One of my favorites is my rendition of Marie Antoinette. I love the time period, and while I was drawing her I got to dream about a world within Versailles.
MC: What is your signature technique when it comes to your greeting card designs?
MK: Eyes. I love drawing eyes with the utmost detail. The saying goes that eyes are the window to the soul when you look at someone, and for me they are the window to life. I try to draw my subject’s eyes so that the spectator will have to double take to make sure they are not real. It’s my way of breathing life into a two dimensional world. Plus, it’s part of the surprise I want my customers to feel.
MC: There’s something special about these cards, what is your hope for those who receive them?
MK: First and foremost, I want our customers to have a way of completing their present with a personal touch. I want them to be able to include any kind of message on the inside of the card. Secondly, and this is our part, I want our customer to feel that their message will not be lost or forgotten. Like I mentioned before, I wanted the greeting to be a part of the present, and so theoretically, if you kept the greeting you would always remember the gift you received and the meaning behind it. How we were going to accomplish this effect was a little more challenging. Besides, and I am guilty of this, a lot of greeting cards over the course of time end up stowed away. This is exactly what I didn’t want for our customers who had worked so hard to coordinate the present in the first place.
The greeting cards are artistic. They have a decorative component that’s built into them, so we decided to steer clear of standard greeting card sizes and we decided to treat them more like photos. We designed them to fit into a five inch by seven inch frame so that when our customer’s loved one received it, they had a way to display it in a practical and timeless way. The best part about framing the image is that you are also framing the message within.
MC: How do you want your customers to feel when they write their greeting in one of your cards?
MK: We want our customer to feel they can write anything and feel like their message or greeting will always be cherished and remember. We want them to feel that they will pleasantly surprise the individual on the receiving end. We also want them to feel their present will stand out from the rest.
MC: How do these greeting cards fit in with the rest of your brand?
MK: When it comes to the greeting cards, I try to stay clear of very thematic images. For example, when creating our holiday greeting cards, I didn’t want the card to be explicit. I wanted it to be aesthetic and decorative. So instead of drawing Santa or Christmas trees, I opted to draw three French hens. In my mind, it kept the holiday cheer alive, but at the same time I could imagine someone hanging up the greeting card in a frame after the holidays. The same goes for our crystal. There is function in each piece, but we chose our designs very carefully, so that after the “wining and dining” is over, they become part of the decor. There’s a surprising element we want our brand to provide our customers with, which is there’s more than meets the eye.