"This is something I still tell myself all the time - Try to look inward and make stuff you aren't seeing anywhere else. Obviously easier said than done! But I think it's really important and it'll help you stand out and get noticed."
Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!
This week’s featured artist is Jennifer Lee, the illustrator/designer behind Yeppie Paper cards. We love the playfulness and sincerity that Jennifer captures in her greetings, and it's been a joy watching the collection/company (co-run with her brother Jim) evolve and grow over the years we've been working with them!
Who are you?
My name is Jennifer Lee Gregoire - most people call me Jen. I am one half of Yeppie Paper, the company I started with my brother, Jim Lee, back in 2014. I'm also a mom of two kids (4 year old daughter, Addie, and 18 month old son, Wes), wife to Jim Gregoire (yes, my husband's name is the same as my brother's....sigh), and we live in Los Angeles with our 10 year old rescue dog, Royce.
What do you do?
As co-owner of Yeppie, each day is different. Some days, I get to paint all day while listening to podcasts, audio books or music. Other days, you'll find me editing artwork on my computer, doing digital "housekeeping" (ie. updating our catalog, maintaining our Etsy shop, etc.) or taking pics of our products for Instagram. I also oversee our print runs with our local printer, which includes checking proofs and going to press checks to make sure our colors are hitting all the right levels. We come out with three new releases a year, so when it's time to start planning the next release, I put on my "creative thinker" hat and open my mind up to any and all card ideas that float my way. This is when my brother and I start collaborating on ideas and it's at once challenging yet fun to see where our ideas take us.
Who/what inspires you?
I'm inspired by other makers (not just in the greeting card world, but creative people all over - illustrators, painters, chefs & bakers, textile designers...) who first and foremost have a clear and unique point of view. I admire people who are bringing their individuality to the table, whose work doesn't necessarily conform to what happens to be trendy at any given moment. I'm also constantly inspired by the natural world around us, the interesting mannerisms and quirks of our friends in the animal kingdom and how they might relate to us humans. And lastly, judging by the unicorn & rainbows that appeared on one of our newest birthday cards, I'm also very inspired by my kids.
What’s your favorite moment in the process?
I love the entire process of making a card from start to finish, and I feel so lucky that I get to do what I do. If I had to choose a favorite moment, it would be when I'm actually painting. I love mixing the colors, applying the paint to paper, seeing how the image starts to appear, coming back to it the next day and working on it a little more, a little more, until it looks complete. A runner-up favorite moment is when I see new designs printed for the first time. Always exciting.
What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?
This is something I still tell myself all the time - Try to look inward and make stuff you aren't seeing anywhere else. Obviously easier said than done! But I think it's really important and it'll help you stand out and get noticed.
We are currently finalizing our next release for August of this year, which will include some new Love & Valentine's cards, as well as new Thank You, Birthday, Congrats and Baby. I've been slowly introducing more pattern-style designs into our line with the hopes that we can expand our collection to include gift wrap someday in the near future (!!!). Our brains are always churning with new ideas and our main priority is to continue to come out with fresh stuff that our buyers and customers will *hopefully* love.
See more cards by Yeppie Paper here!