Arlene Giddings loves creating art using visual images.

However, when her wedding photography business closed, three years ago, she started looking for other ways to express her creativity.

“There was a huge gap to fill,” says the Summerside resident, who found another outlet a year ago.

One day at home she picked up a pen and started doodling on a piece of paper. It wasn’t long before a little girl and a whimsical robot appeared on the page.

Giddings realized the scene needed some action. So, she placed the characters on their backs and, adding some lines and snow, turned them into childhood friends who were making snow angels. Then with her own creative font, she penned the words “Let It Snow”. 

“I just kind of fell into it,” says Giddings, who works as an administrative assistant.

One thing led to another and soon other scenes were coming to life.

In one, the little girl and the robot have decorated the Christmas tree. In another, an entire family of robots has gone Christmas carolling. A fan favourite is “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas”, a street scene inspired by the Dr. Seuss children’s book series.

“There’s a candy store, there’s a purple house and a snowman who is obviously alive,” says Giddings, who spends all her free time making one-of-a-kind holiday cards.

She signs the back of each card with “Geek Girl Ink” and a caricature of herself and creates a matching envelope.

“It’s all about play.”

It started as carefree doodling, at first. But when she shared her images on Facebook and her website, “things snowballed”.

Soon she was receiving requests from friends. And some even became fans.

“I have an order in for a half dozen generic cards so that I can have (them) on hand,” says Brian Matthie, Charlottetown who has purchased two dozen cards from Giddings over the past two years.

“Arlene does great work. And the cards give me a good feeling when I see them. They’re beautiful, and I love her take on life.”

Now, with the approach of the holiday season, she’s busy filling orders.

Her holiday card collection includes a pair of mittens on a string, holly and evergreen boughs that spell out the word Joy and coloured lights that encircle the words Jingle Bells.

Her festive creativity starts whenever she sits down at her little blue desk. Pulling out her pens and paints she sketches each card, inks it in and adds a watercolour wash. As she works, she listens to Christmas carols or podcasts.

“Unless I’m working on a specific request, I never know what’s coming.”

A self-taught artist, Giddings became interested in illustration after learning how to bullet journal. It’s a method of personal organization invented by designer Ryder Carroll.

“People were doing it creatively – like a fancy doodle list page – so it really appealed to me.”

Now, as she looks to the future, she sees more doodles coming.

“I’m already working on some cards for Valentine’s Day.”

sally.cole@theguardian.pe.ca


Artist facts

– Who: Arlene Giddings

– Getting in touch: Go to http://www.arlenegiddings.com/,  https://www.facebook.com/arlene.giddings





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