A selection of calendar options.

Calendar Designs, Anyone?

A selection of calendar options.

A selection of calendar options.

When I was at my Panhandle Trail exhibit last weekend a woman parked her bike outside of my tent, stopped in and noted all the familiar places in my photos and art, and then she asked for the calendar. I had intended to design a poster calendar, but I had no calendars at all with me. She said she’d presumed when she was the photo “Dramatic Light” that it was the cover to a calendar and she was very interested.

I hated to disappoint her, but I thanked her for the unknowing support for the idea I’d had for calendars through the summer. Indeed, that would make a great cover image, and there are plenty more from the trail too, and the calendar ideas didn’t stop there.

I’m actually looking for input from you!

People ask me all the time if I have a calendar, or if I’ll be publishing one. I’m definitely considering one this year and have several ideas. I’d like to hear what you’d like too, and I’ll match up what seems the most popular.

I’ve held off for a few years because of the time and costs of a calendar. I don’t like using online calendar builders in part because they end up being too expensive, and as a long-time print buyer working with several printers near and far I can produce a small quantity of calendars for much less. I also find them too inflexible. I’m a graphic designer, and I don’t do well with templates, I like my freedom to follow an idea to its fruition. I like different formats, as long as they can be economically produced (and I’ll find a way to do that—I do it all the time for customers).

Above I’ve pictured the two calendars I published in 2012, 2013 and 2014. They did well for two years, then I had my own issues here with getting them printed before the end of the year, yes, you read that right. I decided to stop calendars for a few years until I would be able to swing the time and upfront cost.

For 2014 I published 12 Sketches of Cats, an 11 x 17 art calendar using my daily sketches. The calendar was printed only on one side of acid-free digital stock, and each image could be framed. I’d published it only one year, again because of time and cost.

The small calendars are 5.5″ x 8.5″ and spiral-bound, and I designed them to be bound two ways: on the side so you could use it on your desk or like a little booklet, and also along the top so you could use it as a small wall calendar. They are printed on 100# matte-finish text paper so it’s easy to write on but the art still looks bright and crisp.

In the Kitchen With Cookie I still intend to make into a small cookbook, and for that I need to get my garden in better shape since that’s an elemental part of cooking with Cookie.

I have so many ideas for calendars, and I can’t do them all. Whatever I do, I’d like to do it in September and have it ready for October. That might sound like a tall order, but I sit down and design big projects nearly every day, and I’ve been at it for years. Once I get started, I don’t come up for air until it’s done. And my fine felines will make sure of that!

So here are my ideas

Please let me know which one you like, or what ideas you have.

I need to know which format you’d like best:

  • small desk calendar like Compositions in Black and Green (price about $10.00)
  • standard 8.5 x 11 wall calendar (price about $15.00)
  • large art calendar (price about $25.00)

I also need to know what set of images you’d like best. Any 8.5 x 11 wall calendar I design will also have other smaller images mixed into the calendar pages:

  • cats: daily photos, all cats or black cats only
  • cats: daily sketches
  • cats: more formal fine artwork
  • cats: commissioned portraits (note that I intend to publish a new edition of Great Rescues soon)
  • nature: landscape photos
  • nature: wildflower photos
  • nature: flower and butterfly photos
  • nature: seasonal fine art

Below is more information on the calendars I’ve printed previously so you have an idea what they look like inside.

Compositions in Black and Green

images of black cats calendar

Compositions in Black and Green, journal and wall style, two spreads.

Compositions in Black and Green is still a popular idea whenever I share the photos, and I still have plenty of them from between fostering and including fosters like Basil, Bella, Emeraude, Kennedy and Hamlet. You can read more about it on the page I have describing both previous calendars to see that each month had one main photo and then several smaller photos. I could publish this just as I did before, same size and binding, with new photos.

I could make Compositions in Black and Green a regular wall calendar, same photos, just a different size.

12 Sketches of Cats


"12 Sketches of Cats Calendar"

“12 Sketches of Cats Calendar”

I’ve always admired oversized “art calendars”, the ones where the art is foremost and the calendar just an incidental means of presenting it. Calendars are printed on quality cover stock and are only printed on one side of the page with plenty of clear space around the artwork so that the image can be framed with nothing printed on the back.

And so 12 Sketches of Cats is digitally printed in the same archival inks and acid-free natural 100# smooth cover stock I use for the digital art prints I sell. Each page is 11″ x 17″ so there is plenty of space to have the art at or near its native size with room for the name and information about the art with the calendar at the bottom. The calendar is spiral-bound at the top with a hole drilled just beneath the spiral so you display one page at a time.

I sold these calendars for $45.00 which generated a $10.00 donation to a cat rescue. I generally sell my prints that size for $15.00 each, so 13 prints (you could use the cover too) for $35.00 is kind of a bargain. I could sell the calendar for less, though. I have better opportunities for print now than I did in 2013.

You can read more about 12 Sketches of Cats in this post, which includes all three calendars above.

Other themes

Daily Photos would include photos from the past year as well as historic photos, just as my daily photos posts are formatted. I would have one feature each month, or perhaps two if size and shape permit, and then other smaller images scattered on the calendar page. Browse my daily photos here.

Daily Sketches would be built on my daily sketches from 2011 to 2014. There are over 1,000, and still may you many not have seen. Each month would have a feature, and then several smaller images on the calendar page. Brose my daily sketches here on The Creative Cat and also on Portraits of Animals.

More formal fine artwork would include the cat artwork I’ve done through the years but not including portraits as well as the more finished of my daily sketches, such as “Here in the Shadows” and “We’re Going Outside Aren’t We?” Each month would have a feature image, and then several smaller images on the calendar page. To determine what would fit in this category, visit “My Cats” on Portraits of Animals.

Commissioned Portraits would include a selection of the commissioned portraits I’ve finished in the past year. Each month would have a featured portrait, and then several detail images from that portrait on the calendar page. I’ve done several portraits of dogs this year, and I could either make them a focus for a month or stay with only cats. Visit my gallery of portraits on Portraits of Animals.

Landscape Photos would include seasonal images of the landscape whether it be along the trail or the creek, from higher points to see the horizon, and include just a few homes or roads or buildings.

Wildflower Photos would include seasonal wildflower photos from my area, easy enough, I even have them going back to film days.

Flower and Butterfly Photos would include garden or wildflowers and possibly a nice bouquet and also butterflies on the flowers.

Seasonal Fine Art would include a seasonal painting and might include a seascape or wildlife too.

And one last idea

If there was enough interest, I would love to create a weekly calendar that incorporates all of the above, which would truly represent what goes on here. That would likely be a desk calendar, like a weekly planner, but I could also do it as a wall calendar. It would cost at least $25.00 for all the extra sheets of paper and take far more time. But if there is sincere interest, I will do it.

Let me know what you think!

Please comment below or email me at [email protected]. I’m looking forward to it!

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