Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2008 Finalists

Welcome back to another entry in our Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest Look Back Series. As we continue our look into the 2008 contest we wanted to use today’s post to showcase two beautiful finalists entries which were turned into a set of amazing Christmas cards in our line. As has been the case in most years of the scholarship contest, we found a couple of entries which while they weren’t selected as the winner, we felt were just too beautiful to pass up.

The first entry is from Corinne Thompson, who submitted a beautiful painting of a quiet and serene view of a snow-covered hill glistening with freshly fallen snow on a cold winter’s day. The scene was just too beautiful to not be added to our line. When we converted the entry into a card, there was not much that needed to be done. Some of the designs details were enhanced with some embossing to give them a three dimensional feel and really make them pop! We also added some multi colored reflective glitter to give the sensation of falling snow before adding it to our line as the Glistening Snowscape Holiday Card.

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The second entry was from Devon Rutherford, who submitted an amazingly detailed painting of a poinsettia with rich red petals and bright yellow stamens. The entry was placed within a beautiful white frame with golden accents to give the card an elegant look and as added to our line as the Seasonal Splendor Holiday Card

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It truly is a testament to the skill and creativity of the entrants when you see just how great the designs are and how just a few enhancements to the submissions can turn them into stunning cards. We hope you enjoyed this look into the 2008 finalists and look forward to next week when we continue our look behind the scenes of the 2008 Scholarship contest.

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2008 Winning Design

Welcome back to another installment of our Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest Look Back Series. The 2008 scholarship was our second run and we were all excited and ready to get going. Clearly there was alot of excitement from our first scholarship contest and boy was it evident in the final number of submissions which totaled over 11,000! There were so many beautiful entries to choose from and in the end, George Humeston was selected as the winner for his beautiful painting depicting a stunning winter night scene with snow covered tree branches.

After the entry was selected as the winner, our artists turned it into the stunning Full Moon Winter Night Christmas Card.

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There wasn’t much that had to be done to the entry itself for it to be turned into the card but we did add some enhancements. The card was stamped with silver refractive foil and enhanced with some embossing (raising some details of the image to give it a three dimensional effect). Falling snow was added in with the use of silver foil dots to really drive home the winter scene feeling. A white frame was also added around the image to give it the framed painting feel. It was a beautiful entry which easily became a beautiful card in our line.

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2009 Finalist Showcase

Welcome back to the 2009 version of the Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest Look-Back series. In today’s entry, we wanted to show off a couple of the finalists designs that, even though they were not turned into cards, we still thought should be seen by everyone. You can browse through the full collection of finalists from the 2009 contest in the 2009 Scholarship Finalists slideshow, but below are some of our favorites from the group. We would also love to hear your opinions on which design you liked so don’t forget to vote in our poll underneath the images!


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Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2009 Finalist Designs

In today’s entry for our Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back series, we wanted to put the spotlight on a couple of finalist entries which were selected to be made into cards. Every year we receive thousands upon thousands of entries for our scholarship and while there can only be one Scholarship Winner, the amount of amazing artwork that we receive is so great that we always like to pick out a few finalists and add them to our line of cards as well. In the case of the 2009 Scholarship, two finalists designs were chosen to be made into cards.

The first design was submitted by Daniel Romlein of Potsdam, NY. Daniel painted a beautiful winter scene featuring Birch trees in a snow covered forest. When we first saw this entry, everyone in the room loved it. It brought to mind the holiday season at it’s most relaxing moment. This design was transformed into the “Shimmering Birches Holiday Card” after some additions like foil glitter depicting snow and a beautiful frame to center this amazing image and provide a background for the “Season’s Greetings” front sentiment.

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The second design was submitted by Katie Maupin of Jacksonville, North Carolina. Katie submitted an amazing painting of a snow covered home with a snowman in the front and the words “Seasons Greetings” written on the bottom. This design had such a warm and inviting feel to it that we knew that we had to add it to our line Season’s Greetings Cards. It was officially transformed into the “Warm Winter Welcome Christmas Card“. You can see some of the changes that were made to enhance this beautiful image such as a frame covered in snowflakes and glitter to represent the falling snow.

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Even though the above entries did not win, they deserved to be added to our line of cards. It truly is a testament to the quality of entries that we receive each year and we are always looking out for new designs to add to our ever expanding line. We hope you enjoyed this look into two great entries from the 2009 scholarship contest and we look forward to seeing you here next week for our next entry into the Create-A-Greeting-Card Look Back series!

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2009 Winning Entry Transformation

In our current entry into the Look Back Series for the 3rd Annual Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Contest, we are going to take a look into the transformation of Lauren Ondreko’s winning entry into the final card that we have on sale today.

The process begins with Lauren’s entry being scanned into the computer to create a Hi-Res version of it for editing. Below is the original artwork that Lauren Submitted to the scholarship contest.

Lauren's Original Entry

This is what Lauren’s entry looked like after it was scanned into the system for editing.

Scanned in Version

The next step after scanning in the artwork is to clean up the image and sharpen the edges so that the production person, or Imager, can get to work. At this point the front sentiment is also added to the card and the card design begins to take shape!

Revised Art

Once the image is cleaned up and the front sentiment is added, the card is ready to go through the separation process. The imager determines the different colors and finishing techniques to be used on this Christmas card design. There are all kinds of options to choose from such as including ink color choices, die cutting, foil-stamping and foil embossing.

The creative team will get together and go over all of these choices to test out and find the best one to use. There are many different colors of paper stock, and some of these colored stocks will be tested with different types of inks or foils, depending on the design. Once the team narrows down the combinations, the card is sent to production so that the creative team can actually see all of the different choices and decide which will be the final one. Take a look below to see what these test designs look like.

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After much discussion and back and forth, the final design was chosen and added to our line as the Snowman Surprise Christmas Card.

Snowman Surprise Christmas Card

Once again, we want to thank you for stopping by and taking a behind the scenes look into the transformation of Lauren Ondreko’s entry into the beautiful card it is today. We hope you come back next week for another entry it our Look-Back Series!

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2010 Winner Interview

In today’s entry into our Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series, we have an interview with the 2010 Scholarship winner, Dawnee Burson. We recently caught up with Dawnee to see what she has been up to and were able to find out how the $10,000 scholarship came along at just the right time! Read on to find out just how amazing a person Dawnee really is and the things she was able to persevere through. It truly is inspirational.

Interview with Dawnee Burson

Dawnee Burson

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1. How did you hear about the scholarship contest?
I found it online through It’s kind of an interesting story. I had looked for scholarships on that website and saved those that were my favorite months back. I was going to apply for graduate school, but was also thinking of a mission for our church. I’m LDS, or a Mormon, and women can serve a mission if they choose for 18 months. One night I got really sick. I thought I just had the flu and went to work, but my dad was worried about me. He called me at work and asked about different symptoms and I started to realize I had had them over the past months. He told me he was picking me up and taking me to the hospital and he and my mom ended up taking me in and I had emergency abdominal surgery for a cyst that had ruptured. I was lucky I made it in just barely in time or my outcome might have been worse; I might not be here. I’m very grateful to my parents for watching out for me at that time and for my hometown community’s support. I came through surgery ok, but unfortunately caught the swine flu shortly after as it was going around New Mexico at the time. I recovered from that but went through a long and rather grueling recovery period that lasted about six months. It was a very difficult time, and it pretty much ruled out going on a mission. I actually took the GRE not long after surgery; it was definitely a rough exam that day. I got accepted into graduate school, which was great, but due to costs of the surgery and repeated doctor appointments I wasn’t sure how I was going to afford it. Still, I decided I was going to go and find a way to do so. I returned to hoping I could find the scholarships I’d saved months ago there and try for one of them.

2. How many scholarships did you apply for?
I applied for a couple with the college I planned to go to and started a couple of those online, but then decided to just focus on this one because I wasn’t doing well, had very little energy, and this was my favorite of them all. It seemed fun and provided such an amazing award, and it gave me something enjoyable to do while I was down. I’ve also always liked cards and thought they’d be fun to design, so it was right up my alley. Plus, I loved the fact that it provided another smaller award that would benefit your school. That is such a cool idea! I have to tell you, though, friends and I used to joke that we didn’t even know if the scholarships online were a real thing. Coming from such a small town, you don’t really know of anyone who’s ever received anything like this or of the companies that provide such contests. It seemed almost unbelievable to think that a company would do something like this, but I certainly hoped the scholarship contests were real and was going to give it a shot because I desperately needed it.

3. What was the idea behind your entry?
I love the outdoors, the mountains, and country homes nestled in beautiful areas. I know a lot of people love that, so I thought I would try to paint a scene portraying that and used my parent’s log home and the Montana mountains where I spent my summers growing up as elements for it. I’ve also seen cards showing all four different seasons and thought I might try a type of calendar card showing the same setting in all four seasons. Since oil paint hardens, oxidizing rather than drying, I thought I might be able to overlay clear plastic sheets on top of a canvas and just paint sections on those sheets to change the season. I had no idea if it would really work, but after doing the first layer and finding the oil paint stuck, it seemed like it was going to, so I created a few more that could be layered one on top another to change the seasons (summer over fall, spring over summer and fall, and winter over the other three seasons layers). I also thought of kids. I know kids love different things like that and thought they might like a card where you could flip one season over like a flip chart to see the next season below.

4. Did you create the entry specifically for the contest or did you submit a piece you already had?
I created the entry specifically for the contest and tried to make it something that would work card-size.

5. How long did it take to create your entry?
It took many months to create. I would paint part of it, then rest for a while till I had energy again and the paint had hardened. Oils oxidize rather than dry so it takes a long time for layers to set before you can paint another layer—sometimes days. I didn’t finish it in time for the year I intended to send it in. I considered doing a quick job to finish it but decided I would wait till the next year and make it a little better. It was hard to wait because I worried whether the competition would occur again the next year; I know things can change, but I waited and sent it in the following year after I’d finished it to the standard I wanted and that turned out to be the most perfect timing actually.

6. Does your entry have any special meaning to you?
It has a lot of special meaning. I think it shows a glimpse of what I love and what a lot of people love. I love the mountains, country areas, and the old style fence you see in the painting. I’m pretty patriotic and I love our land; we are lucky to have so many beautiful areas and I tried to make the scene one. I also love a lot of the simple things in life I tried to stick in the painting—gardens, tire swings, and anything to do with Christmas! Also, I spent my summers on my grandmother’s ranch in Montana growing up, a country area that will always have a special place in my heart, and I was trying to add some aspects of that country to the painting.

7. Where were you when you received the news that you won the $10,000 Scholarship prize?
I was in my apartment at college working on a paper.

8. What was going through your mind when you found out that you won?
About twenty things at once! Disbelief, elation, and a lot of gratitude being the top. I was trying to keep myself contained through our conversation. I was also trying not to laugh at Mr. DeVore’s nonchalant way of telling me I won. He had a good sense of humor in it all and was patient with my stumbling excitement.

9. Who was the first person you told after you found out that you won?
My mom, then my dad and brothers, then my roommate and friends, and then . . . 🙂

10. Did you celebrate in any way?
After I calmed down from jumping around in my apartment in excitement and gratitude I definitely did! My roommate and I went out to dinner and celebrated.

11. Have you recommended this contest to other people you know?
I have mentioned this contest to many many people and encouraged people to try for it or to try another type of scholarship contest because . . . they are real! And they are wonderful. Any artist reading this ought to give it a shot, you never know until you try, or continue to try if need be.

12. Did receiving the $10,000 scholarship change your school plans in any way?
It completely changed my plans. I was planning to quit graduate school if I didn’t receive the scholarship to work full time so I could save enough money to return and complete my degree. I have held at least one job all throughout getting my education, usually two, but the costs of a graduate degree can be steep.

13. How did receiving the $10,000 scholarship help you with your education?
Honestly, I wouldn’t have my education right now without it. I wouldn’t have completed graduate school, and I wouldn’t have the great job I have now.

14. What did you use the $10,000 for?
I used it for tuition mostly and some rent.

15. Which school did the $1,000 prize go to?
The $1,000 prize was given as a scholarship to another student, Michaela Stuver, at our college (the College of Natural Resources, Utah State University) and I was allowed to present it to her; that was, honestly, one of the coolest parts of this scholarship, especially as Michaela was pursuing her education to do some neat things in a related field.

16. What was your schools reaction to receiving the $1,000 prize?
Everyone was so pleased! When the cards came out, the college purchased cards to send out for that year’s Christmas cards and sent one to me here in Arizona. I think the scholarship spread some good will and excitement.

17. What are you currently doing?
I currently work as a NEPA planner (NEPA stands for the National Environmental Policy Act) with the Forest Service in one of the most beautiful areas of the Southwest and an area I used to want to live in when I was little— I really lucked out. I feel really blessed.

18. What did you study in college?
My master’s degree was in natural resources with a NEPA certificate. I just received my diploma in the mail a couple weeks ago.

19. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about entering the scholarship contest?
Do it, don’t doubt yourself, take a chance and do something creative you’ve thought about, and if it doesn’t work out, don’t quit, continue to build on what you know and try again. Success is often built on the stepping stones of failed attempts. I can’t remember how many times Edison tried to make a light bulb work, but it was many. And when he had one of the first models that actually worked, he handed it to a boy who dropped it and it shattered. Twenty four hours later after creating a working model again, he handed it to the same boy. I’ve done contests of various types throughout my life many without the hoped for results, but others that have worked out. You’ll never know what could happen if you don’t try, and give it your best try, and you’ll never know what you can do or come up with if you don’t challenge yourself. Plus, like Edison was with the boy, you’d be amazed at the people willing to take a chance on you or support you, even when they don’t even know you.

20. Were you always interested in art or design?
I have always been interested in art. I always liked to draw and paint and since we didn’t have a lot of elective courses to choose from in our school I took art almost every year if not every year. I had a truly good art teacher who moved to our small town for a few years and he really helped me with painting. I have actually been trying to locate him to send him a card.

21. How did it feel when you first saw the card produced with your design?
Excited, grateful, and motivated to continue painting, and I am. I hope to be able to learn from some other artists, possibly try a few new mediums, and if I can get my pieces to look like I want, perhaps do a few art shows down the road.

22. Do you still have one of your cards?
I certainly do. I have it framed as a reminder of the incredible good things that can happen if you keep your head up through hard times and of the good people willing to give to help a complete stranger in life.

We are honored that even though Dawnee was going through so much at the time, she still took the time to submit such an amazing piece of artwork to us. We want to thank Dawnee again for taking the time out to answer our questions and we hope you enjoyed catching up with Dawnee as much as we did!!!

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – Religious Card Designs

For the final post of our 2011 Scholarship segment of the Scholarship Look Back Series, we wanted showcase the beauty and elegance of our Religious Card lineup that Whitney Fuertes’ amazing 2011 Scholarship winning design has been added to. Her wonderfully depicted Nativity Scene and was an amazing addition to an already exquisite lineup.

You can browse through the gallery below to see a sampling of cards that we have from our Religious Christmas Cards Section depicting the Nativity Scene. Click on each image to get a more detailed description of the cards and their designs.

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It’s always amazing to see how many different styles and designs can be used to depict the same scene. In Whitney’s case, she chose to depict the three wise men as they surround the holy family with gifts in what was originally a beautifully detailed hand drawn image.

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2011 Winner Interview

Our newest update in the Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series is an interview with the 2011 Scholarship winner Whitney Fuertes. We love getting in touch with past winners to see how they are currently doing. In Whitney’s case, she has just finished up her first year at Grand Canyon University and is working part time on campus while volunteering at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital weekly. However, it looked like things might have been a bit different for her if it weren’t for the $10,000 scholarship prize. Check out the interview below to find out just how much the scholarship helped her.

Interview with Whitney Fuertes

2011 Scholarship Winner
2011 Scholarship Winner Whitney Fuertes

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1. How did you hear about the scholarship contest?
I first heard of this scholarship through a website called, when I received an email notifying me about the opportunity.

2. How many scholarships did you apply for?
I have applied to about fifteen to twenty scholarships.

3. What was the idea behind your entry?
My grandparents had called us a lot from Mexico throughout the week asking my family about what we were planning on doing for Three Kings day, and my mom had suggested the idea about drawing an image about it.

4. Did you create the entry specifically for the contest or did you submit a piece you already had?
I did create the drawing specifically for the scholarship.

5. How long did it take to create your entry?
I worked on it for about a week with each day spending two to three hours on it.

6. Does your entry have any special meaning to you?
Yes it does, my Grandma was one of my inspirations when I was younger to draw and create what I loved. She always helped me create drawings before she passed away and learning to draw helped me out so much.

7. Where were you when you received the news that you won the $10,000 Scholarship prize?
I was at home getting ready to go to work when I received the first call letting me know that I had won the scholarship.

8. What was going through your mind when you found out that you won?
The first thing that popped into my head was, “Is this really happening? Did I just really win a 10 grand scholarship?”

9. Who was the first person you told after you found out that you won?
The first person I told was my Mom since she was the person right there with me then I called my Dad and told him what happened.

10. Did you celebrate in any way?
I went out to eat at my favorite restaurant with my family as well as going to celebrate with my best friend and play soccer.

11. Have you recommended this contest to other people you know?
Yes I have, I know a few people younger than me that love drawing and have the talent and potential to create beautiful art work.

12. Did receiving the $10,000 scholarship change your school plans in any way?
Yes it did greatly! I was planning on going to a community college and even considered joining the military since I was struggling at the time and wanted to better myself.

13. How did receiving the $10,000 scholarship help you with your education?
It helped me with paying for a majority of my tuition.

14. What did you use the $10,000 for?
I used it to pay for my tuition and housing.

15. Which school did the $1,000 prize go to?
It went to my high school La Joya Community High School.

16. What was your schools reaction to receiving the $1,000 prize?
They were very grateful and thankful for receiving the money.

17. What are you currently doing?
As of right now I just completed my first year of college, working part time on campus and volunteering at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital weekly.

18. What did you or are you planning on studying in College?
I am currently going to Grand Canyon University home of the Lopes, “Lopes Up!”

19. What are you planning on doing after you graduate school?
My two biggest goals are to be able to travel and help in third world countries and work at the children’s hospital as a registered nurse.

20. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about entering the scholarship contest?
Never give up! Always try and try and don’t forget to create something different something you don’t see normally, something when people see it will think that is something different.

21. Were you always interested in art or design?
I have always loved to sketch and draw random things as a stress reliever since I was younger.

22. How did it feel when you first saw the card produced with your design?
When I saw my drawing as a card I couldn’t believe it, to this day I still cannot believe that something I drew was created into a beautiful card.

23. Do you still have one of your cards?
Yes! My family loved the cards so much that they ordered some.

This concludes our interview with Whitney Fuertes. We loved having a chance to catch up with Whitney and see just how much of an affect the $10,000 Scholarship had on her life. Moments like these really allow us to see just how much this scholarship program means to students and gives us the continued motivation to keep going!

Check back next week when we finish up our 2011 Edition of our Look Back Series with some of Whitney’s favorite cards from our own line!

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – Contest Team Interview

We are very excited to launch a brand new weekly feature titled the $10,000 Create-A-Greeting-Card-Scholarship Look Back Series. This series will look back on all of our previous annual Scholarship contests with each month focusing on one contest with weekly posts full of behind the scenes information, past winner interviews, card transformation and much much more.

With our first official entry we want everyone to get a little more familiar with the Scholarship team that is responsible for going through the entries, selecting the finalists and eventually the winner. Read the interview below to get an inside look into who makes up the team, what they look for and more!

Interview with the Scholarship Contest Team


How many members are on the Scholarship team that judges the entries?
We have a total of 6 members on our panel. We have people on the team from different departments in our company such as Production, Creative and even an artist from our Art Department in order to provide a different viewpoint for each aspect of turning an entry into a card.


How often does the scholarship team meet to go over the entries?
We start meeting a month after each contest begins and go on to meet once a month moving forward until the contest ends. We like to meet once a month in order to avoid having the entries get backed up to such a large number that would be difficult for us to view. During the 2011 scholarship contest, we received over 13,000 entries so saving them all for the end wouldn’t have allowed us the ability go through each entry as thoroughly as we would have liked.


What typically goes on in these monthly meetings?
In each meeting we like to go through the entries that we have received since the last and set aside any potential finalists that we feel could be turned into cards. The first thing that we look for is Creativity and Originality. We want to see an effort was put into the entry and then we go through the remaining criteria. Many times an entry can be very good art but unfortunately does not meet 5, 6 or 7 from the below judging criteria.


  1. Overall aesthetic appeal
  2. Quality of execution
  3. Creativity and Originality
  4. Successful incorporation of design elements
  5. Appropriateness for use as a greeting card
  6. Attractiveness to The Gallery Collection’s corporate and consumer customers
  7. Suitability as a design in Prudent’s Gallery Collection greeting card line


When do you officially choose the finalists for the contest?
Once we start getting close to the end of the contest, we begin to look through the potential finalists that we set aside in our monthly meetings to narrow them down to around 200 entries. Then once the contest officially ends, we go through the remaining entries that we have received and choose any others that we feel meet the judging criteria and could be turned into beautiful cards. We then like to post them up on our website to let everyone see just how amazing the pool of finalists really is.


How do you eventually settle on the winning design?
Once we have the 200 finalists chosen, we begin our voting rounds which we use to narrow down the number to around 5-10 “Super Finalists”. At this point we put together affidavits which are sent to each entrant to ensure that their artwork and identity is confirmed. Once we receive the affidavits back we then go through the final voting phase which also involves some of our executive team at the company to pick our final winner.


What is your favorite part about being on the Scholarship Team?
I think each of us can easily say the absolute best feeling in the world is when we finally contact the winner to let them know they have won. A call like that is something amazing to be a part of because it makes all of the work and time that we have put into this contest worth it. Knowing that the $10,000 Create-A-Greeting-Card-Scholarship is going to help a student further their education means the world to us. We all look forward to this each year.


That brings us to the end of our inside look into our hard working Scholarship Team. We hope this interview gave you a little insight into the amount of work and thought that goes into each years contest. Without this team this scholarship contest would not be possible!

We want to let everyone know to keep a look out for next weeks post in our weekly series which will be a behind the scenes look into the transformation of our 2011 Scholarship Contest Winner, Whitney Fuertes’ entry into a card!

Create-A-Greeting-Card Scholarship Look Back Series – 2013 Scholarship Contest Updates Coming Soon

With the 2013 Scholarship Contest currently running, we are more excited than ever to get a look at the types of entries we are going to receive. This is the first year that we have added in a new $1,000 Military Prize that will be awarded to an entry from a member of the United States Military. This is just a small token of our appreciation for all members of the United States Military service that we are very excited to offer.

We invite you to come back soon to get a behind the scenes look into the 2013 Scholarship Contest with things like a winner interview, a look at the transformation process from the entry to the card and much more!


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