This holiday I just didn’t feel like shopping so decided to make gifts: one something that would work for everyone. I toyed with numerous ideas but settled on a calendar.
I started late and didn’t have time to produce the whole calendar myself so decided to have them printed online. There are many services that will make custom calendars for you (Shutterfly, Snapfish, etc.) but those calendars are full-sized: 8.5 x 11 inches, closed. I envisioned something smaller. Ultimately I found Zazzle who offer a 7 x 5.5 inch (closed) calendar for under $20 each.
I choose twelve sketches from my travel sketchbooks and set to work on the website. Unfortunately, the Zazzle facility for customizing calendars is sorely lacking: inadequate to the task and very buggy. My dogged determination did not serve me well: I should have given up and tried something else but instead slogged through, learning the bugs and carefully working around them. Photoshop helped too: the Zazzle tools for adding borders and lettering don’t work so I added those elements directly into my image.
Despite the ordeal the results are quite nice. There are a couple of small problems (the spine is too small for the depth of the hole punches and sloppy cutting left crop marks on most pages), but the paper quality and printing are both excellent.
The calendars were well received, and I am glad I decided to make my gifts. Sadly, I can not recommend Zazzle right now but hopefully by next year their tools will improve.
I do recommend using your sketches as calendar content though. Sketches don’t have to be fancy to make a charming calendar and it’s fun to plan out the project and see the results.
For those of you who are curious, I have scanned all of the calendar spreads and you can take a look:
2008 Sketch Calendar Pages
Update: I have had several requests to purchase this calendar. In fact you can, directly from Zazzle:
Right now it seems to be $17.95 plus shipping. I am not seeking to make any money on this, nor will I, but you’re welcome to order one if you like.
❀ ❀ ❀