Generally speaking, I’ve learned to adopt two “thanks-but-no-thanks” rules as a freelancer.
1) I don’t do wedding stuff.
2) I don’t do kids birthday invites.
Although I am a soulless murderer of joy, it’s really because both of those events tend to have so much emotion wrapped up in them, that expectations are often sky-high and near-impossible to meet. People tend to take it super-personally when little Timmy’s vision of “Wolfman Shark Assassin” isn’t executed to perfection by their hired art monkey. I get it. It’s your kid.
And weddings? Forget about it. There’s a whole industry built around wedding planning and collateral. They’re saints. Please just unchain me and let me go, ma’am.
When it’s your own kids, it’s different. That’s what my wife told me, and I could tell she meant it. They were always just happy to see themselves looking like Batman, or a fairy, or whatever they requested that year after some slight leading of the witness. Hey, buddy… Oh, you want a custom Star Wars invite? Cool. Let’s get infringe-y. I’m not getting paid. No need to worry about Lucasfilm or Hasbro sending hired goons to throw me down a flight of stairs.
My kids are getting older now, but these are some of their invites from the elementary school years that I had a good time with.
This Lego-themed invite was always one of my favorites. It was actually quite a bit of work. First, I put together a freestyle lego spaceship using only a weeks worth of pieces I pried from the bottom of my bare feet. After I took a photo of it, I took a separate pic of my son sitting at a similar angle. I combined the two images in photoshop and was pretty pleased with the result. I created the text to look similar to what I saw on various Lego packaging. He loved it. I still love it.
This fairy-themed invite for my daughter was another favorite of mine. It was another one that required a lot of Photoshop time. The interior of the flower wasn’t the only thing. The fact that the material on sections of the skirt was a partially see-through was a little challenging. Also getting the 3 main photo elements (the flower, the wings, and the photo of my daughter) to match in quality and color took some time. When it was completed, she was very excited. I still love this one. The clarity of the source photos were always really cool to me.
Here are a few others that i did throughout the elementary school years, that i wont take the time to explain in-depth. But they all basically involved me taking a photo of my kids in our kitchen with proper lighting and inserting them onto some sort of theme-related background. None of these invites were taken using the finished background. Good times.