Trendzilla: Desiree B.'s I Must Draw Are the Thinking-Woman's Greeting Cards

Desiree B.

After starting her brand I Must Draw (www.imustdraw.com), Desiree B. realized that when spoken aloud, especially with her British accent, it sounded like "I'm a straw." But if you're familiar with her teensy cards and cute hand-sewn plushies, the mix-up works.

The London transplant, who now lives in Huntington Beach and couldn't be further from stuffy, has managed to quit her day job and focus on her art.

"Coming over here has given me a kind of freedom that I didn't have before," Desiree B. says. The illustrator admits there are days when she misses teaching art and design to college students back home, but the vibrant handmade movement here and lack of rain (speak for yourself!) makes up for it. "My background is in fine art, and if my professors knew what I was doing over here, I think they'd have a heart attack."

Desiree B. began I Must Draw by making plush creatures that fit into the palm of your hand and look up at you with surprised eyes or a surprisingly stern look. Then she brought her characters to life in cards and wood engravings. Her more than 200 different styles include the Friend Chips, Moose Willis, Happy Birdays and some puns that go straight over people's heads; a Valentine's Day card featured a tick dressed as a Roman—but only the Brits got that one.

Amidst the sea of handmade paper goods, making people actually think turned out to be a good thing. "To be successful, you must have your own point of view," she says. "For that reason, I try to not look at other peoples' cards!" Keep on not lookin', girl!


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