Card Artist 'I Must Draw' Puns The World
Crafty foxes, "Moose Willis," and "Macaron Swanson" are just a few of the clever pun-driven creations adorning the cards of Huntington Beach artist Desiree B., also known as I Must Draw. The London transplant not only plays the paper route, she also dabbles in yarn and laser-engraving, producing adorable critters and niche accessories alike. For folks looking to wish that special someone a "Happy Farter's Day" or salute to the "United Steaks Of America," the hunt is finally over.
After gaining her fine arts degree and teaching art and design in England, Desiree, in search of friendlier weather, vacationed in Huntington Beach, where she met her now husband, leadman of local reggae-rock band Special Blend. Long-distance love lasted only so long until she packed her bags and paintbrushes, and headed for Southern California, specifically Huntington Beach. It was here where she happened upon her cardmaking career by mistake.
"I started making cards by accident," says Desiree, who detailed the sequence of events leading up to the birth of her now successful card line. As gratitude for repairing her surfboard, she painted a "thank you" card for her neighbor's father. His praise motivated experimentation, her innate talent with word association puns spawning her card line. "I'm onto something here," she recalls thinking after testing out ideas at Seed People's Market in Costa Mesa.
Flash-forward to present, and she's showing at some of the most preeminent craft and stationary shows in the world, from Renegade Craft Fair to Unique LA to National Stationary Show in New York City in May. It was that show that "[pulled] the trigger on seriousness" for the paper artist, who deems it "very exciting that [my] funny little cards are making their way to Seattle, New York, and Minnesota."
Puns of every topic adorn her work, including famous artists ("Apple Fritter Kahlo") and musicians ("Lion L. Richie"), food ("Friend Chips"), and even national monuments ("Statue Of Lil Birdy"). Declares the artist, "No object is immune to being punned—or person." Minimalist in design, her work transfers well to engravings, a technique she's been using to craft keychains, holiday ornaments, wedding cake toppers, and more at Factory eNova in Fountain Valley.
The I Must Draw Instagram feed showcases artfully designed product photos of her work, and the channel also serves as a free marketing tool to test out new concepts. "That's the beauty of social media," she says. "You don't have to spend a lot of money printing something that will never sell. You can just throw it up on there and try it out on people."
Quite a sharp idea, and quite a local gem. We are honored to now be featuring an exclusive food puns card set and "Ride The Wave" keychain in our Main & PCH Marketplace, and some holiday surprises are in the works.
Staring into the future, Desiree hopes to recruit help at her home studio—especially during, for example, a three-day period of packaging cards for a recent massive Paper Source order. "It's like a line factory worker, except there's no one else in the line but me," she says. Aside from her paper products, she also felts wool, sews, creates upcycled animal toys, and recently reacquainted herself with clay. "I think eventually I'll end up painting again because that's just the cycle of life," she adds.
You can find Desiree's work locally at Seed People's Market and Blackmarket Bakery in Costa Mesa, and Green Bliss in Fullerton. Or meet her in person at Artists & Fleas in Downtown Los Angeles on October 17 and 18.
"Thankfully it's a never-ending stream," Desiree says of her ideas. Thankfully, indeed.