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Meet Hallmark Live Artists & Writers


Meet a Hallmark artist or writer when you visit the Hallmark Visitors Center. View the schedule.

Jake Angell, production designer

Jake Angell has lived in Kansas City his entire life, surrounded by the likes of G.I. Joe and He-Man as favored playmates in his childhood. It didn't take long for Jake to pick up drawing as a hobby, teaching himself illustration between lessons. "In school, classwork was self-paced, so I'd finish my work and just draw all day long."

He studied Graphic Design in college, eventually learning illustration techniques in his own time that strengthened his passion for art. He's worked for Hallmark for over a decade, but 2013 is his first year designing Keepsake Ornaments. "After working with packaging and game design for Asteroid Andy and various other products, I kept using and teaching 3D programs on the side. Finally, I bugged the Keepsake team long enough for them to say: ok, we'd really like to get Jake up here to try it out!"

Jake has been working for Hallmark for a total of thirteen years, which makes his debut ornament of a skeleton figure particularly spooky. "The little skeleton guy is my own character design, but I've also got a few Keepsake Ornaments coming out in 2013 from popular Lucas Films, Marvel and Pixar movies. I've got two kids and it's really amazing to see my little boy discover all these great characters that I grew up loving, too."

Nina Aube', sculptor

When Nina was little, so were her pets. Because she was a creative kid and because she loved them so much, the hamsters, gerbils and birds she raised in her family's Chicago apartment got handmade outfits, furniture and shadowbox settings perfectly sized for their enjoyment. Nina still loves the idea of little characters living in a big world, so it's no surprise that she loves her job as a Keepsake Ornament artist. She can't wait to tell you all about creating art on a small scale while answering your questions about Keepsake Ornaments and Hallmark in general.

Andrew Blackburn, writer

Andrew Blackburn is a Hallmark writer who's inspired by people, music and pretty much every word in the English language. He's been at Hallmark since he graduated from K-State in 2010, and his favorite thing about his job is mostly all of it. When he's not writing, he's probably teaming up with his wife to convince their golden retriever to spare at least some of the furniture in their house.

Kellie Bloxsom-Rys, senior designer

Kellie Bloxsom-Rys is a designer and illustrator who currently works as a senior designer at Hallmark Cards. She has been creating cards for Hallmark for almost 5 years now and pinches herself daily that she actually gets paid for getting to do what she loves. She says her favorite thing about creating cards is getting to see someone pick up a piece of my artwork and smile. One of her favorite design projects was an 8 card collection for Hallmark where she got to design and illustrate dragons, castles and knights. She had way to much fun with it and now wants a pet dragon.

Tim Bodendistel, master designer

So what happens when you've been a fan of pop culture since the days of 15-cent comic books and three TV channels? You end up working with a bunch of characters. Tim Bodendistel is a master designer in Licensing where he gets to illustrate and design with the characters he has loved since he was a kid. From Mickey Mouse to Snoopy, each day Tim gets to immerse himself in their fun and magical worlds. Tim works on a wide range of products from greeting cards to plush, gifts, books and more. His favorite character is Winnie the Pooh because Pooh has that unique ability to transport us back to the carefree days of childhood, a world filled with imagination and adventure.

Eric Brace, master artist

In grade school Eric won a "Slinky" and tickets to the "Ice Capades" drawing pictures for contests on a local morning cartoon TV show.

This love of drawing and Slinky's led Eric to the Kansas City Art Institute and to a BFA in illustration.

Immediately after graduation Eric found his home as an Illustrator and Writer in the funnier division of Hallmark, "Shoebox Greetings," where thousands of cards and over twenty-five years later he is still excited to come into work. "I've spent more than half of my life dreaming up and making the kind of cards I'd want to send to my family and friends... It's a pretty good gig."

As well as designing and writing cards for the "Shoebox" and "fresh ink" card lines, Eric has also had the opportunity to create cards for many Hallmark clients, including Life Is Good, Disney, Warner Bros., DC Comics and yes, even "Duck Dynasty."

Eric was a part of Hallmark's, "Writers and Artists on Tour" and Eric even mumbled his way through a nationally televised commercial shown many times over the years during Hallmark's Hall of Fame.

In 2010, Hallmark's 100th year, Eric received the Barbara Marshall Award. For six months, he traveled across the country photographing people in moments of everyday life. These images, 100 in all, were accompanied by small true stories. Eric's favorite story from this time was the one where he learned he was to become a father. "I owe my entire new life, (my wife, my boy and even my dog) to that lovely woman, Barbara Marshall."

Samantha Bradbeer, historian

Samantha Bradbeer is the historian for the Hallmark Archives. Her love for history began when her father introduced her to the comical Indiana Jones films. At the age of 9, she knew that she wanted to be an archivist and explorer. Luckily, she grew up in a military family. Her childhood experiences - traveling the world and meeting new people from different cultures - allowed her to realize her passion for all things historical much sooner in life.

Samantha is a certified archivist and has degrees in anthropology and museum studies. In her spare time, she enjoys antiquing, going to the movies, reading and practicing yoga.

Kelly Castor, designer

Kelly Castor is a designer and illustrator from St. Louis. She grew up always knowing she would work in the arts, but never thought it would be designing cards at Hallmark. She studied Graphic Design at Missouri State University, where she found her passion in visual language and communicating through images. Kelly loves illustration, lettering, photography, tons of coffee, dog memes, and trying new things. Also, decorating cakes! Kelly currently designs greeting cards on the Boxed Cards Team, where it is Christmas everyday.

Amanda Conrad, designer

Amanda Conrad is an illustrator for Hallmark's Humor and Shoebox studios and has been drawing ever since she could hold a crayon. She grew up in Milwaukee, WI and would enter as many art contests as she could and after winning about 20 different contests, found her life long passion in art. Amanda attended college in Madison, WI where she majored in Graphic Design. Shortly after graduation she worked as an Athletic Marketing Designer at University of Wisconsin-Madison (Go Badgers!). Amanda has been with Hallmark drawing doodles for about 4 years and loves every minute of it. She lives with her boyfriend of 7 years, Jeff, and her two corgis, Zoey and Steve. In her spare time she enjoys planning her next Disney World vacation, eating sushi and walking trails at the dog park.

Susan Crilley, senior designer

Susan attended Purdue University and received a degree in Graphic Design / Technical Illustration. For a final project, she designed a greeting card that included an essay about her dream of someday working for Hallmark. Her dream came true in the year 2000 when she began her career as a designer at Hallmark Cards.

Susan grew up in Indiana and has been living in Kansas City for almost 20 years. She shares her home with her husband, daughter, two cats, two keeshonds, a chinchilla and a leopard tortoise. She has been drawing, stitching and crafting as long as she can remember. When Susan was young, her mother would encourage her to decorate their home for the holidays. She was known to spend hours completely covering the many windows with tissue paper and black construction paper to look like stained glass.

For Susan there is not a week that goes by without a new project being dreamed up. A serious project will be honored with a plastic tub, labeled and placed in a room in her home dedicated to all things creative. It's called the "yellow room," and she will tell you it's a very cheery space that just makes you happy. Many of her creations are day-brightening, tiny gifts for family and friends. She eagerly brings her creative passion to work each day and enjoys dreaming up meaningful ways to help others connect.

Claire Darnell, designer

Ever since a very young age, Claire has always challenged herself to be creative. Her favorite class in school was always art, she loved to quilt with her grandma over the summers, and she loves to find a fun and innovative ways to make old things new. It wasn't until recently that she realized she could take her passions of creativity to a whole new level and put her ideas to the test; at work! She decided to become a graphic designer and now designs greeting cards at Hallmark for a living. She truly has her dream job!

Kevin Dilmore, senior writer

Ever since his mom taught him to read at age 2, Kevin has loved to figure out how stories work so he could make up his own to tell-usually ones with spaceships, aliens and weird science stuff. In his career, he has told stories with novels, children's books, screenplays, newspaper articles and more, including Hallmark greeting cards and Keepsake Ornaments. Kevin grew up in central Kansas and graduated from the University of Kansas. He's very happy to hear about your favorite stories or tell you about his.

Mike Esberg, senior artist

Mike was born and raised in Michiana, that's the area between Michigan and Indiana, in the town of Elkhart on the St. Joseph River. As a child, his parents and relatives kept him busy and quiet by supplying him with plenty of paper and pencils for drawing whatever he could imagine. By the time he was in high school, he had begun his illustrative career drawing dog portraits and painting murals on vans.

(Elkhart Indiana is the R. V. capitol of the world!)

Mike graduated from the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and then ventured off to Kansas City to work for Hallmark Cards. Now married, and raising two boys and a yellow lab, he continues to work from his imagination.

He is often inspired by nature and humor with a lot of disregard for the way things really look. For over 28 years Mike has been drawing, painting and creating a diverse range of images and characters for Hallmark, including an occasional dog portrait.

Joanne Eschrich, consulting designer

Art has always been a big part of Joanne Eschrich's life, dating back to her early years spent on the eastern seaboard. Now, as a consultant and sculptor in Hallmark's Keepsakes 3D Studio, Joanne is one of the driving forces behind the beloved Keepsake Ornaments that adorn Christmas trees each holiday season. In fact, her two teenage girls have modeled for Keepsake Ornaments she's created, including Hannah Montana and Frostlight Faeries. Joanne is a firm believer in doing what you love to do and recently celebrated her 30th year with Hallmark.

Lindsay Evans, senior editor

Lindsay is a Kansas City native who decided she wanted to work at Hallmark at the age of 11. Fast-forward a few years and a couple creative writing and poetry degrees later and she's living her dream. Lindsay has been a writer and editor at Hallmark for more than 10 years and has helped bring words to life through Baby product, licensed gifts, Books, Keepsake Ornaments and more.

In her spare time, she loves on orphans in Russia and enjoys time with her husband and two young sons.

Mindi Fowler-Ogden, production designer

Mindi grew up in Kansas City and graduated from Northwest Missouri State with a Fine Arts Degree in printmaking and design. Her dream of working at Hallmark started the day she won a high school art award with an invitation to meet some of Hallmark's master artists. Dreams do come true! She feels very fortunate to be able to design, illustrate, finish cards, create gift-wrap, bags, and other items for all occasions. Mindi believes everyone should take time in their day to dream, smile, and laugh - it is contagious.

Jake Gahr, writing studio team lead

After occasionally being told by family and friends "you should write for Hallmark," Jake decided to see if Hallmark agreed. Luckily for him, they did, and in 2005 his dream job began. As a Hallmark writer, Jake writes everything from cards to books to games... and everything in between. He gets his inspiration from his family and friends and from the whole wide wonderful world.

Kris Gaughran, sculptor

Watching Saturday morning cartoons sparked Kris Gaughran's love of funny characters. As a grown-up kid, she feels like she's living a dream sculpting Disney and Star Wars icons, as well as her own dainty fairies and supercute penguins. "What I love most," she says, "is knowing that so many people have created memories with ornaments I've sculpted."

Lynn Giunta, master artist

Her mom, loads of sequins, some felt and a little motivation from the Girl Scouts was all Lynn Giunta needed for an art-filled day when she was growing up. Those early craft projects fueled her love of art and making things. For Lynn, most projects she does start with the words. From there she uses pencil, tracing paper, markers, ink, brushes and cut paper to bring the words to life. Every day is a chance to play, have fun, and maybe learn something new.

Amber Goodvin, senior artist

Amber Goodvin grew up loving words and letters...what they mean, how they sound, how they look. She studied Graphic Design and Illustration at KU where she began drawing them. A wonderful teacher helped her discover that Hallmark had a whole group of people just like her (obsessed with letterforms) that got to draw them every day for their job! Amber has now been part of the lettering artist staff for 9 years: designing and doing lettering for gift product, birthday cards, and Hallmark's brand.

Geoff Greenleaf, senior artist

Before Geoff Greenleaf begins ones of his trademark woodcut-style illustrations, he does some research. After that he does a little research, and then some more research. Then he sketches, does more research, draws and paints. That's quite a process for an artist who didn't study art formally until college. And he hasn't stopped since, earning both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in illustration, followed up with a busy 29 years at Hallmark creating primarily seasonal cards.

Talking with Geoff, it's easy to see how he reached his dreams. He grew up in an "idyllic setting," a small town in Massachusetts, with parents who encouraged their children to find their own path. In fact, his mom always believed he could become an artist. It looks like Mom was absolutely right. Geoff says, "I think all my positive influences and memories naturally color the images I make for Hallmark."

Angela Grondahl, senior designer

Angela lived in Kansas City her whole life and has been an artist since she could color. She has known since middle school that she wanted to be a graphic designer and attend KU, where she graduated with a Fine Arts Degree in 1998. Angela got her dream job at Hallmark in 2006 after working in magazine layout and advertising for seven years. Currently she is a senior designer at Hallmark working on Christmas Cards.

Angela has a husband, a son in 6th grade, twin boys in 3rd grade and a boxer. They keep her busy when she is not at work. Going to baseball, soccer, basketball and boy scouts meetings. On her spare time she enjoys working out, shopping and painting.

Tammy Haddix, senior artist

Tammy Haddix has been drawing for as long as she can remember. It didn't take long for little Tammy to decide on her career goals. When she was 5 years old, her mother took her along to a Hallmark store. Tammy was so impressed by all the beautiful artwork that she declared her intention to work for Hallmark right then. Dreams do come true. It is pretty amazing that she will be celebrating her 25th anniversary with Hallmark this June. She is a sculptor in the Keepsake Sculpting Studio, creating lots of Christmas ornaments, but started her career designing baby albums, party ware and gift wrap. She loves to create cute and whimsical things that tell a story, capture a moment in time or represent a special relationship. She strives for the "Aww" factor or an emotional reaction to her work. She loves to hear stories from collectors about what her ornaments mean to them and why they collect them.

Marcia Hamilton, senior designer

Marcia has been illustrating and designing greeting cards for her family since she was old enough to hold a crayon. When her 5th grade class made a field trip to tour Hallmark, she knew that she'd found her dream career, and she now designs cards for a much larger audience.

She loves sharing her passion for greeting cards and the creative process with others.

Matt Kesler, senior artist

Matt started like most any child at a young age drawing pictures. His earliest memories were of his father teaching him how to draw a Brontosaurus. Once he had that figured out, he could not stop drawing. That became his passion!
Long before the Internet, he and his brothers would find inspiration from the Yellow Pages, copying images from the motorcycle dealer ads. The book, Where the Wild Things Are , also had a huge influence on his path to becoming an artist, drawn by the rich story telling using mostly images.

Matt has worked professionally for over 27years as an artist. His formal training has been in Illustration. Most of those 27 years have been spent as an artist at Hallmark Cards creating illustrations for greeting cards. A large focus has been Christmas Religious card product. He has also illustrated a number of children's books. Most recently he worked on the North Pole team as an illustrator and concept developer.

Allyson Lassiter, designer / illustrator

Allyson is a designer / illustrator on the Kid's Greetings Team. She loves spending time with pals, making plush, hanging out with her two pups (Pickles and Kirby), and eating ice cream

Allyson grew up in Kansas City, visiting Hallmark often with her Pop (a Hallmark employee for more than 40 years). She moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for art school and lived in the Brew City for about 10 years. She worked for a small online gaming company after graduating from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design with a BFA in video and animation.

Now she's back in KC, and loves her life surrounded by so many awesomely talented, and creative artists here at Hallmark, who inspire and encourage her to never forget to be awesome every day.

Kate Ley, production designer

Kate Ley has been a production designer with Hallmark since 2011. Long before that, however, she had an affinity for paper. Opening a book, a magazine, a card, paper snowflakes, coloring books, origami, wedding invitations, wall paper - these things inspired her. Her dream was to work for magazines, so she attended the University of Missouri for a Bachelors of Journalism in Magazine Design. She learned how to take great writing, great illustration and photography and make a story out of them.

At Hallmark, she helps transform the amazing work of her peers into greeting cards, making sure to capture the right mood and style to tell the right story.

Kate grew up in Southern California and lives here in Kansas City with her husband, daughter Genevieve and very cute dog, Wendy.


Jennifer Livingston, retail product development manager

"It's exciting to help an artist express their ideas in 3D form-starting with an illustration and turning it into a functional piece. I love the whole process of collaborating, pulling together the mood and the story, all the way to the execution of the product."

As the only "creative in a family of 8, Jennifer's parents didn't follow a rulebook to help develop her talents and express her creativity. Instead they gave her permission to make up her own rules. "I vividly remember when my mom taught me to sew. She showed me the basic mechanics, and that was it. I used her scraps of fabric and made a pair of drawstring shorts every morning that summer. No pattern, just eye-balled the size and went to town." This ability to design feely allowed her love for creation and problem solving to thrive.

As a Product Development Manager, Jennifer uses her passion for creative problem-solving to develop a cohesive line of unique, quality gifts. She might start her workday on a conference call with business partners 13 hours away and end it by rolling up her sleeves to make a paper mache bunny. For her, the thrill is in bringing ideas to life.

Livy Long, associate artist

Livy wants to live in a world where thank you notes are written everyday, everything is organized by color, and it is socially acceptable to eat two breakfasts.

Raised in Pennsylvania with four older brothers, a few pets, and a pencil in hand, Livy's love of creating and knack for problem solving led her to pursue a degree in Illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. While studying, Livy discovered her passion for hand lettering and was invited to join the Creative Studios at Hallmark after graduating.

As an illustrator and lettering artist for Hallmark, she spends her work days painting, drawing, coloring, and collaborating with other artists and designers - almost always with a cup of coffee near by.

When she's not drawing pictures or letters, you can find her jogging at the park, feeding bread to any duck in sight, or reorganizing her desk...again.

Barb Mizik, senior lettering artist

Barb Mizik has been happily creating at Hallmark for over 25 years, and it's only natural — her grandfather crafted cards for his wife, daughters and grandchildren for every special occasion. Barb herself has been drawing since she was very young, and doodles on anything that dares to be still and paper-like when she's nearby. Her professional technique is anything but random, however. An expert in hand lettering, she reads the copy carefully to get a feel for the tone of the message. Then she brings it to life with the perfect style, whether that's formal and traditional or casual and whimsical.

Barb is married and lives in Leawood, Kansas. She has a grown son, a daughter almost out of high school, a dog and two cats.

Debra Nielsen, sculptor

Debra Nielsen grew up riding and caring for horses, which inspired an early love for nature that has followed her throughout her life. It's also what inspires her creatively. "I love the colors, textures, and compositions I find in the mountains, the woods, and the ocean. It all recharges me, and that energy always makes its way into my work."

Debra joined the Hallmark family in 1997. She spends her days sculpting ornaments for the Keepsake ornament line.

Ramon Olivera, senior multimedia designer

Ramon Olivera is a senior multimedia designer at Hallmark. He received a B.S. in illustration from San Jose State University. Creative opportunities at Hallmark have ranged from greeting cards and books to animated e-cards and voice work. His current role in concept development has him designing and prototyping innovative product solutions.

Marisol Ortega, senior designer

Marisol Ortega is a designer & illustrator living in Kansas City. She is inspired by watercolors, textiles, letterforms and the infinite patterns in nature. Marisol loves anything lettering, paper, textures, patterns, coffee, chocolate and learning new things.

Her creativity thrives in an environment in which she is surrounded by people who inspire her every day and encourage her to be her best, which is why she enjoys being a Hallmarker.

She is currently a Senior Designer for the Cultural Identity creative studio at Hallmark Cards.

Amanda Raymundo, designer

This girl was the strange student who would draw on herself (hand, arm, legs) during class with blue Bic pens and Sharpies. There would be doodles all over the brown paper-covered books and class notes. Her penmanship was pretty good and her fondness for all things letter-related grew. Her dreams of going to art school were realized thanks to her supportive parents and family-they knew she was different in a good way.

During her years at Otis College of Art and Design, Amanda learned how to hone her skills and become even better at drawing on herself and also designing, which she loves doing almost as much as ice cream or Sharpies. After graduating, she applied for lots of jobs. Hallmark was the offer that she knew she couldn't refuse. She didn't think twice about moving halfway across the country, far away from her family and friends, to a place where she knew no one. She knew it was exactly what she was meant to do. It was an adventure. It still is. Some days are filled with making patterns or creating hand lettering. Some days are all about meetings and brainstorming. Every day at the "card factory" is filled with creative, amazing people, and she is proud and blessed to be among them.

Ana Reinert, senior designer

As a designer at Hallmark for 12 years, Ana has done everything from designing Shoebox cards with her trusty vintage typewriter to designing coffee mugs for Hallmark Gold Crown Stores. She loves to design typefaces and draw lettering and is currently working in Platforms as a Creative Strategist developing new products for the 21st century.

Anita Rogers, sculptor

When Anita Marra Rogers was just a girl, she loved using cotton candy to craft animal shapes for her brother and sisters. Today, as a Sculptor for Keepsake Ornaments, there's still a touch of sweetness in every Christmas ornament she creates. For over 30 years in the Keepsake Studio, Anita has lent her artistic styling and whimsical imagination to hundreds of ornaments that capture favorite memories and bring fun to the tree year after year.

Josh Scruggs, font designer

Josh is a font designer in the lettering department. As a kid, he can remember looking at letter shapes and thinking that each one had a different personality. A lowercase e looked happy with its round shape and implied smile in its lower counter. A capital M on the other hand looked angry with diagonal strokes looking like furrowed eyebrows. It only seems natural that, while studying Graphic Design at the University of Kansas, he experimented with designing his own typefaces, a side project that led to his career at Hallmark.

As a type designer today, Josh still believes typefaces have an ability to convey emotions that can greatly influence the designs they're used in. His love of letters has only grown and expanded since joining Hallmark ten years ago. He still very much enjoys the challenge of creating new, fresh fonts, each one with its own personality. In addition to creating letters digitally, he also has a passion for hand lettering and calligraphy.

Leslie Seibert, senior designer

While math is not her forte, Leslie counts her lucky stars daily. One reason is that she's been designing for Hallmark over 10 years now, where she truly loves going to work alongside oodles of talented people.

She also loves making things (all kinds of things), eating ice cream (often), listening to music (especially live performances), walking her dogs (a lovable bullmastiff and the silliest french bulldog), hiking (near and far), and adventuring (with the love of her life). Doing any combination of these things on a sunny day gives her all the more reasons to count those stars.


Katherine Stano, senior writer

Katherine Stano grew up in Tennessee, among 40 acres of land, two ruffian brothers, and a very cool pencil collection. Though she did her fair share of frolicking outside, Katherine loved to play dress-up, thus developing a passion for being an "indoorsy" type of girl. One of her favorite make-believe accessories was her grandmother's old handbag, which held some of her most prized possessions-greeting cards! Every time she received a card, she'd store it in the purse! Now as a Hallmark writer, Katherine creates messages she hopes others will hold dear to their hearts (or maybe in their purse).

Madeline Tompkins, designer III

Madeline Tompkins is a 15-year veteran of Hallmark, but she was hardly a novice to the brand when she was hired fresh out of the University of Kansas with her BFA in Graphic Design. She had grown up watching her mother (Diane Tompkins: artist and product designer) draw and paint and make the most beautiful things for Hallmark.

Madeline started at Hallmark as a Creative Product Developer in a rotational capacity: working in three different departments in just her first year (Everyday Greeting Cards, Gift Wrap, and Shoebox Cards.) And by the end of year two, she began a three-month Lettering and Typography training class. Eventually accepting a permanent position as a Lettering Designer. It was within that department that she started her life-long education of calligraphy and developed her love for all things lettering. In the years since, she's also held positions as a Retail Gift Designer, Greeting Card Designer and her most current assignment as a Concept Development Designer.

Sharon Visker, sculptor

Sharon has been an artist at Hallmark for 29 years. She started as a designer/illustrator for Specialty design, which was anything that was not a card. Then she found her home in Keepsakes ornaments in 2000 and has been sculpting there ever since.

She likes making fun, bright and humorous ornaments. Her spare time hobbies include seeing movies, woodcarving, and eating pretty much anything chocolate. She loves Halloween and Day of the Dead and collects lots of skeletons.


Hallmarket: A Hallmark Art Fair

Enjoy a chance to experience the creative passion that flows throughout the Hallmark community.
Saturday, September 16, 10:00-5:00 pm on the Crown Center Square, 2450 Grand Blvd. 


The Hallmark Visitors Center will be closed September 3 - October 1, reopening on Monday, October 2 at 9:30.

See our Closure Schedule