Janesville woman enjoys creating Valentine’s Day artwork

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Monday, February 6, 2012
— Jacki Frerichs is a kid at heart.

She loves to work chipmunks, teddy bears, puppies and bumble bees into her whimsical and traditional artwork that she licenses and sells to companies worldwide.

So if you’ve bought a Valentine’s Day greeting card, mug, stationery, rubber stamps or window clings, you might have bought one of Frerichs’ designs.

The rural Janesville woman has spent 20 years creating designs for Valentine’s Day, other holidays and special occasions. She sometimes is paid a flat fee and retains copyrights so she can sell the designs for other products.

Frerichs’ designs have been sold on products you can find at local grocery, drug and dollar stores plus at Menards, Book World, Lowe’s and the Fireside Playhouse and Restaurant.

Two Valentine’s Day greeting cards and two window clings Frerichs designed last year are being sold now.

One of the card designs, which also were made into a window cling, capture a “Gimme Some Sugar” theme. A heart dots the letter “i”, and red, white and pink cupcakes are decorated with colorful conversation hearts.

Frerichs chose cupcakes because of their recent popularity.

“It’s always good to think ahead. You want to visualize different products,’’ she said.

That’s why Frerichs is working on a lovebirds window cling design for Valentine’s Day next year. Sitting at a drawing table of her home studio, she uses a mechanical pencil to sketch on tracing paper before scanning the images into her computer so she can manipulate the drawings to specific dimensions.

After flipping the image, she prints it onto 11-by-17-inch paper and traces it again before flipping it back over and tracing it onto a watercolor illustration board. She masks areas that don’t need to be painted, paints the background, lets it dry, removes the mask and paints the rest.

“I’m always adjusting or making revisions,” she said.

Frerichs creates designs one and two years ahead of their release dates to give companies enough time to get their products manufactured and into stores.

Frerichs taught herself how to paint with watercolors but is professionally trained in graphic/commercial art. She took classes to learn how to use a computer to manipulate images.

Her agent attends shows to market her designs, although some companies contact Frerichs to create specific designs.

Although some of her ideas come from within, others come to her research at the library or seeing something while out and about.

When Frerichs is not in the mood to design or can’t get a handle on a concept, she takes a walk, goes shopping or reads a book.

“People think because you’re an artist you just can whip it right out,” she said. “But you don’t. There are a lot of steps involved.”

Last updated: 7:47 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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