IMAGE CREDIT: CONTRIBUTED Markku Luopa has a passion project, Stick People Cards.

Kelowna designer marches stick men into the greeting card market

Markku Luopa has started a passion project, Stick People Cards.

A simply drawn stickman holding a balloon is one of the more popular images that Markku Luopa has offered up through his passion project, Stick People Cards.

There’s also a bunny — something he said was harder than expected to learn to draw—a crudely and cutely drawn pineapple and a stickman with a flower.

They may not seem like much at first glance, but Luopa’s cards convey something much weightier than the depth of his pencil impressions imply.

“People get so caught up with getting the right card, the right gift and the right wrapping and that shouldn’t be the point of (giving),” said Luopa, who’s best known for his previous work designing omnipresent Okanagan Lifestyle Apparel and creating Tourism Kelowna’s new line of clothing.

“(Store bought cards are) so impersonal, but this takes it back to something so simple. I just want people to appreciate cards.”

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Having a simplistic image set against a white card, offers the person who’s giving the card cause to think about the message they want to convey. That’s a whole lot better than a canned sentiment devised in a card factory.

It’s also a gesture that makes the receiver feel a bit more special — something he’s witnessed with every card he’s given.

Already Luopa’s sold hundreds of cards, which can be found in the Penticton shop, Something Pretty Boutique. But he’s not expecting to make a mint from being a one-man card factory — not yet, anyway. And not for himself.

“I’m not really doing this as a business,” he said.

A portion of the cards produced are being directed to Work, which can be found at the website www.dowork.org. What they do is to accompany families in Haiti as they exit “poverty through good, dignified jobs.”

They work in one community in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, called Menelas, where about 1,500 families live and they try to place two heads of households into a good, dignified job, so that their families and their community can lift themselves out of poverty forever.

Already Luopa has been able to help a young woman named Emmeraude, with funds he’s donated. In the future, if all goes well, he imagines Stick People Cards becoming a real economic engine for the people attached to Work.

Until then, however, he’s content with creating a cute and blank canvas for locals to share their thoughts on.

Stick People Cards can be found at: www.stickpeoplecards.ca, their Instagram: @stickpeoplecards

Facebook: Stick People Cards

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