Tracy Larsen

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Featured Keepsake Ornament Artist Tracy Larsen

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Tracy Larsen

Title: Hallmark Artist
Date started at Hallmark: 1987
Date started at Keepsakes: 1995
Hometown: North Ogden, Utah

Like most preschoolers, Tracy Larsen spent a lot of time with cartoons—but instead of just watching them, Tracy studied them! He spent his childhood hours drawing characters from The Flintstones™ and Peanuts®.

He also copied newspaper comic strips, but at the mature age of eight, Tracy moved to the more sophisticated material on the editorial page. The 1968 Nixon vs. Humphrey presidential race became a favorite subject.

While looking through newspapers and magazines, Tracy started noticing the differences among artists' styles—another aspect of his self-described "knack for art." He studied everything he found around his house, from European magazine illustrations to his own personal favorite of the day: Mad magazine.

Tracy did his first sculpting with clay-like kneaded erasers, but through his schooling, moved on to higher-quality materials and projects. He produced his first serious sculpture, a bust of Muhammad Ali, while he was still a teenager. During junior high and high school, Tracy kept honing his skills in his art classes, his primary instructor/mentor being the noted fantasy artist, James Christensen. What a great program those schools must have had, since Tracy is one of several classmates now working as professional artists.

Winter Fun with Snoopy®

Winter Fun With SNOOPY®

20th in the series

Tracy Larsen’s devotion to the Peanuts® gang goes all the way back to kindergarten. He was reminded of this recently while cleaning out a room in his house and coming across his old drawings of Snoopy and Lucy from when he was about 5 or 6. “They’re just on these little pieces of paper; they’re all folded up and not in the best shape,” Tracy says. “But my mom had saved them.”

Later in grade school he got the book Peanuts® Treasury, the 1974 compilation of the comic strip. “I used to read that and just laugh,” Tracy says. “It was definitely influential.”

That childhood experience made his very first assignment as a Hallmark artist, in 1987, all the more fitting: a Snoopy® birthday card!

And not long after he moved to the Keepsake Ornament studio, Tracy started working on Winter Fun With SNOOPY®, a miniature ornament series that began with Snoopy and Woodstock sledding down a hill in a supper dish. This year’s 20th-in-series ornament is a nod to that original design, but with Woodstock zooming by in his bird’s nest. “This was inspired by one of Schulz’s strips,” Tracy says.

Each year the series has featured Snoopy and Woodstock doing something wintry: skiing, skating, caroling, playing ice hockey, decorating a tree, building an igloo. One year Snoopy brought Woodstock a gift. Another year Snoopy opened a mailbox to find Woodstock waiting inside—a fun surprise, not unlike the surprises the classic comic strip gave young Tracy all those years ago.

Spotlight on Snoopy

20th Anniversary

The Spotlight on Snoopy series started with Joe Cool dressed as Santa Claus. And over the years, Snoopy has appeared in this series as many different personas—World War I Flying Ace, gardener, fireman, policeman, lawyer and world-famous author typing “It was a dark and stormy night” on his typewriter. He even appeared once as the Statue of Liberty with Woodstock as a tiny Uncle Sam! Inspiration for these often comes from the Sunday versions of the old comic strips.

“A lot of them come from that first longer panel in the original strip, the one that didn’t make it into all of the newspapers,” Tracy says. “He’d often draw him as another character as a fun extra.”

For the 20th Anniversary ornament, Tracy reintroduced Snoopy as a chef, with Woodstock helping him bake cookies.

“I’ve seen quite a few strips where he’s portrayed as a chef,” Tracy says. “A lot of them are really iconic characters.”

Toys for Tots and holiday Peanuts® Keepsake Ornaments

Hallmark will donate $1 to Toys for Tots each time you buy a holiday Peanuts® Keepsake Ornament.

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