The Year of the Pig

2019 is the very auspicious year of the Golden Pig in the Lunar calendar. It’s always a fun challenge as an illustrator to put together a card to go out for the Lunar New Year. Each year comes with a color, and a set of associations that make it fun to work with. In this case, pigs are supposed to be symbols of good fortune and wealth because they have large litters. All those little piglets mean abundance!

I made a print with a couple of pigs, one more naturalistic , the other a bit stylized. I did them in red since that’s always a good color for the Lunar New Year. I knew I would probably change the color to gold to fit with the year, but it’s always good to have different color options.

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I decided I like the more naturalistic pig better. I only did them on top of each other because of the shape of the linoleum that I had, but I ended up liking the placement of one pig on top of the other so much that I decided to keep it for the final card. After all, two pigs have got to be better then one, right? I went back and did the type on a separate linoleum so I could have more control putting it altogether in photoshop. And here’s the final!

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If you want to learn more about how your sign will do with all this pig energy, check out this lady’s video. Gung hay fat choy!

The Year of the Dog

2018 is the Year of the Dog in the Lunar Calendar, and I am so ready to turn the page on the Year of the Rooster. I was a little too exhausted and overwhelmed this past holiday season to send out holiday cards like I usually do. I just couldn't get into the holiday spirit. So I promised myself I wouldn't let the Lunar New Year go by without sending out some cards to my friends.

I started out doodling some dogs on a old throwaway piece of 18x24 paper because I thought it would make me happy to draw them kind of big, on paper I didn't care about, just for fun. I didn't really mean for it to become anything that I would send out or show anyone. If anything, I thought they would be practice dogs for a *real* piece that would come later. And then I let some of them be really silly and derpy because that's why we love them, right? They get so excited, jumping around, and they just can't hide that they love you, they love rolling in the dirt, and running fast. They love the world. I put in the words in any spaces that didn't have dogs, and decided they wouldn't be fancy script, but just straight-forward all caps. It seemed to suit the dogs I had drawn the best. I patched a few places where the ink had run or dripped, and then used up a whole marker (ha!) making them a yellow field to play in. By then, I had fallen a little in love with how silly they were, and I didn't want to draw them more accurately or "better." I felt it would take away some of their joy.

The rest of the story is Photoshop and Moo. By now, most of the people I've sent them to have received them. My friend Alex was kind enough to share on his Instagram, so you can see the finished postcard here. I still have a couple left, so if you didn't get one, leave me a comment or send me an email with your address and I'll send one to you!

People born in the Year of the Dog are supposed to have something of the dog's friendly, generous spirit, with a deep sense of right and wrong. Those traits are supposed to carry over to characterize the year, with people fighting for causes they believe in, according to one site I read.  Happy Year of the Dog, everyone! May you have health, wealth, and prosperity in 2018!


The Year of the Rooster

Happy Lunar New Year! When this website told me that the 2016 (the Year of the Monkey) was going to be the "wizard of the impossible" last year, little did I know how true that would turn out to be. I don't remember a year when every piece of conventional wisdom was turned on its head. This year, I am ready for the Rooster when it says "I am alert/ ready to take action" because that's exactly how I feel. "Never give up or in," the Rooster says.  If these first few days of the new administration are anything to go by, we have a long, hard road ahead of us in the next four years, and I, for one, am taking the Rooster's advice.

Year of the Monkey

Happy Lunar New Year! 2016 is the year of that wizard of the impossible, the monkey! Now is the time for creative energies and inventive minds to flourish: apparently, in the year of the monkey, all bets are off. According to this website, it's going to be a good year for my sign, the Rabbit. "Progress, finally!" it says. Sounds good to me.

I made a couple of collages for the Year of the Monkey. It seems to be all about experiments and new things, so it seemed appropriate for me to try to push forward in a new medium.

Happy Lunar New Year!

2015 is the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram! Apparently, the animal can be translated as any of the three. Any way you translate it though, the thing to say is "Three Goats Start Fortune." There's a long explanation about why this is so, starting with homophones and moving on to the I Ching, and if you can understand how it works from reading this, you can email me and explain it! I just took the idea and went with it. So here are three Sheep, and my wish for health, wealth, and prosperity in the coming year!


Year of the Horse

The Lunar New Year has just passed, and so I sat down with some watercolor and a roll of very thin paper to do a little horse watercolor. The paper's not really meant to take all this water, and you can see that in all the wrinkles and marks of the water evaporating. I don't know if I just like breaking all the rules, or the impressionistic effect.

Once I amp it up in Photoshop, of course, it takes a more intense feeling. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I'm posting them both.

Here's wishing you and yours health, wealth, and prosperity!


Lately, happily, there have been a spate of happy events — weddings and births mostly. I have a Thank You card, printed from a linoleum I cut a few years ago, but I never had a Congratulations card until now! Some of you may remember the Chinese Lunar New Year bunny prints I made back in 2011. Since then, rabbits on cards has become a theme with me. They just seem appropriate because in the Chinese horoscope, rabbits are social and gregarious, and I think of the card going out as my little social ambassador to bring the recipient my felicitations.

Happy Year of the Snake

I made a print for the Lunar New Year to celebrate the Year of the Snake! It's supposed to be a year for steady progress and attention to detail. Does it sound like a barrel of monkeys? Perhaps not; I guess it's time to straighten up and fly right! There's a methodical side to me that loves the idea of steady progress, even though in practice I'm usually about fits and starts. Here's to a healthy, happy and prosperous Year of the Snake!

The Year of the Rabbit

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone! I'm particularly looking forward to this year, because I was born in 1975, making me a rabbit in the lunar horoscope. This means it's gonna be *my* year! If you're a rabbit too, here's the deal. We are articulate (check), talented (*blush*), and ambitious (well, two out of three's not bad). We like to be comfortably at home, pursuing our quiet little bunny pursuits, but we are gregarious too and like to surround ourselves with friends and family - as long as there's no conflict. We are big conflict-avoiders. But enough about me. How about a few block prints?

Congratulations and be prosperous!