This is Round 2 of the 2018 Loteria cards for the familia…which were actually ready to rumble before Christmas, but I didn’t send them until my brother-in-law’s gift was complete as well, so he wouldn’t be left out.
My sister Maureen and her hubby are actually the only members of the family I had never done cards for. (I suppose, technically, Doug still didn’t get one, but I know he feels his comic is a fair trade.) I started the tradition because I live far from my family, and sadly, visits are hard to make happen. So I gave myself this reason to connect with the nieces and nephew each year, to talk about their lives and maybe engage in creating something together. As it happened, I was in Montana to help my sister Jami and her husband Erik with a project in the winter of 2006, and ended up getting snowed in and staying over Christmas—so I made cards for everyone who was there. Which means the Montana family. This year I got Maureen’s name in our gift exchange and asked if she wanted a card, and she did. So at long last, here is one for Maureen.
She wanted to be a river otter, and described her favorite place as “in the tropics” (she lives in Minnesota; understandable), and she was especially fond of a beach in Costa Rica where she sat on the lanai watching howler monkeys eating mangoes in the trees overhead. This last year, her 57th, her vacation read was Rick Riorden’s Burning Maze. So Maureen’s Loteria card is of her as an otter, in the smooth grey t-shirt she makes her uniform as a physician and researcher, reading with monkeys for company: La Doctora Nutria, Leyendo en el Paraíso, or The Doctor Otter, Reading in Paradise. (It’s better in English.)
Her daughter, Echo, on the other hand, slept through the call about her card. Maureen said she was snoozing like a hibernating bear, so she suggested that be Echo’s spirit animal this year. It was, as ever, a year filled with dance. Echo received a Platinum award for her solo, Porcelain with Dance Rhythms, representing CAAM Chinese Dance Theater in the Chicago Regional round of the Taoli World Dance Competition. She and her partner Leora won the Platinum Elite Award, the Judges Choice Award, and the Best Partnership Award at the Chicago Regionals, as well as the Best Partnership Award at the World Cup competition. But her heart was especially tied to her high school Dance Team, who took first place in Jazz at the local dance meet this year. So for 2018, Echo is La Bailarina Oso, Soñando con su Equipo, or The Bear Dancer, Dreaming with Her Team.
On a technical level, Echo’s card led me to a production break-through. Unlike the other cards this year, I turned to Procreate to do her lay-out, as there was so much involved in putting together the various bears. And after I had done so much digital work on the design drawing, I was grumpy about the idea of recreating it all on paper. Luckily, I had been to a Strathmore Paper workshop at Seattle Artists League that same week, and they sent us home with a lovely sample selection of papers. So I decided to try printing the text and line file onto a good Strathmore paper–and it worked! From the printed foundation, I did the coloring and supplemental line drawing by hand. It cut my work time in half, easily. I suppose it’s possible that someday I’ll miss the hand-lettering, but at this point, I’m thinking this may be the new way forward.