Illustration Friday # 13: PREPARE (for Chinese New Year)

Chinese New Year is almost here. On January 23, 2012, why not join millions around the world who are welcoming the Year of the Dragon.

A few customs to help PREPARE for the New Year, and to ensure a prosperous and healthy year are:

  • Clean your entire home and put away all your brooms and brushes. 
  • Pay your debts.
  • Resolve difference with friends and family. (What a really great idea!)

When I illustrated Celebrating Chinese New Year: Nick's New Year, I was fortunate to be invited to the home of a Chinese American family. They shared the customs they follow with me, and posed  as models for my illustrations.

Here is one of the illustrations from the book.

illustration by Cheryl Kirk Noll

The text says, "Everyone gets a haircut and wears new clothes." 

This book was written by Rosa Drew and Heather Phillips, illustrated by Cheryl Kirk Noll, and is still  available.

"Celebrating Chinese New Year: Nick's New Year"

Illustration Friday #11: HIGHLIGHTS (for Children)

For years now, I have had the privilege of working for the children's magazine, Highlights for Children. You've heard of them... Goofus and Gallant, the Timbertoes, and most notably, Hidden Pictures!!

from "The Tennin's Robe," Highlights for Children, copyrighted material

A version of this illustration appeared in the March 2008 issue of Highlights to illustrate "The Tennin's Robe, by Philis Gershator.  I later modified it to send as a holiday card.

Tennins are spiritual beings found in Japanese Buddhist art that have some of the characteristics of western angels. They can fly, and sometimes wear feathered kimonos called hagoromo ("dress of feathers").

Highlights for Children is a family-owned magazine, and they treat their illustrators like gold. Working for them has certainly been a "highlight" of my career. 

Illustration Friday # 9: SINK

The Lion & the Hare

A ferocious Lion who kills for sport, and terrorizes the animals of the forest. Finally, the animals flatter Lion into an arrangement where one animal a day, drawn by a lot, willingly become his supper. In return, Lion agrees to stop hunting.

When Hare draws the lot, he forms a plan. He arrives late, and tells Lion he was waylaid by another Lion.

"In my jungle?" roars the beast. "Take me to him."

Hare leads Lion to a deep well.

Upon seeing his own reflection, Lion roars and threatens the "other" lion. Then, the enraged beast charges at his own reflection, and proceeds to 


to the bottom of the well, never to be heard from again.

This story is from the Panchatantra, or "Five Chapters," a collection of ancient Indian animal stories, where a wise old man named Vishnusarman uses tales to teach three young princes how to rule wisely.

The story and this illustration can be found in the January 2000 issue of Calliope Magazine,

Ashoka, India's Philosopher King

. This magazine, geared towards grades 5-9, focuses on World History.

for more information about the magazine, click