Often, the toughest part of a mini-series is ending it. I chose the wisdom of Obi-wan, who said, “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck.” This is also why I entitled this one as “Buzzkill;” way to take it there, Obi-Wan. Perhaps a better quote, from another fictional character, would be Batman’s Two Face who said, “Sometimes you make your own luck.”
This series was certainly a lot of fun to create and it was interesting to learn about good luck symbols from all over the world. Regardless of how little or how much luck and superstition plays into your daily life, the history behind these notions is fascinating. Thanks so much for looking.
The red bat is considered lucky in China. Often these animals are painted together in groups of five; this is to represent the five blessings in life: health, longevity, love, wealth and virtue. Also, the red bat has been immortalized throughout history, their likeness has been woven into silk fabrics used for special occasions.
Day twenty-nine corresponds with the Chinese New Year, ushering in the Year of the Rooster. Additionally, roosters are often associated with good fortune and prosperity. In Europe, it was believed that the roosters would scare off the evil every morning with their call.
It couldn’t be lucky series without a little superstition. “Fingers crossed,” is the expression I use most to wish someone good luck, especially via text. Now even easier with the latest emoji update!
This is one of the weirder “good luck” expressions, as generally speaking, breaking any bone isn’t so lucky. In my super limited research, this notion comes from the expression “lucky break,” meaning not a literal break, but more like an awesome opportunity. Now onto the drawing bit. The first thing I thought of for this drawing was C-3PO and his broken leg, especially because it is not so gruesome to illustrate. Additionally, I was flying on a plane, en route to visit my pal, Val, in Oakland, and too cheap to pay for Wi-Fi…and like a dummy, I didn’t keep any reference images on my phone of our gilded friend. I wound up drawing 90% of this from memory, and then making some adjustments once I could confirm what the droid actually looked like. Thankfully, being a nerd and giant star wars fan, made this task not too awful.
The Laughing Buddha is called Hotei in Chinese. He is considered a symbol of good luck and was based on an actual Chinese monk, Ch’an, who lived over a thousand years ago. Usually placed facing a door, it is said to bring good luck and abundance when one rubs his belly.
Have you ever heard that it is lucky if it rains on someone’s wedding day? I think this notion of lucky bird poop is similar; it’s about trying to make a negative into a positive. Sure a good attitude can go a long way, but I would prefer my luck without the excrement. In today’s drawing, we see our favorite obnoxious beach bird delivering his luck to the unsuspecting. Luck out, below!
The funny bit about shooting stars or falling stars is that they are not actually stars at all. They are actually meteoroids falling into Earth’s atmosphere and burning up. The trail of light is called a meteor, and if any space debris makes it to the ground without burning up, it is called a meteorite. The reason they were probably thought to be a star is because when burning up, they emit a similar light level.
And no, I’m not talking about Florida. I learned a lot about different lucky charms while working on this mini-series. Prior to this, I had no idea keys were considered lucky, but given their symbolism , it certainly makes sense. Keys open doors and give people access to otherwise restricted areas, including such notions as the key to one’s heart. For these reasons, keys have been seen as lucky in various parts of the world.
The Figa Charm is a good luck symbol, and it originates from ancient Greece. In present-day, it is still considered lucky in Portugal and Brazil. However, in other countries such as France and Turkey, it is seen as an obscene gesture. Scandal!
This Day 21 – lucky lady bug seems to time perfectly with the events of January 21st. On this day, I had the pleasure of attending the women’s march in Austin. Regardless of your political affiliation, I think we can all agree that humans are humans and deserve equality.
My father is from Iran. Owls are considered bad luck there, or the sign of a bad omen. I think owls are pretty cool, so this one dressed up as a Leprechaun to get into the Buena Suerte series.
Today’s drawing is of the Hamsa Hand, which is considered a good luck charm in both the Islamic and Jewish faiths. It is a protective sign, bringing its owner happiness, health, and good fortune. It is also said to provide protection from envy or the evil eye.
As an avid Star Wars fan, I had to make sure this image snuck in the Buena Suerte Series. In this scene, Luke has just freed Princess Leia from her cell, and they are trying to escape the Death Star. En route to their ship, they need to swing across a giant crevasse to the other side, with Stormtroopers in hot pursuit. Right before they make the leap, Leia kisses Luke on the cheek and says “For Luck!”
Spoiler alert: It worked!
The Dala horse has been considered lucky in Sweden since the 1700s and originated in the Dalarna province. The style of each horse denoted what region you were from, and all are seen as a symbol of good luck in Sweden.
Crickets have been considered good luck as far back as 500 BCE, being a symbol of prosperity, vitality and good fortune. This punny cricket happens to be playing cricket, with some wise words for us all.
Blowing a fallen eyelash off of your finger has been considered good luck since around the mid 19th century. Much like birthday candles, you make a wish and then blow the eyelash off of your finger. The curious bit is if blowing a set of fake eyelashes would bring you more luck, or less because they are false.
“Find a penny, pick it up. All day long you’ll have good luck!”
Not all good luck charms have their own little rhyme, so I suppose the penny is extra lucky. That, and my sister loves Abraham Lincoln. From what I have read on the subject, the luck of picking up coins comes long before the penny’s existence. In ancient times when coins were used as currency, finding loose change on the ground was considered a gift from the gods! The extra layer of superstition with the penny depends on whether the coin is found heads up or heads down. Apparently, you can also turn a heads down penny over, to let the next finder collect the luck – it is only considered bad luck if you take it with you. You know, if you believe that sort of stuff.
When I started this series, my Irish stepmother was quick to point out that black cats are considered lucky in Ireland. When I was plotting out what I would draw for each day, Friday the 13th seemed like the best choice – a mix of good and bad luck! This black cat is extra special; it is of the Manx breed, originally hailing from the Isle of Mann. The Manx cats come in two main types: Rumpy and Stumpy, which signifies how short their tail is. Here the Manx is shown with the coat of arms from the Isle of Man, featuring the triskelion (3 legs) with the quote in latin that translates to “Whichever way you throw it, it will stand.”
Lucky Bamboo is kind of a misnomer; it doesn’t actually belong to the bamboo family. However, it is considered good luck and believed to bring happiness and prosperity. As the legend goes, placing the “bamboo” stalks in groupings of 3, 5 or 7, will bring about the most luck.
Goldfish have been considered lucky all the way back to the time of ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks. In both cultures, goldfish were seen as lucky omens and kept as pets in homes.
In my continuing adult education about good luck charms, I learned the tale of the humble acorn. Apparently during the Norman Conquest, the English carried around dried acorns to protect themselves against the harshness and brutalities of the day.
For Day 10, I decided to continue with the animal theme of yesterday, as elephants are lucky in India. In the interest of continuity, this elephant also happens to be dressed like a dapper gentleman.
Working on this series required a little bit of research. I looked into all different kinds of good luck charms from all over the world, and I even kept a list going in my phone to keep it all organized. It was certainly challenging to come up with 31 ideas, but also quite educational. For example, today’s drawing is of a pig, and apparently, I learned that pigs are very lucky in Germany. Good to know! I figured any old pig wouldn’t do, so this one is quite the dapper gentleman.
Today’s drawing for the Buena Suerte mini-series is of a wishbone. As the tradition goes, the wish gets granted to whomever gets the larger half in the break. Also, this is where we get the expression, “lucky break!” However, when I was growing up, there was little to no luck involved as to who would win the larger half. My Mom would choke up on her side, unbeknownst to me, and win every time.
Official genus and species of the sacred Egyptian beetle is Scarabaeus sacer, and it is the latest drawing in my Buena Suerte series. The scarab beetle managed to do two things that mirrored or coordinated with what two of the Egyptian gods did. Firstly, the beetle rolling a ball of dung across the ground, was similar to behavior of the sun god, Ra, who was believed to roll the sun across the sky everyday. Secondly, the Egyptians saw baby beetles emerging from a ball of dung, and they mistook to mean that the male scarab could reproduce by himself. This unusual trait was also shared by their god, Atum, was able to father children alone. Fascinating stuff, especially for a dung beetle!
Two things I’m quite fond of are the movie “In the Line of Fire” and animals. When I was thinking of lucky charms, of course the rabbit’s foot came to mind, even though i’m not sure it was at all lucky for the rabbit. I was also reminded of the scene from “In the Line of Fire,” where John Malkovich’s character sneaks bullets through a metal detector inside a lucky rabbit’s foot keychain. Artistic and poetic license allows me to combine the two, to make up a fake quote by the actor and to discourage the use of rabbits feet for luck.
The Dream Catcher originated with the Ojibwa people. According to their legend, the dream catcher was made to collect any harm that might be in the air. This was the reason for the spiderweb-like netting within the hoop, as spiderwebs “catch” anything that comes in contact with them. Often they would also include certain sacred items like specific feathers or beads, to help catch anything that might cause harm.
I’ve heard you have to keep a horseshoe upright, otherwise if you turn it upside down all the luck will fall out. Just in case, I’ve added a horseshoe crab to keep an eye out…and also for the pun factor :)
There’s something auspicious about a new year, whether it be positive changes, breaking of bad habits, or just plain superstition. I’ve chosen to explore the latter for the month of January and create daily drawings of good luck symbols, icons or things. This hopefully will kick off the year on a lucky streak. I’ve chosen the name “Buena Suerte” for the series because it means “good luck” in Spanish. Here is Day One: a Lucky Cat who happens to be a fortune teller. Let’s hope that brings double luck!
Today’s drawing, and the very last of the twenty thirteen series, is a little masquerading cameo!
Today’s drawing is inspired by one of my favorite bands, Arctic Monkeys! I adore their new album, AM, and am grateful for the inspiration :)
Two people that have had a huge influence on me as an artist, share a birthday! Simon Le Bon, with his amazing lyrics, and Roy Lichtenstein, my favorite artist of all time, are both born on October 27th! So, for today’s drawing, here is a Lichtenstein inspired Simon Le Bon!
We’ve all heard the expression, “making a mountain out of a mole hill.” This phrase meaning making a big deal out of something trivial. However, this illustration is wondering if this mountain WAS a molehill. It’s also being claimed for mother Russia :)
There’s all kinds of aces you can have up your sleeves!
Today’s drawing is inspired by my trip to Holland. I saw so many amazing things, especially the vast number of things people do while riding bikes! I saw people texting, holding umbrellas, and even eating sandwiches!
Today’s drawing is in honor of the great Chuck D!
Today’s drawing is in honor of my favorite bass player, John Taylor!
Today’s drawing is in honor of one of my favorite showmen, Freddie Mercury!
My HOA, as with a lot of HOAs, is a little particular. Today, three signs appeared in the pool area; scrawled in crayon (no joke, crayon!) it read, “No dogs in pool.” It just made me feel really bad for all the dogs out there…
Today’s drawing is about thing that hold things in place.
Today’s drawing is about levitation, pre David Blaine.
The worst thing about blushing, is that you can FEEL yourself blushing…and remain entirely helpless about this situation. You certainly don’t need a mirror to see if you’re embarrassed, but in today’s drawing, I suppose you do.
I suppose, technically, that we’ve all got the guts.
I’m really bummed I couldn’t manage to get my Calla Lilies to bloom this year. I thought maybe this drawing could send them some good mojo.
OK, it’s not really the year of the Rabbit. It is however, the birthday of Niki, my second work wife, who was born in the year of the Rabbit. She also just wrapped up her MBA, so today’s drawing is doubly dedicated to her!
Today’s drawing is dedicated to my work wife, Angie. Certainly not the first dedication she’s received, but after all she is my wifey :) We have this 6 year-long habit of leaving each other post-its with song quotes on each others’ desks. On this particular day, we quoted the very same Shins song to one another…and in a punny way, this inspired today’s drawing.
Today’s drawing is inspired by something my mom and I always say. Whenever we listen to the Beatles album, “HELP!” we would usually skip the track, “Act Naturally,” and then say, “Sorry, Ringo.” No offense to Mr. Starr, but the original version kind of takes the cake!
This is how ships slip past one another, silently, in the night…
There are days when you need caffeine, and then there are days when you need a lot of it. Today’s drawing is inspired by one of those days.
Today’s drawing is inspired by the son of a co-worker of mine. He replaces the phrase “beat up” with the phrase, “pow-pow!” I’ll use it in a sentence; Mommy, don’t make me come over there and pow-pow you! Hilarious!