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Celebrations to Include in Your Portfolio Part 1

Published on 21/06/2023

Illustrations by Astound US Inc. illustrators Steph Lew and Ashlee Spink, Yeon Agency illustrator Guillaume Dupont, and Advocate Art illustrator Lala Stellune

Celebrations to Include in Your Portfolio Part 1
Teacher: ITSme Society

Who doesn’t love a celebration? These occasions allow us to spend time with friends and family, get involved in festivities and build communities. Special occasions give us memories and stories we will cherish forever. Making celebrations perfect for storytelling, adding more emotional impact. Books that celebrate special occasions or seasonal events are incredibly popular. When clients are looking for an illustration for a project they usually have a rough brief in mind, and will only consider artists whose portfolios already show what they are looking for.

Although we know our own holidays and celebrations well, all cultures are enriched with unique and beautiful traditions of their own. There are many different holidays and celebrations around the world that you may be able to draw inspiration from. It is important to understand these traditions as you illustrate them. In this series, we will be putting together lists of celebrations to get you started, but researching these yourself can help you gain more inspiration and enhance your illustrations.

Christmas and New Year:

Illustration by Astound US Inc. illustrator Chiara Fiorentino

Maybe the December traditions consist of ultra-organized parents rushing through jam-packed shops to buy a never-ending concoction of food, drink, and (of course) gifts that would seem ludicrous at any other time of the year, or rather big sighs as a lone parent wraps the last of the gifts by the fire on Christmas Eve, scolding themselves for putting it off for so long! Everyone who celebrates Christmas approaches it differently. We personally recommend playing your favorite Christmas songs at full volume before rocking around the tree and jumping to hang the decorations on the tallest of the spiny branches! Some families really know how to get into the seasonal spirit. Decorating rooms from floor to ceiling, with presents piled up underneath the tree, and tinsel and paper chains that make you question what color the wall behind them is. And don’t forget to decorate the exterior of the house, perhaps the father grabs a ladder and fumbles as he decorates the tree on the front lawn and hangs a string of sparkling lights along the rooftop. Perhaps you want to illustrate the more peculiar traditions you’ve seen and fill characters’ houses up with an abnormally huge collection of elves, reindeer, or candy canes. To an alien, perhaps the widely accepted act of cutting down a tree and perching it smack bang in the middle of the living room would be reason enough to question our sanity! But we love it all the same. When Christmas Day is over the festivities continue by spending time with family and friends, all leading up to parties and fireworks as the clock ticks over into the new year.

Chinese New Year:

Illustration by Yeon Agency illustrator Guillaume Dupont

This celebration is as hectic as it is fun. People will decorate with deep reds for good fortune and joy, and golds for wealth and prosperity. Garlands of glowing lanterns will line the streets as grand parades, fueled by drum beats, dancing and dragons, march through. Alongside the lavish color palette and intricate decoration, each new year comes around and is symbolized by one of the twelve zodiac animals: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig. Each animal comes with its unique symbolism. Perhaps you could draw these animals and design your own rendition of the zodiac calendar!

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr:

Illustration by Advocate Art illustrator Lala Stellune

Ramadan takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which moves in synergy with the moon and so changes each year. As the sunrise to sunset fasting of the festival follows in this Islamic festival, people aim to grow spiritually and become closer to Allah and their loved ones. Thousands of different voices call faithful prayer and turn towards Mecca for a time each morning and after the day of fasting draws to a close each evening, families are sure to try lots of the food on offer, taking every piece of praise family and friends offer about a dish as an excuse to indulge and practice gratitude. This often includes shriveled (but deliciously sweet) dates, samosas, pakoras, and soups, so you can have lots of fun illustrating the enticing textures and colors of these tasty delicacies.

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