“Year of the Rooster” Holiday Card Behind the Scenes Creative Process

I’ve been designing a special New Year’s greeting card for the past couple of years in addition to more traditional Christmas-y holiday greeting cards.

And I’ve always created a design around the Chinese Zodiac animals.

2015 was the Year of the Sheep
2015 was the Year of the Sheep
2016 was the Year of the Monkey!
2016 was the Year of the Monkey!

New Year’s Day is the biggest holiday in Japan and I have a fond memory of celebrating it with my family from January 1st through the 3rd. There would be lots of traditional New Year’s food my mom and grandma had prepared, and we’d go to the shrines to pray for a healthful year.

This is not exactly what they made... but you get the point!
This is not exactly what they made… but you get the point!

We’d send New Year’s greeting cards to our family and friends in December, and as long as you send it out before Christmas, they’d deliver them right in the morning of January 1st. I always looked forward to sorting through a big stack of them to see my friends’ cards and enjoyed reading their messages.

Designing a Chinese zodiac animal New Year’s card has become sort of a tradition for me.ย And it seems to be popular with customers who want something a little different for the holidays as well.

OK, so 2017 is the Year of the Rooster!

And these are the roosters who took the main stage of my New Year’s greeting card ๐Ÿ™‚

01_yea_of_rooster_watercolor illustration
Fun and colorful roosters!
02_yea_of_rooster_watercolor illustration
This guy may be my favorite ๐Ÿ™‚
03_year of the rooster watercolor illustration
Roosters have such fancy hairdo!
04_year of the rooster watercolor illustration
and pretty outfit.

05_year of the rooster watercolor illustration

The most fun thing about these roosters is they all seem to have such personality! They make me chuckle ๐Ÿ™‚

First step of my creative process wasย I did a Google image search of roosters and browsed a gallery of pretty and exciting looking roosters. They’re so much more interesting than hens to look at ๐Ÿ˜€

My style is not a photorealistic one, so after I study my reference materials, I typically draw from imagination and memory. I also don’t sketch with pencils first for most of my designs because I like the un-planned wonky look better.

I wanted it to be bright and fun and also wanted to work in a color palette I hadn’t chosen for my other stationery products for the season. Yellow, teal, and orange seemed like a fun color combo!

I used Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch set with various gouache and watercolor paints I had.
I used Sakura Koi Watercolor Field Sketch set with various gouache and watercolor paints I had.

I started with drawing different parts of the roosters with one color, and switched to a different color and kept adding on to them rather than completing one rooster at a time. Less cleaning of the brush that way :D, and it’s easier to see the overall balance.

What’s cool about painting with gouache (it’s basically an opaque watercolor) is once they dry, you can add lines and patterns with another color and have it really stand out!

Once I felt the watercolor/gouache drawing was done, I let them dry completely and added some lines with my favorite Pigma Micron pen. I like how the black line pulls everything together at the end.

Micron pen, you're the one for me <3
Micron pen, you’re the one for me โค

And then I scan my drawings and the hand-written “Happy New Year 2017” message in to Photoshop to clean up and design the layout.

Voilร ! Here is your 2017 Year of the Rooster greeting card ๐Ÿ™‚

03_year-of-rooster_watercolor card 1000px
I love how they turned out! Aren’t they fun??

(I use StationeryHQ for printing my greeting cards. Their products are high quality and services are great. I recently switched to 100% recycled paper as well.)

If you’re looking for a holiday greeting card that’s a little different (or something to delight a chicken aficionado in your life), try these Year of the Rooster cards ๐Ÿ™‚ You can order yours here!

Hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes peek today. I’ll see you soon!

xo Yuko

Yuko Miki Honeyberry Studios Headshot

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s