Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
Sending out New Year Cards, otherwise known as Nengajo (年賀状), is a popular tradition in Japan. (You can read more about it here). Every year, I will do the artwork and my husband will take care of the addresses.
Last July, my husband’s grandmother passed away and we entered into a year of mourning. Instead of sending out Nengajo, we sent out Mochu Hagaki (喪中はがき), a post card to notify friends and relatives about the death of our loved one.
These bereavement postcards only have black wordings, with the color of the stamp or illustration kept dull and to the minimum. The rule of etiquette is to dispatched these cards in early December, asking friends not to send any New Year Card, and apologizing for not sending any. Contrary to the common practice, we did asked our friends (but not our relatives) to continue to send their Nengajo to us because we love to hear from them.
Typically, families who sent Mochu Hagaki will sent out another type of post card from 8th January to 4th February. The Kanchu Mimai (寒中見舞い) are post cards specifically used during winter, to send our regards to our friends and ask them to take care during the cold season. It can also be used to reply late Nengajo or for those who are unable to send out the New Year post cards in time.
So, like the Nengajo, I did an illustration for the Kanchu Mimai. Here is my illustration process: I used Corel Painter (version 11) to digitally sketch my artwork with the pencil tool as well as to create the paint brush wordings and outline with Sumi-e brush tool.
To color, I used the conte tool.