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[GUEST POST] THE LOTERIA MATCH GAME (2 of 6) by John Picacio

John Picacio is a World Fantasy and Hugo Award-winning illustrator who is currently reimagining Loteria, the classic Mexican game of chance. His first Loteria artworks are now available as a set of large-format, special-edition cards from Lone Boy.

Welcome to the second installment of The Loteria Match Game, sponsored by SF Signal. I’m your host, John Picacio.

How many of you know the game of Loteria (AKA Mexican Bingo)? If you know how traditional Bingo works, then you’ll understand how to play Loteria, even if you never have. Bingo uses combinations of letters and numbers to play, while Loteria’s agony and ecstasy is all about the shuffle of a 54-card picture deck. Players have a ‘tabla’ or placard featuring a random selection of picture icons, and the game-caller shuffles the cards and announces an icon (or creates a rhyme suggesting it, if you’re fancy). The first player to have a line of called icons across, down or diagonal on their tabla – wins!

Loteria is a deeply popular national pastime in Mexico, and within Mexican-American communities. The game is an intrinsic part of my culture, and I’ve played it since I was a child. The classic cards are produced by Don Clemente / Pasatiempos Gallo, and those are the pictures you see celebrated here.

I’m currently producing my own imaginings of these classics with the Loteria Grande Card series, and I’m proud to announce here that these artworks will be featured in my first book as a writer/illustrator, after almost twenty years as a full-time cover artist of science fiction, fantasy and horror clients. The full deck of fifty-four is a work in progress and labor of love, but the first eleven of my artworks are available right now as a limited-run, special-edition collectible card set, while supplies last.
The Loteria Match Game is merely a fun invention (it’s not the narrative that I’m writing and it’s not the way you play Loteria), but it demonstrates how much possibility these icons have. Over the next few days, I’ll continue matching fifty-four sf/f authors, artists and creative luminaries with icons of the classic Loteria.

¡Andale! Let’s get started!

[Click to embiggen]

10. El Arbol (The Tree)

Jay Lake was an author, inspiration, and friend. Before he passed away last year, he agreed to model for one of my Loteria artworks as ‘The Tree of Life’ (thanks, Scott Frey). Amongst the next batch of Loteria Grande Cards I’ll be releasing will be ‘El Arbol’, featuring a revised final artwork not yet published and different from the version seen in the 2014 John Picacio Calendar. It will be dedicated to Jay. Cancer took him too soon, but he still lives forever.

11. El Melon (The Melon)

He’s one of the most acclaimed writers in the sf/f field, winning six World Fantasy Awards, three Shirley Jackson Awards, and a Nebula Award. Ford remarked in a 2008 interview with Locus Magazine: “I never take notes, never write outlines, none of that. I like to mix it in my head. I’m working when I’m at the grocery store picking out melons. It’s all up there, and I figure if I forget about it, it probably wasn’t worth remembering anyway. That’s the way I work.”

12. El Valiente (The Valient)

We’re living in a fragile time for our fundamental rights. It seems our news and social feeds are filled with daily attacks on women’s rights.

In The Creative Fire, Ruby is a singer coming of age in a time of class warfare and revolution. Pyr hired me to create the cover art for this book. Art director Lou Anders and I felt that her microphone could be a key visual element. I wasn’t interested in creating a picture of someone singing. However, in the right hands, microphones can be more powerful than guns. It still pleases me to hear gun mavens critique this cover, only to realize — uh-oh, that’s not a gun. That’s a microphone stand.

13. El Gorrito (The Bonnet)

‘Glamour’ is such a great word, and in the Glamourist Histories series, it’s the kind that bedazzles with illusions of magic just as much as the illusion of fashion. Grab your black tea, Jane Austen lovers — these are the fantasy reads of your dreams. Without A Summer is the third book in the series (squint your eyes and you’ll find “El Gorrito” on this cover), followed by 2014’s Valour and Vanity, and the April 2015 release Of Noble Family.

14. La Muerte (Death)

In the Hugo and Newbury Award-winning classic The Graveyard Book, he showed us that graveyards are a perfectly natural place to raise a child. In the Sandman comics, he introduced us to our new best friend, Death. And now, in his brand-new collection, Trigger Warning, he gives us “Adventure Story”, a tale about the ways in which people take their own stories with them when they die. Who else makes death more desirable than Neil?

15. La Pera (The Pear)

‘And a partridge in a pear tree.’ One of the blogosphere’s coolest annual traditions is Paul Cornell’s “The 12 Blogs of Christmas”, wherein Paul counts down to Christmas Day with a dozen generous and insightful posts. He’s one of sf/f’s most prolific writers, juggling novels, comics, and TV work. His latest book The Severed Streets is the followup novel to London Falling — the first in a series for those who love their fantasy brewed very dark and very urban. If you love police procedurals, supernatural terror, and the X-Files — the Shadow Police series is a prime suspect.

16. La Bandera (The Flag)

From Llewellyn Worldwide’s 2014 Astrology Calendar comes this image of Leo, illustrated by Hugo Award-winning artist Julie Dillon. Her new art book Imagined Realms Book 1 has elevated her toward a model favored by a growing number of pro artists — straddling between major corporate commissions as a creative, and building her own visual real estate as a creator. She’ll be a featured guest at this year’s Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City.

17. El Bandolon (The Mandolin)

He writes Hugo Award-winning books. He turns troll taunts into cold hard cash for charity. He tapes bacon to cats. His latest novel, Lock In, is a critically-acclaimed bestseller. All of this is mere career prologue because falsettos like his are destined to unleash glorious fury fulltime upon the world’s ears. For now, he hones his craft, building his mandolin collection, wondering why you’re so %#$^in’ special and wishing he was special too.

18. El Violoncello (The Violin)

A woman learns she has the musical ability to end the world. “Don’t ever let the media tell you what your body is supposed to look like. You’re beautiful the way you are. Stay beautiful, keep it ugly.”

TOMORROW!! Find out who wields the power of La Mano! And perhaps one of the most burning of all Loteria questions — WHO is El Borracho?? So many contenders for that honor in the publishing field! Only ONE can rise to victory! Be here mañana.

About John Picacio (6 Articles)
John Picacio is a two-time Hugo Award-winning illustrator of science fiction, fantasy and horror. He is the owner and founder of Lone Boy. His artwork has illustrated the covers of books and works by Michael Moorcock, George R. R. Martin, James Tiptree, Jr., Sheri Tepper, Brenda Cooper, Dan Simmons, Mark Chadbourn, and more. His accolades also include the World Fantasy Award, the Locus Award and seven Chesley Awards. He is currently illustrating more cover and storytelling art for worldwide clients as well as more Loteria card art.

4 Comments on [GUEST POST] THE LOTERIA MATCH GAME (2 of 6) by John Picacio

  1. Paul Weimer (@PrinceJvstin) // February 17, 2015 at 12:13 pm //

    Again, another fine set of images and associations. 🙂

  2. So glad you had this idea, John. I’m anxious to see what each day will bring.

    A nice bonus that these feature some of my favorite authors and artists, as well as ones I have yet to discover, but look forward to.

    Love listening to Paul Cornell on SF Squeecast, but have yet to read his fiction.

    • John Picacio // February 17, 2015 at 1:47 pm //

      Thanks, Carl. There’s one or two creators in here that I didn’t know before I started working on this. Thought their work was strong enough though that they needed to be included. They’ll be in forthcoming posts. Glad you’re digging this, man.

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