The Look of Loteria

When I was a kid, I played Loteria (AKA ‘Mexican Bingo’) with my family. If you know how to play traditional Bingo, then you know how to play the game. Bingo is played with random selections of letters and numbers, but with Loteria, it’s the shuffle of a fifty-four card picture deck that creates the agony and the ecstasy. These cards can do so many fun things. Curanderas (fortune tellers) use them as a personal ‘tarot’ to tell fortunes. My grandma used Loteria cards to play concentration games. She would pick a few random cards, show them to me, turn them over and then I’d have to remember which cards were where. All of those old-school cards are packed with memory and nostalgia.

Many of you have played Loteria with me at large assemblies and featured events when I make my convention road appearances — some of you for the first time ever –and the energy from those games is fantastic and contagious. I love doing it. For those that haven’t played yet, here’s what all fifty-four of the traditional Loteria cards look like, courtesy of the classic set produced by Don Clemente / Pasatiempos Gallo. These cards are beloved by millions, and they’ve been around for more than a century, while the game of Loteria itself is much older than that.

The classic Loteria cards. TM & © Don Clemente / Pasatiempos Gallo, Inc.

The classic Loteria cards. TM & © Don Clemente / Pasatiempos Gallo, Inc.

I’m currently attempting to create my own series of iconic Loterias — a set of artworks that can honor the rich tradition of the game while inviting the world to collect, play, celebrate, and enjoy.

This series is a labor of love and I’m hard at work on it. As with all endeavors, it doesn’t arrive out of a vacuum. Here are eleven of my Loteria artworks featured as special-edition Grande Cards from Lone Boy (pictured at the right in each grouping), juxtaposed with classic Loterias and inspirations from other artists and creators.

If you have your own favorite Loteria cards, artworks, or memories — let’s hear about ’em! And for those of you that want some of my Loteria Grande cards for your very own, you can purchase them here while supplies last.

My art for 'El Venado' was inspired by the phenomenal YA novels of Leigh Bardugo.

My ‘El Venado’ art was inspired by the phenomenal YA novels of Leigh Bardugo.


‘El Corazon’ has been selected for inclusion in the forthcoming annual, INFECTED BY ART.


‘El Mundo’ is a love letter to my daughter, postmarked from the future.


‘La Escalera’: Do you ever have days like this? Yeah. Me too.


I love when people cosplay as my ‘La Calavera’ art. If you do — send me photos! 🙂


My ‘La Sirena’ art won the 2012 Chesley Award for Best Product Illustration.


‘El Pescado’: There’s more going on here than first meets the eye. 😉


This was the very first Loteria card I did, inspired by an illustration I created for Borderlands Books in San Francisco.


My Loteria work turned a corner after ‘El Arpa’ — one of my favorite works I’ve created in the last few years.


The Loteria icons are gateways. I’m walking through them — writing down the stories, while creating the pictures.


The classic version of ‘La Luna’ (upper left) was always one of my favorite cards when I was a kid. I’m proud that my art for ‘La Luna’ and ‘El Arpa’ were selected for inclusion in the forthcoming INSPIRED Art Annual, via

My first eleven Loteria Grande Cards are available right now from Lone Boy. Free shipping in the US! 🙂