Year of the Dragon 2024
Retro Animated Illustration for Chinese New Year 
The Phaya Nāga is the mythical Serpent King - and an iconic Thailand match brand - and a 'hot' choice for my ongoing series (3 and counting!) of Asian Brand themed LNY designs. And after doing Tiger Balm and White Rabbit, it's a nice way to celebrate the country that has been our home for the last nearly 4 years.

The Phaya Nāga - or Lord of Nāga - appears in Hindu and Buddhist tradition and folklore throughout the entire South East Asian region. The Phaya Nāga was also fittingly crowned the national symbol of Thailand, and can be seen everywhere from temples, to boats, to the decorative curled roofing details that are synonymous with the country.
Mythologically and elementally though, this piece is kind of all over the place. As established above, the Phaya Nāga isn't really a dragon at all, it's a serpent. On top of that, it's a water serpent, and considered the patrons of rivers, seas, and lakes - and not fire as the matches might imply. And in any case, this year is the year of the Wood Dragon - not fire or water at all. But it's an awesome design and one I'm stoked to appropriate for LNY.

I drew everything up in Illustrator element by element, then copied the art and outlined it to create the black form. I broke the shape up into sections transferred it into Photoshop for frame by frame animation. I used a super nice HD cardboard texture as the base, then copied it twice for shadows and highlights. And I used a distressed texture as a clipping mask to have the cardboard 'wear' through the print.
In honour of the traditional element of the Phaya Nāga I'll leave you with an old Thai proverb about water: น้ำขึ้นให้รีบตัก - which means: when the water is high, scoop it up.

So that's my Dragon Year wish for everyone this year - seize the day, and strike while the iron is hot. Or to put it another way, when opportunity knocks, grab a bucket.

Happy Dragon Year!