About three years ago, my dad asked me if I would make a “lotto tree” for a 50/50 raffle for a Christmas party. So, the two of us went out to buy poster board, tape, and $50 dollars worth of scratch-off tickets. I came home, and set to work trying to figure out how to make a Christmas Tree out of rectangles.
This ended up becoming a routine. My dad works at our local Knights of Columbus, and once a month they have a music night. So, once a month for the past three years, I’ve made a new lotto poster. These have all had various themes, from Valentine’s Day to an event raising money for someone who donated a kidney. I think the kidney was the hardest one – making rounded edges out of 90 degree angles is much harder than you would think! But I like making them, especially because it helps me think a bit outside of the box.
Above are some of the posters I’ve done. The first one is a speaker, meant for a music night without a specific theme. The last two, however, did have a theme. The second one was for Valentine’s Day, and the third was for an 80’s Night. Making these come with a lot of artistic decisions that you might not really think about at first. White poster board is more commonly used, but sometimes I choose other colors. I thought using a black poster board for the speaker would be good because I was able to draw in the grid-like material where the music would come out. I also liked that it made the vibrant colors of the scratch-offs stand out. I chose a neon yellow for the 80’s night poster because I feel like neon screams the 80s. I think that one is my favorite because the details I was able to draw in helped to really show what it was. I liked that I was able to combine drawing and arranging the tickets in a cohesive way, whereas in the Valentine’s Day one I added drawn hearts to fill in space. However, shapes like hearts are trickier because you have to figure out how to arrange the tickets in a way that appears round.
The amazing thing about being an artist is the way I think and problem-solve. While I was at school last semester, I was helping my dad make a music note out of lotto tickets through text, and I realized that what sometimes makes sense in my head is not an obvious solution to others. Luckily, my dad is also great at problem solving, and did it in his own way and looked great.
As I said before, the hardest one I ever did was in the shape of a kidney. I found it so frustrating trying to make it rounded and actually resemble a kidney. The rectangle lotto tickets on a blank, rectangle poster board felt haphazardly placed. This was where problem solving came in – I cut the poster board to the shape of a kidney, and filled in any white space with a pink marker. Despite my hours of frustration, I ended up really happy with the result. After this one, nothing really felt too hard.
As artists, we have this unique skill set that can truly set us apart. While I volunteer to do these to help my dad out, I’ve thought about marketing myself to do this for others. Someone I worked with recently told me she wanted me to do a tree for her at Christmas! So my advice is to explore what your skills can do aside from what you’re used to doing. Think outside the box and expand your thinking. This was something I had solidified for me in my 3D Design class this year: changing your thinking can help you see different solutions to the task at hand, and can help you create something amazing. And I think this was easy for me because of my three years of Lotto Poster making!