Have you heard? There will be a full moon on Christmas for the first time since 1977. I’m well versed in lunar cycles, thanks to my contributions to the Lunar Calendar since 1983. Over the years, I’ve had the honor of creating the color cover several times, always a treat.

These are a few of the ideas I presented to publisher Nancy F. W. Passmore for the 40th edition.

1luna_blogThe calendar is a vertical format with a fold, and I like to cross that, if possible.

Nancy is fond of the idea of keeping her moon boat afloat, so she picked the bottom left. I was happy to develop the one idea involving a dragonfly, an iridescent creature that holds great magic for some.

Last summer when a dragonfly landed in the center of my fading Tattly Tattoo, I was delighted.

I spied this freshman 3D project by Stella Wei at RISD’s Open House, what a delicate marvel in wire form.


My Lunar Calendar lets me know when to head to the back shore to see the full moon rise, an event that never disappoints. It is peachy and enormous, I swear!

I used a spotty metallic paper to collage the wings and the boat in my final illustration for the 2016 cover.


I also did art for inside the calendar. This idea was inspired by a poem by Sarah Fuhro, “Nameless.”


Here is the final drawing.


It suffers a wee bit in the translation to black and white, but retains the mystery.

The best part about the Lunar Calendar is seeing days in a spiral, and appreciating that our lives are fluid, not always fitting into the boxes and dates of traditional calendars.

I’m pleased to have my work grace this month’s lunation, the 13th of the 2015 calendar. My piece, “Pilgrimage” came out of an unused sketch for last year’s cover.

9nauka_blogI’d just finished illustrations for Tiger Boy, and drawing naukas (Bangla for boat) was still in my mind. This illustration captures the long thin boats that navigate the mangroves of the Sunderbans.


This is the final pastel, with the boat floating in the heavens.


Is it coincidence that several books I’ve illustrated feature a full moon? In Tiger Boy, the full moon helps Neel in his search to find a lost tiger cub. In John Muir Wrestles a Waterfall, the moonlight pulls Muir towards Yosemite Falls one night. In Island Birthday, Alex swims in phosphorescence under a full moon.

Soon I will retire the current calendar, but my cover for this year’s is one of my favorites, “Seven Moon Sonata.” The framed original is available in my shop.


Here’s to letting the lunacy shine this Christmas!


  1. Alistair Macleod in his wonderful book No Great Mischief set in Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia refers to the moon as, “the lamp of the poor”. I think of that line often while in Nova Scotia and the moonlight floods the field in back of the house, rising up over the eastern tree line and bathing the upstairs sleeping loft in a brilliant white light. It’s so magical and such a free gift to the toiling world below and now asleep. Thank you for drawing it so often so we are reminded of the gift it is.

  2. Nicole, thank you for this memorable quote from an esteemed writer! Moonlight is indeed a gift.

  3. I have been using the Lunar Calendar for some 25 years to keep me on track of the energies of the lunar cycle. I am so grateful to Nancy Passmore for her wonderful and hard work she puts in to it. Your drawings are beautiful and very inspirational. May the Lunar Calendar live on for many more years.

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