Frequently Asked Questions
WHO ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I'm Regina Linke, a Taiwanese American author and illustrator living in Rhode Island in the United States, who focuses on Chinese, meticulous-style brush painting on stretched silk and rice paper. My subjects include historical and legendary Chinese characters and motifs out of East Asian philosophy, religion, and folklore.
I was born and grew up in the US to Taiwanese immigrants. I've lived in different parts of the country, and also in Chile, Peru, and Taiwan.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE "THE OXHERD BOY"?
Three things happened at the same time that made "The Oxherd Boy" possible:
I was taking traditional Chinese art classes and looking for a regular way to practice painting.
My son was getting to an age when he loved asking Big Life Questions, and I would try to answer them with different perspectives from various philosophies I had found interesting and helpful.
I read and loved "The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse," as well as other works like "Jang and Fox," "Shitty Watercolour," and "False Knees" that illustrated universal truths and shared words of comfort and humor.
"The Oxherd Boy" was an opportunity for me to combine all three into a single project. The original set of characters embodied the three major pillars of Chinese philosophical-religious thought. They started as a way to help me paint and help my son explore his curiosity about life in a way that felt comfortable and safe, and have grown ever since to become a world that I hope inspires readers to acts of love, compassion, and community.
DO YOU DRAW OR MAKE THESE YOURSELF? WHAT MATERIALS DO YOU USE?
Yes, I have used traditional Chinese painting brushes, sumi-e ink, watercolor, and other mineral pigments on rice paper or stretched silk. Lately though, I have been painting on the iPad using the Procreate app for THE OXHERD BOY and BIG ENOUGH books.
WHY THE OX? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
There is a famous parable of the ox in Buddhism that compares the taming of an ox to each person's journey to enlightenment. That is where the name Oxherd Boy comes from. The ox is also a highly valued animal in many cultures for its honesty, humility, diligence, and strength and is a revered symbol in Taoism as well.
Together with the boy and the rabbit, the ox and his companions represent the three branches of classical Chinese philosophy: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR QUOTES FROM?
I rely on a number of sources to inspire the conversations my characters have. Sometimes I refer directly to classical texts, and sometimes I consult annotations and modern teachers. Some ideas come from Western philosophers, poets, and thinkers that dovetail well with Eastern thought. I have also collaborated with amateur writers. In fact, many of my most loved illustrations originate as suggestions and requests from readers like you, so thank you all for sharing your wisdom with me.
WHAT BOOKS DO YOU RECOMMEND?
I think different books touch different people in unique ways at different times. For now, the ones that immediately come to mind are: The Little Prince, Letters to a Young Poet, In Praise of Shadows, Frog and Toad, Winnie-the-Pooh, and poems by Rumi and the works of Jimmy Liao.
WHERE CAN I BUY...?
The online store is stocked with select prints, stickers, and art cards.
If there are any illustrations that you'd like to buy but aren't available in the shop, do let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. And, sign up to the newsletter to be alerted when new products become available.
I am currently closed for commissions. Until then, please feel free to browse my portfolio and let me know if you are interested in working together.
IS THIS A BOOK?
THE OXHERD BOY: Parables of Love, Compassion, and Community will be released in spring 2024 through Potter Gift/Penguin Random House and is now available for pre-order in the US and limited destinations worldwide through Amazon. BIG ENOUGH, a picture book adaptation for children will be available in winter/early 2025 through Little Brown Young Readers/Hachette. To be alerted on when you can pre-order the books, please sign up to the mailing list.
If you are an editor or publisher interested in working with me, please contact Liz Nealon at email@example.com.
To follow my publishing journey, you can find me on Twitter at @oxherdboy. I also invite you to follow any updates on the book page, where I share story ideas and illustrations, as well as the many joys and frustrations that I experience along the way.