FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born and grew up in the US to Taiwanese immigrants. I've lived in different parts of the country, and also Chile and Peru. I moved to Taiwan in 2018 and am living here still.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PAINTING?
I used to paint Western style realism in oil as a hobby. Upon moving to Taiwan, I took advantage of the resources here to learn Chinese painting since 2019.
WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION TO START THIS SERIES?
My son is at an age where he is curious about a lot of life's big questions -- questions that as adults, we continue to struggle to answer for ourselves. I was inspired by Charlie Mackesy's work and wanted to give my son something similar based on Chinese traditions.
So, I began working on a few characters and imagined how they might talk about life, death, love, friendship, pain, and everything in between.
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 text, sometimes I consult annotations and modern teachers. Some ideas come from Western philosophers, poets, and thinkers as well. I have also collaborated with amateur writers as well. Many of my most loved illustrations originate as suggestions and requests from readers like you. 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 come to mind are:
The Little Prince
Letters to a Young Poet
In Praise of Shadows
How to Love
Frog and Toad
WHERE CAN I BUY...?
I am currently open for commissions to paint original Oxherd Boy artwork, as well as other illustrations. My general flat rate is US$1 per square centimeter, though that can vary depending on the complexity of the work.
The online store is stocked with free digital files to download and make postcards or prints for your personal use. Given the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted delivery to many countries, I will wait to include physical products in the future. Please subscribe to the mailing list to be the first to know when that changes.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Making of "Beautiful Things"
This video captures how I create a painting for each Oxherd Boy comic. Starting with a composition in my sketchbook, I trace the outline onto rice paper using sumi-e ink. Then, comes the painstaking work of layering on the underpainting and color through a particular gongbi technique that uses two brushes at a time. I then add the background and digitally render text and any finishing touches.
A MESSAGE FROM THE ARTIST
Hi, I'm Regina Linke, and I'm a Taiwanese-American artist specializing in the ancient form of Chinese brush painting called gongbi.
Born and raised in Texas, I took drawing and sculpture lessons as a kid but didn't explore painting until after college. As a hobbyist, I was pretty good at picking up oil painting without any formal instruction but found the materials too cumbersome and the smell pretty terrible.
I moved to Taiwan in 2018 and started taking gongbi lessons under Zheng Zhihong, who encouraged me to pursue my own artistic voice by combining traditional Chinese painting techniques with a Western eye for composition. I'm so glad I followed his advice, because The Oxherd Boy would not exist if I hadn't. I created this to share my love for Chinese culture and share the wisdom of its masters with you.
As an artist, introvert, and mother of a young and energetic toddler, I don't get out as much as I used to. So if you have any questions, feedback, or just want to say hello, I'd love to hear from you and get to know my visitors.
I am available for commissions and collaborations. Please feel free to contact me any time.