The Shadow Hero Fan Art


It’s just some Asian dude beating up some gangsters in his underwear, cape, and a cowl. OH WAIT. That’s the Green Turtle, from Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s The Shadow Hero! He’s the first Asian American superhero!

I was honored to be part of the amazing lineup of artists asked to participate in creating fan art for The Shadow Hero. If you get the chance, you really should look at the work the other artists did. There are some really amazing pieces. 

I would have loved to have had The Shadow Hero around to read as a kid in the 80s. As an Asian-American [despite my totally white name, I’m half Vietnamese], there weren’t a whole lot of Asian characters that weren’t stuck being sidekicks to look up to when I was young. Outside of Bruce Lee and his movies [who was still stuck being a sidekick at one point in his career] and Dennis Dun’s Wang Chi in Big Trouble in Little China, who was there? I can’t even think of an lead Asian character in a comic book or cartoon from then.

Anyhow, what are you waiting for?! The book is out! Go pick it up at Powell’s or your local bookstore or comic shop! Or if you’re lucky enough to be in San Diego, go straight to the source and buy it from Gene Luen Yang at the First Second table at #1323!

Linework NW recap

Image from the Linework NW website.

Image from the Linework NW website.

So this last Saturday was the maiden voyage of a new illustration and comics event in Portland, Linework NW. Organized by Zack Soto and François Vigneault, here’s the description from Linework NW’s own website:

“Linework NW is a new illustration and comics festival taking place in Portland, Oregon. Linework NW’s goal is to focus attention on the creators who continue to inject new energy and vitality into these venerable mediums that share so much in common, whether their work is to be found in comic books, original art, graphic novels, prints, or other forms. Drawing upon a wealth of talent from the Pacific Northwest and beyond, Linework NW seeks to cultivate a vibrant cultural experience for creators, readers, art lovers, and collectors alike.”

It delivered on all of this. And speaking for myself, and from what I could gather from some other folks I talked to, it was exactly what so many of us needed.

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Upcoming Events!

Hey! I’ve had my nose down getting work done for these events, I forgot to tell you guys that I am in them! There are two events that I’ll be at over the next two weeks. If you live in Portland, you should come check them out!

What: Linework NW

When: Saturday April 12th, 2-9pm. FREE

Where: Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th, Portland, Oregon 97232. Here’s a map link.

First off is Linework NW. It’s a new comic show that focuses more on the creator, art-aspect of making illustration and comics. It’ll be at Norse Hall on this Friday April 12th, from 2-9pm. AND IT’S FREE. I’ll be debuting a preview chapter of the big book I’m working. Here’s a couple of teaser pages:

the-searchers-06the-searchers-12I’ll also have original art, and my backlog of mini-comics, including a new print version of the Titular Hero, a short comic MK and I did for, and my other new mini-comic, The Littlest Littles.

Next up:

What: Comics for Change! Reading

When: Monday, April 14th, 7-9pm

Where: Powell’s City of Books, Basil Hallward Gallery, 3rd Floor, Pearl Room

The following Monday, April 14th is a reading at Powell’s for the Know Your City Comics for Change! project. If you’re not familiar with it, Know Your City is a non-profit organization in town that connects people to the place they live. For Comics for Change!, they collected a group of local artists and writers to create biographical comics on social activists in the Portland area. I worked with the ever fantastic and amazing Douglas Wolk on a biography of Darcelle XV.

Hope to see some friendly faces there!

Sagacity Illustration

jhill-KHA-serious-illness-talkThings have been a little quiet lately as I’ve been cranking away at some comics trying to get them done in time for Linework NW on April 12th. That seems like plenty of time until I have to factor in that my residency for Writers in the Schools starts at the end of the month. I also have a few odd illustration jobs that pop up every now and then, like this piece I did for Sagacity Media a couple of weeks ago.

The AD asked that I knock the lines out because he liked some work I did for them awhile ago in which I did the same thing. I don’t know – I like the way it looks. I like how the shapes and form stick out more, but I love my linework and it gets lost here. I’m still trying to figure out some new approaches and techniques with the coloring to push my stuff to the next level, though I haven’t had much time to play around lately.

What do you folks think?

Happy Year of the Horse!

Chúc mừng năm mới! Happy Year of the Horse!

My first project of the New Year is to work on a little bit of promo push, this includes my first quarter postcard! I just sent them off to the printer, and should get them sometime next week.


I did a postcard for Tết last year too, but I did a bad job of continuing to crank them out after that. I want – nay, I need – to be better about self-promotion this year if I want to keep this freelancing sustainable. In an effort to branch out and try to expand my client base, I signed up for Hire an Illustrator. It seemed like a reasonably priced risk to take, and from some reviews I read online, a lot of people seemed to get a decent amount of work the first couple of weeks. It seemed like they only used the online component, but the most appealing service to me was the mailer service. You can either print postcards up yourself and send them to them, or you can have them print them up for you. They then use those postcards and send them out on a weekly basis in their personalized mailer packets.

Anyhow, I’ll keep you updated as to how it is, but it seemed like a tiny way I could expand my reach a bit and like I said, it was much less expensive of a gamble than say, the $2000 Society of Illustrators membership.

Oh, and since it’s Tết, here’s the zodiac illustrations I did for this year’s special edition of the Asian Reporter.


I did them a little differently this year – completely digitally, and using a white-on-black mark making technique to just change it up. I’m really happy with how the print-like texture came out. If you’re interested in reading your horoscope for the Year of the Horse, you can check out the Asian Reporter online. Just follow that link and download the Lunar New Year section.

Hope you have a wonderful Year of the Horse filled with prosperity and good fortune!

Join Together

Just wanted to share a piece that I did for the Join Together show for the wedding of my good friends Meg and Mike. This is actually the second piece I did because I didn’t really feel 100% on the first one. For comparison you can see the first piece I did here.


I already posted this on my Tumblr, but figured I should post it on my main blog, too. Anyhow, I have been wanting to redo it for the last month, but was having a really hard time coming up with a good concept. This Monday, like right before bed, I got this idea and went to town. I guess sometimes you just have to wait for lightning to strike.

In other news, I’m in the middle of a three week teaching stint, and I spent June getting on track and starting to draw pages for The Searchers! There’s a lot on my plate, but hopefully I can share some of it after the teaching winds down.

Summer 2013 Classes at OCAC


So I just finished up my Writers in the Schools residency at Roosevelt High School. I’ll recap the experience here later this week, but right now I wanted to mention that the comics teaching train is only temporarily stopped, and will be firing up again on all cylinders come July at the Oregon College of Art and Craft.

The exciting thing about this year is that I’m teaching three comics classes! There’s the intro class, Creating Comics, but we’ve also added two advanced classes – Digital Tools for Comics and Advanced Topics in Comics and Independent Projects. W’ve also bundled the classes together as a three-week Comics Intensive, where by signing up for all the classes, you get a discount. All of these classes are for pre-college high school students.

I’m also teaching two classes of Digital Illustration for Young Adult [Middle School] students. One of the classes has already filled up, and the class later in the summer only has three spots left as of this post, so if you’re interested, sign up fast!

Photoshop Experiments

So the last couple of weeks, I’ve been playing around in Photoshop just trying to work out some different ways of working on things. They’re really just been experiments and trying out different techniques. I’ve been posting them on my Tumblr, but I thought I’d go ahead post them here, too.

The first couple were me doing some studies from photographs trying a more realistic and painterly approach.



After that, I decided to really just take that more form-based approach and do some images that are a little closer to my normal style.



I feel like I’ve plateaued a bit with my normal techniques and I have just wanted to find a way to change things up and evolve the art that I make. It’s been really good for me to be thinking in a different way – in shapes and not line – and I’ve had a lot of fun. It’s still a work in progress, and I don’t know how or if I will use this stuff. We’ll see. In the meantime, expect more pieces that look a little different from the stuff I normally do. I might not post all of them here, so if you’re interested, make sure to check out my Tumblr, where I have been posting a lot of these experiments and other pieces where I’m just goofing around.

Imaginary Money

I did some quick News 1 work for the Willamette Week this week. You can read the article here if you’re interested.


It was pretty fun. There was a little more I wanted to do coloring-wise, like knocking lines out and stuff, but time & amount of money getting paid curbed some of that. It was still pretty fun to draw.