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!

A Good Start

So a week of 2013 has passed, and I feel really good about it so far. I’ve managed to keep myself to a pretty simple schedule that’s basically involved me getting up early, free drawing in my sketchbook for half an hour and then setting out to tackle drawing projects throughout the day.


I’ve drawn more this last week than I have in the last four months. I forgot how good it feels, and how much I need it. How I didn’t realize part of me was missing until my brush and pen were moving again.

I’ve also gotten to experiment with coloring a bit. It’s not really anything drastically different than I was doing before, but I’ve really just been playing around with thinking of shapes and not relying so much on line. It’s been interesting to approach it in a different way.


Anyhow, outside of the doodling and the pieces I can’t share quite yet, I did do some quick character designs for a small project that MK is pitching that I figured I could tease.


Let’s hope I can keep the rhythm and momentum up!

Teeny Tiny 2013

Happy New Year!

I made Jen a calendar for 2013 for Christmas. I struggled a bit with what to put in the image part. After wasting like two days waffling about, I decided to bust out the macro lens and did a photoshoot with some of the tiny-tinys that live around our house. Here’s some of the better ones.


I had a hard time getting the lighting perfect in each of them. You’ll notice the background came out bluer in some of them and greyer in others. All in all, I’m pretty happy with all of them, and I had fun working in a different medium. Here’s hoping to do more of that and expand my creative horizons a bit in 2013!

Year of the Dragon Marriage

Here’s a drawing I did for a friend to give to her friends as a wedding gift. She thought it would be nice to have a dragon illustration since they were getting married in the Year of the Dragon.

I have another wedding illustration I have to do for another friend. Once that gets out of the way, and my class gets over, I need to buckle down and start doing some art for myself!

Art dump 2/20

Here’s some miscellaneous artstuff that I’ve worked on the last week.

I don’t normally share them here, because they’re a little rough around the edges, and also because they’re not my strongest suit, but I wanted to share my Asian Reporter cartoon from this week because I totally have the bug:

This is actually an unrevised edition of the cartoon. For the final, I ended up removing the ‘Yellow Mamba’ Lin-ism because the editors always want to tread on the path of ‘make-sure-no-one-is-offended’, which I totally understand. Though part of me wanted to joke and say, ‘Well, if anyone can get away with it, we can! We’re an Asian newspaper.’ But I didn’t because I know better!

And here’s a quick illustration I did for the Willamette Week a couple of weeks ago for this article. I busted this mother out in like two and a half hours! I made not be the best illustrator, but I’m fast! For that, I am super-proud.

That’s it for now. Besides prepping for my class, I have some free time to work on some commission projects for some friends. I will do a little update about my class and teaching sometime tomorrow or Wednesday [if prepping for class doesn’t take up all my time!].

Playin’ Around

So I spent a day last week playing around in Photoshop doing some digital painting/sketching. Part of me feels like I should’ve just busted out some paints and played around with paint-painting, but there was something nice about the ease as to which I could just play around with something and not have to clean up a big mess or the fact that I could justcommand+n and start a new project.

It was fun and frustrating at the same time. I really liked just doodling and messing around and not worrying about having a finished product, and I think the biggest thing I got out of it was getting a little more used to drawing with the tablet.

Anyhow, here’s two of the more ‘finished’ looking items to come out of the day:

I am actually pretty excited for the learning process – to be using different tools and then to learn how to use those tools to add make the  illustrations my own. I have a lot on my place for SPX, but I’m hoping to sit for at least an hour or so everyday and play around to make some progress. I think my goal will be to try to master it and have some finished pieces by the end of the year.

It’s also really good for me because it’s forcing me to confront one of the biggest weaknesses in my my drawing – thinking of form and lighting and not relying on line so much. Even if I slip off the horse and don’t end up following through with that, I think that having to confront those things can only make my other drawing stronger, right?

We Barely Knew Ye…

My first Blazers fan art! There, I’ve come out! I’m a fan!

But seriously, I’m bummed. First off, he was an Asian brother. Secondly, he was the GM during my first full season as a basketball fan and I’m sentimental. I know he wasn’t quite the schmoozer that KP was, but he still seemed to get the job done. Anyhow, the good side for him, I guess, is that he’s under contract for another three years, so he’ll still be getting paid a shit-ton of money and not do anything.

Anyhow – Goodbye, Rich Cho. We barely knew ye!

Also, at first I was happy with this caricature, but now that I’ve been looking at it for awhile, I think my brain just used my caricature of Barak Obama and gave him braces.

In Business [Cards That Is]

So drawing production has been down the last couple of weeks. Part of that is laziness, part of that is having an existential crisis. I’ve been working on other odds and ends, but don’t really have a whole lot to share because it’s conceptual stuff or it’s boring stuff like rewriting my CV and applying for teaching work.

Anyhow, something I’ve been meaning to do lately is get some stuff together for a self-promotion push. On the top of that list were making a business card and then making a promo postcard. Today and I say down and busted out the former! Yay!

Of course, part of thinking about this self-promotion stuff is asking yourself hard questions like ‘What kind of art do I want to be doing? Where does my work fit?’ etc, etc. I’m still trying to figure that out.

My studio mate and amazing illustrator, Meg Hunt, reminded me that you can’t worry too much about that stuff – you just need to do the work and you can sort that stuff out later.

Anyhow, I have a lot more to write about the matter, but I have gotta’ head out.

In other news:

Blah Blah Blah! – I totally caved and joined Twitter. Still don’t know how to use the thing, but maybe I’ll sit down soon and figure it out. Anyhow, if you want to follow me I’m @oneofthejohns. [Didn’t see that coming, did you?]

WSD art auction results – The auction wrapped up a couple of weeks ago, but I just sent the art & the cash monies to the WSd this week, so I kind of consider it ending right around now. Anyhow, the total result I was able to muster up was $245, which ended up being about $350 worth for the school to spend at Powell’s.

But that’s not all! The Columbian, the local newspaper in Vancouver, WA where the Washington school for the deaf  is located, ran a small article on the auction, and a local woman donated $500 for the library in memory of her sister.

So all in all, we were able to raise $850 for the school. All for graphic novels! Yay!

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone that donated art and that bid on art. I know that with times being the way they are, and with all the other things people could be donatig their time and money towards, it really means a lot.

Speaking of Auctions… – I totally spaced and didn’t mention this earlier, but Meg is had been running and auction to benefit Japan. I’m sure a lot of you already know, but for those that don’t, you check out details at the blog she set up. Half the auctions are over, but there’s still lots more to come. Be there!