This illustration accompanies short story ” A Window or Small Box” by Jedediah Berry for Tor.com. This fun, trippy and weird novelette is about a couple about to get married who find themselves on the run from “goons” in a magical alternative United States. I really enjoyed the magical quality, colorful visuals and the layers of riddles in the story, which inspired this particular piece.
And if it's not obvious enough, I was also paying tribute to the one and the only Escher.
( I was re-listening to my favorite book LOTR while inking this piece, so the pattern went a bit crazy! )
I recently did a couple pieces for the New York Times and the New Yorker about China and India.
This image ran as the cover of yesterday's New York Times Sunday Review. The article is about the aggressive global push of China’s state-capitalism and the fear of China’s world domination. You can read the article here.
AD Aviva gave me the great suggestion of maybe having an image “dominating” the page, instead of being boxed in a rectangle.
After a couple round of sketches, we agreed that having the Great Wall expanding and covering the entire globe was the best solution for this article as it also relates to the Chinese investing in building dams and infrastructure all over the world.
During the inking stage, I thought, why not also make the extending walls look like monstrous tentacles? Then my boyfriend Kyle walked by and said “Your drew a Chinese Death Star!” I am okay with that.
Many thanks again to the wonderful Aviva and the NYTimes!
Ink drawing 17"x 17"
Photo by John Hendrix!
This image ran in the June 3 New Yorker magazine for the fiction " We didn't like him" by Akhil Sharma. The story takes place in India, surrounding a boy named Manshu, a Brahmin, who grew up becoming the pundit of the local Hindu temple. It's a really great read and I should say no more to ruin the plot.
In between versions
This illo went through 7 final revisions. Mostly to make sure the way the Hindu idol is accurately depicted ( A couple examples shown above). The god I drew is Durga, I picked her as she's super badass-riding a tiger with many arms holding all sorts of weapons. I decided to give her a pair of badass pantaloos but the editor came back and said she needs to be wearing a sari, and shouldn't bare-chested. They were also other back and fore discussions on whether her skin should be dark or fair.etc.
A lot of the assignments I get allows me to create whatever visuals I want, fabricate an entire world if I desire. often I forget that editorial illustrators are part of journalism, and fact-checking is a crucial part in it. Although this image was for a fiction, getting the facts helped make the fictional world believable. It was a good learning experience.
Many thanks to AD Chris Curry, who has been super patient with all my revisions and was kind enough to gave me extra bucks for them without me asking.
Nautilus is a marine organism, Captain Nemo's submarine, as well as an exciting online magazine launched this week, dedicated to science, philosophy AND committed to illustrations! Check out the cool articles and art on their site: http://nautil.us/
The image above is for an article written by Linda Zeldovich. It's about the power of a great book. In this case, how the infamous science fiction "20,000 leagues under the sea" has influenced the young minds of its readers and eventually shaped their career choices. So I came up with the idea of a child following the adventure of Captain Nemo in his/her transcendental bedroom.
It was a great honor to be part of the preview issue along side with great artists such as Gerard Dubois, John Hendrix, Andrew Zbihlyj, Matt Stevens and Daniel Hertzberg. Big thanks to AD Len Small!
One of the most often asked question from student is "Now that print is dying, how do you see the future of illustration?" I don't know if print is actually dying but I think Nautilus provides a perfect (and relieving) example on how there will always be a need for good illustration, despite the change of media. Over the past thousands of years, illustrations have been presented on cave walls, parchment, tapestries, fresco, canvas and paper. I don't see why it won't make the transition to digital and interactive platforms.
This illustration is for a very zen Thai fantasy by Thomas Olde Heuvelt on Tor.com You can read the story here. AD is the always fabulous Irene Gallo. Yesterday I had the honor to give a talk at Syracuse University. (Everyone was so nice, I got treated like a Rock Star and am still blushing, but anyways...) After the talk, Professor John Thompson and I striked up a conversation about the first book cover I did for Irene and all the other web story arts we colleberated on. John is a great painter and has illustrated many book covers. He told me, from his experience, covers are tricky because there's often a fight between illustrators/art directors and editors/marketing team. Art people are always the one who have to give in. John said he remember when Irene entered the scene and how she was assertive at giving the artists as much creative freedom as possible. Once again, I was reminded how lucky I am.