Q. Where are you from and what originally got you interested in sequential art?
A. I was born in Taiwan and lived there until I was 17, but for some reason I was always an American citizen and I spent lots of summers in NY. I think my first contact with sequential art was a Chinese version of the Smurfs comics (haha), along with staple Japanese kid’s stuff like Crayon Shin-Chan and Doraemon. In general, comics (manga/manhwa) seem to be a much larger part of pop culture in Taiwan than in America; it is still seen as kid’s entertainment by the older generation, but many people my age grew up reading comics and still do so into college. Taiwan is also heavily influenced by Japan, so there were at least seven or eight manga bookstores in my city, including one that opened smack across the street from me. My mom was convinced that television was evil and we never got cable, so like any 13-year old would do I instead took to reading piles and piles of crime, horror, and fighting manga. By the time she discovered I was set on doing comics as a living, it was already far too late!
Q. What books (comic or otherwise) do you regularly read and why?
A. I’ve always been interested in crime and adventure stories, whether in comic or novel form; I had a hopeless addiction to the Cased Closed manga series throughout middle school, and in high school it was GTO and Fullmetal Alchemist; I loved the Bourne books and also read every John Grisham and Sidney Sheldon book I could find. I’ve read much less prose but many more graphic novels since college, and recently my favorites are Chew, Scalped, Y: The Last Man, Blacksad, Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, Urushibara’s Mushishi, and Hiroe’s Black Lagoon.
Q. Who are your major influences?
A. I take a lot of influence from animation. Besides from totally being my childhood, I think Ghibli’s films are great examples of unconventional storytelling and I still look to them for inspiration. I loved the work of the late Satoshi Kon (Millenium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, Paprika), and I take a lot from his art style as well as camera direction. I’ll also always be a fan of Kenji Kamiyama’s Ghost in the Shell work. As for comics, I reference all of the series previously mentioned for storytelling, and right now I often look at Takehiko Inoue, Hiroaki Samura, Feng Chin Pang, Sean Murphy, and Stuart Immonen for artwork.
Q. Do you have a specific process in your work and, if so, what is it?
A. I change up my process and art style for every project, depending on factors like the genre and whether or not it will be in color and tones. But basically I usually begin working by scribbling rough layouts while I read the script, sometimes just in the script margins or on some scrap paper, to get the beats of the story down. Then I’ll work those into 2x3” thumbnails, scan those in and fit them to print size in Photoshop, and print those out in blueline or light grey. I like to ink my thumbnails just so my composition is more solid, and so when I get to penciling and inking in full size I can focus on rendering pretty, pretty details 8D
Q. What tools do you prefer to use in your work and why?
A. I get really obsessive with details, so I mainly stick to a huge stash of PITT or Micron markers and I’ll occasionally use a G-pen or brush for effects and spotting blacks. I also use a lot of white gel pens. A lot.
Q. Do you have any professional work that has been published? And are you working on anything currently?
A. Yes. I did an 11-page one-shot for Marvel’s Deadpool Family earlier this year. Hopefully they didn’t hate me and I’ll be adding more to this list soon, haha. I’m currently working at Floyd County Productions painting animation backgrounds, and juggling that with my own projects plus something in collaboration with an independent writer.
Q. Are you working on any personal projects and, if so, what are they?
A. I’m definitely aiming to do something creator-owned sooner or later. I have about three ideas that are still rough sketches, and two more fleshed-out ones that I’m currently working on pitching, though I am taking my time to round them out. One is shorter and aimed at a teen audience, about a shaman’s apprentice who has to sail out to an angry ocean god, both to prove her abilities and to save her seaside hometown from destruction. The other is aimed at an older audience, and is about a disturbed Hong Kong detective who, while searching for a missing policeman, both falls in love with him and uncovers a children’s organ trafficking operation that is tied to her own abduction as a young girl.
Q. How do you juggle your work load between college and your freelance life?
A. Don’t stop drawing. Just… don’t stop. Also, coffee is your friend.
Q. Who would you love to work with one day and why?
A. Oh, there are so, so many people… anybody mentioned above will do.
Q. Where do you hope to see yourself professionally in five to ten years?
A. I honestly have no idea. I’m young and not prone to thinking far ahead, haha! But no, I want to diversify my skills and as long as in ten years I’m still working in the entertainment industry, not in my mom’s basement, and am able to get a personal project out, I’ll be a happy.