Rejection 27 and more

One of my many rejected comics from the New Yorker which I wrote about here.

Please join me to launch Super Boba Cafe at these upcoming events! Mrs Dalloways is at 2pm and Linden Tree is at 11am. Both will have boba! If you can’t make either but want a signed and personalized book, please pre-order from either shop.

Also my 2024 calendars are here! Order yours today, quantities are very limited.


I’m able to create new work here and on social media due to the generosity of my paid subscribers, for the cost of a latte once a month. Thank you in advance if you are able to support my efforts!

Rejection 26

After much deliberation, I am changing my newsletter to a mix of free and paid posts.

Since the beginning of my career in 2009, I shared my art for free. As I continue to grow as an artist and storyteller, it’s time to be paid for my work. I will continue to post long form autobio comics and share behind the scenes process. Additionally, I want to share more personal comics and it scares me. The paywall will be a nice bridge. The paid subscription will be like a backstage pass – comics, process and access to archives.

I will continue to share single comics, updates and news for free for everyone.

Thanks for your support and joining me in this artistic journey.


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Rejection 25 + bay area events

Last week I finished painting my watercolor picture book and took one glorious day off. I thought about how I spend my time.

Over the past few months, between painting and life, there was little time for my New Yorker cartoon submissions. As the end of the year approaches, I questioned if I should continue. There are benefits from the many months of rejection – like learning to accept rejection and stronger cartooning skills.

Of course the best result would be seeing my cartoon in the New Yorker! But for now, the growth will have to suffice. I don’t want to stop but I know that I need to invest less time into them. I love trying new things – like watercolor, wood burning, and Hindi hand lettering.

For now, I will continue less frequently.

Because in five weeks my next middle grade graphic novel, Super Boba Café, releases! It will be busy!

First up are two launch events in the bay area – Mrs. Dalloways in Berkeley (please register to attend) on Oct 22nd and Linden Tree in Los Altos on Oct 28th. In November, I will be at Yallfest in South Carolina and the Texas Book Festival in Austin.

Kirkus, a professional book journal, shared a wonderful review of Super Boba Café here.

I am so excited it’s almost here!

More soon.

My watercolor process

Language lessons

Travelogue Europe #1

Books for Maui

Please check and bid on over 900 items donated to raise money for folks impacted by the fires in Maui. Loads of signed books and manuscript critiques. I’ve donated a set of most of my books, signed, worth $80.

Thank you for bidding and sharing.

Surfin Sharks

Happy Shark Week! The cover for the third book in my Shark Princess series is here! Surfin’ Sharks will release on March 26th of next year. It has loads of sharks, explores the question of why we do activities (to be the best of have fun), and… a baby shark!

Beautifully colored by Elizabeth Kramer and available for pre-order now.

I’m off for my first long vacation with the family next week.

See you in late August!

Painting the day away + SDCC

I’m working on a soon to be announced picture book. It’s my first time making a book with watercolor, ink and color pencil. It’s simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

It’s also meditative. Calming. I sit away from a screen, in front of a window where squirrels and birds frolic among the trees. I sometimes lose myself in a pattern or color mixing and forget to eat. I forget the hour. I’m consumed by making art.

I make a lot of mistakes. I smear ink, paint inside the lines and it’s less polished. Those mistakes could be fixed on a digital page. But there’s a charm in it. In a painting, minor mistakes add life and warmth.

As I paint, I allow my mind to wander, resettle and focus. Writing, drawing, promoting and earning a living wage as an author is hard. I plan my work years in advance. I often feel that my schedule and demands are non-stop.

But making this book with a brush in hand feels decadent.

And I am full of gratitude.

Speaking of non-stop schedules, I will be at San Diego Comicon this weekend promoting Super Boba Café! My panels and ARC signings are below.

After Comicon I am away for most of August so I won’t update for a long stretch. I’ll be back in Sept with more.

Until then, happy summer!

Winning Weekend

At the Abrams dinner with a giant poster board of Super Boba Café and the only time I wore cute shoes

I’m home after a whirlwind 3 days in Chicago for the American Library Association (ALA) annual conference where I saw exactly one sight (the bean, on my walk to a luncheon). Instead of sight seeing, I reveled in the joy that is found with people of the book. I signed for three of my books (Super Boba Café, Shark Party and Strong) and attended events in between.

Smiling at the Caldecott-Newbery dinner. L to R, me, Samira Ahmed, Jerry Craft and Joanna Ho

At times, being with authors feels intimidating. Jerry Craft is a Newbery winner for his important and wonderful book New Kid. Joanna Ho received an APALA honor for her recent book The Silence that Binds Us. Samira Ahmed is a NYT best selling author for her many titles including Love Hate and Other Filters.

But at ALA, I never thought about their awards or accolades. We may have met for the first time or the 7th but our shared love of words and art connects us. It feels familiar and comfortable. We talk about how to support each other, share tips that only a select few need (like using illustration board for watercolors to prevent buckling) and enjoy each other’s company. As my author friend Jessixa Bagley said, it’s like grown up summer camp.

At the bar with bags of books! L to R: Minh Lê, Christina Soontornvat, Alyson Day, Joanna Ho, me, Mirelle Ortega
After party time! L to R Joanna Ho, Xelena González, Catia Chien, me, Vashti Harrison and Minh Lê

On Monday afternoon I attended the Stonewall Awards because our book, Strong, won an honor. I’ve worked on a number of books as an illustrator with limited contact with the writer. This was not the case with Strong. Eric Rosswood and I became very good friends. We were each other’s accountabilabuddies (say that ten times) during the pandemic, sharing weekly fitness challenges and daily 10k step goals. That blossomed into a beautiful friendship even though we are on separate coasts. Being at the awards with Eric was more emotional than I expected.

Eric and I before the Stonewall Awards ceremony began – he was a mirrorball and I was a rainbow

I am a loving but guarded person. My joke is that I cry four times a year. As we walked up to accept our Stonewall Honor I felt like I would crumble into a puddle.

Holding back tears, reading my thank you speech. I will cry 5 times this year

I spend a lot of time alone, questioning whether the work I do matters, whether I’m worthy/good enough and this moment felt unreal. To stand in front of a room of my community of queer authors, librarians and allies was beautiful. To receive an honor from librarians who champion and share our work is affirming. In a time when Black and LGBTQIA+ books are being challenged, banned and removed from libraries that room represented power, hope and strength.

Signing stacks of STRONG with Eric

After the many emotional Stonewall speeches, we signed books. It’s always a joy to work on books but to be there, sharing the award with my very good friend made it extra special.

I rushed to the airport to catch my flight home full of love, with an almost overweight suitcase full of books and fueled up, ready to get to work.

Nidhi sandwich! With Minh Lê and Xelena González