Today not someday

Nick and I have been together for nearly 16 years. It’s easy to forget the person you share your life with is an individual. I regularly have conversations with Nick in my head, assuming his responses and reactions. Our recent relationship go-to phrase is “assume the best of me” whenever we fall into a familiar place of frustration. We’ve grown together as a team. We choose, more often than not, to love each other instead of fight. It’s not easy! But Nick teaches me regularly to choose love.

As we watched Queer Eye earlier this year, shedding tears and fueling up on hope, I heard his wish for an opportunity like the folks on the show. A plan began to formulate. I typically plan Nick’s birthday months in advance because my schedule is bananas AND ALSO because I love birthdays! I told a small set of friends and they agreed it was a good idea. I was nervous Nick wouldn’t be into it without the fab five but they assured me he’d like it. I finished my grand plan in April and I’m very proud to say that I didn’t spill ANYTHING. In addition to a party, I treated him to a day inspired by Queer Eye, where he could focus on the wonderful, beautiful person he is – because everyone deserves to see themselves through the lens of love.

On the morning of his birthday, I presented him with his schedule and funfetti waffles. I think he was in shock as I ushered him out the door. His first appointment was Orange Theory (which he was late to because preschoolers don’t understand tight schedules but they were so welcoming and excited) which was inspired by Karamo, then inspired by Tan, a stylist through Macy’s (did you know that’s a free service they provide?!), followed by a barber shop for a facial, shave and cut (he hasn’t had a haircut in 10 years!) inspired by Jonathan, afterwards a day spa where he had his first pedicute and finally he joined us for homemade bahn mi sandwiches and cake that I decorated with the kid, Antoni would be proud!

We missed the home make over, because I cannot be Bobby! But the Nick make over was a success! He told me he could never have imagined what I had planned and that he felt pampered and lucky. He had new experiences, a new do and new wardrobe…  and I’m so happy that on his 40th birthday he felt relaxed and loved!

Thank you Queer Eye for the queerspiration!

And happy birthday, my love!

 

the jukebox journey

Jukebox idea, 2014

Jukebox pitch, 2016

I spent last fall thumbnailing my next graphic novel, Jukebox. It’s a story about two cousins, Tannaz and Shaheen, who find a jukebox that takes them back in time. The thumbnail manuscript is where a cartoonist lays out the story taking into account page layout, panels, page turns and flow. I wrote the book with my hubbahubba, Nick Giordano. Over the past few weeks we received early feedback and I’m wrapping up revisions. Next week I will start drawing final art for the book. It’s roughly 200 pages.

Each milestone in a long and arduous project deserves a celebration. I’m pretty terrible at taking the time to mark these moments because of my work demands. But… finishing the thumbnail manuscript was a feat. I approached it differently than Pashmina which began with a full script. I abandoned the full script for Jukebox and went straight to thumbnails, stopping to write when needed. This approach integrated the visuals and text concurrently and took five months, compared to Pashmina, which was over a year. In those five months I lived inside the story. I talked about the characters like friends I was trying to understand. It’s my absolute favorite part of the process.

Working on the final art is fun and labor intensive. I’m looking forward to using color to communicate pieces of the story visually, approaching the line work in a way that allows for focal points and nuance and drawing my favorite city, San Francisco.

I will continue to share sales, occasional art and events (I will be in LA, St Louis, New York, and PA this year) but mostly I will be quietly working on Jukebox. I will share snippets when I can and it will hit the shelves in 2021. Jukebox is very dear to my heart. Writing a book with the love of my life has been wonderful and challenging. I’m a pretty intense person to work with! The truth is that Nick contributes to all my projects but this book is our joint love letter to music, family and connection. The wait will be long but worthwhile.

For now I’m sharing these early images. Nick and I started talking about our idea in 2014 and I roughly sketched it. The next drawing was used to pitch the book immediately after finishing Pashmina in 2016. Neither will appear in the finished book but I love them both. Making a book is a looong journey and I’m in the middle. Finishing the manuscript is an important milestone. Based on my other committments and schedule, I should finish drawing  it by years end but it will leave little room for anything else. So, I will stop to celebrate this milestone… and then get back to work!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

 

anyone else?

Another quick comic without edits done in an hour!

I’ve added some new originals and a bunch of deep discount prints to my shop – $5 and $10 prints! They’re selling fast, so grab em while you can ^_^ There will be more added by the end of today.

I hope you’re having a wonderful week.

choklit + houston

I’m embracing quick comics! I created this direct from life comic in 30 minutes and didn’t edit or change it from its original. I love the liberation in sharing work that hasn’t been redrawn.

Also I’m heading to Houston this weekend for the National Conference for Teachers of English  (and honored to be part of the South Asian Book Award, eee!) AND I have my only public signing of PASHMINA at Space Montrose Saturday night. It’s my last work trip of the year! I hope to see you there!

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

 

bicultural parenting

My new comic about bicultural parenting is up on the Nib!

I hope you have a great weekend.

mommy vs. mickey

Jasmine graphic novel

I wrote, drew and colored (with flatting help from Nickole Caimol) this graphic novel last year with Disney Publishing. You can read about it in the exclusive press release in the Hollywood Reporter. It releases in Oct with Dark Horse Comics and is available for pre-order here. I hope you enjoy it!

undies

Immigration comic

I contributed a comic to the Nib in response to the recent conversations and decisions around immigration. You can read all of the responses here.

kiss my… !

Another comic I created based on true events on the ipad with procreate. I’ve uploaded some process videos on youtube.

I hope you have a good day!