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!

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

Rejection 24 +ALA

My summer is definitely not slow!

This weekend I’m headed to the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference for my upcoming graphic novel, Super Boba Café. Recently someone asked why people already have copies of the book? Great question!

Ahead of publishing a new book, Advance Reader Copies (ARC) are released. For Super Boba Café they’re black and white copies (the final book is in full color) and key people like teachers, librarians, booksellers and influencers receive copies. At ALA’s annual conference, those folks receive free copies of ARCs to share with the readers in their lives. It creates great energy and buzz for upcoming books.

Super Boba Cafe marks my first PRINTED ARC. The 12 books prior were available as digital ARCs. It’s very exciting! If you’re attending ALA my events are below.

I will also be at the Rainbow Roundtable celebration for the Stonewall Awards because STRONG received a Stonewall honor. It will be a whirlwind of events and book love!

Hope to see you there!

Cover reveal!

I’m thrilled to share the cover for my next middle-grade graphic novel SUPER BOBA CAFÉ! It will release in October of this year. It takes roughly 3 years to make a graphic novel so each bit I can share is very exciting! It’s available for pre-order now. Every pre-order helps the book get more attention. Pre-orders signal to the publisher and bookstores that people are excited about a title which leads to more shops stocking it and more publicity. Thank you in advance for pre-ordering!

I can’t wait to share more about Super Boba Café with you in the coming months.

Books, calendars and commissions

This is my last post of the year.

Before Thanksgiving I finished inking my next middle grade graphic novel, Super Boba Cafe. Between that and Shark Party, I inked roughly 300 pages of comics this year. In addition to writing and revising upcoming books, I’m ready for a long break.

My happy face as I finished page 215 of Super Boba Cafe
Tracking progress, comic making is slow and steady

When working on long projects like a 200+ book, I need focus. So it took awhile to prep and print my yearly calendar. But it’s finally here! A new spin on my usual calendar with ink and watercolor art. I hope you like it!

Also for the first time in years, I have a small number of commissions available. My schedule is packed with books until 2025 so I’m unsure when this will happen again, but I’m happy to take a few now!

My final note is a new addition for each newsletter, which is to share my favorite reads. I am a lifelong book lover and tend to read 30-50 titles a year. I will link to, which is a great alternative to amaz*n that supports indie bookstores. If you can’t shop in person at a local independent bookstore, I recommend bookshop. I also maintain some graphic novel lists there as well.

My top 3!

Swim Team – a wonderful middle grade sports graphic novel that follows the journey of a girl on a swim team and delves into Black history and identity

Garlic and the Vampire – An adorable story of a little garlic who must leave her comfortable garden to confront the town vampire. This book is sweet and feels like a warm (garlicky) hug

All My Rage – This is the book I’ve recommended the most this year. Powerful. If I had this when I was growing up, I would’ve clutched it to my chest to feel less alone. It’s a story about two teenagers who experience more than their share of bad luck and how they journey from hurt to hope. It’s beautifully written, captivating and honest.

Thanks for reading this far – I hope you have a wonderful rest of the year with your loved ones.

See you in 2023,


San Francisco and Santa Clara

I will be at the Cartoon Art Museum with Corey Peterschmidt (Amelia Erroway: Castaway Commander, Scholastic Books), Dana Simpson (Phoebe and Her Unicorn, Andrews McMeel Publishing), and Judd Winick (Hilo, Penguin Random House) for the YAY Comics! Artist Reception! Real Live Cartoonists! this Saturday, October 8, 2022 from 5-7pm. We will draw live, take Q&A and draw in folks books. I hope you can join us! Advance registration is recommended.

These days I am hyper focused on finishing Super Boba Cafe. Sparkles is always in the studio making sure I’m keeping on task.

Meanwhile I am enjoying the dip in temperatures as we slowly ease into fall and took a moment away from comics to draw with ink.

Later this month, on October 22nd, I will be at the Santa Clara Library Comicon. My panel and signing will begin at 12:30pm and I will lead folks in a drawing demo.

I hope to see you at an event in the near future!

SF Events

Summer is good. Catching up with friends, spending unrestricted time with my little family and steadily churning comic pages. I successfully figured out how to work in Clip Studio Paint (a comics software program) remotely and it helps immensely. Being around other people, even if I never interact with them, bolsters my mood.

(Drawing Super Boba Cafe pages in a comfy cafe.)

This Friday I will speak at the CCA about comics, process and illustration as part of their city lectures. It’s free and open to the public.

And this weekend the YAY comics exhibit opens at the Cartoon Art Museum. You can see never-before-seen process pages from Jukebox. My work will hang alongside Corey Peterschmidt, Dana Simpson, and Judd Winick. The exhibit will be up through mid December.

That’s all for now – I hope you’re finding some peaceful moments this summer.

Super Boba Café

Cat with boba pearls in belly

I’m happy to announce my next graphic novel series, Super Boba Café! I pitched the story back in February and sold it to Abrams at auction. It’s about Aria who, after a traumatic event at middle school, spends the summer with her nainai at her boba cafe in San Francisco. She doesn’t realize that her nainai uses the boba to placate the hill monster—avoiding an earthquake. But Aria thinks there has to be a better way for the monster to survive and for the café (and her self-esteem) to thrive.

I will be working on the story for the next few years (among other unannounced projects). I may not have time for another daily drawing until next year due to a very packed book schedule. And I’m eagerly awaiting a return to in-person book signings and events! I miss meeting readers!

Also, my calendar pre-order sale price ends this Friday – after that it will be $22.

Thank you for the support and I hope to see you soon!