Tragic Waters (series) is an ongoing project in the form of a loose visual essay, exploring tragic stories of women drowning, and the context behind these tales and the way they affect our perception towards gender roles. The theme explores how the calamitous tides of the times render the voices of these female figures through analytical musings and illustrations; each volume of this zine project includes several illustrations and stories as well as refined and expansive writing on how these tales affect women portrayal in media.
Cha (茶) is a personal illustrated zine on the various forms and colors of tea, with instructions to their names and properties.
#FirstWorldBobaProblems Vol. I, II, & III (while the hashtag title will be used comically at times) are each a collection of illustrated comics and social media excerpts that criticizes the concept of #firstworldproblems and its dismissal of actual issues in our societies from the perspective of an Asian-American woman. Vol. IV on the way!
Just Add Cilantro and Scallions Vol. I & II are each a small illustrated collection of lists and instructions for Vietnamese and the like inspired recipes and meals; the selection of these are based on family recipes which I am trying to preserve as well as budget-conscious selections for healthy and tasty options when money is low. Such recipes included are hot pot-styled spring rolls, shaky beef, and papaya salad.
Sartorial Attempt is an illustrated collection of outfits-of-the-day of the artist to account for each day and occasion, with the once-in-awhile drawing of other fashionable friends.
Tiffnip Blues is a lighthearted set of short comics for humor and slice-of-life moments to break up the seriousness that plagues the everyday.
Work in Progress Zines:
Places and Spaces: a travel perzine with collage of photos, illustrations, doodles, notes, and journal entries on places explored from my time on study abroad in China to travel for art camp in Iceland. These will like be split into concentrated zines each.
Tau (which stands for boat or vessel in Vietnamese) is a collection of insights to the stories of my family as refugees who escaped after the Vietnam War in the late 70s and early 80s through the medium of short stories and illustrations.
The thing I love most about zines is the accessibility to publishing and showcasing, the freedom and interest in the diverse amount of topics, and the accepted platform to give voice to marginalized groups. The lack of restrictions that come with big house publications allows us to share our thoughts, ideas, learning in many creative ways, and I'm glad to be able to make zines to express something through not only illustration, but combined with my writing and more.
While zines have become more popular, I think that as a whole, the zine community is innately a radical culture in itself in what zines are and do in terms of speech, empowerment, and accessibility, subverting a formal publication process that can be heavily edited or censored. I originally got into zines because it became an outlet for my own exploration of cultural identity about my Vietnamese American roots.
For any project, starting is sometimes the most daunting and difficult; for myself, I try not to worry too much and just start doodling ideas, doing thumbnails, and just plain writing before slowly putting it together. Sometimes, to dispel any doubts or keep up my motivation, I'll bounce the ideas off friends who keep me excited about my zine projects.