Hmong-Inspired Holiday Gifts

It’s that time of year again! Not only are the holidays a time to gather with family and friends, but also a time to give back. Over the years, I’ve created various products inspired by my culture. I love sharing the beauty of it through illustrations and storytelling. As an artist, I’ve always felt the need to represent myself through art because I never had that same experience when I was younger.

Below are some Hmong-inspired holiday gifts you might want to consider gifting to someone (or yourself)! Having a piece of art, stationary, or book that reminds you of your culture is something special!

“Happy Holiday” Mini Art Prints

With the holidays nearing, one of the newest products I am offering are some mini art prints/card! These come individually or as a set of 5 mini art prints and 5, A7 envelopes.

“Friends Pho Ever” Mini Art Prints

These mini prints can serve as both an art print and card. These are NOT foldable cards. The artwork is printed on one side with the back blank. The uncoated paper stock allows you to write on the back of the card. If you don’t want to use it as a card, simply use as a mini art print!

Moving along, there are a ton of other AWESOME items I have in my shop such as…printable Hmong Paper Dolls!

These are digital PDFs which you will receive the file after making a purchase. There are 2 versions in my shop, a digitally colored version and a line-art version where you can print out and color yourself! These are perfect as kids/family/classroom activities. They are perfect for during the Hmong New Year season where families across the globe celebrate the New Year and get to wear their beautiful attire!

I also have glittery stickers and sticker sheets to brighten up your day!

Hmong Kids Coloring sheets

And larger art prints!

And of course (MY FAVORITE!), comic books inspired by my life as a Hmong-American!

I would’ve never thought I’d come this far as an artist making content and work about my culture. My hope is to put out more content in the following years. It’s inspiring to see other Hmong artists do the same!

Thank you for scrolling and browsing! If there was something here that interested you, please head on over to my shop!

*Please note that the shop platform I am currently using (Gumroad) does not offer a “shopping cart” feature anymore. If you’d like to purchase more than one type of item, please send me an email and I’ll help you with your order. I am in the process of looking for a new store platform to host my online shop. Hopefully will have it up and running come early 2022! Thank you for understanding and happy holidays!

The Making of “Farewell,” an illustration about Traditional Hmong Burial Clothes

Hello!

Today’s post is a behind the scenes look at the making of a recent illustration I did for the Light Grey Art Lab’s “The End is Nigh” exhibition.

“Farewell,” Digital, 2021.

My focus was on traditional Hmong burial clothes called “khaub ncaws laus,” which translates to elder/ancestral clothes.

Since I did not had much knowledge of these traditional garments, my process began with some online research. Little did I know, there was not much information online regarding this subject, so I had to dig a little further.

And so, I thought what better source than to ask my own parents regarding this matter. I paid them a visit and asked my mom about khaub ncaws laus. I was fortunate she was able to show me some that she had sewn or purchased over the years.

Female Outer Robe
Some sketchbook notes
More sketchbook notes

After doing my research, below were several thumbnails I created to figure out the composition I wanted for this piece.

Hmong burial clothes consists of several components. For this illustration, I thought it would be best to focus on a part that stood out most to me, which is the oversized collar on the female clothes known as the “dab tsho.” Unlike traditional Hmong clothes where the dab tsho is smaller, the female burial outfit collar is oversized. It is believed they were made large enough to support and carry the deceased person’s head when transporting the body to the burial site. The design on the dab tsho could vary from person to person or clan to clan. When I asked my mother about the meaning of the designs, she was unsure and told me they have always been made that way.

A different “dab tsho” design.

After doing my research and finalizing the composition, I sketched everything out. For this illustration, I worked digitally in Photoshop.

Rough Artwork

After the rough sketch, I would go over and finalize the line work.

Line Art

Once the line work was completed, I went in and finish the rest of the illustration with colors and texture.

Final Artwork, “Farewell”

The final illustration shows a Hmong women faced slightly back to us with an emphasize on the intricate design of the dab tsho.

I hope this “behind the scenes” post was insightful. I know I learned so much more about my culture and traditional Hmong burial clothes.

ART PRINT: If you would like to purchase an art print of this piece, they are available and can be purchased here!

ART BOOK: If you would like to pre-order an art book featuring all the work from the entire exhibition, you can do so here!

IN-PERSON EXHIBITION: If you would like to get check out the artworks in-person, The End is Nigh exhibition is still open! It is held at the Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The exhibition will be displayed through the end of November 2021.

Light Grey Art Lab’s, “The End is Nigh” Exhibition + Halloween Mini Comic

Hello everyone! 

Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! Just wanted to share that recently, I was accepted into Light Grey Art Lab’s, “The End is Nigh” group exhibition, an end of the year exhibition about finality featuring over 190+ creative artists! I created an illustration for the category, “Wearables / Ritual Garb / Burial Outfits and Objects.” Here is a sneak peak of the illustration!

“Farewell,” Digital, 2021.

My illustration was inspired by traditional Hmong burial clothes called “khaub ncaws laus,” or elder/ancestral clothes. “Khaub ncaws laus” varies a bit from regular traditional Hmong clothes, especially on the women’s outfit, the size of the “dab tsho” or elaborate collar is larger. Back in the days, it is believed they were made large enough to support the deceased person’s head when transporting the body to the burial site.

🎃 You can check out all the artworks from the exhibition and pre-order a copy of the art book here: http://lightgreyartlab.com/end-is-nigh

The exhibition is held at the Light Grey Art Lab in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The exhibition will be displayed through the end of November 2021.


Also! Before I go, here is a short 4-page comic I created just for Halloween! Enjoy~

Mini Shop Update – Hmong Paper Dolls

Hello!

It’s been a while. Life has been kind of busy with kids going back to school and all that, but I just wanted to update everyone what I have been up to!

Let’s talk online shop! I haven’t added anything new to my online shop in a while, so I wanted to announce that I had been working on a little project: Hmong Paper Dolls! I’ve had this idea in my mind for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to it until recently.

Here in the Midwest, late October to December are the times communities start celebrating the annual Hmong New Year celebrations. I had a fascination with the different clothes Hmong people wear, so I thought it’ll be fun to create small project where you can dress up your own paper doll in different Hmong attire.

This printable Hmong Paper Doll set will be available to purchase through my online shop this Friday, October 11th starting at 6 p.m. CST!

Colored version on the left. Line-art version on the right.

I will be offering both a colored printable version and also a non-colored line-art version where you can print out and color yourself! This will be a great activity to do with kids to get them interested in learning about Hmong clothes, or possibly get them to wear their own!

I can’t wait to share this with everyone! Thanks for being part of my art journey. Until next time!

~Duachaka

“The Girl and The Tiger” Illustration Process

Hello!

Recently I finished a new illustration piece and thought I’d share the drawing process! This illustration I’ve been meaning to bring to life for the longest time. I initially thought of the idea and sketched it out in a sketchbook. I’ve always told myself I’ll turn it into an illustration one day, but that day haven’t came around for the longest time.

Initial Sketch in Sketchbook

It wasn’t until just recently I had the guts to do it! I think for the longest time, I was too afraid that bringing the sketch to life would ruin the illustration or meaning and mood behind the illustration. I had this idea the “it was already perfect” as a sketch. That turning it into a finished piece would not do the sketch any justice.

Digital sketch

I’ve been meaning to add new pieces to my illustration portfolio, and thought back of this idea. I figured it was something I wanted in my portfolio. And so begins my process of turning the sketch into a drawing. While my original intentions were to do this drawing traditionally, I decided to do everything digital for the sake of time and convenience. I was afraid that going digital will make the piece appear too stiff, but with the right brushes I was able to achieve a painterly look!

Almost finished…

In fact, I was so excited to finish this artwork, it took me a little under 8 hours (divided among 3 days) to finish it! After some minor adjustments to the piece, the below is the final piece! I was pretty pleased with the final results!

Final Piece

Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) starts TODAY!

Today is officially TCAF! TCAF is a comics festival celebrating a diverse range of comics. This year it will be virtual and will run May 8-May 15, 2021! This is my first time tabling at this event! As you can see below, TCAF offers a wide category of comics genre. You can browse the TCAF marketplace and check out the many exhibitors/creators/publishers HERE.

Below is a snapshot of my page and what I’ll be selling during the festival! You can find my work under the Non-Fiction, All Ages, and BIPOC categories.

Lastly, if you’re unsure about how to navigate through the site, below is a quick video tour I did of the event. Check it out if you’re interested!

That’s all I have for now. I’ll try and do another update of the event once it’s over. Thanks for reading and check out the festival! : )

Duachaka

Toronto Comic Arts Festival (May 8-15)

Hello everyone!

On Saturday, May 8th – Saturday, May 15th, I’ll be virtually tabling at Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) 2021! This will be my first time tabling at this comics event and my first international comic convention I’ll be a part of! You can learn more about the festival, exhibitors, and program schedules here: http://www2.torontocomics.com/

I will be selling my mini comic Tradition along with Then and Now and The Collection.

NOTE: With TCAF going on, my online shop will be closed from May 8th-May 23rd and reopening May 24th, 2021. If you want to order anything from there, please do so by May 7th! Thanks!

Duachaka

New Sticker in Shop!

Happy April!

Did you know April is Hmong Heritage Month? Why not celebrate and show off your appreciation or love for the Hmong culture with a glittery Hmong Girl and Tiger sticker?!

The idea for this sticker came about when I wanted to create something that was fearless, but also cute at the same time! I wanted to show that one’s culture is beautiful and something they shouldn’t hide or be fearful of!

Below is a process of how my idea went from sketch to finished sticker.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the process!

Stickers are now available for purchase on my online shop HERE.

“Tradition” Mini-Comic Available in my Shop!

Happy Monday!

Just wanted to update you that Tradition my 16-page mini-comic published by Uncivilized Books is now AVAILABLE for purchase through my ONLINE STORE!

Tradition is a 16-page story reflecting on the reality of keeping up with traditions in the world today. The story also touches on some Shamanist customs in the Hmong culture.

I only have LIMITED copies I’ll be selling. All books purchased through my shop WILL be SIGNED!

If my stock runs out, you could also purchase through Uncivilized Books.

Thanks to those who have already purchased one! I hope you enjoy!

-Duachaka

“Tradition” Mini Comic

Hello! It’s been a minute!

This will be my first post of 2021! Woohoo! I have some AWESOME news for you! Recently I created a 16-page mini comic published by Uncivilized Books called Tradition.

Tradition is story about trying to maintain tradition in an ever-changing world. It touches on some Shamanistic customs in the Hmong culture, but ultimately reflects the reality of keeping up with traditions.

Order through Uncivilized Books: https://uncivilizedbooks.com/tradition-by-duachaka-her/

If you would like signed copies from me, I will have some in my online store soon! Stay tuned and thanks for reading!

Duachaka