All posts by spae

new comic and new event: reCOLLECTION at ZICS

The cover for reCOLLECTION, an anthology of previous works

It feels like it’s been a quiet year for me, but here I am again. After thoroughly enjoying Brisbane earlier this year, I’m heading back to finally participate in ZICS, an event I’ve had my eye on since it first started. It’s next weekend, and I’m excited! I’ll be sitting with the Queensland(ish) side of the TTTSNB crew, Wraithdragon and DZYNE studios.

I’ll be bringing reCOLLECTION, my newest comic. Well, not exactly my newest – my newest comics are still works in progress, and not something I can share yet. But reCOLLECTION includes a number of completed pieces that I am very very proud to share.

a preview of the stockbox for ZICS...a preview of the stockbox for ZICS…


Three of the comics in reCOLLECTION were written by the brilliant satirist Xeg, a very patient scenarist who has been emailing me his excellence since we met via BD Zine some years ago. I’m particularly grateful to Xeg as Experts are us, one of the scenarios he wrote that is included in reCOLLECTION, was him turning my grumpy frenzied ranting into something coherent, hilarious and lots of fun to illustrate.

Other stories include Talkback and Enso, both gratefully published in ACT Comic Meet anthologies. Finally there’s a brand new never-shared-before comic by me. And an illustration section.

reCOLLECTION is published with the permission of XEG, and with thanks to ACT Comic Meet and CSFG who held first print rights to some of the other pieces in the book.

How to get reCOLLECTION

Everyone who purchases the physical book at ZICS will get a coupon for a free digital download of the book as well!

The digital download is available here for pre-order until ZICS. (This is totally a ZICS first thing…I’m very excited about finally going there!) An absentee pack, including the physical copy of the book, will be available soon!

See you next week, Brisbane!

Thank you Brisbane!

This post has been a while coming…but now it’s here! Had a great time at Brisbane Minicomicon. In fact, even with the convention on it was a – dare I say it? – relaxing weekend. Southbank is beautiful and a great date spot. (And a great place to hang out and check out museums!)

Behind my table at Minicomicon 2015. Photo by Callan O'Donohoe
It  was a little hard and too dark to take photos of my table at Minicomicon…and busy! This is a photo from behind my table, before the convention started. Photo by Callan O’Donohoe

The thing I’m still the most thrilled about was meeting people who were excited about comics, and happy to chat about them. And there were so many of you! Thank you all for coming by my table and picking things up to look at them, buying something or just stopping by to chat. For those of you who missed anything, I’ll be updating my online store (…soon…) with some of the remaining stock of…everything.

At the moment my convention calendar is looking pretty bare for the rest of the year. I want to take some time to focus on making comics, particularly my own comics. I’ve had a great run of luck working on many fun projects with extremely talented people – but I’m looking to do some of my own work for a little bit. I miss being able to print books as soon as they’re ready! I’m finding that I really enjoy marketing at the moment, so if you do have an event you think I should be at, please let me know!

And now, back to work…

THE RETREAT – read it online

And here it is: my new comic, The Retreat. There’s still more I want to do with this story, but that’s for another day. Right now I’m still proud of this: my writing’s come a long way since the last time I completed any project as long as this while still sticking with the themes and ideas I love. This comic was completed relatively quickly and took me completely by surprise – I had been struggling with a completely different story to work on for this week.

If you’re coming to Minicomicon tomorrow you’ll be able to get your copy directly from me in either easy-reading A5 or shy pocket-sized A6 versions. Otherwise, I’ll be posting it for sale on my Storenvy next week.

thanks for reading

Happy Lunar New Year: DIY Hongbao for download!

Happy New Year!

It’s the new Lunar New Year this Thursday (February 19), and happy new year to all who celebrate it. This year will be the year of the Sheep.

Growing up as a Chinese kid with a huge extended family, receiving 红包 (Red Packets, pronounced hongbao, or angpow) packed with money was an absolute favourite thing for all us kids every year, although perhaps less favoured by the adults who had to give the money away every year. I remember at least one of my cousins teaching me a not particularly polite New Years Greeting: 恭喜发财,红包拿来!(Happy New Year, now hand over the cash!)  I also distinctly remember being told off immediately for repeating it.

For those less familiar with the tradition, Hongbao are red packets that married people give to children and unmarried adults on the Lunar New Year, among other special occasions. Anecdotally, as someone from South East Asia, I’ve always seen the money given as notes in the envelope and it hasn’t bothered any of my family whether the money’s been in odd or even numbers. You might also give someone a hongbao when you’re attending their wedding, or when they’ve just been especially good to you.

Now I’m finally at the age and social status where I have to think about giving, rather than receiving. Living in Australia and not getting out much, I haven’t seen the sheer flurry and variety of hongbao that I used to see in Asia handed out around this time for adults to give eager friends and family. So I thought I might share some of this new experience with all my readers and friends with these hongbao designs for you to print out and use for your own.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Please feel free to download and use these templates – cut out the hongbao to fill them full of presents for others, or give the templates straight to your friends, family or students who might be interested in making their own! Or use these designs as the starting point to create your own!

I am more than happy for you to use these as you wish as long as it’s not for commercial purposes – and I’d love to see any hongbao you make from it.


Continue reading for previews of all the hongbao styles – or download straight from the text links here if you already know what you want:

All files are designed to be printed on A4. The template hongbao have been designed to fit all common Australian currency notes, although they should be able to fit most non-Australian notes too!

The traditional red packet

DIY Hongbao 2015 - Black inkwork on Red
DIY Hongbao 2015 – Black inkwork on Red

We’ll start with the traditional red red packet, in bold black in red. If you have gold ink available, feel free to trace over any of the lines or calligraphy to make your red packet that much more outstanding!

The text on this reads

吉星高照 (The lucky star shines high)

万事如意 (May all your hopes come to fruition)

Download here

Black on pink

DIY Hongbao 2015 - Black inkwork on Pink
DIY Hongbao 2015 – Black inkwork on Pink

The same artwork and message as the red red packet, but with a slightly pinker bent.

Download here

Black on peach

DIY Hongbao 2015 - Black inkwork on Peach
DIY Hongbao 2015 – Black inkwork on Peach

The same artwork and message as the red red packet, but with a slightly peachier twist.

Download here

Black on yellow

DIY Hongbao 2015 - Black inkwork on Yellow
DIY Hongbao 2015 – Black inkwork on Yellow

The closest thing we could get to gold – to let your hongbao recipient know that their packet is really full of bling, give them this.

Download here

Plain black – for coloured paper only

Big disclaimer on this one: Please only print this on coloured paper!

Please don’t print this on plain white paper to use as a hongbao.For one thing, this design looks great printed on brightly coloured paper, particularly if you’ve got some stunning red paper that isn’t quite the same shade of red as the design above. The other reason is, giving someone a white and black envelope stuffed full of money is, within Chinese culture at least, usually something only done at funerals. Although it might be something to consider if you want to give it to someone you especially hate at New Year, along with awkward silences and confused memories. (Though if it were me, I wouldn’t be giving money to people I dislike. Whatever, bonds of family. Take that, blood ties!)

DIY Hongbao 2015 - Black inkwork on printing onto coloured paper only!
DIY Hongbao 2015 – Black inkwork on printing onto coloured paper only!

Download here

Full colour design

DIY Hongbao 2015 - Full colour version
DIY Hongbao 2015 – Full colour version

And last but not least, the colourful hongbao for the year!

Download here