Sunday, October 18, 2015

How to Apply for the Geumgang University Korean Language Program



My post about Geumgang University earlier this year continues to be the most popular article that I’ve written for my blog to date, which has prompted numerous emails from people asking for more details about this scholarship program that I was fortunate enough to have been a part of during the Spring 2015 semester. Unfortunately, there is a lack of information about this program to be found online, much to the detriment to both the university, and to future students interested in pursuing their studies.

To help remedy some of these troubles, I intend to have this blog post answer as many questions that people may have about attending this scholarship program. This post is not meant to substitute the information found already online on the Geumgang University website, but simply to supplement it.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Eat More Comics: The Nib's 2nd Anniversary Print Anthology out on Kickstarter!

Since The Nib launched back in September 2013, they've lead the charge in publishing some of the best comics journalism, political cartoons, non-fiction, and humor throughout the internet. And now they are coming out with a 300 page hardcover book featuring their best work they've selected from the 2,000+ comics they've put out since The Nib's inception. But they need your help on Kickstarter in order to make this book a reality. Included in the book, you'll find--

Hilarious comics from Gemma Correll · Rich Stevens · Zach Weinersmith · Jon Rosenberg · Emily Flake · KC Green

Political cartoons from Tom Tomorrow · Matt Bors · Jen Sorensen · Matt Lubchansky · Ann Telnaes · Brian McFadden · Liza Donnelly· Ruben Bolling · Ted Rall · Keith Knight

Journalism by Andy Warner · Josh Neufeld · Susie Cagle · Emi Gennis · Ryan Alexander-Tanner · Eleri Harris · Erik Thurman · Jess Ruliffson · Sophie Yanow · Roxanne Palmer

Comic essays by Ron Wimberly · Erika Moen · Sarah Glidden · Wendy Macnaughton · Mike Dawson · Lucy Bellwood · Whit Taylor  · Lisa Eisenberg · Eroyn Franklin · JJ McCullough

More? Yes, more: Kate Leth · James Sturm · Shannon Wheeler · Scott Bateman · Eleanor Davis · Maki Naro · John Leavitt · Kendra Wells

With 18 days to go, we still need to raise about $20k in order to reach our goal to see this book hit the printers and be out by the time SPX rolls around in September. Check out the Kickstarter now!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Umbrella Black-out has been translated into Chinese

Last October, I went to Hong Kong to cover part of the Umbrella Revolution, hoping to spread a bit more of the reality that was taking place in the protests. And fortunately today, a bit of that message will be able to reach a larger audience now that it's been translated into Chinese.

Click the link below, and thanks to for the excellent translation work!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Short listed for the Reportager Award 2015

After hundreds of entries were made their way through a series of judging, my graphic memoir The American Immigrant has made the short list for the Reportage Award 2015. The award, sponsored by Reportager and Moleskin, encourages new, existing and emerging talent and projects in the area of reportage and documentary drawing. It also seeks out original projects, which are journalistic and documentary in nature and are created from original primary research sourced on location by the artist.

In addition to the award and grant, Moleskine reserves the right to commission the winning artist/journalist to report on an event (timing, location, and event to be at Moleskine's discretion). Travel expenses, accommodation, and subsistence up to the value of £1700, will be available.

The exhibit will be at the University of the West of England F Block Gallery (Bower Ashton Campus) in Bristol, UK, from May 8th to the May 15th (save for the 11th, which it will be open for private viewing).

This is definitely not a show to miss, especially if you're a huge fan of documentary drawing and comics journalism. I'll be featuring quite a few never-before-seen pages from my first book, so you have no excuse to not make it if you're living in the UK!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Farewell to a Good Friend and Mentor

What better way to spend the evening than with good friends, music, and drinks.
When I first came to South Korea about 3 ½ years ago, I had nothing to my name aside from the clothes on my back and the two bags on my shoulders. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t have a home, no money, and I couldn’t speak any of the local language to even be able to ask for help. But there was one person that I was lucky enough to meet on the boat traveling to Korea, who befriended me during my first critical baby-steps into this country, Dag. 

And snapping back to the present, I’m even luckier that I got the chance to meet this friend one last time before he leaves Asia, for what may potentially be forever.

Ever since our chance encounter, Dag has been like a mentor to me, always being there when I needed it, and ready to part advice on traveling, education, and life in general.  He inspired me in my early days of teaching; Dag had worked as a language teacher for over a decade in Slovenia, during the Cold War when the Eastern Bloc was still a reality. 

Where Dag has lived for the past few years, out in the countryside.
He's also shared with me a renouncing for travel--a self-proclaimed “travel junkie”—who traveled multiple countries on foot, train, bus, boat, and even horseback, in some cases. That drive to see the unknown is what brought Dag to Korea over five years ago, when he sold his car and bought a plane ticket out on a whim. And now, after over half a decade of dealing with discriminatory visa policies and hassles with immigration officials in South Korea and Japan, Dag has sadly decided to say goodbye to Northeast Asia.

 Thank you, Dag, for the excellent weekend of drinks and music among the rice fields and cherry blossoms of Wonji, along with being able to see you during your last weekend here in South Korea and Asia. 

I hope your future endeavors in Australia, the Blue Mountains, and South America brings you a good change of pace and happiness throughout your life. Hopefully our paths will cross again in Chile in a few years!

Until South America, adios!
 Also, if you're curious to catch up on Dag's travels, he has a blog! (And yes, that is me passed out his shack...)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Studying Korean at Geumgang University

If you’re a regular follower of my work, you may have been wondering where I’ve disappeared to over the past couple of months, and why I’ve taken a minor hiatus from the comic and social media scene. No, I’m not dead, or maimed, or impaired in any way, shape, or form, so rest be sure there’s no need to call my local embassy to send a search party.

So without forcing you to play a global game of Where’s Waldo any longer, let me introduce you to my new home, at Geumgang University in Chungcheongnam-do province, South Korea.

Last January, I made a really difficult decision to stay in South Korea instead of moving to Toronto. And in doing so, I want to be able to enjoy a higher degree of language fluency in a country that’s been my home for the past few years. Unfortunately, cracking books after midnight a few times a week was only getting me so far. So when I applied for and obtained a full-ride scholarship from Geumgang University, I was more than a little ecstatic to know that I could pursue studying all day, without having to balance the workload of two full-time jobs.

What makes this Buddhist private school so amazing, in my opinion, is its goal of providing free tuition to every single one of their students to pursue their endeavors. You heard this right; there’s not a single student in this school that is paying tuition to attend, and only have to cover the cost of housing and food to study here.

Geumgang currently offers four majors: Global Commerce and Trade, Public Administration, Buddhist Studies, and a special Korean Language program for individuals abroad, including people of Korean descent. The classes themselves are also top-notch, with four classes a week, four hours a day, with a healthy load of homework to make sure that you’re not distracted by any chicken and beer gatherings with the average 20-year old student in this place.
And you can’t beat the location, unless you absolutely love living a city life. The university itself inches itself up the foothills, surrounded by vast, sprawling rice fields at its base, with ornate Buddhist temples showcased on the mountain’s peaks. 

I’ve really found a lot of peace coming out to live in the countryside again, after being in Seoul for the past 3 ½ years. There’s something soul-healing when you’re forced back to being involved in the environmental culture that we tend to leave behind in our daily lives. It’s something I haven’t been able to experience that since I used to live in a rural part of the Philippines.

I’m hoping that, by the end of my studies, I’ll be at the point in which I can tackle the TOPIK exam and work towards gaining long-term residency in South Korea. That’s not to say that I plan on settling in this country for the rest of my life, but for now, I’m happy here. And quite frankly, I just hope in time I can give back as much to this country as it has given to me.

Been Busy Around the Web

When I'm not storming away at drawing full-length graphic novels or doing investigative pieces in comics journalism, I occasionally type words without pictures.Who would have thought?

I recently did a piece for Rate Your Story about writing for minorities, for non-minorities, that looks at how writers can work to portray stories that aren't theirs more accurately, in order to push towards greater diversity in books. Check it out here, and be sure to keep updated on #WeNeedDiverseBooks on Twitter.

And when you're done with that one, I did a piece for Localiiz in Hong Kong, reflecting on my experience covering the Umbrella Revolution last year. Check that out here.

My New Portfolio for Comics Journalism

It's about that time that I've dug out enough new work to showcase in a portfolio for potential clients, editors, and readers of my work. Click the image above to view it, and also be sure to check out the comics tab on the left in order to view many of these stories in their entirety!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New comic on The Nib: Umbrella Blackout.

My new comic up on The Nib places a spotlight on the Umbrella Movement to show how governments around the world are increasingly turning to alternative measures in order suppress dissent, beyond resorting to tear gas and rubber bullets.

 Click the image above for some quality researched comics journalism.