by Lorie Lewis Ham
The Fresno Ani-Me Con is happening again on March 18 and 19. We attended last year and it was so much fun! Recently we chatted with one of the local artists who will have a booth there, Ziang Her, about her art and where to find her booth for Ziang Her Art at this year’s Ani-Me Con.
Ziang graduated with both a BS and a BA from California State University, Fresno. Ziang owns an insurance agency, is a notary public, and a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. Locally, she was the 2016 winner of the 16th annual Rogue Muse Festival cover art contest, and the 2022 recipient of the Business Salute to Dr. King & Things That Matter Awards from the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce and 2022 Ambassador of the Year Award from the Central California Chamber of Commerce.
KRL: Are you from Fresno originally, and if not, how did you end up here?
ZH: I was born in Luang Prabang, Laos but grew up in the Central Valley. My family immigrated here after the end of the Vietnam War.
KRL: How and when did you first become interested in being an artist?
ZH: I was five years old when I knew that I wanted to be an artist. I used pictures to teach myself how to read. Visual arts have always been a huge factor in my life.
KRL: What type of art do you do?
ZH: My background is in graphic design and my illustration style can be adapted to fit my clients’ needs. I just finished illustrating menu covers for Huckleberry’s, a restaurant franchise in California that recently expanded to Texas and Tennessee.
If I have a choice, I prefer dark fantasy. Like many others, I got my start drawing anime (similar styles to Sailor Moon), but as my skill level improved and my exposure to different types of art forms expanded, I started developing my own style that is a hybrid of Western comics and Eastern manga.
KRL: What medium do you use?
ZH: I prefer traditional media (pencils, paint, watercolors), but I am also versed in digital art and have used various programs including, but not limited to, Photoshop, Open Canvas, Illustrator, and Paint Chat over the years.
KRL: What makes your art unique?
ZH: A lot of people tell me my art is unique because of the amount of detail work that I put into it, primarily with hair and clothing folds, especially when I use graphite as the medium.
ZH: I love to draw things that invoke appreciation of the delicacy and beauty of the female form and of nature. I really enjoy things with texture. I like creating characters for different stories, and it is why I occasionally take commissions from private clients to visualize the characters they use in things like Dungeons & Dragons campaigns. Last year I illustrated a stylized portrait of a past client and their husband, to be used as part of their wedding guestbook for clients to sign.
KRL: What is your favorite thing to draw?
KRL: How fun! I understand that you will be at this year’s Ani-Me Con. Is this your first time?
ZH: I am a veteran artist at Ani-Me. I’ve been vending at this local show for a while now, ever since I found out about it. I keep in touch with the organizer of the event, Rick Phoeung, through social media. I like to support local events like this so that they can keep allowing our local community to have access. I think that’s very important. I’ve also introduced the event to several artists, both local and non-local. My booth number this year is number 90.
KRL: Can you tell us a little about what you will be selling? Will it be art from any particular animes?
ZH: This year I will be selling prints of my artworks, bookmarks, and stickers. I will see if I have time to make some canvas tote bags of my artwork. Due to the copyright laws, I limit the amount of fan artwork that I sell at my events to a few small items. But people may expect to find things from The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, or any Final Fantasy game. As for animes, you may find Sailor Moon, or Sailor Moon-inspired items for sale. I have transitioned my inventory over the years to be 90% original artwork.
KRL: Are you an anime fan yourself? If so, what are some of your favorites?
ZH: Yes, I love anime. I grew up with Sailor Moon, a series that holds a dear place in my heart. A few other favorites are Record of Lodoss War and Samurai Deeper Kyo. For some of these I prefer the manga format to the animated adaptation. I’ve also seen a lot of Bleach vs. Naruto. I love all the Studio Ghibli animated films.
ZH: A chibi commission is a paid custom request to draw a character in a specific style of art. It’s commonly stylized in the format of a larger head, large eyes, and a smaller body. It’s very cute and very common in the anime industry. Often used on merchandise for popular anime series. An example would be the Nendoroids toy line.
KRL: What are chibi commissions (something I noticed on your website)?
KRL: Where else can people find your art and you online?
ZH: I will be at booth number 90 this year. It is in the first row of tables that start the Artist Alley.
KRL: How do we find your booth at Ani-Me Con?
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
ZH: I currently sit on the boards of the Fresno Arts Council, CCAPW (Central California Asian Pacific Women), and the Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. I am part of the General Planning Committee for Celebrate Hmong, and we are working on bringing an artist alley to the Fresno Hmong New Year. My role as an artist in this community is driven by my desire to share, educate and uplift artists, and being involved in these community organizations puts me in a unique position to leverage myself as that connecting resource. In the past I’ve worked with Fresno State and their Anime Club Department and was involved with Fresno Con; my art for their mascot was used for their promotional items. I’ve also been an adjunct professor in Fresno State’s Art and Design Department, teaching Professional Practices to graduating seniors in the illustration track. Part of my curriculum was multiple streams of income and we talked about conventions, artist alleys, and online stores.