Melisa Vuong (Misa) is a Vietnamese-American gal who is influenced by the playful and light-hearted vibes of cartoons, children’s books, and toys. She aims to replicate those positive feelings through her digital illustrations and animated gifs. When not focused on art, she is often found helping out at her family restaurant, Ha & VL.
What would your alter ego do, if not illustration?
Misa: In an alternative universe, I would either be pursuing a career involving children such as early childhood education or children’s social work. In a second alternative universe, a position that hones into organization such as an administrative assistant or project manager.
What do you collect?
Misa: The two things I tend to collect are children’s books and napkins. My collection of children’s books serves as inspiration, and I want to have a huge collection for my future children to pick from and read. My collection of napkins is simply preparing me for future accidents whether they’re made by me or a person nearby.
If there are things that need to be defended, I stand my ground with sophistication and finger guns.”
Is there anything you wish you had known when you started school, that you know now?
Misa: When people give critique or advice about a piece, accept it rather than reject it. Even if it seems ridiculous, there can be a lot of magic if you keep an open mind. I have learned that I don’t have to follow through literally responding to each specific suggestion, but to verbally accept the ideas and tuck them into the “Ponder” section of my mind palace. However, if there are things that need to be defended, I stand my ground with sophistication and finger guns.
What do you geek out about?
My favorites include magazines similar to Lucky Peach or Eater, Netflix shows like Chef’s Table or Ugly Deliciousness, or Youtube videos featuring the shenanigans of Bon Appétit’s crew or Stephanie Soo’s mukbang and stories.
I am also very absorbed into children’s books and animated films or series that make me cry. Most often the topics that trigger the tears cover sensitive subjects disguised in lighthearted visuals (Steven Universe), strong family connections or loss (Disney’s Coco or Love You Forever by Robert Munsch), or wholesome characters who had undergone rough times (Dobby from the Harry Potter series).
What advice would you give your past self?
Misa: It is totally okay to feel your feelings, so don’t be afraid to cry! Imagine yourself as a cup or a mug. You can only contain so much, and it’s inevitable that you will eventually spill over no matter how hard you try to keep it together. So might as well Nike-slogan-it and “Just Do It.”