Chinese Guy for a T-shirt

In 2002 I got my very first commission to draw an illustration. The people wanted to print a wise old Chinese guy as a small logo and some fortune-cookie-style phrases across the chest.

So I did some research (it was so long ago that I think it was Yahoo at the time):

old chinese guy in a hat

old chinese drawing of a government official of some sort

So I produced a few variations:

jolly guy in a hat hobo-looking guy Jesus-looking guy in a chinese hat skinny chinese guy

Those were drawn by hand, then scanned or photoed, and then I don’t remember what I did to them that the last two look strange.

The people who wanted to make t-shirts said something like: “We like that hat, and that face, the one that looks like Jesus. It’s even better if the guy doesn’t look too Chinese, so we can’t be called racist.” They were really nice people.

So they bought this one:

guy in a chinese hat

They said: “How much do you want?” I replied that I had no idea how much stuff like that was worth, and they offered $100. I said ok.

I also offered them some ideas about other t-shirt series, but those were too radical to their taste.