Sep 4, 2023

Thank you! Transitioning to


Hey fam,  I am transitioning out of this blog. It has been a nice run from 2007 to 2023-thats 16 years of blogging. Hella appreciate you all for viewing, sharing, commenting, etc. I am not deleting the blog for now, but you can find all the old post and more new stuff on my new blog at

If you don't do blogs sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram.

Jul 25, 2023

My new book "Fresh Juice/ Jugo Fresco" is out!


Photo by Maya Gonzalez of me reading at the book release for Fresh Juice/ Jugo Fresco in Oakland. 

Fam the day has come. After over a decade in the making this story is out there. I started working on this story back in 2008, put it down, and came back to it in 2018. Request it at your local public library, school, doctor's office, and cop it for your home. 

Shout out to editor Laura Atkins who first helped me get it ready for pitch, Cheryl Klein and Kandace Coston at Lee & Low Books, art director Chad Beckerman, Lee and Low Staff, my agent Marietta Zacker and all of you who've helped to share the story.

Fam, I'm going to be phasing this blog out in favor of a new one on my site.

Jul 19, 2023

Erica Buddington is so DOPE


I first came across Erica Buddington through the many Black history videos she was doing on YouTube. As an artist who does Black, AAPI, and Women's history art I was immediately juiced to see how she was offering so much knowledge.

The Classroom Rebel podcast interview is dope and here is another interview she did w/ The Grio's Natasha S. Alford. Ok, follow Erica here on IG and her company Langston League!

Dig this? Check out this interview w/ educator and Ethnic Studies advocate Art Nelson Concordia

Jul 17, 2023

What is Pimp Culture? Podcast w/ Madlines, Ryan Nicole, & Coco Peila


DOPE conversation by MC's MADLines, Ryan Nicole, and Coco Peila talking about #pimpculture #misogny #hiphop and divisions within the Black community. Soooooo necessary coming from the Bay and Oakland specifically where we ll grew up with so much pimp culture which is a direct product of capitalism and passing on oppression. I've seen, heard, or experienced all three of these sisters perform and rock and they are not only super on point, but just dope artists. 

Dig this? Check out their websites: MADlines, Ryan Nicole, and Coco Peila

Jul 15, 2023

"Fresh Juice" bk release at Chapter 510 - July 22nd


Hey fam, my new book is coming out in a matter of weeks. If you're in the Bay Area I invite you to come to the book release where I'll read the book alongside local author DeMareon Gipson. DeMareon wrote a book called "Annalise's Cough".  Come get a copy of my book and DeMareon's, and visit the incredible organization that is Chapter 510 who've helped me grow as an artist and storyteller. 

Also, the first 50 people there will be able to get a free cup of healthy juice made by Oakland's own "Super Juiced".

Dig this? Check out these photos from the 2016 book opening for "Furqan's First Flat Top"

Jul 12, 2023

Amy Sherald - Everyday Icons


I really love seeing art processes and its great to see Amy get her props and some time to just work. I remember seeing her work via the Black Contemporary Art Tumblr and was super excited to see her be chosen for the Obama portrait. Go Amy!

Dig this? Check out this video about Hank Willis Thomas or my last inspiration board.

Jul 6, 2023

Character 170 - Sensei Fatima


Did a symmetry sketch of this young lady a few weeks back and decided to redraw her in photoshop. She reminds me of a young Lady Sensei. Anyway, fun.

Dig this? Check out my "Collage of Characters 2020-2022"

Jul 5, 2023

Linafornia - Beatmaker and composer


Been loving the work of Linafornia for a few years before I even knew who she was. This is a live set she did w/ an MC, but her work is amazing on its own. The Belizean LA raised musician is on her way!

Follow her work on IG

Dig this? Check out the last inspiration board.

Jul 2, 2023

Akonadi statement on Affirmative Action


This is a very short yet powerful statement on the latest ruling striking down affirmative action in the United States by the Supreme Court. Akonadi is an organization founded on philanthropy and racial justice. 

In 2013 I illustrated a poster for racial justice and still believe that if the majority of working people do not know the true history of how racism (white supremacy) has affected every single aspect of American society including law, food, healhcare, transportation, housing, and yes public and higher education. This latest ruling acts as if hundreds of years of exclusion in higher education has been made equal by a few decades of partial inclusion. This is not true. 

Dig this? Check out this poster I illustrated for the Akonadi Foundation in 2013

Jun 21, 2023

Sierra Health Foundation - Theory of Change

Finished this illustration for the "Sierra Health Foundation" as a joint collaboration with Design Action who did the layout and design. Each round of the artwork involved feedback from Design Action and the client.

Here's some process:

Rough sketch

Rough sketch 2

Color version

Final version before text was added

That's all she wrote. If you know of any young students trying to get started in illustration share this pdf with them.

Dig this? Check out this illustration for "In Dance Magazine"

Jun 19, 2023

Stuff I've Been Listening to 24 - Synths please


Loose Ends (UK) - Hanging on a string 1984
Always loved Loose Ends and this classic track from them.

Welcome welcome. Here is a new post with some of my favorite synths, mostly across soul, jazz, funk, hip hop, and rock. I didn't always know that I loved synths, I just like good music. But after hearing some chatter about synths in general and some of the machines created to make the sounds, I thought I'd share some of my favorites, not the best synths ever. This is totally subjective. Enjoy.

Little Dragon (Sweden) - A Place to belong (2007)
This is the first Little Dragon song I heard from my boy Miguel. Fonky.

We Are King (Minneapolis/LA) - The Greatest (2015)
Agggh, one of the illest soul groups of recent to write and produce w/ synths!!

Squarepusher (UK) - Plaistow Flex Out (2001)
Was turned on to Squarepusher by my homie and drummer Valentino 

Pink Floyd (UK) - On the Run (1973)
Always loved this Pink Floyd album! 

Kool & The Gang (Jersey City) - Summer Madness (1974)
Classic joint from a classic jazz, rock, soul band.

What is this? 
This series is called "Stuff I've been listening to" and this is my place to share music that I listen to while I work, process, decompress, and live life. Some of it is new, some old. But I'm always listening. I share in the hopes that you will find something that inspires you. Please share with a fellow music lover.

Satoshi & Makoto (Japan) - Crepuscule Leger (2017)
New! Don't know much about these cats, but I dig it.

Jneiro Jarel (Philadelphia) - Soul Starr (2005)
Discovered Jeniro aka Dr Who Dat? at the record store and became an instant fan. 

Björk (Iceland) - Hyperballad (1995)
Heard Bjork through one of my best friends in the 90s and was blown away

Zion I w/ Mikos da Gawd (Oakland) - Saving Souls (2016)
RIP Zumbi, this is one of countless synth flavored Zion I songs

Did you miss the last installment of this series? 

Stuff I've been listening to 23: More Jazz

Stuff I've been listening to 22Instrumentals

Stuff Ive been listening to 21: Raps

Stuff Ive been listening to 17: Soul

Stuff Ive been listening to 19: UK Artists

Sexual Harrassment (Midwest US) - I need a freak (1983)
House party track tried and true. First heard it as a child.

Chaka Khan (Chicago) - What Cha Gonna do for Me? (1981)
Radio classic on kiss fm in the Bay

Marcos Valle (Brazil) - Naō Tem Nada Naō (1973)
Found this cut via Madlib!

Kraftwerk (Germany) - Numbers (1981)
These cats are German, but this is straight up electro classic hip hop material. 

Ok, one last one fam....
Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein (Austin) - Kids (2016)

Discovered the guys through the Stranger Things soundtrack which was both old and new, simple, yet amazing! Reminds me of 80s movies and that was the point! Keep listening to new and old music. There are tons of great artists still coming out with music. If you're not sure where to look, check out your local DJ, playlists, mixes, and your local independent radio stations......

What's in my bag? Amoeba Series


Ok, so I grew up going to record stores. Rasputins, Leopolds, Tower, Virgin, The Warehouse, and Amoeba is and was my favorite. In high school I used to walk from Berkeley high at lunch and use my lunch money to buy 99c or $5 hip hop records. I loved and still love getting new records, spending time with them, and just listening. 

I love this episode with Santigold! This "What's In My Bag?" series is old, but I love how they keep reinventing it by interviewing new and older artists. Case in point, have you listened to any of these episodes like:



Big Boi 

The Internet

Little Dragon

Karriem Riggins/ DJ Jrocc (Beatjunkies)

Kamasi Washington



Dig this? Peep the last post I did about Jazz-Stuff I've been listening to

Jun 14, 2023

Inspiration board 43


Hey fam, I hope you're well. It has been a rough one for me lately but trying to hold on to it. Check out some of these things that have been dope to me recently. Keep going.

Starting from top to bottom, left to right:

1. Major Taylor Iron Riders -video by The Pro's Closet (Cycling/Fitness)

2. Odessa- Middle grade graphic novel by Jonathan Hill (book)

3. Giant Robot- Doc about an AAPI magazine/store (film)

4. Monica Martin- Vocalist, songwriter from the midwest (music)

5. El Michel's Affair x Black Thought- I'm still somehow (music)

6. 1000% Me- Doc about being mixed by W. Kamau Bell (film)

7. Art of Cam Kendell from Fart Quest (art)

8. Hidari- Stop motion animated samurai (stop mo animation)

9. The Nakba- Educational video about the Nakba in Palestine (history)

10. Chang Can Dunk- Narrative film about personal goals (film)

11. Cymone Wilderis an incredible lettering artist (lettering)

12. This Was Our Pact- All ages graphic novel by Ryan Andrews (book)

13.  Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur- Animated show based on comic (tv)

14. Endea Owens - Where the Nubians Grow (music)

15. Turning Red- Animated film by Pixar (animation)

16. The Last of Us- Post apocalyptic tv show based on video game (tv)

Did you miss the previous inspiration board? Here it is, plus a few more 
What's this? This inspiration board is one of the ways I stay inspired and sane through all of life's trials, and tribulations, work, etc. I've been making inspiration boards full of films, books, music, events, people, artists, movements, and more for over a decade. Do you have an inspiration board? Please share in the comments.
Who am I? My name is Rob Liu-Trujillo and I'm an artist working in kid lit, public art, and other disciplines. Go to my website, or follow me on IG or YouTube. You can also cop my first art book here.

Jun 12, 2023

Children's Portrait 75 - Stella


Here's a new portrait of Stella, commissioned by her Mama Sarah. And they have a cool tradition where the young ladies in her family take a photo with the exact same dress on when they get to be 5 or 6 years old. This is her sister's portrait Eva.

What is this? Wow, we're at number 75! I've been doing these portraits for about 10 years. Not rushing, taking my time, etc. But through family, friends, and community I have been able to keep making these gifts. I paint these by hand, each one unique from photo reference provided by parents, caregivers, grandparents, aunties, uncles, etc. If you'd like to commission a portrait of a kid or a family go here

Dig this? Check out this collage of children's portraits.

May 31, 2023

Chinese pioneers in Reggae, Ska, and Rock Steady


Wow, the more you know. I LOVED listening to this video and it just goes to show there is so many stories yet to be told. I did not know that VP Records stood for Vincent and Patricia-two Jamaicans who were ethnically Asian and mixed! Wow. This video talks about several Chinese pioneers in Jamaican music and who consider themselves "Jamaican", that's it.

Check out this video that expands on Patricia Chin, co founder of VP Records who are known world wide for distributing reggae and dancehall music.

Dig this? Check out this doc about Giant Robot Magazine!

May 30, 2023

Sometimes it gets shelved 6- Worker's union

Sup fam, been a while since I shared one of these. Its a shelved illustration for a west coast teacher's union. For some reason this didn't quite make the cut but we got almost to the end so I thought I'd share. Check out some of the process. 



Color sketches

What is this? There are projects I work on as a freelance artist that never see the light of day. I mean , its possible that they get used but I think more often than not the organization or company is trying to do their best and sometimes it doesn't work. 


Dig this? Check out this piece about Migration from a few years back

Leo Espinosa (illustrator) - Video demo


Leo is a fantastic illustrator and in this video with the Society of Illustrators he talks about some of his process for illustrating "The World Belonged to US" written by Jacqueline Woodson.

Dig this? Check out my last inspiration board

May 22, 2023

I'll be at Carnaval SF (May 27-28)


Sup with it fam. If you've never been to it, Carnaval SF is a 45 year old event celebrating a multicultural heritage that is deep in the Bay of Indigenous, African, and Latino roots. There is drumming, live music performances, delicious food, lots of people of all ages, lowriders, art vendors, and a huge parade through the historic Mission District. 

For more information please visit their website:

I'll be tabling there this year on Harrison street between 19th and 20th

Come by and say hello. Here are some videos to give you the flavor of the two day event. 

Dig this? 
Check out the Malcolm X Jazz Fest

May 19, 2023

PDF- 15 Tips from 15 years as a freelance illustrator


Check it out, this is a pdf with 15 tips that  I've learned from, failed at, or screwed up on as a freelance illustrator.  I started making art as a kid drawing for fun, doing graffiti, and then going to college to study and changing my major 3 times. After the second major change and becoming a dad I officially began freelancing, accepting money for my art and let me tell you it has been a bumpy road. 

Feel free to cop this for a young student who wishes to be a freelance artist who works for themself. I wrote the words, did the illustrations, and my lovely wife Joy did the design/layout for it.


Is this useful? Check out this post about why I still use business cards

May 18, 2023

Major Taylor Iron Riders


Thoroughly enjoyed watching this and learning about the Major Taylor Iron Riders. I did this illustration of the original L&M Riders. As a former kid who loved riding and who has gotten back on in the past two years I'm really excited about riding again.

Dig this? Check out this piece about Tony Coleman (Bikes 4 Life) and this mini comic about bmx riding

May 15, 2023

The Nakba- historical video by Vox


One of the most strategic things those in power do to shape public opinion is to control the narrative, They do this by omitting, blocking, and often erasing the history of the oppressed peoples. This video shows what has been left out of most history books and discussions of freedom when it comes to Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. It is not anti-semetic to discuss the true history of how this state came to be through the British and the United States involvement and support. It is anti-semetic however to deny that the Jewish people were not persecuted and murdered during WW2! History is powerful yall.

Dig this? Check out this video of how apartheid works today in occupied Palestine aka Israel. 

May 12, 2023

Freelance Chronicles 8 - Five reasons why I still use business cards

Business cards by Robert Liu-Trujillo

Ok so I have been making business cards with my name, phone number, email, image, and services offered for about 15 years now. How old tech of me right? I get it, there are apps where you can just send someone your contact info, airdrop it, text it, or refer them to your IG I get it. But here are a few reasons why I still keep a business card for introductions. Note: I didn't have a business card during the start of the pandemic because, well I was in the house :/

Hasan Minhaj via GIPHY

1. No phone:

You forgot your phone at home, it got broken, or you lost it. Damn. Sucks, you can tell the person you're talking to your name or write it and your number or email on a napkin but a card might be handy. I've definitely had this happen before.

Brazilian singer Anitta 

2. Phone battery died: 

Have you ever missed a crucial opportunity to show someone your work, get their info, or exchange info but your phone battery died? Try keeping a business card as a back up :) If you had a great conversation, they will want to talk to you again fam. People fake good work, and some put on a good show, but it's harder to fake good vibes or energy. Or you can have them wait while you recharge your phone....

The one and only Prince 

3. Getting away from social media:

I've been on social media for almost 20 years and I have referred people to my (fill in the blank) but I'm getting kind of tired of it honestly. There are some great artists out there using it to the max but I don't want it to become my life. And it started to feel like that a few years ago. These companies found ways to make us addicted and that is not healthy, for me. You?

Also, from experience, I know that these apps come and go. For a few years they're hot, and then people are on to the next thing. And if you're an artist with a smaller but dedicated following you have to build your audience again. So I still use it, but I keep my distance. If you want to step back a bit from social media I think that a curated website, blog, or page is a great place to refer folks to via biz card.

Tessa Thompson

4. Leave them impressed:

Ok, if designed properly with your information, a sample of your art on it, and a print quality that speaks to your esthetic your business card can leave the person holding wanting more. If I get a well made business card that communicates your taste by seeing it and/or touching it I'm going to remember you. It could be done with letterpress, with metal, or a bright color. The point is, leave the holder with a taste of how dope you are.

Tyler the Creator shot by Cam Hicks

5. Control the narrative:

On your card you can provide the basics like your number, email, etc. But, you can also provide them with coordinates to a location. Weird, right? You can put a QR code on it that when read sends them to a song. You could just have a link to a video. There are lots of ways you can control how the holder interacts with or gets to know you and your work. A well crafted and updated website featuring a portfolio of your work is still a tried and true way to do this. Just saying, show them your true self in your way.... 

Back of the business card (w/o my ph number :)

Dig this? Check out my post about how I got 1000 sales on Etsy as an illustrator/author who makes merch!

Who dis? What's this? Hi, my name is Rob and I'm an artist/author from Northern California. Oakland to be specific. I have been working as a freelance artist for over 15 years. I've picked up a few tips on the way and "Freelance Chronicles" is one of the ways I share. Was this helpful? Please share and cop something from my shop. Adios. 

May 11, 2023

Malcolm X Jazz Fest- May 20th in Oakland, CA


Eyy, the Malcolm x Jazz Fest is upon us again y'all. If you're in the Bay come through to this. Bring your family, love, good energy, and good vibes. Flyer design by my wifey and art by Dime and Tarika Lewis.


I've been going to this event for 15+ years both as an attendee and as a vendor. Check out the activities.

Dig this? Check out this video from a few years back

May 10, 2023

El Michel's Affair + Black Thought- I'm Still Somehow


Prolly had this joint on repeat for the last week at least. The slow melancholy nature had me nodding.

Dig this? Check out the last Stuff I've Been Listening To-JAZZ

May 8, 2023

Palestine will be free - US Campaign for Palestinian Rights


This is a dope poster to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the "Nakba" in occupied Palestine. If you support the freedom and determination of the Palestinian People please tell your local representative to stop arming Israel! 

Dig this? Check out the Art of illustrator Raneem Hijazi who did the above poster, some
background on "The Nakba",

Apr 28, 2023

1000% Me: Growing up Mixed - trailer


One to watch out for. A new doc by W. Kamau Bell ( Do the work, stand up, united Shades of America) . Its great to see some friends and folks in this trailer too. 

Dig this? check out my last inspiration board.

Apr 27, 2023

Art vs Artist 2023


Been awhile since I did one of these. I tried to quickly pick some recent drawings , projects, or paintings that I like. Some of these are client work, but some are personal.  Top to bottom, left to right.
2. Alejandria Fights Back/ La Lucha de Alejandria by Rise Home Stories Project/ Leticia Hernandez-Linares
4. Character from We Are Yoga/Somos Yoga by Jill Guerra
5. Me
6. Illustration for In Dance Magazine
8. Cover of my book Fresh Juice/Jugo Fresco
9. Dr Muriel Petioni-Blk history month

Dig this? Check these out:

Apr 25, 2023

Illustration for "In Dance" Magazine


This is a fun project. Nkeiruka Oruche is the guest editor for this issue of "In Dance Magazine" and she invited me to write and illustrate a short personal experience relating to dance. When she asked me to participate my first thought was that I'm not a dancer but she wanted a mix of folks. Those whose creative practice it is to dance and those who've danced at some point in life, which I think is most of us.  Anyway, check out my illustration from the piece.

Read the whole magazine HERE

Here's my sketch, painting of dancers, and added background and text.

I had fun doing this and I'm thankful to writer, dancer, editor, multi-disciplinary artist Nkei for inviting me:). The magazine features a variety of folks from the Bay and nationally, regular folks and dancers of course with some interesting stories about family, tradition, culture, institutions, and lots of opportunities to move your body. Check it out!!!!!

Dig this? Check out 
-Illustrations for ACLU X Central Valley Report
-My PDF tips to become a freelance illustrator

Apr 23, 2023

Sketches 4


A page from my 2021 sketchbook

Sketch from a painting I did for The Center for Cultural Power (CultureStrike)

Sketch of Dr Muriel Petioni, mother of medicine in Harlem for BLK History Month

Sup with it fam, its been awhile since I shared some sketches from my process. I share process art a lot with different projects but sometimes I just love looking back at the sketches I made before painting some of my personal or client work. Sometimes the sketches are better than the final. Something about the energy in them.

Spreads from "I am Sausal Creek/ El Arroyo Sausal" written by Melissa Reyes and illustrated by me

Sketch for a painting of pioneering animator Brenda Banks for BLK History Month 

Letters for the 15th anniversary of the Trust Your Struggle Collective

One of many color sketches I did for a sticker

A sketch for a UC Berkeley project "We Too Belong"

Wanna see more of my sketches?

A doodle from my sketchbook
A sketch from a picture book called "We Are Yoga/ Somos Yoga" written by Jill Guerra and illustrated by me

One last one, these are sketches for a sticker I did that reminds me to PAUSE.

Dig these sketches? Check out this video of my last sketchbook tour. Thx for tuning in. Sign up for my newsletter or follow me on Instagram.