Through his years spent working with internationally celebrated brands like Google, Nike, and Pepsi, HZ’s newest Creative Director has maintained a high standard for imagination and storytelling.
So it may seem odd that his creative side project involves a model who poses without form, drools mid-take, and even sleeps on the job.
But it’s not that Quan’s muse is lazy—he just hasn’t had his second birthday yet.
From Dreams to Doodles
Over the past year, Quan has reached a level of internet fame for an artistic side project he began a year ago. His blog, Khoi World, features photographs of his son, Khoi, sprawled in candid poses only a child could achieve. In their original form, these snapshots look like your average baby pictures—but then Quan gets to work.
Quan transforms the images of Khoi into quirky, comic art by overlaying pencil doodles. These simple additions give the photograph new life and a touch of whimsy—bringing to life the joy of a child’s imagination. Khoi has been transformed into a knight, a Jedi, a Hobbit, and a painter, just to name a few.
I sat down with HZ’s newest Creative Director to talk a little about how he got started, how the project evolved, and where it goes from here.
Can you remember the first photograph you doodled on? What inspired you to add to the world around Khoi?
The first doodle I did was of a photo of Khoi laying on the couch. He was around a month old when I took the photo. There was just something about the way his body was positioned that made me picture him as Thor. So I downloaded a drawing app onto my iPad and made the drawing. I posted it on Facebook that night and the next day when I woke up, I had so many kind comments and text messages from my friends about the doodle, encouraging me to keep doing them. It meant a lot, so I decided to keep going. I was inspired by the thought that this little baby can grow up to be anything, and I enjoyed daydreaming about all of those possibilities. It also gave me an excuse to take a lot of pictures of my son—then I kind of got obsessed for a while.
What does your process look like? Do you stage the photos, go in with some rough ideas, or let the photos inspire your doodles?
I let the photos inspire the doodles. I have my wife to thank for taking a lot of the pictures during the day while I was at work. Her pictures would spark my imagination, so when I got home at night, I would turn them into new doodles.
The photos are adorable—but there’s a lot of cute stuff on the Internet. What is it about your work that resonates so strongly with people?
I think the doodles speak to a universal truth for parents, which revolves around a limitless love for our kids. We want the best for them, we want them to be happy and engaged and have a life full of joy and adventure. And we want to be there for them to encourage them to chase their dreams.
It also doesn’t hurt that Khoi is pretty cute. (I’m super biased.)
Do you have a personal favorite?
That’s a trick question! I love them all. He can be anything!
Is there an end point in mind? I can’t imagine an angsty teenager being too happy with you digging through his Instagram and doodling over his selfies…
I did these doodles for Khoi’s 1st year. One day, when he’s old enough to understand, I’ll share these with him. You know, to let him know that he could be anything. And no matter what that thing is, as long as he loves it, I’ll be proud of him. This was the last Khoi doodle I did on his 1st birthday:
A NOTE FROM QUAN: Khoi’s doodles travelled all over the world on the internet. There were articles about him in Japan, France, China, Spain and more. He was also on TV in Vietnam. I joked with my wife that he travelled more before turning 1 than I travelled in my 20s. Below is a list of articles written about him.
Circo Viral (Spain)
Spot News (Malaysia)
Shanghai Daily News (China)
English DBW (China)
Style 4 Design (Japan)
English Channel (China)
A Day Magazine (China)
Beauty Yahoo (Japan)