An early member of the Việt Minh, Phan Kế An joined the movement while a student at the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de l’Indochine. He also persuaded his father to switch sides from working for Emperor Bảo Đại to serving Hồ Chí Minh. His father eventually became vice-premier of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) under Hồ Chí Minh.
An’s sketches depicted female militia soldiers in the central and northern provinces of Vietnam. An drew the first sketch (fig. 1) in Thanh Hoá Province, on the North Central Coast region of Vietnam.
In another sketch (fig. 2), the militia soldier is drawn cleaning her gun. This time in Quảng Bình Province, Quảng Tiến is a commune and village in Quảng Trạch District in central Vietnam.