Location: Orange County, CA
Occupation: Comic book artist and illustrator
Yumi Sakugawa is a comic book artist and the author of “I Think I Am in Friend-Love with You” and “Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe.” She is a regular comic contributor to The Rumpus and WonderHowTo.com. The editors of The Best American Comics selected her short comic stories “Mundane Fortunes for the Next Ten Billion Years” and “Seed Bomb” as Notable Comics of 2012 and 2013, respectively. Yumi’s comics have also appeared in Bitch, The Best American Non required Reading 2014, Folio, Fjords Review, and other publications. She is a graduate from the fine art program of University of California, Los Angeles, and lives in Southern California.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Orange County, and then I went to UCLA for school. I worked abroad in Japan for a year and then moved back to Los Angeles. I have more or less oscillated between Los Angeles and Orange County. I’ve toyed with the idea of moving to a brand new city, but when it comes down to it, I love living in Los Angeles. I can’t really imagine a better place for myself.
What are you working on now?
I am currently in the midst of book touring for my newest book, Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe. I am also finishing up a mini-comic that Sparkplug Comics will publish by the end of the year. This will coincide with Sparkplug Comic’s official debut at Comic Arts Los Angeles (CALA) on December 6 at Think Tank Gallery, in Downtown Los Angeles. I’ve also been working on a secret project, and if the secret project succeeds, I will tell you (and everyone else) all about it.
Why do you choose art?
I don’t know if I chose art, or if art chose me. I am the biggest liar and the most honest person when I make art. Art is my way of making visible the invisible things that are difficult for me to otherwise say to myself or to another person. Sometimes, what can’t be said to you in words can be said to you far better in a comic story about cat people and time travel.
Who are your influences? What are you reading?
I am sure I am forgetting many people, but off the top of my head, some literary influences are: Aimee Bender, Haruki Murakami, Jhumpa Lahiri, Alice Munro, Banana Yoshimoto, Nicky Sae-un Shildkraut. Comic art influences are: Jillian Tamaki, Adrian Tomine, Rutu Modan, Anders Nielsen, Moto Hagio, Naoko Takeuchi. I also love the cinematic language of Sion Sono and the visual language of Audrey Kawasaki. Two playwright influences are José Rivera and Naomi Wallace. Right now, I am slowly working my way through the anthology, Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 . (I conveniently got a free copy mailed to me because Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One with the Universe is excerpted in it!)
What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing a career as an independent comic book writer and artist?
Meditate. Sign up for comic and zine conventions and make that your deadline for finishing a project. Make friends with other artists and creators who are dedicated to their craft. Be a little scared of the work you are sharing with the world. Take comfort in the fact that you will be so much better as an artist five, ten years down the line if you keep working at your art. It’s okay if you want to make a bunch of short comic stories and not a 300-page graphic novel. It’s been about six years since I made my first 30-page mini-comic. Eleven self-published mini-comics and two published books later, I feel like I am still figuring out my style and my voice.
For information about Yumi please scroll down to the bottom of the page.
November 17 -MariNaomi & Yumi Sakugawa & John Porcellino @ Hollywood Theater, 7:00PM / Portland (hosted by Reading Frenz)
Contact Info and Websites:
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/yumiverse
Other: Online shop: http://yumisakugawa.bigcartel.com/