Scribble Artist Interview with Yumi Sakugawa!
Scribble Town (ST): Sincerity, smiles, and superstar sister superheroes come to mind when I think of Yumi Sakugawa’s comics and illustrations. Based in Southern California, she is the author of I THINK I AM IN FRIEND-LOVE WITH YOU and her second book YOUR ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO BECOMING ONE WITH THE UNIVERSE comes out in December 2014. As Yumi puts it, “When I am not busy making comics, I am drinking a lot of coffee and eating a lot of tacos. I love tacos so much.”
Getting to know Yumi and her artwork has touched parts of my soul that were getting sleepy. Rise and shine!
Yumi, where are you now and what are you up to these days? It looks like May has been a busy month for you!
Yumi Sakugawa (YS): Currently I am working on freelance illustration work and my next long comic story. And yes, May has been a busy month for me! I was exhibiting at the Toronto Comics and Arts Festival and the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. They were both very fun events and in Chicago I finally had a chance to eat their famous deep-dish pizza.
ST: Comic book writing fits you so well! What came first- the writing or the illustrating? How and when did you begin putting the puzzle pieces together?
YS: I think the drawing came first before the writing, though both are so intertwined in my head it is difficult to decipher where one discipline ends and the other begins. I always suspected that I would end up becoming a cartoonist since I was 8 or 9, but it probably wasn’t until after college that the two disciplines really came together and I began pursuing comics full force.
ST: Was there somebody that encouraged you or inspired you to make such beautiful stories and images?
YS: My parents were always encouraging about my creative pursuits and I had a couple of amazing English teachers throughout middle school and high school.
ST: I always have to say, “Thank You, Teachers” whenever I hear that.
Congratulations on your recent book release of I THINK I AM IN FRIEND-LOVE WITH YOU! I know exactly what you mean when you say, “in friend-love with you”. It speaks to all of us, I think. How did the idea for the book come about? Who is the main character in the book?
YS: The idea for the book came from my own friend-love experiences during my formative years– middle school, high school, college. So yeah, it is pretty autobiographical. The main character in the book is me, you, anyone who understands what these words mean.
ST: Your illustrated meditation guides are absolutely beautiful! For me, reading them was almost a meditative practice in itself. I slowed down and listened to how the words resonated in my heart and laughed at how the pictures tickled my eyes. I’m curious how you discovered meditation and if you have any more tutorials coming up. How does this philosophy and practice get integrated into your work?
YS: I discovered meditation when I was working abroad in Japan because one of my friends who is a yoga instructor lent me her copy of A NEW EARTH by Eckhart Tolle and my boyfriend gave me an audiobook copy of David Lynch’s book CATCHING THE BIG FISH, which is an autobiographical book about the film director deepening his creative practice through regular meditation.
Meditation is an important aspect of my creative practice. It clears my head, deepens my soul and challenges me to live more fully.
I started regularly making weekly meditation comics for Intent.com. You can check them out here! http://intentblog.com/
ST: Where do you find yourself feeling really inspired to create? Is there a different creative process for when you are writing as opposed to illustrating?
YS: Right now I am working on a 2-page comic essay for a publication I really love. I am having a really difficult time getting the writing part done. Usually with my comics, the writing and the narrative has to feel very secure before I begin drawing.
ST: If you could be a smell, what would you be?
YS: Eucalyptus leaves
ST: Mmm, the smell of healing and freshness.
Any last tips on art making for our Scribblers?
YS: Be honest. Tell the truth. Be sincere. Work hard. Surround yourself with good company, with the kind of artists you want to be yourself. Keep going even if you hate everything you are making. I feel like I am still figuring things out.
ST: Thank you for that. Yumi, it’s been so nice to have you with us in Scribble Town! Scribblers, for more thoughtful thoughts, please go to www.yumisakugawa.com.