Q&A with Yumi Sakugawa

Yumi Sakugawa is a Los Angeles comic book artist who has published several illustrated books, including I Think I Am In Friend-Love With You. Her comics address the awkwardness of life,  personal anxiety, how to meditate and other revelations. Yumi, a fine arts graduated from UCLA, turned 31 this past Monday and will release a new book Prettier Smarter Better in 2017. Her comic Bear Cult Worship is featured in the January issue of DIME and the back of the Big Ass Calendar. We caught up with Yumi to learn about her life off the page.

Yumi Sakugawa

Yumi Sakugawa

JL: Have you ever faced pressure to stray from the creative world and work in a more “traditional” field? How did you combat that? 

YS: I feel pretty lucky because the last day job I had was working as a blog editor for a wellness and self-help internet start-up website, where I got to do a lot of writing and very basic Photoshop design work. It wasn’t creative all the time, but it was definitely more creative than your run-of-the-mill office job. Honestly, though I felt very insecure about pursuing comics in my early twenties, I also had this very arrogant, entitled assumption that I would be working as a creative person in some way or another no matter what. 

JL: If you could be any illustrated character in the world for a day, who would you be and why?

YS: The bunny wearing the white and blue striped pajamas in the picture book Goodnight Moon. I am a big fan of sleeping.

JL: What’s the furthest you have travelled from California, and what destination is highest on your bucket list?

YS: I studied abroad in Singapore during my university days, and while I was there I traveled all throughout Southeast Asia: Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia. I really want to go to Nepal.  

JL:Is there an instance where you used your artwork to accomplish something in the 2D world that you couldn’t do in real life?
YS: I think my mindful creatures in the 2D world are way more chilled out and attentive than real life me. JL: Do your comics and books address any of your personal vices? What would you say is your worst vice or bad habit? What is your best quality?

YS: So many of my stories deal with a desire to feel connected, but going about it in a passive aggressive or ineffective way. My worst bad habit right now is mindlessly going online a lot out of boredom or a desire for external validation. My best quality is being an attentive listener. 

JL: What will Prettier Smarter Better be about?

YS: Prettier Smarter Better is an illustrated book of life hacks and DIY projects geared towards young women. Secretly, it will also be an art book full of fabulous looking creatures wearing really amazing outfits.

JL: What were you listening to most recently? Reading? 
I just finished listening to the audiobook version of Mindy Kaling’s book Why Not Me? I am slowly reading through Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality by Gloria Anzaldua.
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  • Enjoyed reading this, very good stuff, appreciate it. “Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.” by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.

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