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Even though I'm usually not conscious of it, I think drawing has always served a sort of therapeutic purpose in my life. There's something about the process of translating the messy chaos of real life into a clean, simple drawing that's always been comforting to me.
The art editor in charge of the covers at the 'New Yorker' is Francoise Mouly. She's very familiar with the eccentricities and personalities of cartoonists, so working with her is very easy.
A lot of the qualities in 'Killing and Dying' is sort of a response to work I'd done previously. I wanted to push myself in some different directions.
The basic work schedule for me is whenever I'm not doing anything more important, like taking care of my kids or something. So, it's most of the day, five days a week, most evenings and sometimes on the weekends.
I think the response I get to one 'New Yorker' cover outweighs five books that I publish.
I enjoy getting any kind of mail. Like, for me, like, the more interesting a letter is, I just get more excited, and I know that this going to be great for my friends who are looking forward to reading that in my comic.
The comics work is very slow, and it basically involves working for sometimes years in isolation and not knowing how the work is going to be received.
To be perfectly honest, if it was up to me, I would be invisible as an artist.
I do think that many Americans have a limited view of what constitutes Japanese cartooning based on what gets translated, so it's great to see an increase in diversity.
I'm not the best person to analyze any kind of evolution in my work, but I do feel like it's been an ongoing struggle to basically teach myself how to tell the kinds of stories that interest me in comics form.
A lot of my fears come out in my work rather than life.
Most normal boys, as they're growing up, they - in order to become attractive, they might, you know, get good at sports or join a rock band or develop good social skills, and for some reason, I thought that drawing comic books might be my route.
The most impactful comics that I've read are the ones where the artists swung for the bleachers and tried to immerse you in their world.
I love the idea of trying to do the work of old-fashioned novelists of plotting and of really making you curious about what's going to happen next and all that, but also trying to load it up with your weird thoughts and opinions.
I'm always a little apprehensive about 'decoding' fictional stories.
Fortunately, I've never had to be too critical of my own work, because the world is critical enough.
When email and the Internet came along, I never publish an email address. I just stuck with this P.O. Box address.
I'm Japanese, but restaurants in my hometown served the most sanitized versions of California rolls. I grew up eating a lot of Japanese food at home that my parents or grandparents made.
I had a mundane, happy childhood, without much struggle.
There's a part of me that feels like it gets really frustrating to keep working in the manner that I made the book 'Shortcomings,' where everything is pretty accurate to the real world.
I'm not the kind of person who would throw himself into some exciting or dangerous situation just to get material. So I tend to go about my normal, boring life and just try to look at things a little more closely.
I never really thought of myself as an Asian-American cartoonist, any more than I thought of myself as a cartoonist who wears glasses.
There have been a handful of assignments over the years that I've had to turn down due to time constraints, and I was fairly envious when I saw the finished product, beautifully illustrated by someone else.
New York is a brutally expensive place to live, and the kind of person who might have the dedication and esoteric taste to make the comics that I would really love is finding it more relaxing to live elsewhere.
I've always liked the tradition of publishing work serially in the comic-book 'pamphlet' format and then collecting that work in book form, so I've just stuck with it.
I really love New York, but I have to say, the humidity during the summer is a nightmare for a cartoonist. Not only am I sweating in my studio, my bristol board is curling up, the drafting tape is peeling off the board, my Rapidograph pens bleed the minute I put them to paper... it's a disaster.
My responsibility is to present things in a way that is realistic and true to the multifaceted world I've known... This is how I think the world is, not how it should be.
I wanted to be as invisible as possible as an artist. I wanted to differentiate between myself and who I'm writing about.
All my stories take place on the West Coast - not the beach, but smaller inland towns. I feel homesick, and I find inspiration in capturing that.
What was a very private childhood hobby turned into a very a public, professional job, and I think that there's a lot of inhibition that can grow from that.
I don't pick up my work at all. If it's something that's still in progress and I have the chance to make some edits on the material or think about the order, little things like that, I'll keep those stories at hand and go through them. But once it exists as the book, it's locked away in a vault, and I kind of put it behind me.
I used to live in Chris Rock's former apartment. I've got some junk mail for him if he wants it.
To me, one of the big fears of doing a big huge graphic novel is locking yourself into one style and getting halfway through it and going, 'Oh I made the wrong choice,' which is a recurring nightmare I have.
I was thinking about what it was like for my parents to have a strange kid with a hobby or a pursuit that maybe they weren't that familiar with. It must have been a strange experience - nerve-wracking, in some ways.
I had relatives who would go to Japan and bring back random stuff they bought at the airport or whatever - 'Ultraman' and 'Speed Racer,' stuff like that.
I intentionally approached each story in 'Killing and Dying' in a different way, and that includes the writing process.