We’ve visited Stan Sakai’s studio. The author of Yusagi Jojimbo (published in the US by Dark Horse and in Italy by ReNoir).
What projects are you currently working on?
This year was very busy for me because Usagi guest starred in a three
part story in the Nickelodeon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles television series and toy
line. I am credited as writer for the first episode and I did some artwork for it. I
took a brief time off to write and draw a TMNT/Usagi Yojimbo crossover comic book
for IDW in the US, but now I am back to working on the regular Usagi Yojimbo series. In the picture below you can see a triangle, meter stick to draw perspective, a .3mm 2H mechanical pencil for roughing out my drawing, a .5mm HB mechanical pencil for finishing my pencil drawing, Platinum Carbon ink that I am currently trying, a 3.5 technical
pen for drawing the panel borders, fountain pen that I use for inking, eraser, and
a brush pen filled with Carbon ink that I use for inking large black areas.
Which instruments/tools do you use for drawing?
I still draw with pencil and pens on paper. The pen I use was discontinued many
years ago, but I drove all over Los Angeles buying up all those pens I could find. The problem for me now is finding a good ink. The ink I used had changed its formula and it is terrible. I have been trying out inks from all over the world but have not found one that I am truly happy with. I am currently using a brand of ink I order from Japan.
Do you have any peculiar habits or routines before starting to draw?
I don’t have any routines before starting work. I wake up early, do a few things
around the house, answer email, then start drawing about 9 AM.
Do you have books or comic books you keep close by when you draw?
I have a very nice library downstairs, and a few book cases in the studio. Most of my studio books are about feudal Japan or Japanese culture, history and folklore. I also have European graphic novels and Japanese manga for inspiration and research.
Are there certain objects in your studio which you’re particularly attached to?
I have toys in my studio, but there is not anything that I am particularly attached to. My wife, Julie, is an artist and we share studio space and I am very attached to her. I do have three bears that sit on the window sill and dance when it is sunny.