Discover Nikkei

Making it happen

Once I get the idea, the story’s not real until I write it down. Then I start off with doing an outline. My outlines are really loose; it might have snatches of dialogue, bits of action. It tells a coherent story, at least for me. From there, I would do thumbnail drawings; basically very small drawings where I would get a sheet of paper, 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper, and do four rectangles. And each of those four rectangles would represent one page of artwork. And I would do little breakdowns, small little stick figures basically. And they’re called thumbnails because they’re very small, a little bigger than your thumb. And that would be my script.

comics graphic novels manga

Date: September 28, 2010

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Lynn Yamasaki, Maria Kwong

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Stan Sakai was born in Kyoto, Japan, and raised in Hawai‘i. Sansei illustrator and writer Stan Sakai is known for his creation of the popular comic book character, “Usagi Yojimbo” in 1984. Since 1987, a series of comic books have detailed the adventures of Miyamoto Usagi, a samurai rabbit living in the late 16th and early 17th Century. Sakai is known for his incorporation of actual Japanese history and culture, once winning an award for “skillful weaving of facts and legends into his work.” An exhibition of his work was organized by the Museum in 2011. (August 2012)