Authors: Stories Behind the Books, Sanae Ishida
My Author project continues to go strong and the support as been tremendous. However, I am starting the next stage of the project and that is display. Before I close this project temporarily, I do have a couple more Authors to share with you. I hope you all have been enjoying the Authors that I am spotlighting, they have been some of the nicest, interesting, funny, and creative people I have come in contact with other this past year. For this post I photographed Sanae Ishida (pronounced '"Sun-Eye"). Sanae is an author in two genres, children's and crafts-sewing specifically. Below Sanae talks about her influences, her love for both illustration and sewing and how it helped her get on a more stable path for her life.
You have written books for two different genres, children's and craft. Which one came first for you? I wrote the children's book, Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl, first. While I was working on that book, I signed the contract for Sewing Happiness, which is the craft book/memoir.
When we chatted on the phone, you initially talked about how your mom was a great influence to you. How so?
My mom is a prolific artist and I can't remember a time when she wasn't painting or knitting or experimenting with sculpture, etc. She sewed all of my and my two brothers' clothes and could build a stellar playhouse out of whatever she had on hand. She's also a phenomenal cook. She basically did all of this while working as the breadwinner for our family, first as a waitress and then as a silk screen color technician for Disney and other fine artist reproductions. I believed (and still believe) that she was a hybrid of Wonder Woman and a magician and seeing that constant flow of creativity made it normal for my siblings and me to try various "artistic" endeavors too. I don't think it's an accident that both my brothers are comic artists and that I'm writing and illustrating books.
You had to go through some really difficult times to eventually rediscover your passion for sewing (and painting?). Can you talk about that part of your life and what did you learn most from it?
Now that it's been over four years since I went through the "debacle" as I think of it, when I was fired and sick and in bad shape all around, the specifics surrounding the time have faded in my mind. I'm so glad I've recorded them in the book to remind myself! The lessons are still front and center however: the importance of the basics. And by basics, I really just mean taking care of myself first and not in a self-indulgent way. I learned how vital it is to figure out what my body and mind need to stay healthy, to cultivate positive relationships, to make time to use my hands to create things I find beautiful. I didn't actually want the book to be solely about sewing, but about finding meaningful aspects of life and wholeheartedly pursuing them.
What skill level can one expect from Sewing Happiness? Any general advice for someone who is thinking about taking up sewing?
It's a book targeted for beginners, but the projects have enough customizability for more seasoned sewing enthusiasts to add their own flair. At least that was my hope. If you're thinking of taking up sewing, I would recommend first borrowing a sewing machine, or purchasing an inexpensive one, or trying out a class at a local fabric shop. Like any craft, your pocketbook could easily be emptied out with all the various equipments available and you want to make sure that you enjoy it. My first sewing machine was a $50 Singer from Target and I made so many tiny baby dresses and fell head over heels in love with sewing. I eventually upgraded to a nicer machine but still have that Singer!
Little Kunoichi, The Ninja Girl has beautiful, vibrant colors to help illustrate the story of Little Kunoichi. How fun was the process to work with different color palettes and sketching out the ideas to create her world?
So much fun! I often talk about how the story of Little Kunoichi pretty much rolled into my mind like a silent movie reel. I mentally saw all the illustrations first and then added text. The whole process was immensely enjoyable.
Is it true you based Little Kunoichi off of your own daughter? What characteristics does she share with Little Kunoichi?
Yes. My daughter's name starts with the letter "K" so there's that connection, but she's also a very persistent and hard-working little girl. And hilarious. I suppose you can never force humor, but I really tried to infuse the book with the sweet funniness that seems to naturally be part of kids.
What else is in the works for you? Any follow-ups to Little Kunoichi or Sewing Happiness?
I'm currently working on the quasi-sequel to Little Kunoichi, which will be released Fall of 2017, and then the third book in the series will be released Fall of 2018. I just turned in the rough art for the next book and am deeply in watercolor painting mode for the final art at the moment. I'm loving it!
To learn more about Sanae Ishida, find her books, and follow her great creative projects, go to: http://www.sanaeishida.com/
Thank you Sanae for being a part of this project.
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