Yuko Ota was born and raised in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. She went to school at the Rochester Institute of Technology and graduated in 2008 with a BS in Sequential Art. She has done comics work for Dark Horse and Oni Press, as well as Graphic Universe. Yuko currently lives in Brooklyn, and likes cats and drawing comics!
What was your favorite book when you were a child?
My mom was a librarian when I was growing up, so I had a LOT of books that I liked. My mom informs me that I my favorites when I was very young were The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle and Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. The first books I remember reading to myself that I really loved were the Nate the Great stories by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
“He told me that once he forgot himself & his heart opened up like a door with a loose latch & everything fell out & he tried for days to put it all back in the proper order, but finally he gave up & left it there in a pile & loved everything equally.” —Going Somewhere Soon by Brian Andreas
Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?
Wow, this is difficult! It’s so hard to choose…
1.) Jeff Smith: The writer and illustrator of Bone, Shazam, and recently, RASL. He’s a fantastic storyteller and writer! Bone is still one of the most epic and beautiful comics I’ve ever read, and Jeff Smith himself continues to be an inspiration to me.
2.) Osamu Tezuka: The writer and illustrator of Astro Boy, Black Jack, Unico, Phoenix, Kimba the White Lion, and too many other books to name, many of which haven’t been translated into English. He completed over 700 volumes of comics in his lifetime! I have a large library of his work, and was recently able to visit his museum while visiting Japan.
3.) J. W. Waterhouse: A Victorian-era painter who primarily did work based off Greek and Arthurian mythology. I’m an avid fan of many cultural mythologies, and the stories behind of his subject matter and his gorgeous presentation are always exciting to me.
Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?
When I was very young, I had all these fantastic images and creatures in my head that I wanted to see represented on paper. I looked through as many books as I could get my hands on, but nothing ever came close to what I wanted to see. That’s when I started drawing as much as I could!
Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?
Never stop learning and never stop being curious!