Jolene Siana

MariNaomi is the award-winning author and illustrator of four comic memoirs and creator of the Cartoonists of Color database. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and many cats and dogs. Visit her website at


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

As a young girl: The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams and illustrated by William Nicholson
Age 10: 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
Age 11: Slapstick by Kurt Vonnegut

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”—Anaïs Nin

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Cheryl Strayed, Emil Ferris, and Mary Fleener

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

See my artist statement:

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Don’t worry about what other people might like, make what YOU love. Your love will shine through and make other people love it too.