Fanbase Press Interviews Danica Davidson and Rena Saiya on the Release of ‘Chalk Art Manga’ with Skyhorse Publishing

The following is an interview with Danica Davidson and Rena Saiya regarding the recent release of the Manga instructional book, Chalk Art Manga, through Skyhorse Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Davidson and Saiya about their shared creative process in compiling the instructional guide, what they hope that readers will take away from the book, and more!



Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the release of Chalk Art Manga!  What inspired this latest installment to your Manga instructional series (including Manga Art for Beginners and Manga Art for Intermediates), and who would be the ideal audience for the guide?

Danica Davidson: Julie Ganz, who is an editor at Skyhorse, approached me and asked what I thought about the idea of making a book on how to draw in the manga style with chalk. Like most American kids, I grew up doing chalk art, and since I’m a big manga fan who has made manga a major part of my career, I thought it sounded like a great combination. I was immediately interested and starting thinking of all sorts of colorful drawings we could make.

Chalk Art Manga ranges from simple drawings (like cute sushi and cute desserts) to more complex drawings (like the ninja, the magical girl, and the Harajuku girl). So, this book really is for all drawing levels, especially since it really shows how to do it step by step. It’s also for all ages.

Rena Saiya: Danica informed me of the new book plan, and I found it interesting and decided to join it. I think anyone who is interested in manga and chalk art or drawing illustrations can enjoy this book.

BD: In having worked together on several projects, do you find that you shared a creative “shorthand” when collaborating on new content?

DD: I love working with Rena. She is a great artist with lots of experience in the world of creating manga. When I first met her, I told her I was doing a book on manga art that would really show the steps in drawing, because I feel a lot of American how-to-draw manga books don’t show enough steps, and oftentimes the drawings don’t even look that much like manga. Rena knew exactly what I meant and because she’s also a drawing teacher, she’s excellent at showing people the steps.

RS: When I work with Danica, usually, my role is drawing illustrations.

First, she tells me the plan of a project and the type of illustrations I'm supposed to draw. When needed, I ask her to show me some sample illustrations which are close to her intention. With the impression of the samples, and a kind of "database of manga experiences" in my memory, I try to figure out what I should do and draw.  I think seeing appropriate samples is the fastest way to understand things related to the project.


BD: In being the first book of its kind, did you feel that there were even more topics regarding manga chalk art that you were unable to fill within the pages of this volume (and might we see future installments)?

DD: There were more characters we were hoping to include. But because we show so many steps, we ended up running out of pages. Hopefully, we can make a sequel and show those other drawings, as well! 

RS:If we could publish a sequel, we would like to include them and other characters who can charm American readers.

BD: What makes Skyhorse Publishing the best home for this book?

DD: It was an editor at Skyhorse who approached me about this book, so that makes it perfect!

RS: It's the first publisher where I published a book with Danica, and the chalk art book plan is created by them.

BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

DD: Rena’s and my book, Manga Art for Intermediates, is being re-launched as Manga Art for Everyone. The cover is different, but what’s inside the book is the same. This book is the direct sequel to Manga Art for Beginners, but, unfortunately, the “Intermediates” in the title intimidated some people who don’t think they’re at the intermediate level. So, it’s being retitled to let people understand it’s much more accessible than that. Manga Art for Everyone is available online and in stores.

BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about your work and to purchase Chalk Art Manga?

DD: Chalk Art Manga is available in stores and online retailers, and you can order it from your retailer of choice through Skyhorse, or go directly to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. to order a copy.

This is my eighteenth book, and people can learn more about it and my other books on my website, I’ve also published Minecrafter adventure books for ages 7-12, as well as some comics, and my other latest book is a serious nonfiction book titled I Will Protect You that I wrote with Holocaust survivor Eva Kor.

RS: My future plan is to publish a manga series in English, though it has not been realized yet. As for my work available on Amazon, there is The Salaryman. It's a comical culture gap book between the US and Japan, and I joined the book as an illustrator.

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