While I love so many books some of my favorites when I was a kid and still to this day are: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and also The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton, Castle (or anything) by David Macaulay and anything by Richard Scarry! All of those books made me want to become an artist some day!
I like to take a long walk or a long bath. I visit Japan a lot and they have some of the best baths around so I am really inspired there!
I love gardening so I would love to make gardens or help make ponds or streams with fish and waterfalls.
My wife is from Japan and our son is half Japanese so the combination of our cultures really inspires me to see the good in many different cultures, people and places around the world.
The biggest challenge was having someone taking a chance on me. My agent and editor really really helped me!
I'm sure it's so different for many people but for me it starts as just an idea in the middle of a walk or bath or travel or a subway ride. The ideas normally just pop in there. The hardest part is when you are looking for an idea, The best ideas are the ones that find me I think!
My next book I worked on is called "Tomorrow is Waiting ". It was the first book I did not write but only illustrated. It is written by Kiley Frank. I was so happy to work on this book and try to make every page a new adventure and culture around the world. I also tried to be looser in the paintings and loved the whole experience!