David Rickert

I grew up in Columbus, Ohio surrounded by stacks of MAD Magazines, Calvin and Hobbes collections, and Walt Disney comics. I spent most of my free time learning about sable hair brushes, non-repro blue pencils, and Bristol board so I could pursue a career drawing a comic strip in the style of Sergio Aragonés or Bill Watterson.

However, that didn’t happen. I went to The Ohio State University instead. But I never gave up on the dream. Following in the footsteps of Jeff Smith (whose “Thorn” was a comic strip I admired), I drew a daily strip in The Lantern for most of my college years. After receiving a teaching degree and spending a few years in the classroom, the itch to create comics resurfaced. I headed back to the drawing board (literally) to create comics for use in the classroom. Educators from around the world have enthusiastically embraced my comics as an effective way to approach difficult language arts concepts, especially to reluctant readers and English language learners.

What do you love to do for fun?

Kickboxing! Everyday!

Why did you leave Japan to America?

When I was a kid, I watched a movie Back to the Future and got a huge crush on Michael J Fox. I wanted to be his girlfriend. That’s the main reason why I moved to America. Hahaha!




Art Process:

For years I worked in traditional media with pencil and ink on paper. Over the past year I switched to working digitally. My work process is pretty similar to other artists: I do some rough sketches and thumbnails and then progressively move up to more detailed drawings. For my clients, I like to get them involved with the drafting stage. I see my work as a collaboration between two people – the one who has the idea, and me, the one who can bring it to life. I’m a person who always appreciates another person’s help with the development of artwork, and I love to work with editors and writers in a collaboration to come up with something better than what I could have done on my own. 

Forthcoming books:

Bounce Back, Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan, Fall 2021

Published books:

Biker Girl, Hyperion 2006
Rock and Roll Love, Hyperion 2007
Detective Jermain, Henry Holt 2009
How to Find a Gaijin Boyfriend Discover 21, Japan, 2014
New York Life Style: How to make your life fun and exciting Discover 21, Japan, 2015
How to speak English with Misako’s method, Ascom Publisher, Japan, 2015


Visit Misako at:

Awards and honors:

NYPL Best Teens Book List, 2007
Selected as one of 5 Japanese artists to meet Japanese Prime Minister Abe, 2015

Available for School Visits:

I’ve been teaching manga at so many schools! I offer a Manga Drawing Workshop for all ages, where I teach students how to create their own manga characters step by step. I also offer a motivational talk aimed at middle and high school student called “How Misako became a manga artist in America!” I use a slideshow with photos of Japan and comic books to talk about why and how I left Japan and became a manga artist in America.