We checked in recently with one of our favorite illustrators — and Lost At E Minor contributor — Yuko Shimizu: How has 2008 started for you? ‘I was just in the French Riviera with eighteen other illustrators and designers. It was our annual New Year’s retreat. People from all over Europe and North America meet up and spend a week together, exchange information, go see things together, or just have fun. It was fantastic, although we didn’t have the best weather’. You’re off to Venice next. What’s the purpose of the trip and where are you most excited about getting to there? ‘I’m in a group show of female illustrators from all over the world called Fabulous Colored Pencils in the World. The show was curated by Italian illustration organization called Teatrio, who are located in Venice. It was a traveling show for last two and half years, starting in Rome, then in Naples, and now in Venice. I unfortunately missed the first two, and this is probably the last one. So I did not want to miss it’. Does travel fuel your creativity? ‘Definitely!! Have you noticed your day feels a lot longer and richer when you are in a foreign place? When you in a place where everything you are familiar with, time just passes by so quickly and there are no stimulation. When you experience new things, you are totally stimulated all over and everything is just fresh, fresh, fresh. As an artist I feel I cannot lose that sense of freshness. When you lose it, you are over. I am fortunate to be able to travel a lot. Although, when I squeeze in a trip, my work schedule for before and after gets absolutely insane. I am in my studio seven days a week normally, but it gets like fourteen hours a day. But it’s so worth it to get out. When I am in New York, I can never get away from work. There are always things to work on. Because I have a personality where I cannot work if I am not in an absolute comfortable environment, travel gives me a chance not do work, but in a way it is work, because you cannot just produce, produce, and produce. You have to stop and take in information, learn things, experience, to be able to produce good work later’.