Spotlight on Ohlone:
Vistas | Seabright State Beach - Enthralled at the Ocean's Edge

[Karen Luk works in the Ohlone College Student Services division, running the Placement Testing Center.]

By Carol Pogash.

Saturday, February 13, 2010—Reprinted from New York Times: Bay Area Report.

Karen Luk’s family of doctors and engineers assumed she would follow their lead. But after she discovered comic books as a child, she opted for art and storytelling. Ms. Luk creates manga comics—pocket-size tales about flecks of life most of us barely notice. She eschews digital drawings, preferring pencil, ink and watercolors. She takes people into her imaginings, where children ride giant crows and a rain puddle is as deep and mesmerizing as the sea. She finds inspiration at Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz. (Ms. Luk’s words have been edited and condensed.) -- Carol Pogash

Painting: Woman sitting on rocks with waves rolling toward beach. The beach that inspires the manga artist Karen Luk is her subject this time. —Photo by Karen Luk.

An Ideal Marriage

People think what I do is kids’ stuff. Not really. When writing a story for comics, it’s a challenge to draw everything. It’s the marriage of words and pictures. You have to think of pacing: How many beats for a conversation? How many headshots? I have to cast the characters. What will they be wearing? What’s the color of their eyes? It’s cinematic, and I’m the director of the film.

The Tiny Me

Even though my stories often have real-life inspirations, I spend at least a couple hours of the day in my fictional world. I can go to Lake Elizabeth Park in Fremont near where I live but I prefer something vast, something that reminds me there’s a larger world beyond the Internet and my desk, something that makes me feel small.

Into the Depths

I like to walk along the beach in Santa Cruz. The ocean covers two-thirds of earth and we humans haven’t explored all of it yet. A lot of possibilities exist there. Weird octopuses, animals that live without sunlight, there’s a lot of mystery. And there’s the mystery of where we came from, from the ocean.

Staying Dry

It’s very cold so I don’t go in. I usually walk along the beach at sunrise or sunset by myself or with my fiancé. I watch the waves come in.

Another World

Water is intrinsic to my work. I think of water as a medium for another world. Sometimes I watch the ocean waves to empty my mind of ideas so I can have new ones. I’m inspired by the ocean. It’s another way to think about a part of the environment that’s still untamed.

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