Let’s just say you want your art, writing or comics to feel more genuine and appealing to your audience.
I’m finding that making sure to add in specific aspects of the culture or area where the characters are living but adding problems we all recognize, makes your work feel ultra-specific but relatable at the same time.
For this Little Fried Chicken and Sushi comic, I needed to show Tanuki using his magic and the theme for the week’s strips was Origami paper folding. That in and of itself pertains to Japanese culture, but I wanted to see if I could add more.
I jumped over to Google and looked up the most popular things to make with Origami. Cranes, shuriken, boats and paper cranes came up. A boat! They could be riding on a large origami boat that Tanuki made. But where?
It could be going down the river in their town of Shimamoto but the background is rural so would not look like any recognizable place in Japan.
Choosing the Yodo river that runs through Osaka city would give more choices of buildings and bridges to draw that readers who have been to the city would know.
Drawing the Umeda Sky Building behind them was a fun addition. The curving white bridge to the left of them- I have no idea what it’s named- is a well-known sight in Osaka as well.
Coming up with the joke is the challenge. I asked myself, “What’s the problem in this situation?”
That was an easy answer for this strip. The boat is made out of paper!
Perhaps, Tanuki’s magic is surrounding the paper boat and allowing them to stay afloat but the fact is the situation is odd. Come to think of it, so is a ‘paper’ boat!
You know, if this were real life, someone would have pointed that out. J is usually the character who thinks about important issues or solves problems creatively. So, it felt natural that he should be the one delivering the punchline.
When you’re writing or drawing, keep asking yourself how you can make it specific and general at the same time.