How To Get Specific and Bring Your Work ALIVE!

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. 

FCSLittleOrigamiGIANTBOAT.jpg

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. 

Umeda Sky building and bridge pic.jpg

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. 

Give people something they know and something new they’ve never experienced before.  Make them curious and then surprise them!


 

Ninja Space Bunny!- Inktober drawings the first week

Ninja Space Bunny hangs on!  Day 1 of Inktober from the prompt FAST!

Ninja Space Bunny hangs on!  Day 1 of Inktober from the prompt FAST!

Every October illustrators and cartoonists all over the world have the opportunity to participate in the daily drawing event entitled Inktober.  Created by the amazing artist, Jake Parker, the main rule is to create a drawing in ink on a regular basis in the month of October.  You can post something online every day or a few times a week.  The point is to push yourself, try something new and grow as an artist. 

Ninja Space Bunny should keep his music down.  Inktober day 2- NOISY

Ninja Space Bunny should keep his music down.  Inktober day 2- NOISY

I have been participating for the past two years and find it to be a challenge but a great way for my drawing skills to improve.  This year, without having regular Fried Chicken and Sushi comics to draw, I chose to try and post something every day.  I never work much with animals so each week I'll focus on a different cartoon animal and illustrate it using the prompt list Jake Parker came up with.  It's great because each day there's a word to use as inspiration for drawing ideas. 

"In space, carrots are hard to come by.  You must collect them when you can." -Ninja Space Bunny  Inktober day 3- COLLECT

"In space, carrots are hard to come by.  You must collect them when you can." -Ninja Space Bunny

Inktober day 3- COLLECT

Here are all 7 of the first round of Inktober drawings done mainly with Pigma Micron pens, Sharpies and even an inexpensive Magic Drawing Pen I bought at a 100 Yen store in Japan.  The theme revolves around a Ninja Space Bunny and his adventures.  A silly concept but it was more fun to draw than I expected.  Hope you enjoy them!

You can keep up with my Inktober drawings on Instagram where I'm friedchicksushi and also on Twitter as @khalidbirdsong.

Ninja Space Bunny should remember to eat before a spy mission! Inktober day 4- HUNGRY

Ninja Space Bunny should remember to eat before a spy mission! Inktober day 4- HUNGRY

Ninja Space Bunny is so tough, he cuts cake with his hands!  Unfortunately, no one ever comes to his birthday parties. Inktober day 5- SAD

Ninja Space Bunny is so tough, he cuts cake with his hands!  Unfortunately, no one ever comes to his birthday parties. Inktober day 5- SAD

Ninja Space Bunny finally convinced a friend to come over to his ship to play hide and seek!  Inktober day 6- HIDDEN

Ninja Space Bunny finally convinced a friend to come over to his ship to play hide and seek!  Inktober day 6- HIDDEN

Some say he gave up on the life of being a Ninja Space Bunny.  Others say, he was just lost. Inktober day 7- LOST

Some say he gave up on the life of being a Ninja Space Bunny.  Others say, he was just lost.
Inktober day 7- LOST