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

Happy Batman Day!

Little prancing Batman ready to fight crime with a flair for the silly!

Little prancing Batman ready to fight crime with a flair for the silly!

Saturday, September 17th 2016, marked Batman Day, a time to commemorate the creation of the Dark Knight and appreciate the cultural impact the character has had on the whole entire world!  Special events were held around the globe and celebrities, artists and big companies joined in. 

Me?  I completely forgot!  

Batman is my favorite superhero and even though life has been pretty busy lately, I squeezed in time to draw the above sketch.  Actually, I didn't draw this one until a few days after Batman Day but it was still fun. 

It's quite pleasurable to take serious characters and add a little silly to them.  Can you imagine how odd it would look to see Batman prancing down the street at night?  He'd probably scare off all the criminals.  Batman's gone crazy!

I used blue pencil for the sketch and then black pen I got from the dollar store in Japan.  It's called a Magic Drawing Pen by Rushon, 0.5 size.  Even though it was cheap, I love inking with it!

Have a great day and do a little prance to commemorate good ol' Batsy!

 

 

Gudetama gets cooked! In a real restaurant?

Surely you’ve heard of Gudetama the egg character from Sanrio, the same company that brought you Hello Kitty.  He whines about not wanting to do anything and his purpose in life is to lie around and wait to be eaten.  He’s all over the internet and television in Japan, with over 650K followers on Twitter and animated shorts on the TBS channel. 

 

I love this guy and think he's pretty hilarious!  You can imagine my surprise when I was out with my wife shopping in Osaka and came across a restaurant named Cafe Costa Mesa in Namba Parks that was serving special dishes with eggs that look like Gudetama.  I’ll admit, we didn’t have time to eat there but I had to take a few pictures for you. 

Cafe Costa Mesa serving breakfast, desserts and even salad with Gudetama.  Looks like they have merchandise as you walk in. 

Cafe Costa Mesa serving breakfast, desserts and even salad with Gudetama.  Looks like they have merchandise as you walk in. 

Which one would you try? 

Which one would you try? 

Gudetama is Sanrio’s most unmotivated character and has absolutely no energy to move.  The first part of his name, Gude pronounced (goo-deh) is a Japanese onomatopoeia for describing something or someone with no strength.  Tama comes from the word tamago, which means egg. 

 

Even though he looks like just one character, he actually represents every egg in existence since the age of dinosaurs!  Sometimes you even see two of them lying around making sure to do nothing. 

 

You can buy merchandise with Gudetama on it like chopsticks, keychains, pens and iPhone cases.  Now, you can go to a restaurant and eat him!  After all, the saying on his Twitter account page is, “I’m only going to be eaten in the end.”  Thanks Cafe Costa Mesa for giving us the opportunity!   

Classic FCS comes to an end

Classic FCS comes to an end

Love is in the air and classic Fried Chicken and Sushi comic strips are at an end.  Many heartfelt thanks go out to my fans that have been reading this comic adventure loosely based on my experiences living in Japan.  It has been a fun five years filled with humor about travel, love, racism and perception. 

Please continue to join me as we follow Little Karl and his family with Little Fried Chicken and Sushi morphing into regular Fried Chicken and Sushi.  There will be more of what you love about my work but seen from the eyes of children and adults.  The new vertical format will give me more freedom to create interesting layouts and add more adventure.  Thanks for your support!

Best,

Khalid

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NEW vertical style Little FC&S comics

NEW vertical style Little FC&S comics

You can see that the Little Fried Chicken and Sushi comics have changed to a vertical format with two panels on top and one or two at the bottom.  This makes them larger and easier to read on cell phones and any other art sites they're put on.  Plus, and this is the one I really like, it makes them easier to transfer to book form when I compile them together.  They will be one comic per page so 200 comics could equal a 200 page graphic novel for kids and adults.  Similar to what Big Nate and Phoebe and Her Unicorn are doing.  There will be more adding in of Japan related themes to the Little strips as they become the main FC&S comic in the next month.  Give me some comments when you can! 

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Sato's Secret Crush?

Did you think Sato sensei had a crush on Karl?

It makes sense doesn’t it?  She works next to him everyday and gets upset with her husband and in-laws all the time!  For her, it must be nice to come to school and work with a nice foreign man…

A foreign BLACK man.  Ooooh!  Exotic!

As you can tell, more open stories are being closed and questions are getting answered in each strip.  We have about one more month of new Fried Chicken and Sushi strips left.  

How will it end?  Please keep reading to find out!

You can show your love for the hard work I put into each comic by CLICKING HERE NOW and donating $1 a month on my PATREON PAGE!

Many thanks,

Khalid 

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How to let it be...

Karl cannot control his laughter in FCS496 because of the music Sato Sensei plays while he's speaking to the class.  You might think this one is from my silly imagination.  I am embarrassed to say, this comic strip is based on truth!

That's right, this one really happened.  The Japanese teacher of English I was working with at the time thought it would be so nice to play the song, Let It Be by the BEATLES, while I talk to the class about vocabulary words for success.  In my head, this sounded a bit cheezy and I was afraid the class would laugh at me.  If we were in the U.S., they definitely would have! But, since we were in a Japanese Middle School, I figured the students would be busy listening for the vocab words they recognized and not even notice the comedy.  Fortunately, I was right!  Unfortunately, I didn't expect to start laughing...

Not only did I laugh, I was the ONLY ONE LAUGHING!  Everyone, even my co-English teacher, could not understand why.  The sad sound of the music together with my attempt at motivational speaking was a hilarious contrast.  To me, at least. Several times I tried to get it together and finish but I just had to end it and apologize.  I was laughing so much, a few tears came out of my eyes. 

I felt bad for ruining the presentation for the students and my co-teacher but I had to think about it as just one humorous screw up.  My co-teacher was upset a little I think, it's hard to tell with Japanese people sometimes, but my cartoonist way of looking at the ...

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Little Fried Chicken and Sushi is up on GoComics.com and here!

Now you can read the kid version of this strip, Little Fried Chicken and Sushi right here on this site and syndicated online HERE AT GoComics.com!  I've been waiting to launch the updated website and talk about the new comic for awhile now.  Karl will be in fourth grade at an International School in Osaka trying to fit in but his pet Tanuki makes things challenging.  This new comic will be fun because I can take Tanuki out of the house and he can use his magic to cause trouble for Karl and his friends.  Little FC&S will update with new comics every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in color and regular FC&S strips will still update Tuesday and Thursday.  Five days a week of FC&S comics!  I hope you read them both and please spread the word and let me know what you think!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 425 Caffeine Crashed!

Karl is in big trouble now!  Let's hope Mai will believe that he actually slept through the weekend. 

This Monday May 26th we will have one more comic on this site.  That's right!  Little Fried Chicken and Sushi strips will be running every Monday, Wed. and Fri. right here!  The best part is, Little FC&S is syndicated online and will also run on GoComics.com!  If you haven't been there before, you can read well known comics like Garfield, Pearls Before Swine and Calvin and Hobbes as well as comics from new creators.  This means, I'll be drawing comics five days a week!  Wish me luck and I hope that you read and enjoy as Little Karl adjusts to living in Japan with Little Tanuki! 

Fried Chicken and Sushi 420- Competitive phone time!

I guess when Ryan wants something he does everything he can to get it.  Even annoy the heck out of people!  I hope that it doesn't annoy you that I have a new HOMEPAGE for this site.  Little Fried Chicken and Sushi strips will start running at the end of the month so I need a way to help readers choose which comic to go to when they get to the site.  Let me know what you think!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 381 Practicing on Principal GG

I remember when I did this.  It felt so good to have the confidence to go up and ask the principal at my school what he did over the weekend in Japanese.  Until he laughed at me under his breath and didn't know how to answer.  My wife still laughs about it to this day.  YOU MIGHT GET A LAUGH IF YOU CLICK HERE AND LIKE MY FACEBOOK FAN PAGE.  

Fried Chicken and Sushi 341 Office jet-lagged?

Wake up, Americans!  You don't want your boss to catch you sleeping on the job!  Anyone that's been through jet-lag can appreciate this!  I'm usually pretty good at staying awake when I'm sleepy but jet-lag is a mix of physical exhaustion from travel and the effects of a time change.  Together they force people to fall asleep at the worst moments!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 237 Practicing Japanese with Sato Sensei

How in the world are you supposed to improve your Japanese if no one wants to speak it with you?  It really is a big deal in Japan to have someone to practice English with.  Big money is spent just to have a conversation with a native English speaker.  I can understand Sato sensei's issue but I hope she'll loosen up a bit and help Karl out.  He sure needs it!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 176 How to Speak your Language

The way things are going in the publishing world nowadays, if this "How to Talk Ghetto" book was real, it probably would be a bestseller!  I just wish I could animate this comic so that you could hear how Sato sensei sounds speaking "ghetto style."  That would be priceless!  Peace out.

Fried Chicken and Sushi 174 Zero Tolerance for Suihan-ki

You just never know what Karl's gonna get from the Japanese language!  Honestly, when I first heard the word suihan-ki I thought it was some kind of power tool.  It just doesn't sound like something that makes delicious rice!  These "English Lessons" between Karl and Miki really do pull out some interesting topics.