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!


 

On Breaking Your Own Rules: Black Panther comic strips

LittleFCS Black Panther Magic Cosplay.jpg

When I first started drawing Little Fried Chicken and Sushi comic strips my main goal was to make them timeless by not adding any current events or obvious pop-culture references.

After watching the Black Panther movie, I changed that goal. Breaking my rules looked scary. I couldn’t stop thinking about if I draw strips based on a popular movie, it will date the strip when I eventually collect them into books.

I had to do it!

Black Panther was spectacular in so many ways film wise and as a part of not only black culture but American culture as a whole. There was no way I wasn’t going to make strips about the film!

Of course, it also made about a bajillion dollars at the box office. Not bad for a movie about powerful African characters. There was definitely an audience for this.

First, I thought about how I felt right after seeing it.

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The feeling of creating the boy characters J, Ryan and Karl as T’Challa, Klaue and Killmonger in the above strip was enormously fulfilling. This was my first time creating strips that directly related to real movie characters. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having!

It took some research and a great deal of drawing details, but I did my final of three Black Panther strips on the women. Mom as Queen Ramonda and little Kasha as Princess Shuri.

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Tanuki’s magic ended up being a great way to experiment with cosplay on the main characters and try my hand at adding in current events.

My mind is more relaxed with the idea now and it’s already churning away thinking of possible gags to add in more pop-culture references in future strips.

Yes. This means the strip changes into something more timely rather than timeless, but I’m pretty sure it will be enjoyable to make and hopefully fun to read.

All the best,

Khalid

Tanuki's New Design!

New Little Fried Chicken and Sushi comic strips relaunched on Monday, March 26 here and on GoComics. There was one change to the strip.  Did you notice?

That's right, Tanuki's character design got an upgrade!  He's cuter and has actual hands that will make it easier to create gags where he needs to hold objects.   Take a look at this model sheet I put together with pictures of actual Tanukis for comparison.

LittleFCS Tanuki NEW style page.jpg

What do you think about his new design?  Let me know in the comments.  

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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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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The future of Fried Chicken and Sushi

If you weren't able to be a part of my live TWITTER talk sponsored by GoComics, I wanted to let you know about some changes coming up for FC&S.  My plan is to end the regular Fried Chicken and Sushi comic by this coming April of 2015.  I started the comic in April 2010 so that will mark five years.  You will start to see some of the storylines wrapping up and coming to an end in these next few months.  I hope you enjoy them!  It's been great fun to tell stories inspired by the adventures of me and my friends in Japan but it's time to stop and focus on Little Fried Chicken and Sushi. 

As you know, Little FC&S is syndicated by Universal Uclick and updates Mon., Wed. and Friday on this site and also on GoComics.com.  After April, I will begin creating Little FC&S five times a week, Monday through Friday, in glorious color and still post updates on this site and of course on GoComics.  The comic is new but it's been doing well online and I want to have more time to explore the world and humor.  Little FC&S is more of a family comic strip and that gives me many places to go with the stories and I can have humor about living in Japan coming from a child and adult's perspective.  Drawing it five days a week will give me more opportunities to have storylines that flow smoothly. 

Thank you to those of you who are supporting me with a little tip every month on my PATREON!  I truly appreciate it.  It is surprising to see that I don't have a lot more fans supporting me there but it's helped me to see that most of my fans are casual readers.  Even with that in mind, I plan to put up FC&S themed merchandise for sale in the coming months.  I hope that some of you will be interested in wearing a shirt or having a product inspired by my comics.  Once the regular FC&S comics are done, I will collect them all (probably over 500 strips) into one big FC&S book collection and put in on sale.  If you are a fan, thank you for reading and enjoying my comics!  I hope that you will be willing and able to support my work in the future by buying merchandise or pledging to my Patreon page.  Let me know what you think in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter.  

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 426 The silent answer and last comic blog post

Karl should be able to feel her anger through the phone!  The silence says it all!  Speaking of silence, this will be the last blog post for an individual comic strip on this site.  Next week I'll be posting Little Fried Chicken and Sushi strips Monday, Wednesday, Friday in color and regular Fried Chicken and Sushi strips Tuesday and Thursday.  Little Fried Chicken and Sushi will also post on GoComics.com!  That's five days a week of FC&S comics for your reading pleasure!  A lot more work for me too.  So, I'll mainly post in the blog section when I have announcements or special commentary for certain strips.  I hope you're looking forward to more comics!

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 419 Our duet connection and More FC&S comics!

Thank goodness for private Karaoke rooms!  Not only for kissing but for singing terribly with your girlfriend!  

Good news!  Remember when I did the short series of Little Fried Chicken and Sushi comic strips?  Well, they've been picked up by GoComics.com!  Wooohooo!!  I'll be posting new comics of little Karl and his friends there and on this site every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in color starting May 26th.  A few things will change about this website so that you can read two comics with different archives.  You can already go to the homepage and see that it shows promo images of both comics.  I'll post more about all of this during the next month but I hope you're all excited for getting more Fried Chicken and Sushi comics at the end of next month!

Little Fried Chicken and Sushi comics!

I wanted to play with my FC&S characters and draw some comics where they're all kids in fourth grade.  For the rest of December, I'll be posting Little Fried Chicken and Sushi strips every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  I'm sure you are all busy with holiday fun but please stop by my site on those days to check out the new strips.  These comics have less details so I can draw them faster and put up four each week instead of two.  It's been a fun departure from my usual storylines.  It was fun to make comics aimed at kids and have a chance to put all the characters together with Tanuki.  Instead of Tanuki being stuck in Karl's house, he actually comes to school with him and uses his magic to cause trouble.  Enjoy the comics and let me know what you think!  CLICK HERE TO LIKE MY FACEBOOK FAN PAGE!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 317 There's a limit to manga variety

Tanuki just needs to realize that a manga about him just wouldn't work!  Actually, it would probably become a huge hit.  I'll give it a thought.  I love the variety of manga out there.  It would be so wonderful if we had that kind of variety in American comics.  Things are getting better now that big publishers like Scholastic are putting out creative comics for kids.  As far as Japanese manga, I just started reading BAKUMAN and I love it!  It's so fun to read about how the manga industry works in Japan and how passionate manga creators are about their art and careers. 

Fried Chicken and Sushi 305 The trial run reaction

J just can't let Ryan have his moment in the sun.  It must be tough for J to accept the fact that he can't escape Ryan and go to Japan on his own.  I'm sure J will meditate on it and figure out a way to make this work.  Hey!  If you like to vote, please vote for Fried Chicken and Sushi in THIS HUGE POPULARITY CONTEST ON COMICMIX.COM!  Thanks!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 302 Karl's not in the mood for Kobe

I hate to admit it but Tanuki might be right.  Finding all of those things in a woman could be impossible in Japan.  Karl should adjust his needs a little bit.  There's nothing wrong with opening yourself up to someone that might be good for you.  Even if they don't meet all of your criteria.  I'm sure all of Karl's past dating experiences are not making this any easier.

Fried Chicken and Sushi 300 A little Kobe in the morning

Hey guys, this is my 300th comic strip!  Yay!  Hope you've enjoyed reading them all!  I sure have enjoyed making them.  Karl is excited to have another chance at a blind date like hang out thingy with Hachiro's match making friend.  What will the girl be like this time?  We shall see!

Fried Chicken and Sushi 286 Meeting the Matchmaker

The truth always comes out when you talk to Karl.  Usually, it comes out in a loud and awkward way.  Most of you know that.  I have a feeling you all knew what he was going to say in the last panel before you even read it.  You know Karl well.  Let's hope there will be a woman who will want to get to know him.

Fried Chicken and Sushi 282 The Jokemon battle continues!

I had to give up humor for story but there's plenty of action in this comic page.  Everyone's been upset with J and his stressed out behaviour so it's nice to see him get back to meditating.  Let's hope this will help turn things around for him.  This page was really fun to draw because working in Manga Studio, long pages like this are much easier to create.  The colors were done in Photoshop.  I really wanted it to feel like a Pokemon episode so I gave some of the people in the crowd crazy hair colors like green and orange.  It was difficult to decide what Ninjoggle should be screaming at the end.  At first, I wanted him to just yell "Ninnnnjoooggle!" when Kissup hit him with that powerful blow.  I changed it to "AAAAAH!" so that it would transition well to J waking up and yelling "AH!"  I think it worked out pretty well.  Hope you enjoyed it!  Thanks for reading.

Fried Chicken and Sushi 281 You gotta get it out!

I think that video games can be a great way to get your frustrations out.  Especially, if you're playing one where you get to bash people in the head or shoot something!  Games can get pretty real at times so if you're caught in it, things can get stressful.  Looks like J loves the escape video games provide but they aren't doing much to lower his stress level or increase his focus at work.  Let's hope he thinks deeper about getting back into meditation.