Spotlight

Hanako’s Garden – There’s always room for one more friend!

Evan Fischer, also known as YasuoHatsu likes to draw and design cute characters and tell stories about them, usually in a mystical fantasy world. He likes to create worlds and characters whom an audience can connect with and escape to. He created Hanako’s Garden as a series which people of all ages can enjoy, with stories ranging from simple relaxation narratives to deceptively serious conflicts, told in a manner a kid can understand. He is the creator of Hanako’s Garden.

Synopsis: Meet Hanako, Aoi, and Kiro, three fairy friends who live in a mystical garden full of wonders and excitement! Join them and their friends as they take part and fun activities at home, in the woods, and even in space! For the three fairies, there is always room for one more friend!

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
Yes, Portland State University, where I got a degree in art practices.

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
Fantasy. I always liked how you can just make up a creature or setting, drawing from various real world references to create a place you can truly call your own!

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
All ages. This series was directly inspired by and told in the style of a picture book.

What was your inspiration for the story?
The book series Chiiri and Chirra, by Kaya Doi. I read these books and fell in love with the colorful simplistic art style, and the world they create in which nature is its own little welcoming society. It’s such a cozy and wholesome series to read!

The Kirby series video games was also a major influence, with the simple characters and colorful worlds.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
I mentioned Kaya Doi, but in general I also take heavy inspiration from Osamu Tezuka, Ken Sugimori (Pokemon artist), and Naoko Takeuchi. Basically, any artist with an adorable and colorful anime style

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Roughly the equivalent of 4-7 hours, depending on how detailed the page itself is. I usually can get the simpler ones done within a day. Of course, it helps when the characters are simple blobs.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
My process may involve research in the case of the Wonders on Space, since those stories are designed to be educational. Otherwise, I pull up visual references for backgrounds and start on the rough sketches. I then Ink the characters before drawing in the backgrounds. I may even color and shade the characters first.
I tend to have my characters and environments as separate layers, and I always try to arrange the colors in such a way that my characters pop out. I tend to add wording either as the first or last thing I do, depending on how much of it I have decided.

Is your comic a finished work? If not, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
Hanako’s Garden is episodic, so it can go on for as long as I need it to. Since each story is self contained, it doesn’t have much of a definitive end to it, and the world itself is loose enough that they can really be about anything I think of.

How many pages do you have complete at the moment?
Have about 14 stories completed, not counting the extras.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
I originally designed the first story to be a zine, and it was about a month of planning using some characters I already had designed. I figured telling simple stories with simple characters would be a good push to get into visual storytelling.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making of your comic? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
First and foremost I would tell myself to keep making these stories and the audience will grow. Even now, I sometimes need to remind myself of that.

I think the biggest hurdle for me is the fear that my series would not look professional, that I would have some composition or technical issue I somehow missed that ruins the story. Yet at the same time, I get inspiring feedback from the people who read it and say they feel inspired, and that encourages me that I am doing something right.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
Pushing more and more the adorableness factor of my characters. They are so simple and charming, and I love giving them fun new expressions and poses!

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
The planning part, and figuring out how to structure the story. Usually, just jotting down notes and ideas can help me overcome this issue, and get the story rolling.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
I love them all, but I feel most proud of what I came up with for Spider. I give subtle hints that he is a bit of a misfit, and even amongst the friendly fairies, he oftentimes needs extra reassurance that he is one of them.
In his very debut, Spider was perceived as a danger, and a few stories later it talks about an unexplained sadness he felt. I like to imagine Spider spent most of his life alone and isolated, and is gradually learning to fully be one of the group.

Speaking of which, Spider needs another story…

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Also Spider, for similar reasons; he has a deceptive layer of depth. Whereas the very first story clearly lays out the three fairies’ personalities, Spider needed time for a fully fleshed out character.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Dragon Slug. They are just so silly and love to do their own thing, and they get a lot of fun expressions.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
Spider; you’d be surprised how tricky it is to draw a ball with legs and fit 8 eyes on him.

Where can we find you?
My Webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/hanakos-garden/list?title_no=374097

My Patreon, where you can get an early look at my Hanako’s Garden stories: https://www.patreon.com/YasuoHatsu

My Twitter, where I post wips and other art: https://twitter.com/YasuoHatsu

My Instagram, where I also post various art: https://www.instagram.com/yasuohatsu/

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
All I can say is I appreciate the support I’ve been getting from readers and other artists alike. Hearing positive feedback and that my stories have put people in a good mood can really make my day, and encourages me to go on!