A smart way to keep your favourite artist close to you at all times.

So many creative activities we enjoyed as children are sadly forgotten as we grow up, so it’s nice when the children of today remind us to stop and appreciate the wonder of the little things that used to amaze us.

That’s what one child in Japan did recently, when they attended an autograph session held by popular Japanese illustrator and comic artist Chiaki Harada (@cchhiiaakkii).

Harada, who’s also a part-time lecturer at Kyoto University of the Arts, is known for her colourful pop art, which fuses elements of retro Japan with Lichtenstein-esque characters for a unique twist on American comic book stylings.

She’s also created a number of cute characters, including one called Moudoku, who looks like a ghost, although it’s actually a cat that secretes poison from its hands. The cat, who’s never been able to hold hands with a friend, wears a sheet to protect others from its poisonous affliction, and in one comic book panel created by Harada, the character was bullied by others and could be seen hugging a telephone pole afterwards, in an attempt to experience what it’s like to be hugged by someone.

The plight of the cute feline, described as “The Most Gentle Cat in the World“, has touched the hearts of many who follow its adventures through Harada’s short comics. Given the popularity of the character, Harada even shared a short video showing fans how to draw the sheet-wearing cat for themselves.

One young fan jumped at the opportunity to draw the cat, and also came up with a clever idea of their own which they were able to show the artist in person at the signing event. The idea was so clever that Harada ended up sharing photos of what she saw — a clipboard with a clear sheet of plastic that had the outline of Moudoku on it.

▼ Harada signed the sheet in green pen and also wrote the date and the fan’s name, hidden under a thumbs-up emoji to protect their privacy.

In Japan, it’s common for people with big fanbases, like artists, authors and idols, to hold signing events, and fans usually bring along squares of cardboard known as shikishi, which are specially made for signatures.

Harada is used to signing shikishi for fans, so a clear sheet of plastic was a departure from protocol that made this young fan stand out. The reason for the plastic? Well, it’s actually a sheet of shrink plastic, which transforms into a small, hard, long-lasting accessory after it’s baked in a hot oven.

▼ The fan even had a ready-made sample attached to the clipboard for Harada to see.

Harada posted the above photos on her sub-account (@nijinoyatu), saying:

“Yesterday, a child who came to the signing event came with a sheet of shrink plastic said, ‘Can you sign this?’ and I blurted out ‘This is insanely smart!’ They said they’d bake it later and make it tiny!”

Harada loved the smart idea, and plenty of people online did too, sending the tweet viral with over 119,000 likes and comments like:

“You can carry autographs around with you! This is a dream-come-true idea!!!”
“Brilliant — unlike shikishi cards, plastic boards aren’t clunky to carry around, and they’re resistant to sudden rain!”
“Baking the sheet in the oven means the colour won’t fade and the signature will be preserved!”
“I’m going to copy this idea!”
“Why did I never think of this before?!”
“What a smart child!”

This really is a fantastic idea that people of all ages can use to preserve a signature of someone they admire, no matter what field they’re in. Because when you live in a house with limited space, the smaller the memento the better, as it doesn’t take long for a few trinkets to turn into a full-on shrine that takes over your living space!

Source: Twitter/@nijinoyatuChiaki Harada website via Hachima Kikou
Featured image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Twitter/@nijinoyatu
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