Chari and Scott Pere are a father/daughter cartooning duo. The comic strip, “The Bun Bunch” is their comic about the typical, all-American family of white rabbits. Unsatisfied with raising their kids in a sterile, all-rabbit environment, they have decided to move to the multi-cultural suburb of Plainsview, U.S.A. Their new neighbors and friends are a bunch of animals (literally!), but no different than any of us, just funnier! I had a recent discussion with Chari about “The Bun Bunch,” and am thrilled to share it with you here!
David: Hey Chari! It was so great talking with you about your life as a cartoonist, your faith and your comic “The Bun Bunch”. Can you tell me how The Bun Bunch got started and your ideas behind the comic?
Chari: It was so great talking to you too, David! The initial seed for The Bun Bunch was planted when my brand-new husband was looking through my old sketchbooks and came across a drawing of a rabbit that he said “looks like a businessman.” My father said he could be a jeweler. The jokes started coming that the rabbit “must know a lot about karats”, and it got the wheels in my dad’s head going about a new strip. The feel of and humor in The Bun Bunch is an evolution of a couple of strips that I worked on in my college years at the School of Visual Arts; one, Roosevelt & Company, a comic strip based on my (now deceased) miniature schnauzer, and Charismatics, a strip based on my sister and me.
David: You and your father Scott create The Bun Bunch. How did you decide to work together and what’s it like working with your father as a team?
Chari: It has always been a dream for my dad and me to collaborate on our own strip. Every step of the way, he’s been my personal editor and soundboard for my comic work. My dad was a HUGE comics fan growing up. His father, my grandfather, was a newspaper deliveryman, and a newsstand used to give him free copies of comics to take home to his kids. My dad had big stacks of comics that he kept in great condition and read over and over – Spider-man, Superman, Archie etc. One day he came home and, like many others of that generation, found his stack gone; my grandmother had given them away. I joke around that he was blessed with a daughter who makes comics to replace the ones he lost. Now that my dad and I live on opposite coasts, we talk multiple times a day, share files over the e-mail and Google Docs, and hold meetings over Skype. Between my ability to draw “cutesy, funny things” and my dad’s ability to come up with a punch-line, it was a natural partnership.
David: What are your future plans with your comic and where do you see it going?
Chari: Our goal is to have a daily syndicated comic strip. We can envision children’s books, t-shirts, TV shows, and other licensed products emanating from the strip.
David: You are involved with various sites and blogs, can you tell me a little about those?
Chari: In all of my work, I try to make people laugh, smile, and/or be inspired. I have a range of projects that I work on. Besides my personal website, www.charipere.com, I am co-founder of The Unmasked Comics Project for Social Change (www.unmaskedcomics.com). My partner, Inbal Freund-Novick, and I depict extraordinary stories of social change through the fun, engaging comics medium, in a way that inspires others to get involved in social action.
Another project I’ve been very involved in is a comic about bully prevention, which I work on with the organization Bullies to Buddies (http://tinyurl.com/superdren). I also have my blog,http://charipere.blogspot.com/, and my comic Of Biblical Proportions, which depicts Biblical quotations and stories with modern, humorous twists (www.obpcomics.com).
David: When you are creating your comic is there any set plan you have for working your ideas out? Do you throw ideas at your dad, what’s your creative process?
Chari: My dad and I throw ideas back and forth. Sometimes my dad comes up with a semblance of an idea, sometimes I do. Together we try to crystallize the idea. My dad often takes an idea I may have come up with and sort of “punch-lines” it and makes it funny (or funnier). My dad will write out a script, and I will draw, ink, and color it. We run it by our family (“The Critics”), which consists of my husband Eli, mother Lisa, and sister Stephanie. We then edit the content, the color, etc., until we have a finished product. It’s a true family affair.
David: What advice do you give to aspiring cartoonist and what kind of legacy do you want The Bun Bunch to leave?
Chari: We hope that in today’s crazy world we can simply provide good, clean family fun. Our goal is to put a smile on everyone’s face. Regarding aspiring cartoonists, the best advice I can give is to be persistent, consistent, clever, creative, and relentless. Being a good networker is incredibly important too. And of course, be confident in yourself and NEVER give up!
Thank you so much for being featured on the blog Chari, you and your father have a great and fun comic! I can’t wait to see what’s next with The Bun Bunch.
Join “The Bun Bunch” fan page on Facebook and they are also featured on The Cartoonist Studio website, check both out at the links below: