In the first chapter of the novel, Junior says that he likes to draw because he can communicate through images what he cannot say in words. He said that drawing connects everyone because a picture looks the same to everyone no matter what language is being spoken. When Junior is having a tough time and wants to express himself, pictures are an easier and more universal way to do this than trying to find the words to match his feelings.
Junior is born with many challenges due to his brain damage. Some his challenges are: he has 42 teeth, very large feet and hands, large head, he has a lisp, a stutter, he is nearsighted, he is farsighted, and a skinny body. He also has challenges due to his life circumstances: he is poor, cheap jeans, k-mart t-shirts, no watch, and shoes purchased in the supermarket. He is also clumsy, and not very confident. All of these things combined lead to people misunderstanding him often. Reservation boys call him names ("pussy" and "retard") and they often beat him up. Because of all of these challenges and the teasing from the reservation boys, he stays home and draws cartoons. He feels that his cartoons are the only way people can understand him.