Friday, April 4, 2014



Yesterday, he brought home the book, "How to Draw Magical Creatures and Mythical Beasts," from the school library. I flipped through the book last night. When I hit page 20 I let out an involuntary gasp. My wife asked me what was wrong. "I know what he's going to pick tomorrow," I said, horrified.

Sure enough, he did pick it. In fact, he went right to it this morning without any prompting from me. "There's this super cool dragon thing with 9 heads!" he exclaimed, reaching for the book. He flipped quickly through it. "It's this one!" he shouted, pointing excitedly at it.

I read out loud from the book: "Hydra. The Hydra in Greek mythology was said to guard the entrance to the underworld beneath the waters of Lake Lerna. Heracles killed this hideous creature as one if his twelve labors."

I had plenty of time today so I just went for it. I took my time, never sure if it would all come together. I was fearful of running out of time, but I managed it pretty well, working faster as I got further along. It took me about 35 minutes to complete.

"Oh. My. Gosh." is what he said when he saw it.

OMG, indeed!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Dragon Head

Dragon Head

"What should we do today?"

"Remember what I said yesterday?"

"Um...I forgot."

"An ice castle."

"Oh, you mean the ice hotel we were talking about?"

"Yeah, ice hotel."

He's been enamored lately by the idea of an ice hotel and we spent some time yesterday looking through pictures of the famous Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel in Sweden. I looked it up again. He searched for a suitable option, but there just wasn't anything that would work.

"Remember, it won't really look like ice on the sack," I reminded him.

"Can you help me pick something else?" he asked. Before I could help, he looked up at me and suggested, "How about my ceramic dragon?"

"Dragons and dinosaurs are your favorite," I told him. Last week he had painted a dragon ceramic figurine at a local paint-your-own-pottery studio. The now polished dragon painted in red, black, green, yellow, and purple-brown was staring at us on the kitchen table.

He smiled.

"Do you really want me to draw the ceramic dragon?" 

"No. A dragon."

I ran a new search. He picked this interesting dragon head relatively quickly for a change. I got started and ran into trouble right away. He heard me mumbling to myself.

"Is it hard, Daddy?"

"The details are hard to get right," I admitted.

He came over to see. "I see one part where it's not like the picture. The eye kind of looks like the scales, not the eye."

I nodded in agreement. I did my best to cover up my mistakes. Luckily, it still looks pretty cool.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How about a battleship...


"What should we do today?"

"Does Mobzilla look exactly like Godzilla?" he asked.

"I don't know. Let me look it up," I said casually. I actually had no idea what he was talking about, but I didn't want to seem out of touch. "No, he doesn't look the same to me." I handed him the iPhone.

After browsing for a while, he suggested, "How about the Ender Dragon?"

"What's that?" I asked. I don't know much about MineCraft.

"You'll see."

Before he showed me, however, he switched gears and suggested, "How about a battleship?"

We had done a funky artistic rendition of a battleship back in September, but I figured why not try another. I think he picked this scene because of all the action in it. It all took a lot longer than I expected it to. Plus, I found it difficult to manage the proportions and perspective. This is one where I was happy to put the Sharpie down and call it finished.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014



Today, I didn't ask him what he wanted. Instead, I directly ran a search for "MineCraft Godzilla." He had watched a video of a Godzilla mod for MineCraft last night and asked me if I would draw it.

I handed him my iPhone and, "Oooo," was his response.

While he was browsing, I read him the options for school lunch.

"Thpptt," was his reply.


"Yup. You know the sound."


"So what is Godzilla anyway?" he asked picking a regular Godzilla, not a MineCraft one.

"I don't know exactly. It was a movie made a long time ago where this monster destroys Japan."

"What!? A monster destroys Japan!?"


"Are you serious!?"

"Yup." I guess he had no idea.

He came by to watch me work. "Did you make a mistake?"

"Not really. Not yet."

"Good, because I want Godzilla to be perfect. Godzilla is so cool right!?"

And the obsession begins, I thought.

Monday, March 31, 2014



"I want a new president," he said randomly to start our morning.


" I already know Obama. I want a new president."

I have no idea where that came from and we didn't have time to get into it, so I just left it at that. "Okay, what's for the snack sack?" I asked him as I always do.

"A tank."

"Oh, really?"


"What made you think of that just now?"

"My army wallet." We spent a few days, just the two of us, on Catalina Island last month. At an arcade there, he hit a 1,000 ticket jackpot. One of the prizes he picked was an army wallet. He doesn't actually use it and I'm surprised he even remembers he has it.

"Okay," I said. I ran a search and handed him my iPhone.

He picked this tank, but there was another tank he also liked that was firing a shot. He showed me that one but asked me to draw this one, "but with the gun firing." He was very adamant about it. I added it, per his request. Sometimes his choices are completely out of left field, but that's what makes it fun. I never know what I might be drawing!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Marvin the Martian

Marvin the Martian

"What should we do today?"

"Can you help me pick again?" he asked. Yesterday, before we settled in on drawing Sylvester the Cat, I had helped him break out of his block.

"Yesterday, we said we'd do something else from Looney Tunes."

"Oh, yeah," he said flatly. He couldn't remember what.

"We said we'd do Marvin the Martian," I reminded him.

"Oh, yeah. Let's do Marvin the Martian."

He searched for a very long time again. It's frustrating when he does that because it gives me less time to do the work. In his defense, there actually weren't too many options and they all looked similar. I could tell he was trying to find something better.

"Pick something, please," I said, doing a better job today keeping my irritation with the delay to a minimum.

"They all look kind of like this so you can just do this one."

I added the landscape just to give Marvin some placement. Had we had more time, I would have left that for Victor to add, just like he had done yesterday. If only he had picked more quickly, this would have been another collaborative effort.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sylvester the Cat

Sylvester the Cat Playing Guitar

"What are we doing today?"

He thought for a while. He remained silent. "Can you help me pick something like you said you would?" he asked. He's been struggling on some days to think of something new for me to draw.

"Okay, let's think of categories of things, like animals, plants, ..."

He added, "Buildings."

"Yes buildings or places or your favorite shows or characters."

"Looney Tunes!" he shouted.

"Okay. Good. Looney Tunes," I said. I thought about which Looney Tunes characters I had done already. "I haven't done Foghorn Leghorn. Or Pepé Le Pew."

"You haven't done Sylvester," he said jumping in. "Have you done Yosemite Sam?"


"Do Yosemite Sam."

I ran a search and saw lots of the other characters too. I declared, "I haven't done Marvin the Martian."

"Oh, you can do Marvin the Martian tomorrow."

I handed him my iPhone. He took a long time scrolling through the options, so long that I started to get annoyed.

"Pick something, please," I said irritably.


"You picked the only one that isn't a drawing," I said, unable to mask my annoyance. "Plus it doesn't really look like Yosemite Sam." It was an odd snapshot directly from one of the cartoons and Yosemite Sam had a really weird expression on his face. I should have had extra time today, but because it was taking him so long to pick something suitable, I'd be feeling in a rush. I don't like feeling rushed.

He picked another option, but this time it had both Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny. "This one."

"No Victor, that's two things. It's Yosemite Sam and Bugs Bunny. I don't have time to do two things, especially now that it's taken extra time to pick something."

He ignored me and picked another one. It was a classic Yosemite Sam front pose in which he is staring straight out, pointing two guns ready to shoot. I felt that it might be too much for today's schools to draw a guy (even if it was Yosemite Sam) holding guns pointed toward the onlooker. I browsed for something else similar but without the guns.

He noticed my concerned look and asked, "You don't like that one?"

"I'm not sure about drawing the guns."

"But he always has guns."

"I know, but...", I trailed off. Schools today can be very sensitive, and rightly so, about guns. Back when I was a kid, I wouldn't have given it a moment's thought, but now it was worthy of extra consideration.

He seemed to understand. "Okay, then let's do Sylvester." He picked this one of Sylvester playing guitar right away.

"If that's what you want."

"Yeah, because he's being silly and he has a guitar and silly's my thing."

I had to rush through this one, but it wasn't too difficult. "Done. What do you think?"

"Oh cool. Can you put some clouds 'cause he's in the air?" he asked.

He started to show me and I said, "You do it."

He added the ground, the trees, the birds, and the clouds, talking all the while. "'VICTOR' is sitting on a cloud. Cool, huh?" He just then noticed the design of his name and added, "Oh, you made 'VICTOR' out of guitar strings!"

As I was taking the picture I appreciated his additions. It looked pretty cool with Sylvester looking like he was jumping up above the trees. "Nice additions, Victor," I praised. I could tell he felt proud of his work.

When he got home in the afternoon, he brought with him a good bunch of the snack sacks he had taken to school yesterday. "I left several for my teacher to put up in the classroom," he told me.

"A rotating gallery. Nice!"

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A Tornado Sucking Up a Cow

A Tornado Sucking Up a Cow

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Rainstorm," he said right away. It rained here last night.

I shot him a look.

"I know that look on your face."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. It means you don't know."

"It's just that a rainstorm is more of a picture, not a drawing." I looked up rainstorm drawings just in case, but I was right. There were no good options. 

"Tornado!" he exclaimed, shifting gears.

I figured that might have more promise and it did. I ran a search and he picked this one out of the bunch right away. "Can you do this one?" he asked. "A tornado sucking up a cow," he laughed.

"Sure." It looked easy enough.

I got started and it began to take form right away. "How are you such a good drawer?" he asked me as he's done several times before. "I'm not a very good drawer."

"Yes you are. You're doing good and getting better because of practice."

"Yeah, I know," he agreed, acknowledging his progress.

I was finished quickly today. "I like it," he said. "It's cool." He stared at it and laughed, "It's funny because it's sucking up a cow." He's right. The cow really makes this one.

He went back upstairs to get his socks and didn't come back for several minutes.

"Hey Victor! What's taking so long?" I yelled out to him.

"Remember, I'm getting my favorite snack sacks to copy at school," he shouted back from upstairs.

Copy? Hmm that's new. Last night, he explained that he'd taken down all the sacks from his classroom to make room for new ones. Since he had a stack of them with him yesterday at school, he showed them off to all his friends. Apparently he made it a group activity to lay them out and copy them. Many of his friends joined in. 

He came home with his own rendition of Marshmallow the snow monster and Olaf from Frozen. He also did Maleficent.

"Are they good?" he asked, seeking approval.

They were pretty good. "Well, I know exactly what they are supposed to be and that means they're pretty good." I could tell that he was comparing his versions to mine. "You're doing so much better because you're practicing," I said, wishing for him to focus on his own progress.

He finally came downstairs bringing with him a stack of snack sacks about 50 deep. "These are my favorites," he told me.

"Hey, maybe you don't need to bring them all," I suggested.

"But they are for other people to try and copy them."

"Other people copy them?"

"Yeah. One girl did Olaf yesterday. She did really good. It looked exactly like yours."

"Oh really. Cool."

It's nice to think that our little project is encouraging other kids to have fun with drawing. How cool is that!?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014



"What's it for today?"


"We've done lots of dinosaurs."

"How about a Carnotaur?"

"I'm not sure if we've done that," I admitted. I looked it up. We hadn't, but dinosaurs are one of our most popular subjects. In fact, we've done BrontosaurusDiplodocus, the Talking Dino toy, T-Rex, Allosaurus, another T-Rex, Ankylosaurus, T-Rex vs. a crocodile, a robot dinosaur, and Triceratops. He has even added some of his own dinosaurs to the Starbucks logo.

We'd recently seen the Disney movie Dinosaur in which the Carnotaurs are the main antagonists. It turns out the movie shortened the name to Carnotaur from Carnotaurus. I wasn't much in the mood for a dinosaur but that's what he chose so I got to work.

I started with it's face and he looked over the table to see how things were coming along. "Can you make the eye more angry-er?" he asked.

"Huh?" I said, looking up.

"When you're all done," he explained, "draw the eye bigger and draw..." He gestured in the air what I believe was supposed to be an angry eyebrow. He likes drawing angry eyebrows when he draws villains or ferocious animals.

"Okay, let me finish the rest first," I said.

When I was done, I asked him to come over and show me. He took the Sharpie and waved it in the air demonstrating how to draw an angry eyebrow. I looked at him unsure. He asked, "Can I just do it?"

"Yeah, sure," I told him.

He drew the angry eyebrow, but it didn't quite have the effect he was hoping for. The eye didn't look "more angry-er."

"Huh," he said. "Oh well. That usually works." I had to chuckle. We decided to just leave it as is.

This afternoon, he brought home all the snack sacks that were posted in his classroom. "Hey, what's this?" I asked when I found them in his backpack.

"I'm making room for new ones."

"Cool!" I guess it's time to bring down the old and bring in the new.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Angry Birds Go!

Angry Birds Go! Race Cars: Bomb, Bubbles, Chuck, Red, The Blues

"What do you want me to do today?"

"Can you please do something Easter?"

"Like what?"

"The Easter Bunny!"

"Um, okay, but Easter is 4 weeks away."

"Okay, let's not do Easter stuff then." He thought for a little bit. "Hmm. How about you pick?"

He had asked me to pick yesterday, but I encouraged him to keep thinking. He ended up picking Lord Business which was fun to draw. Today, I was ready with a suggestion, "Okay, how about Angry Birds Go!?" We played the game for the first time yesterday and he was very excited about this racing installment of the Angry Birds franchise of games.

"Yes!" he shouted.

I knew he'd like the idea. Of course, he picked a reference with not one, not two, but 5 cars and birds! The scene itself was simple enough so I gave it a go. I ended up running over time to get it done and we got to school a minute late.

"Do my name like the 'Go!' And make it 'Angry Birds Victor'!" he told me. He thought about it some more, then corrected himself, "No, make it 'Angry Birds Victor Go!'!" I did and he loved it. "Yup this is good! Yup, this is my favorite! This is my favorite one this month."

That's new. He's never classified favorites by month before.