Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Giant Scorpion


"What should we do today?"

"A giant scorpion."

We had a little chat about the time I was bit by a scorpion. It happened in the shower just a few years ago. As the water sprayed down, a desert scorpion hung upside down, unbeknownst to me, under the shower drain cap. I'm sure it was unhappy with the unexpected rainstorm and stung my toe when I got too close to it. My toe felt like it had been stabbed. A strong burning sensation immediately followed. I suspected that my toe had caught a rough edge of the drain cap, however, there was no blood. The pain didn't go away, so I bent down to take a closer look at the drain. Shivers ran up and down my spine when I saw the scorpion in an aggressive stance, still hanging upside down. I jumped out of the shower and limped to my iPhone. I did a quick search to learn how serious a scorpion bite is. Luckily, the pain subsided after I applied an ice pack, as per the instructions I found. I don't recommend allowing yourself to be stung by a scorpion. It was not a pleasant experience.

I got started right away and forgot to make his lunch first. When I realized I still had to do that, it was almost time to head out. I rushed to finish.

"Ooo! Scorpion! Awesome!"

I smiled. My hard work was rewarded with his reaction.

"Did you take a picture?"



It's nice to be reminded of how much he likes these sacks and how much he wants us to preserve the memories.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Venus Flytrap

Venus Flytrap

"What should we do today?"

He sat thinking for a while. A long while.


"I'm thinking."

"How about something from the Amazon?" I suggested.


"Oh, I mean the rainforest."

"Oh, I thought you meant the store or something."

"No, I meant the Amazon rainforest...since you've been talking about it," I clarified. His class has been studying the rainforests.

He thought about that for a moment. "Okay, a Venus flytrap!"

He searched and searched making comments about many of the options. He picked a weird scorpion, spider, combo thing that I didn't want to do. He asked if I could do it over the weekend. I prodded him to pick something for today. He finally picked this one of a regular Venus flytrap plant. This plant was more elaborate than most of the others, but I finished in relatively short order.

"You should have drawn a fly being eaten," he said when I was finished. He looked at it some more and added, "Or my name being eaten."

"Yeah, I should have," I agreed. "That would have been cool!"

Monday, April 28, 2014

How about an old school catapult...


"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Godzilla Minecraft," he said with a wicked grin.

"Haven't we already done that?" I asked. At this point it's hard for me to keep track of what we have and haven't done. I do know we've already done at least one Godzilla.

"No," he answered confidently.

I ran a search for "Godzilla Minecraft" and took a look at the options. "Hmm," I said, "it won't look like anything." I handed him my iPhone so he could see for himself.

"This one looks awesome!"

"Yeah, but it won't look like that if I try to draw it. Can you think of something else?"

He didn't argue. He thought for a moment, then suggested, "How about an old school catapult?"

It's always amazing to me how quickly he can shift gears to something completely unexpected. "Okay," I said and ran a new search.

"Do you want easy or hard?" he asked. "This one is cool."

I took a look at it. "Really, that's what you want? It doesn't look much like a catapult."

"Yes it does," he said, pointing out the various features. "It's so awesome."

I was surprised that he picked this particular drawing out of all the other options. "Okay," I said and got to work. This one took longer than expected. I had to pay a great deal of attention to the details to get it to look right.

"I like it Dadda. It looks cool!" he said staring at it. He looked up at me and asked, "Why'd it take you so long to do the snack sack? It looked pretty easy."

"I took my time, I guess." I said. In fact, it wasn't easy at all.

Friday, April 25, 2014



"What should we do today?"

"I don't know," he said without giving it any thought.

"What do you want?" I pressed him.

He hesitated and then he exclaimed, "Alligator!"

"Alligator or crocodile?" I asked, not even sure myself of the difference.

"Crocodile!" he shouted right away, although I doubt he remembers the difference either.

I ran a search and he found one he liked immediately. "The face looks like a dragon," he remarked.

I became impatient today and rushed through the details, especially the scales. Once I had finished, I realized that I didn't like the look of the crocodile simply floating on it's own on the sack. I decided to add just a touch of scenery to place him somewhere, something I rarely do.

"Ooo, I like it! It looks furious!" he said excitedly.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Fortune Teller

A Fortune Teller

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Angry Birds," he said, trying to convince me yet again. He knew I didn't want to draw more Angry Birds.

I shot him a look. I suggested, "How about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?" He had a new straw cup with the turtles on it.

He didn't want that. I know because he ignored me. "I'm having a really hard time this morning," he said. He thought for a while. "I know...a fortune teller," he said with confidence. He was actually playing with a paper fortune teller he got from Chuck E. Cheese's last weekend. It was his first experience with this classic paper toy and he was enamored by it.

"That?" I asked.

"Not this fortune teller. Like a real fortune teller."

I ran a search on my iPhone. This time I picked it myself and showed it to him. He liked it. This one was fun to draw, but I got impatient toward the end when coloring in his cloak. I had to do it ever so carefully to create the effect and I just wanted to be done!

When he saw it, he exclaimed, "Ooo, cool!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Monster Piranha

A Monster Piranha

"What should we do today?"

"Can you do another piranha, but one that looks like a real one?"

"Um..." I uttered. I guess yesterday's Piranha wasn't a real piranha. I know what he meant though.

"You know, yesterday I saw one that looked like a real piranha. Can you do that?" he asked.

"I guess," I said, handing him my iPhone. He smiled widely as he scanned the images. 

He showed me a "real" piranha but didn't pick it. "Never mind. Instead, can you do this monster looking thing? I'll call it a monster piranha. It's so awesome!" He looked at me with excited anticipation hoping I'd say yes.

I said, "Yes."

"Yay, it's soooo awesome!!!" he squealed.

As I was working he came over with some encouragement. "It's looking awesome," he said. "I'm so going to show this to my teacher. I'm so going to show this to everybody."

It's sweet when he seems so proud.

When he saw the finished drawing, he shouted, "Oh-My-Gosh!" He smiled, shook all over, and hugged me. "Thank you for drawing it for me Daddy!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2014



"What'll it be today?"

"Just the Angry Birds."

"No. I'm not going to do something I've already done," I told him. I've already done Angry Birds, Angry Birds Go!, Star Wars Angry Birds, and most recently, Red in a Race Car. I like Angry Birds, but there isn't much variety in drawing them.

He gave me no reaction. "Rainbow loom bracelet," he said out of the blue.

"That won't look like anything," I told him. I showed him options. 

"You're right. That doesn't really look like anything."

"So, what'll it be then?"

"I don't  know."

"Be creative. Think of something new."

"Give me a category."

I listed lots of them. 

He ignored me and said, "The Wishing Star."

"That won't look like anything either."

"I've seen one," he said brightly.

I showed him options and again he agreed with me that none were suitable. I challenged him once more to think of something new.

He thought for a good solid minute and then said, "Piranha."

I nodded my head. Finally! Something new. I ran a search and he picked quickly.

"I knew you'd pick that one."

"How did you know?"

"There's just something about what you like that I could just tell."

He was genuinely surprised that I had guessed it. I enjoyed drawing with the fat tip of the Sharpie today. I used the thin tip only for some fine tuning.

"That looks exactly like it. How come every time you do it, it looks exactly like it?"

"Because I focus."

"And you draw what you see, not what you think you see," he said remembering the mantra I recite in my head as I draw. It was my 8th grade art teacher who taught me that.



This afternoon, I met Victor in his classroom to give his 1st grade class an art lesson. We've talked about doing this all year long, but it had taken some time for everything to work out. I was a bit nervous this morning not exactly sure what I was going to do and say. I practiced a few times in my head as I wandered about the house. I got there right at 2:00pm with some worksheets in hand. My plan was to give an introduction, show off some of the earlier sacks via pictures on my iPhone, and teach the class how to draw Minions from Despicable Me.

The kids noticed me at the door and began whispering. I bumped my head against a piece of art that hung from the ceiling and I spied some kids trying unsuccessfully not to laugh. Victor was at the other side of the room giggling and whispering to his friends beside him. I waited a few minutes more before his teacher introduced me. The kids were not prepped and had no idea what we were about to do.

Victor pretty much took over right when I was about to get started. He was so excited to have me there in class with him that he forgot that I was the guest instructor, not he. Before I could finish my introduction, he asked me to show off the snack sacks from my iPhone camera roll and joined me at the front of the classroom. It took us a while to figure out how to best project them using the docucam, but once we did, there was no stopping him. He flipped through the images as the class shouted in unison identifying each drawing. He added his own color commentary keeping the class in stitches. I had to cut it off because we probably would have spent the entire time just doing that.

I handed out my worksheets that had on them some basic shapes. There was room for the students to try each themselves. The idea was to show them that basic shapes can be the basis for a cartoon character. Together we drew circles, ovals, and zig-zag lines. All of these were shapes from the Minions themselves. I then projected several Minions and asked the kids to draw them paying attention to the basic shapes found within each character as well as all their other little details. The kids were attentive and boisterous.

I handed out snack sacks and was surprised how excited they were to use an actual snack sack for their drawing surface. 
Some kids slowly followed along and drew the Minions part by part. Others unleashed their creativity and created whole scenes, with Minions and without. Those kids were the ones who came up to me to show me the worlds they had created. Each had elaborate stories to tell about what they had drawn. Some kids sheepishly came to me to ask if they could have another snack sack. The energy in the room was palpable.

Victor took the reigns again at the front of the room, drawing with the docucam on, talking all the while. He was a distraction to some and a laugh riot for others. He had the floor and he was taking advantage of the extra attention.

We ended up running through the end of the school day, most of the kids still engaged in their creative drawings right up until the bell rang. His teacher thanked me for coming as did the kids. Many more came to show me their work before they walked out and I praised each and every one of them. It was a fun time for all of us and something those kids, Victor, and I won't soon forget.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Red in a Race Car

Red in a Race Car from Angry Birds Go!

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"You pick."

"Me? You said you had a bunch of Easter ideas. What are they?"

"But it's past Easter."

"What are they?"

He sat thinking, expressionless and silent.

"You forgot?"

"Yeah. And then I had too much fun this weekend." We had spent some time poolside with friends.

I ran a general search for Easter related drawings but he didn't even want to browse.

"I kind of want you to do another Angry Birds Go!."

"But I just did that not too long ago."

"But you've done three dragons."

"Yeah, buy they're all different. The Angry Birds all look the same every time."

"Well, you can just do a different one today. Then another one tomorrow." He's been drawing the Angry Birds Go! characters himself lately. On several occasions he's brought home from school drawing pages full of colorful renditions of each bird. I suppose he wants me to draw them all too. I'd prefer it if he'd broaden his thinking a bit to come up with new options.

After some more back and forth, I relented. I ran a search and picked this one myself. I held it up for him to see. He agreed it was a good option. He kept to himself as I drew.

"What do you think of the sack?" I asked him when I was finished.

"I like it."

That's all I got from him. I think he was as frustrated with me as I was with him.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Oggy and the Cockroaches

Oggy and the Cockroaches

Yesterday, he went on a school field trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park so I didn't draw a snack sack. I thought he might choose something Easter-y, but he didn't.

"What should we do today?" I asked him.

He shouted without hesitation, "Oggy!" On Wednesday, I drew the The Cockroaches.

I made a few mistakes but you can't really tell. Today was a relatively quiet morning. I drew and he watched TV.

When he saw the finished sack, he said, "Gooood. That's good!"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Cockroaches

The Cockroaches from Oggy and the Cockroaches

"How about something Easter-y since it's finally close to Easter? You said you had lots of Easter ideas."

"How about today you do Oggy and tomorrow you do The Cockroaches. Then we can do Easter stuff." He's been watching the cartoon, "Oggy and the Cockroaches," this week on YouTube.

"But Sunday is Easter," I protested. "So if we do that, then there's only Friday before Easter."

He ignored my comments and I could see he wasn't going to change his mind. I ran a search and he quickly picked an image of the three cockroaches, Marky, Joey, and Dee Dee.

"Thanks for picking quickly today," I said. Apparently, I'm doing The Cockroaches today. Perhaps Oggy will be tomorrow.

I started from left to right. I drew the first cockroach too skinny and his mouth too small. I sighed.

"Are they a little hard?"

"Sort of."

He came over to take a closer look and said cautiously, "Can I tell you something?"

I nodded.

"You made a little mistake."

"I know."

"It's the tongue."

"Yeah. The whole mouth is too small...and...I made him too skinny."

"Yeah. It's okay."

I worked diligently trying not to make any more mistakes.

"Yay!" he shouted when he saw it finished. He laughed a big laugh and hugged me tightly before we headed out the door.