Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yertle the Turtle

Dr. Seuss Yertle the Turtle

"What should we do today?"

"I keep running out of ideas so I don't know."

"Should we stop doing it?" I asked, surprising myself. I should really have shown more patience, but I've been a little frustrated with his recent inability and indifference toward picking new things to draw every day.

"What?" he asked.

"Snack sacks."

"No. Sometimes I just need two minutes. You choose what you want," he said, throwing it back to me.

"How about Dr. Seuss? We haven't done anything from Dr. Seuss," I told him. Last night we'd read the Happy Birthday to You! book which I'd never heard of, let alone read. As usual, I was left amazed by the silly story and original illustrations.

"Yes we have," he insisted.

"What?" I asked, trying to think back. "From the Lorax? That was just the rocks, 'Unless'."

"Yeah, but it's still from Dr. Seuss."

"But we haven't done any of the fun characters!"

"Okay, then do Yertle the Turtle."

Yertle the Turtle is another Dr. Seuss book I’ve never read myself. “Okay,” I said.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. He browsed for a bit. “This one is too crazy!” he shouted. He showed it to me, but I didn't think it looked too crazy. He didn’t wait for me to respond. He kept scrolling. “I've got it! This one,” he said. “It kind of looks like a horse...a horse with a shell on its back.”

This one was easy, although, I didn't get his face quite right. I drew his beak first and didn't leave myself enough room for his eyes and face so it's a bit more compact that it should be. Otherwise it looks cool. I wanted his opinion. “So what do you think?” I asked him as I moved the bag in front of his face.

“Of the snack sack?” he said, distractedly. He was playing Minecraft on his iPad.


“Yeah, it looks awesome,” he said, hardly looking at it.

He was distracted by Minecraft and justifiably so. In just the past couple of days, he’d begun to play the game in survival mode instead of creative mode. It’s hard for a snack sack drawing to compete in a moment when he's enthralled with what's new and fresh and dangerous. However, just like Dr. Seuss and his wonderful creations will stand the tests of time, I believe our little project will as well. Games like Minecraft may have their impact, but I believe they are less likely to maintain the same kind of permanence.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Root Beer Guy

Mug Root Beer Logo with Bulldog

"Snack sack idea?" I asked him.

"Peppermint Pattie," he said without hesitation.

"What do you mean?"

"A Peppermint Pattie," he repeated, gesturing toward the pantry. We have taken a liking to York Peppermint Patties and recently bought a Costco-sized box. I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He didn't really like any of the options. I didn't blame him. "I know what else we can do," he said all of the sudden.


"The root beer guy," he said while pointing to a 2-liter bottle of Mug Root Beer that was also inside the pantry. I did a new search and handed him my iPhone again. To my surprise, he picked a black and white brand logo instead of an actual can or soda bottle. It would seem that he's finally catching on to what's easiest for me to draw.

It probably would have looked cooler if I'd been able to fill in the logo all blacked out behind the bulldog and the MUG label. I didn't want to rush and ran out of time after I got all the elements drawn in. I like how the bulldog came out most. "How's it look?" I asked him.

"Oh, wow! It looks good!" he exclaimed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Foam Hand - Go Kids

Foam Hand - Go Kids

Last night we chatted as he was getting ready for bed. "What was your favorite part of going to the game yesterday?" I asked him.

We'd gone to watch a San Diego Padres baseball game on Sunday. It was a rare spontaneous outing spurred on by a promotion put on by his school district. We paid $20 for $50 seats. He'd been asking to go watch a Padres game ever since he went on a field trip to Petco Park with his summer program. He doesn't particularly like baseball, but I wanted to encourage his enthusiasm, so we went to the game.

He thought for a moment. "Getting the big hand," he said.

As I mentioned, he doesn't really like baseball. It was a good game with lots of scoring, but he hardly paid attention. Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure the only reason he wanted to go was to get the big foam finger and point it all around. On his insistence, we bought it just as soon as we got there. He loved it but didn't use it quite as much as I had expected. "So we could have gone to the game, bought the foam hand, then came right back home and that would have been just as good," I said in good humor.

"Yeah, pretty much," he answered cheekily.

"You're silly. I know what I'm going to draw tomorrow, though."

"What?" he asked. 

"Guess!" I said, pointing to the hand.

A smile creeped up onto his face. "Yeah!" he shouted.

In the morning, I got to work on the hand straight away without checking in with him. I didn't want him to change his mind. I made quick work of the outline, then asked him, "Should I put 'Go Padres'?"

"Definitely don't put 'Go Victor'."

But that would make a lot of sense, I thought. "No?" I asked.

"No. Put a croissant."


"Put, 'Go Croissant'."

"Um, no." I had no idea what he was talking about. I ignored him for a while and kept working. When I was ready, I asked again, "What should we put?"

"'Go root beer!'"

"No! I don't want to put something that makes no sense." He looked at me like I was the weird one. "I'm just going to put 'Go SD' or 'Go Victor', okay?"

"Um, yeah, okay." He paused, then interjected, "Actually, put 'Go Kids'."

"Oh, okay, 'Go Kids'," I said. "Sure, I can do that. And then I'll put 'VT'." I showed him the original.

"Yeah. 'VT' here and 'Go Kids' here, okay?" he said, pointing out the correct locations for each.

When I was finished, I realized that I should have drawn it the other way around so that he could have put his hand in the sack to wave it about. Ooops! I'd thought of that last night but completely forgot this morning. Ugh. I was mad at myself. I considered starting all over, but didn't really have enough to time for that. "What do you think of it?" I asked him.

"It's good," he said without much enthusiasm. Perhaps if I'd made the bag functional as a pointer, as it should have been, he'd have had a more enthusiastic reaction.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Baby Penguin

Baby Penguin

"What should we draw today?"

No answer.

I asked him again, "What should we draw today?"

No answer.

"Victor I need a snack sack idea," I said more firmly.

"Okay, do a baby penguin," he blurted out.

"A baby penguin?"

"Mm-hmm," he hummed.

"Okay," I said.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. "Oh my gosh! These are all super cute! Dad, if you could, could you do this one? He looks super cute!"

"Sure," I agreed. I was very careful to maintain the basic shapes as I colored it in. I knew it'd be easy to lose focus and add a stroke outside the outline, thus losing the cuteness effect. Based on Victor's reaction, I did a good enough job.

"That is the cutest snack sack that you ever did," he said with delight. "I'm so bringing this home. There's no way that I'm not." He stared at it some more. "That took you a long time," he added.

"It always takes longer when I have to color something in," I told him.

"Oh my gosh! He is so cute!" he exclaimed one last time before we headed out the door.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday Victor!

8 Scoop Ice Cream Cone

I can't hardly believe it, but Victor turned 8 years old today. I drew an 8 scoop ice cream cone for his 8th birthday. Last year it was 7 cupcakes. The year before, I drew a birthday cake. As usual, I didn't tell him what I was going to draw. I just got started.

As soon as I was finished, I showed it off and asked, "What do you think?"

"It's good!" he said with a big smile.

His new school doesn't support sending in treats to celebrate a kid's birthday. Instead, they've asked us parents to think of creative ways to celebrate in the classroom. Naturally, I thought of coming to school to celebrate with him and teach the kids about drawing. Since the school didn't want real treats, I planned for the kids to learn how to draw treats...things like candy, cup cakes, and ice cream.

I arrived at his classroom about an hour before lunch. The kids were excited to have a visitor, as was Victor. I brought in a bunch of classic snack sacks to share. Victor joined me at the front of the classroom. We started by explaining our project and browsing through the physical sacks as well as the photos. He was thrilled to flip through them all pointing out little notes about each. The class was very engaged.

Just about everyone raised their hand when I asked how many kids wished they were better at drawing. I handed out worksheets with drawing samples of the various sweets. I explained how starting from basic shapes can be a good technique for breaking down a drawing you want to copy. We worked together as I drew on the whiteboard and they drew on paper. Even Victor's teacher joined in for the lesson. I gave a few more tips on drawing mechanics and then let them loose.

I handed out some more paper and some blank snack sacks. I asked the class to draw creatively with the suggestion to incorporate sweets into the scene. The kids were quite enthused. Minus two exceptions (one girl wasn't interested for whatever reason and hardly participated and one boy got frustrated and emotional as he struggled to copy the sweets to his own satisfaction), the energy was overwhelmingly positive with kids thoroughly enjoying the creative session.

The hour flew by and it was a challenge for the kids to settle down, clean up, and prep themselves to head out for lunch. They finally left the classroom well after their lunchtime had officially started. I shuffled on out myself happy to have made Victor's day a bit more special.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014



"What's for the snack sack today?"

He thought for a long while. Finally he said, "I'm starting not to have ideas."

"Remember, you can think of anything."

He said nothing.

"You had lots of Looney Tunes clips on the iPad that we haven't done," I reminded him. "Or how about this guy from Lucky Charms since you like them so much," I suggested pointing to the leprechaun on the box of cereal.

"What's his name, Daddy?"

"I think it's Lucky."

"Oh, yeah. Right. It is Lucky."

"So should I draw him?"

He ignored me and asked, "Did you put wine on that?" He was referring to my toast. "If you did I want some," he said with mischievous smile.

"No. It's jelly, silly," I informed him. In fact, it was blueberry preserves.

"Oh," he said in disappointment.

Before I could stop myself, I said in my best Gru voice, "I'm making a line of jams and jellies." That gave me an idea. "How about Gru or Dr. Nefario from Despicable Me?" I suggested.

"Um, no," he said without hesitation. "How about Silence Ramsbottom?" he asked.

"Ramsbottom? Okay," I said. I did a search and found his first name to be Silas.

Victor browsed through the options for Silas Ramsbottom and was likely disappointed with them since the character is funny and memorable only for his name. "Something here gave me an idea," he said and paused for effect. "Batman!" he whispered in a deep Batman-y voice. It's funny how random things pop into his head.

"I've already done Batman," I said.

"No, you haven't."

I actually wasn't sure. "Well, I know I've done the Batcave."

"Yeah, but in it Batman was tiny."

"I think I've done Batman before," I repeated, although I was feeling more doubtful now.

"No you haven't," he insisted.

He was right. I took my iPhone back and searched through our old stuff. I found the Joker and the Batcave with a tiny Batman shadow in it, but no real drawing of Batman. "I guess I haven't," I admitted.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone once more. He picked this one pretty quickly. I drew Batman carefully and only messed up a little bit. I considered shading him in but decided against it. When Victor saw it, he shouted, "It's awesome!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How about King Kong...

King Kong

"What should we do today?"

He ignored my question.

"I need to know what to draw so I can get started."

"Um, not Mario because he's too violent." That seemed like a random comment, but I remembered that he mentioned seeing a YouTube video where Nintendo's Mario was portrayed as a character committing a lot of violent acts. I haven't seen it for myself. He's brought it up from time to time, so it's clear he was a bit traumatized by it. He assured me he will never watch it again. I believe him.

"How about a different character from Mario?"

"No," he said quickly. Then out of no where he asked, "How about King Kong?" He'd seen a few scenes of the newer Peter Jackson version of King Kong a couple of weekends ago at a friend's house. The fight scenes in that movie are pretty impressive and he was naturally struck by them. We didn't sit to watch the whole movie though. We just watched bits and pieces as we did other things.

"Okay," I said, a little concerned about him picking something really complex to draw.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. "I found one," he said right away, "It's going to be easy." He handed me the iPhone.

"Does this one seem easy to you?" I asked him, tilting the iPhone back toward him.

"Not exactly...because of all those teeth, but it's so awesome."

I couldn't disagree with that. It did look awesome. I worked with the fine tip of the Sharpie and chicken scratched my way to a pretty cool looking King Kong.

Monday, September 15, 2014



"So what am I going to draw today?"

"What" he trailed off and thought for a minute. He went on to tell me random things about his friends, school, and how he's, "not a super fan of watermelon, because it's kind of weird."

"What's for the snack sack, Buddy?" I asked, interrupting his stream of consciousness.

"I don't know," he said, pausing again. With a spark, he suggested, "How about Yoshi?" The other day, he bought a small Yoshi toy at the store. He had seen it the weekend before, then decided to buy it with his own money this weekend. For him to exhibit that type of planning is unusual. The toy brought him a lot of joy. He played with it for that entire first day and has been working on his impression of the small dinosaur Nintendo character. "Yoshi!" he exclaimed, imitating his voice. He's pretty good an mimicry.

I'm not even sure who Yoshi is exactly except that he's part of the Mario set of games from Nintendo. I made quick work of this one, happy to use the thick tip end of the Sharpie like I used to do. I enjoy working on outlined drawings, especially when they are of cartoon characters.

When he saw it finished, he said, "Wow! Whoa! That's quick! That was quick."

I smiled.

"Do you want to do another one?"

"No, I don't. I don't need to do more than this one."

"But you can add to this one if you want to."

"Not today," I said. I've learned that I can get him off my back when I defer instead of decline. It worked. He didn't press anymore.

The next morning I asked him about the snack sack. "What happened to Yoshi? I see you didn't bring him back."

"Yeah...well...let's see...there's this kid. You know those rocks I brought home the other day? Well, he had more"

"You traded the snack sack for the rocks," I said, connecting the dots. I could tell he was worried how I'd react.

"Yeah. He really, really wanted Yoshi like really, really bad. And he said he'd give me all of the rocks if he could have it."


"Let me show you," he said, on his way to retrieve them.

Looks to me like Victor probably got a good deal. The rocks are the type of translucent blue decorative rocks you might put in a vase. They're real nice. So that's new. The snack sacks are being traded as currency. Interesting.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bugs Bunny with a Giant Gold Rock

Bugs Bunny with a Giant Gold Rock

Twice this week I found his snack sack in his backpack with the snack still in it. It was clear that he has not been eating his snack everyday. What's more, it seemed likely that he hasn't even been taking the snack sack out of his backpack. A lot of thoughts raced through my head. I tried to learn more.

I asked him if he was playing instead of eating. I asked him if he takes the snack sack out of his backpack at all during the day. I asked him if he shows the snack sacks to his friends. He gave me no direct answers to my questions. I pressed some more, but he remained vague and I don't understand exactly why.

"Do you still want me to draw?" I asked him, fearing he might say, "No." I thought about the time and effort I put into drawing these sacks. I thought about the past sacks that likely weren't even taken out of his backpack. I felt emboldened to add, "I'm going to stop drawing if you're not going to eat your snack."

He sheepishly apologized saying he hasn't been very hungry.

"Do you still want me to draw?" I asked again.

"Yes. I'll eat my snack from now on."

I felt relieved that he still wanted me to draw. After asking that second time, I was pretty nervous that he might say he didn't want me to draw anymore. "Okay, so what should I draw today?" I asked, moving on.

"You get to choose anything from the iPad."

"Oh, I get to choose?"


I grabbed the iPad and opened the Photos app to browse the stockpile of Looney Tunes screenshots he captured over the summer. In the cameral roll, there were a few recent pics he took at school. I found a funny selfie he took of himself yelling at the camera. I showed it to him and asked, "Should I draw this?"

He smiled and said, "No, don't do that. It's weird."

"It's funny," I teased.

He shot me a look, knowing I wasn't being serious.

I browsed for a bit and ultimately picked another snapshot from, "Barbary-Coast Bunny." Yesterday I drew Bugs Bunny in a pile of gold coins from the same cartoon. Here, in this scene for today, Bugs runs into this giant gold rock. Once he recognizes it for what it is, he does backflips and cartwheels across the grass all the while yelling, "I'm rich! I'm rich! I'm faaaabulously wealthy!" That clip is a memorable one from my childhood. I can remember repeating those words all the time when I was young.

I took my time with this one and like the way it came out. When he saw it, he said, "It's good. It's good. Except that it'd be better if it was colored in."

"I agree," I told him. He was right. A giant gold rock should look like a giant gold rock.

As we headed out the door, I couldn't help but wonder if he'd take this one out of his backpack today and what it might mean to our project if he doesn't.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bugs Bunny in a Pile of Gold Coins

Bugs Bunny in a Pile of Gold Coins

"What should I draw today?"

"What about I get something on the iPad and you put it on your phone...because I've got a good one."


As I was prepping his breakfast, I heard the trash truck down the street. Normally it comes much later in the morning. I rushed outside to get our bins out onto the street in time.

Victor walked out of the house after me with his iPad causally carried in one hand. "I've got one, Dadda," he shouted over the noise.

"Go back inside, Victor," I scolded. I was worried he might drop the iPad on the sidewalk.

When I got back in the house he showed me what he'd picked. "This one!" he yelled with excitement.

It was the same exact screenshot of Red Hot Ryder that I'd drawn a couple of weeks ago. "I already did that one."

"No, you didn't."

"Yes, I did. I'll show you." I took out my iPhone and found the image.

He looked at it carefully not wanting to admit that he'd completely forgot. "No, this one is different," he said confidently.

He showed me on his iPad that there were two frames he'd captured. One with Red Hot Ryder's belly sticking out a little bit more than the other. They were almost identical. "It's the same thing!"

"No, it's not."

"It's the same thing!"

He picked this one of Bugs Bunny in a pile of gold coins pretty quickly after he relented. In this scene from, "Barbary-Coast Bunny," Bugs uses this slot machine thinking it's a telephone. He asks his Mom to loan him a few bucks and hits the jackpot.

When I showed him the finished drawing, he said in a cute mousy voice, "Ooo, pretty good!"