Thursday, December 20, 2012

Talking Dino

Talking Dino

Talking Dino

"Can you do Talking Dino, Daddy?"

I think he added in "Daddy" to his plea try to win me over. He knows I don't like drawing physical objects since it is much more difficult for me to do a good job. But Talking Dino from the VTech Switch & Go Dino series of toys was an early Christmas gift and he was thrilled to have received it. TV advertising really does work!

I gave it my best shot. I spent my time trying to get it right, but it was difficult. When I was done, he told me, "That looks nothing like Talking Dino."

Oh well. I tried.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012




He brought home a dinosaur drawing instruction book last night. He got it from the library. I took my time to get the proportions right on this one.

When he saw it, he said, "How cool is that!"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Angry Birds

Angry Birds

Angry Birds

"I know! Angry Birds!"

I did this one quickly. He loved that the O in his name had a bird in it. I told him, "That's what you'd look like if you were an Angry Bird!" He laughed as he studied each of the birds separately.

Monday, December 17, 2012

How about a clown

How about a clown...

Clown Juggling

"Have you done Santa already?"


"How about a clown."

I really like this clown and how the drawing turned out. It's fun and playful, unlike so many other options that were scary or sad.

He wanted to get involved again today. "Let me just add stripes to his shoes!" he said as he took the Sharpie.

Again he wrote in his name scattering the letters this time individually throughout the drawing. And again, the sneaky R found it's way, as he put it, "camouflaged on his shoe."

Friday, December 14, 2012



Stamps backsideStamps

Last night, we went to a Family Night event at Victor's school. They had lots of holiday arts and crafts for the kids to enjoy. He used the stamp station to decorate this small snack sack. He was proud of the design and brought it home.

This morning, as I was about to ask him what he wanted on his snack sack, I asked him instead if he wanted to use the sack he had decorated. He said yes. I let him add his name again today. He chose to write his name more than once for good measure, saying to himself as he did it, "I will do two Victors." In fact, he did three Victors.

He added, "You know why I did this today? Because I ran out of ideas." 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

Leaning Tower of Pisa

"I got one perfect idea," he said before he sucked the last few drops of syrup out of his single serving syrup jar. "The Pyramid of Pisa!" he exclaimed. He must have seen the look on my face because he followed that up with, "Whatever. Never mind! A TV. Um, I want a..."

 I interjected, "Did you mean the Leaning Tower of Pisa?"

"Yes! The Leaning Tower," he confirmed.

I knew I was going to have trouble with the uniformity of the archways and overall proportions. I did have trouble indeed, but when I showed it to him, he said, "Great!"

I wasn't sure where to put his name. We had some extra time so I asked him for help. "Oh, I know where to put my name," he said confidently. The letters went in out of order on the bottommost archways.

"Do you know where the 'r' is?" he asked. Without pausing, he continued, "It's sneaky. It's camouflaged." He actually hadn't placed the 'r' just yet. He considered his choices. "Instead," he revised, "I'm going to have an R having a dive. How do you draw an upside down R?" He did his best. "Look Daddy, R's having a dive!"

With the Sharpie in his hand, he wasn't about to stop there.

"Do you want wind? Because it's windy there right?"

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crystals 2

Crystals 2


He asked for crystals today. We had just done crystals a couple of weeks ago so I asked him to think of something else. He got pouty and I quickly relented.

He picked this one and guided me by saying, "You have to do it sideways. You have to!"

He could see on my face that I wasn't sure about tackling all the details and complexity of his choice.

He added a concession, "You don't have to do the little crystals if you don't want to."

"I'll do them," I said already feeling overwhelmed.

"Yay!" he exclaimed. "It's going to be way beautiful when you're done, right? It's always beautiful when you're done because you're the neatest drawer I could ever ask for."

"I am?"

"Because it always looks like what it's supposed to," he said as a sincere compliment.

"Daddy, can you teach me to do that?"



He had a big smile on his face when he saw the completed drawing. "How did you do the little crystals so fast!?" he asked. "Where's my name? Oh. I don't see the 'i'? I need to fix the 'i'." And so he did.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I want a reindeer...

I want a reindeer...


"I want a reindeer."

I handed him my iPhone.

"I want to find one that looks like a real reindeer."

Most looked like Rudolph or some other cartoonish reindeer. He picked this one and I enjoyed drawing it. I was at a loss as to where to put his name. I probably should have just written it under the reindeer. 

Monday, December 10, 2012




"I'm out of ideas."

"It's Monday. You should be full of ideas."

"Oooh, I know! A jet!" he exclaimed a second later looking at his toy Air Force jet on the kitchen table.

I did a Google image search and handed him my iPhone as always.

"They're all so cool! I don't know which one to pick."

I actually wasn't thrilled with his choice over the other options, but oh well, I don't pick them.

He had no reaction today when I showed him the finished product. That's was disappointing. To top that off, I forgot to take a picture of it. As soon as I got back home, I sent his teacher an email asking her to track it down. I asked her to make sure it ended up in his backpack and not in the trash as it normally does. Luckily, he did bring it home. I was relieved not to have lost the record of this one.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Chocolate Fountain

Chocolate Fountain

"When is Mother's Day?"


"I can't wait to wear fancy clothes again!"

That was a surprise to hear. He usually puts up a good fight on Mother's Day and doesn't want to wear "fancy" clothes.

"Well, we can get fancy sometime and go somewhere fancy," I suggested.

"Then I'd have to make sure I don't get my clothes dirty."

Hmm. That's what I thought. He wasn't being serious.

"What's for the snack sack today?" I asked.

"Oh, I've got an idea. When it's Christmas you get chocolate. And when you get chocolate, you get a chocolate fountain!"

Ah, now I knew where his mind was at. In the past few years for Mother's Day we've been going out for a fancy buffet brunch with friends. One of the features of the buffet that the kids love is the chocolate fountain. They usually don't overindulge, but it must create quite the impression on a youngster to see a never ending flow of chocolate. It is cool indeed!

"Daddy, where's the chocolate?" he asked when he walked over to see the finished drawing. This one was tough for me and I'm not particularly happy with it. It's never easy for me to draw from a source photograph vs a source drawing. He was right to suggest that the drawing isn't instantly recognizable. I think I'll try to stay away from source photographs in the future.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A machine...

A machine...

"A machine."

"What kind of machine?"

"I don't know. Just make a machine."

I didn't have much time this morning. I picked out the reference drawing myself. He didn't pay much attention to the drawing as I was working on it. He finished his breakfast and brushed his teeth. Since I was still working on it, he offered to take out the trash. Thursday is trash day. I enjoyed working on this one with all it's intricate lines and details.

When he finished taking out the trash, he came over to the kitchen table and asked, "Did you finish it?" He took a look and added, "Is that the whole thing?" He studied it and answered his own question, "Oh yeah. That's the whole thing."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A sleigh daddy...

A sleigh daddy...

"A reindeer. A sleigh. A sleigh daddy." That's how we started our morning.

It's always tougher to draw something that has fewer lines and less complexity. There is less room for making mistakes. The perspective isn't quite right on this one but it still captures some of the 3D effect that it should. He liked it well enough but had no comments today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A toucan bird...

A toucan bird...

"A toucan bird," he said matter-of-factly. He continued, "You know what gave me the idea?" He didn't pause. "It's because of this guy," he said pointing to the Fruit Loops Box on the kitchen table. At this moment he took a pause. "He's a toucan, right?"

It was clear that he wanted a real toucan and not Toucan Sam. I messed up on my first try, drawing the the bird too big. I had to start over. There are so many ways to mess up a drawing! I was worried on every stroke for this one, especially since I'm drawing directly in Sharpie. Starting out with a mistake can shake my confidence.

"It's very cute," he said affirmingly. "Oooh! That looks more realer. More realer than I'm used to seeing it. Cool!"

Monday, December 3, 2012

I want Santa...

I want Santa...

"I just thought about it. I was thinking it could be a humuhumunukunukuapua'a, but that'd be too hard."

I looked up this Hawaiian named trigger fish and showed him the options.

"I don't want the humuhumunukunukuapua'a," he said definitively, "I wan't Santa!"

It was December finally so I could not deny him anymore.

As he browsed the options he blurted out, "When I forget Santa's name I say Saint Pickles."

He continued to talk while browsing, "Not this Santa, he's too fat."

A minute later he added, "It's hard to pick because they are all too silly."

He picked this one probably because it was the most svelte looking Santa of the bunch.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Snow Dogs. I love Snow Dogs!

Snow Dogs. I love Snow Dogs!

"Now can we do Christmas stuff? Let's do Santa and his reindeer!"

"No. It's still November."

"Snow dogs. I love snow dogs!"

I didn't know he knew what a snow dog was. I really like this one and the look on the dog's face. This is one of my favorite animal snack sacks so far.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How about a mountain lion...

How about a mountain lion...


"No it's too early. It's not even December yet. Remember?"

"It's close. It's only two days!"


"How about reindeer?"

"No. Same thing."

"Not Santa's reindeers. Just reindeer."


"How about a mountain lion?"

Uh, I'm not sure how he got there, but it resulted in a cool option.

"I just need to tell you, you're really good at drawing these stuff," he said, following up the compliment with a warm hug. Moments like that are what I live for.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I know! Crystals!

I know! Crystals!

We had a hard time deciding what to do today after a rocky start to our morning. He wasn't doing the 1-2-3's (our code name for his bedtime routine) last night and didn't want to talk about it today so I put my foot chocolate cereal and no TV. He was pretty upset and so was I. We were in a stalemate.

But the snack sack would be created nonetheless. We kept thinking of Christmas options but we both agreed that it was too early for that. We decided to wait until December.

We kept talking about different things and he eventually said, "I know! Crystals!"

I showed him different options and he loved the one we chose more than the rest. Today, mostly because he didn't have any TV to watch, he sat and watched me draw after he finished his breakfast. As he watched, he kept telling me how I'm such a good drawer and how much he liked this drawing. He even said that he already knew he wanted to keep this one.

I asked him about the snowman from yesterday and he said he didn't keep it.

"Why?" I asked.

"I just didn't want to."

Fair enough.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How about a snowman...

How about a snowman...

There were surprisingly not many drawings to choose from, but I found this cute reference after searching for a while.

He had no reaction today when he saw it. Not sure if he didn't like it and I didn't ask him.

I like the snowman a lot actually. The background and botched up snowballs no so much.

Monday, November 26, 2012



"How about we do something yummy today?!"

"A waffle?"

"How about we do a sundae today!?"

Drawing to realistic picture instead of a drawing is always extra hard for me. This one came out pretty good but neither of us had much to say about it. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cake Factory

Cake Factory

"Ooooh, a cake factory!" he exclaimed.

"I don't know what a cake factor looks like buddy," I lamented.

"Okay," he conceded, "just do a cake factory."

It's hard to say "no" to him sometimes. I searched and searched but only found one image that I could draw some inspiration from. This time I had to try to draw something mostly on my own.

It looks a little weird to me as it doesn't really follow the rules of space or perspective, but when he saw it, he cried out, "Wow!"

If it's good enough for him, then it is good enough for me I suppose. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Monster Truck

Monster Truck

He picked a monster truck today because we had seen his friend's bag with a monster truck on it yesterday. It was cool to see that other parents had gotten into the act of drawing. What's more, the drawings weren't half bad. The monster truck in fact was especially good.

He said to me yesterday that he knew I would draw a better monster truck. I didn't. But as I drew it he came over and said, "Your monster truck is starting to look cool daddy!" I don't like it too much as I struggled to get the perspective and depth to look right. But he liked it nonetheless and I was happy that he didn't think of our drawings as a competition with other parents'.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Maybe a rocket

Maybe a rocket


"Lunch bag today is going to be...maybe a rocket!"

Sounded good to me. It wasn't easy for me to get this one to look like the picture and I had to compromise detail since I didn't have a lot of time this morning.

"Great daddy! I love it!"

That was nice to hear because I didn't love it myself.

When we got to school today, his friend ran up to him and yelled, "Victor look!"

The friend's dad had drawn a school bus in Sharpie on his lunch bag! Today was a field trip day and all the kids were asked to bring their lunch in a disposable bag.

The father came up to me. "My son keeps telling me about Victor's lunch bags. He asked me to draw something for him this morning. I had to draw something!"

I smiled and looked around the playground. Sure enough I spotted two other sacks with drawings on them. One had a cool monster truck drawn in silver marker and another white sack had colorful drawings all over it.

I hadn't realized that other parents might be getting requests from their kids. Pretty cool to know that our little project has inspired others to add some creativity to their mornings too!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012




"A wall. A brick wall and something in the middle is growing and saying 'thanks'."

"What?" I knew what he was talking about but wanted him to explain it, or remember it better.

"A brick wall is a circle and there's something in the middle and there's something that is saying thanks to the tree or something in the middle that's gonna grow."

"From The Lorax you mean?" I asked trying to let him off the hook. While he was talking I did the search and showed him the "Unless" circle of stones.


This one was fun to draw trying to get the perspective right. It came out okay and I liked finding a way to incorporate his letters into the drawing. He really enjoyed the movie and I guess the message stuck with him too, albeit, not word for word. He was close. :)

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Friday, November 9, 2012

Bread Factory

Bread Factory

Victor's Bread Factory

Sometimes we go through a lot of exploration before we settle in on the idea that makes it onto the snack. Today's went in many wild directions.

It started with him declaring, "So the snack sack today is..." He paused, looking around the room. Then suddenly pointed to a teepee on the kitchen table made of construction paper. It was an art project he had brought home the day before.

"That!" he exclaimed.

"A teepee?" I asked.

"Yeah!" he confirmed, but immediately changed his mind, "No, not a teepee. The biggest tower. Not the biggest building. The biggest tower." He continued, "I remember the biggest building. It's the Burj Khalifa." Then randomly he added, "Most sand comes from mummies."

Not knowing where he was going or what he was thinking about, I interjected, "Oh, I know, how about something from Egypt?"

"No," he said quickly.

"Like the pyramids," I suggested encouragingly.


"So the biggest tower, not the biggest building?" I said trying to get back on track.

"How about a factory?"

"What kind of factory?"

"Bread factory," he said with confidence.

I searched on Google. He looked and looked. Finally he said, "Okay, just do this one."

After I was done, he said with a smile, "Ah, that's cool! It's cool, daddy! I like it."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How about Mario driving...

How about Mario driving...

Victor Karts

"Do you want to do all the detail?" he asked after he picked a pretty complex scene of Mario driving. "You don't have to if you don't want to." He went on, "You just have to draw the road and the water. You don't have to do the mountains."

I was up for the challenge today. We hadn't spent much time drawing scenes and I was interested in doing this one. I went ahead and drew the road, the water, the mountains, Mario, and Pac-Man. I spent a lot of time on this one and enjoyed the process.

When he saw it he asked, "You only drew these two?" Although he was correct that I had omitted the other drivers from the original, I was a bit stunned by the response. I brushed the negative feelings off quickly. He moved on too.

"Where's my name daddy?" (I love it when he calls me daddy.) I didn't answer, allowing his eyes the time to scan the drawing. He found it and noticed the "V" on Pac-Man's kart too. Victor Karts. What a fun game that would be!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How about the earth...

How about the earth...

Earth in Hands

"Last time you drew the whole solar system, but not just the earth," he reminded me.

Of course he didn't pick just the earth. He picked this image of hands holding the earth. Hands are notoriously difficult to draw well. I wasn't looking forward to the challenge, but I put the necessary time into this one.

The earth in this realistic view was also difficult for me to capture given the swirls of clouds that make up most of its surface. Yet, when I look at this sack my eyes are drawn to the fingers and hardly notice or care that it doesn't much look like the earth at all.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012



This morning didn't start out very well with the ideas.

"How about people standing together in front of a tree with leaves falling down."

"Um, what!!?!" I thought to myself. "That's too many things to do. It will take too long," I scolded.

I didn't have a ton of time this morning and was already feeling stressed. He didn't have any other ideas, just that one brilliant one. Since he couldn't come up with anything and because he had mentioned Spider-Man a few days ago, I decided to try our friendly neighborhood superhero.

I wasn't sure if I'd get the proportions right and felt nervous throughout. I ran out of time for the details on the buildings and didn't do a good job with the perspective there, but the idea comes across well enough. In the end, he liked it, as did I.

"Ooooo," he said softly when he saw the finished drawing. "Daddy, I'm not sure if I'm gonna bring this back," he warned me.

"Why?" I asked.

"I'm not sure. I'm not sure."

Well, he did bring it back. It's Spider-Man! How could he throw him away!?

Monday, November 5, 2012

How about the White House...

How about the White House...

After noticing his library book on the kitchen counter he sad, "I have an idea! How about the White House."

The book was The Congress and he confused the Capital Building with the White House. In concept he wanted the White House, but literally he wanted what he was looking at...the Capital Building. I took the time to show him both on my iPhone and explained the difference as best I could. We agreed that we wanted to stick with his original idea to draw the White House.

This one took longer than I thought and it was difficult to do it justice. It's hard for me to draw from a photograph rather than a drawing. But Victor liked it nonetheless.

"Oh yeah... Now that's what I like."

Friday, November 2, 2012

Just Thor

Just Thor

Today it was tough to pick something. We went from fall, to November stuff, to an autumn tree, to a snowy tree, to a Christmas tree, to superheroes (both Spider-Man and Thor together), to finally Thor. Just Thor.

We had taken so much time deciding what to draw that I just picked the reference drawing instead of handing over my iPhone. This one, like the vampire in a meadow, makes me cringe a little every time I look at it. The Thor I picked is a comic book looking Thor which looks pretty different from the way Thor is portrayed in more modern incarnations, like in The Avengers. In fact, he looked pretty unfamiliar to Victor even with the hammer in hand.

Victor looked me dead in the eye and asked, "What are you drawing? That doesn't look like anybody."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How about my letters on a sand castle...

How about my letters on a sand castle...

Sand Castle

He picked an image today that really didn't have a well defined sand castle on it.

I tried to explain, "Well it won't look like a sand castle."

"It's okay. Just try," he said encouragingly.

"Okay," I thought to myself. But I wasn't convinced so I decided to pull a couple of reference drawings together to create one of my own. I simplified the beach and put a more traditional castle on it. He watched me draw after he brushed his teeth.

I suppose his letters didn't exactly end up on the sand caste, but he didn't seem to mind.

"That's a pretty awesome drawing," he told me with a lot of excitement in his voice.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Haunted House 4

Haunted House 4

"Next time," he told me yesterday, "I know what to do. Walking throughout the city." He meant his letters of course. But I think he didn't realize that October 31st is Halloween. I reminded him and he quickly picked out another haunted house, the fourth one for October. This one took a while with all the detail, but I had fun with it.

In fact, I've had fun drawing all of the Halloween themed sacks. It's a shame that with the end of October comes an end to spooky houses and sinister scenes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My letters in the sky...

My letters in the sky...

"Well it's not an's my letters in the sky," he explained. "Oh, I've got an even better idea. A parachute!"

He took an interest today and came around to watch me after he finished his waffles. He felt confident and asked to try to draw a parachute. I left the last one for him coaching him as he drew. It's good! I kept reminding him to draw what he sees, not what he thinks he sees. He's observant and carefully drew a line from each point of the underside of the parachute. He added his letters too.

It was nice to have collaborated today. I enjoyed watching him concentrate as he drew.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Maybe rocks with penguins on it and water...

Maybe rocks with penguins on it and water...

That's the kind of guidance I get sometimes. I can't say that I'm nervous anymore hearing these general requests. But it's still quite a challenge to find something I think I can draw and then do a decent job of drawing it. As I've mentioned before, I don't really consider myself an artist. I'm simply copying a reference drawing or photo. It may sound cheesy, but I truly do believe that I can do anything well if I believe in myself. Practice helps too.

I wasn't sure this one was going to turn out well. Sometimes when I get started, its not clear how it's going to take shape or if it will ultimately look like what I set out to draw. The reference drawing was a good one so that helped me today.

"You're the best drawer in the whole world," he declared. "You know why you're the best drawer in the world? Because you tell yourself, 'Alan you can do it.'"

I can only hope that he learns to do the same for himself each and every day.

Friday, October 26, 2012

How about an airport...

How about an airport...

"You always pick something that has a lot of stuff in it," I told him when I learned that he wanted me to draw an airport this morning.

"Well, just draw an airplane and some luggages and that's it," he pleaded.

What are you gonna do? Just draw an airplane and some luggages and that's it? The boy wants an airport, I'll give him an airport. I took a lot of time on this one, but it was fun to do.

When he saw it, his reaction was, "Awesome! Oh my gosh!"

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rocket ship

Rocket ship

"How about a farm?" he asked.

"Too much stuff," I told him.

"Okay, you can draw a barn house," he conceded.

I didn't have an approving look on my face.

His eyes scanned the room. He countered, "Wait a second! I got an idea! When I looked at the LEGO, I got an idea. How about a LEGO city with two people?"

I wasn't convinced of what exactly I'd draw, but I went ahead and did a search anyway. I couldn't find anything good until I found a Wall-E LEGO drawing that looked cool. He wasn't into that but it did spark the idea to draw a rocket ship.

When I was done, he wanted to add his letters so I let him. As he wrote out each letter, he added "Mario helmets" on each of them. I have no idea why.

He loved this drawing. His approval was evident when he came home from school. "I brought it back home Daddy because I thought it was cool," he told me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How about a vampire in a meadow...

How about a vampire in a meadow...

This is my least favorite of all the drawings. I didn't really have time to do it justice and I just couldn't get into it. A vampire in a meadow? What does that mean? I asked him. His response was, "Yeah, like at Lake Cuyamaca." Sure, a meadow. I get it, but...

I couldn't really find a good base drawing and for some reason most images in Google image search only had the top half of a vampire, not its entire body. I spent so long trying to find a decent reference drawing that I had very little time left to actually draw something. By the time I was done with the vampire (which sort of resembles the vampire from Hotel Transylvania) I had no time left to consider drawing him in a meadow. That's when Victor took over and drew in the meadow himself.

"Maybe I can draw Mavis," he said. He was referring again to the move Hotel Transylvania.

"No," I said firmly. We didn't have the time. I could tell, however, that he was keen on drawing something and I wanted to encourage that. "Less is more," I told him, "how about your draw the moon?"

He drew two moons then started drawing those black marks. "The moon is shooting out lava," he explained.

"Less is more," I reminded him, "less is more."

"Let me add the wind."

"Uh, that's enough."

As we rushed out of the house I pulled the Sharpie away from him and at the last minute remembered that I needed to add his name somewhere. That his name is on the vampire's tie is one of the few things I like about this drawing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How about a graveyard...

How about a graveyard...

Halloween is getting closer. I loved the idea of capturing a graveyard and found a good drawing to base mine on. This one was fun to do. I wasn't sure how well it would turn out and almost screwed it up a couple of times. But in the end, it turned out to be a spooky scene that we both liked. I especially liked incorporating his name on the tombstone. Fun!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Victor's Observatory

Victor's Observatory

I can't recommend Griffith Park and Griffith Observatory enough. We had a blast there this past weekend. The planetarium show at the observatory was by far the best I've ever seen. It had all the charm of a classic planetarium show from my childhood and all the awesomeness of a modern dome theater with digital projection and sound. And that's not to mention the great exhibits, easy hike, the beautiful views of the city of angels at sunset, and the endless rows of the city's lights at night. It was almost good enough for me to forgive the overcast night that robbed us from viewing an amazing meteor shower.

Today, I didn't ask him what he wanted me to draw because I knew what I wanted to draw. For some reason, however, I struggled with this one. I threw away two bags before I got the proportions right. And that's something I've almost never done. In fact, I've surprised myself using a Sharpie and not having to start over. It took longer than I would have guessed, but I finally got the proportions worked out okay. It's not my favorite drawing but I am happy to have captured a wonderful memory on this sack.

I wasn't sure if he liked it, but he must have because this one came home today after school.

Friday, October 19, 2012

How about my letters walking through a forest...

How about my letters walking through a forest...

"You can draw some animals too," he informed me. I didn't expect there'd be time for animals and I was right. Drawing a forest isn't easy and this one took me at least 30 minutes.

"You know what?" he asked, "You have to draw it sideways or you won't have room for the trees."

I've been hesitant to deviate too much from our basic format of drawing on one side of the bag with a simple twin-tipped Sharpie. So far, drawing in portrait orientation has been a good size to keep the drawings manageable. More space may mean more creative options, but constraints aren't always bad. He was right though. This forest idea needed more room. After he said, "Please draw it sideways," in his cute little voice, I couldn't argue against it.

I liked the idea of leveraging more black again too. It was challenging to find the right drawing to copy but this one seemed to fit the bill. I kind of ran out of time on this one, but it still looks pretty cool to me. 

"Awesome daddy!" he said when he saw it. He added his letters as I was rushing us out of the kitchen. They are all but hidden between some dark branches. He also insisted on adding the "wind" as wispy lines going through the pathway.

"Why do you always take pictures?" he asked me on our way to the front door, "So you'll never forget how cool they are?"

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ten Ghosts

Ten Ghosts

I didn't have much time again today and it took awhile to figure out what to draw. He had the idea for me to draw the haunted house from the Ten Timid Ghosts. I had never heard of the book. I'm assuming he must have read it at school recently. I liked the cover but knew that I didn't have the time to complete it, so instead I drew this house which is a cute Halloween decoration in our kitchen. I added the ten ghosts, but lost count and added eleven instead. Oops!

He didn't seem impressed. "Thanks daddy," he told me. "That's okay but not really scary."

I wasn't exactly going for scary but oh well. I'm not expecting this one to make it home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How about a stage with people and my letters are on their head...

How about a stage with people and my letters are on their head...

It took a long time to settle in on what to draw this morning.

"Let's do the smallest building in the world," he started. I asked him to think of something else.

"Let's just do the tallest building," he retorted. I reminded him that we'd already drawn that.

I tried to encourage him saying, "I woke up early so we can do an I SPY one." He has asked me a few times before to draw an I SPY style drawing. I've declined every time because I know that it will be very time consuming.

"No, I don't want to an I SPY one," he replied. "Okay, let's just do the tallest building."

I ignored him and asked, "How about this guitar?" holding up one of his Paper Jamz guitars.

"Oh now that gave me an idea!" he exclaimed, "How about a stage with people and my letters are on their head!"

I took my own liberties with this one and knew right when he said it that I wanted to draw a silhouetted rock band. There were plenty of rocker silhouettes to choose from and I spent quite a while trying to find the right images to work with. This would have been a traditional four piece band had I not run out of room. Oh well, it still looks cool to me. He thought so too.

"This time they will be freaked out!" he told me. When I asked him for more details about what he meant, I didn't get a clear story. What was clear is that some of his classmates look forward to seeing what's on his sack and ask him about it every morning. He delights in showing it off.

My favorite part about this morning was how it ended. After all of our indecision we ended up with a cool idea that we discovered together. He took notice and puzzled over the sequence of events.

As we were gathering our things to head out the door he asked, "When you showed me that guitar, I had an idea. How did you do that?"

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

Halloween is definitely upon us. This one took a long time to select. While it was clear that he wanted a pumpkin patch this morning, it wasn't clear what exactly I'd draw. I searched for quite awhile to find a scene that I liked. When I found it, the scarecrow on it was just way too scary. I didn't want to draw it so I went searching for a more suitable one. I like this one and spent a great deal of time getting it right. The scarecrow steals this drawing away from the patch itself. It's a cool one and it's becoming a trend for me to mash-up a few different drawings to make my own. I do love that his name is nicely incorporated into the sign. Victor loved this one too and told me so. "I love this pumpkin patch daddy!" After hearing accolades like the ones he's given me lately, I am ready to draw just about anything.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Haunted House 2

Haunted House 2

After the success of the haunted house yesterday, he ased for an encore today. I didn't have the same amount of time to spend and didn't want to get carried away again today, so I guided him into picking a relatively easy house to draw. He didn't seem to care that this one wasn't particularly spooky. But he did ask me to draw a "long boo" across it. When he saw how I incorporated the "BOO!" he wasn't convinced. "Oh well," he said, "that's okay, it's great." Oh well, indeed!

This time I remembered to incorporate his name better. So often I'm so caught up in making the drawing that I forget that this whole thing started with me wanting to write his name in creative ways every morning. Clearly it has turned into much more than that, but I like it when I remember to stay true to that core concept. As he grabbed it to put in his backpack, he said, "Cool! It's cool!" He must have meant it too, because today he brought this sack back too.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Haunted House

Haunted House

Although he's easily scared by scary things, Victor has been much more into Halloween decorations this year. We bought several new ones for the house and I guess he's got Halloween on his mind. When we searched for a haunted house to draw, he of course picked one that looked very complicated. Usually, my first impulse is to tell him no. But I liked how dark this picture was and I was interested in making something that filled more of the sack with black. This one definitely took 20-25 minutes, but once again, I found myself lost in the fun and challenge of creating. I put a lot of attention into the details on this one because I really wanted it to look good. The only thing I regret is forgetting to incorporate his letters into the house or gate somehow. But I like that he came over and decided to add them himself. They are shivering from fright as they walk up towards the house. It's a nice touch of his.

He really loved this one and told me so repeatedly. "Awesome daddy!" he said to me when he first saw it. "I so definitely like your drawings," he told me later. "I want to keep it badly because it's so cool." He did, in fact, bring it back home with him that day. We plan to hang up the sacks that make it back in his room as decorations. This is the first time he mentioned wanting to bring one back. It doesn't bother me at all that they end up tossed in the trash. They are not meant to be collectable works of art, but it is nice to know that he's beginning to cherish the sacks beyond their mere utility.

Thursday, October 11, 2012



He loves dinosaurs and I'm surprised he hasn't asked me to draw one yet. He wanted me to draw a brontosaurus, a triceratops, and a t-rex. After several hurried mornings in a row, I talked him into picking one dinosaur. Brontosaurus was the one he chose. Working in Sharpie, with little room for error, I'm always a little terrified when I start out. Getting the proportions correct even while looking intently at a picture or drawing to copy isn't easy for me. I tried hard to concentrate on what I was looking at. "Draw what you see. Not what you think you see." I kept saying to myself. Today, when he came around the table to see the finished drawing, I got a very convincing, "Great daddy!" Nice! That made my day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How about on a scooter going down the street...

How about on a scooter going down the street...

"I know! Perry's castle," he said to me after he got a glimpse of a box of Perry fruit snacks in the pantry. I kind of ignored his request since I really had no idea what he was talking about. I did a half hearted attempt at finding a suitable image, but there really wasn't anything coming up. I had to get his lunch together and was again running late. I did not want to be late to school again today. We had very little time and I wasn't sure I even had enough time to draw anything at all.

That's when he said, "How about on a scooter going down the street."

"What?" I asked.

"My letters!" he explained.

Okay that sounded like something I could do quickly. It's not great, but I kind of like how this one turned out under the circumstances. However, when he came around the table to look at it, he gave me an unconvincing "Great."

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Well, you can try your best...

Well, you can try your best...

"It's the arctic. You can try and draw whatever...penguins, and polar bears and snow wolves," he told me in a very casual manner.

His goal, it would seem, is to challenge me. These drawings with multiple parts take time and today I was not in the mood for something complicated. I woke up late and knew that we'd be in a rush to get to school on time. But the fun of drawing on these sacks every morning is that Victor's random inspirations bring a creative outlet to my mornings that I've never had before in my life. And with his encouragement this morning, it was hard to say no.

What's more, it's kind of fun to make something come to life on a paper sack. Once I got started on this one I got very into it. It helps to find a good image to refer to. This one was exactly what I needed. Drawing the animals was fun as was adding his letters as floating ice pieces. I got lost in the work as he read his homework books to me with no supervision. I really like this one. It was enjoyable to make. And yes, this took a long time, much more than 10 minutes. We ended up being late to school for the first time this year.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I know! The Golden Gate Bridge...

I know! The Golden Gate Bridge...

After the clock tower took too long I asked him to think of something easier today. He said, "How about a fancy dance party." Um, that's not what I had in mind. He couldn't think of anything else and asked me to think of something. I had no ideas. We were stumped for the first time.

"How about today we just leave it blank," he told me. I wasn't keen on that and persuaded him to keep thinking. Then he pointed to a picture of us at the Golden Gate Bridge. That was it! We had an idea. We spent so much time thinking about what to draw that I had very little time to draw it. This was done in a rush.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How about my letters on the top of a big splash...

How about my letters on the top of a big splash...

Right when he said it, I knew that he meant for me to draw a picture of the LEGOLAND Water Park. We had just been there the weekend before. He was mesmerized by the clock tower which every 5 minutes or so would blast out a giant gush of water down onto anyone close to it. I let him describe to me what he meant by a "big splash" and then asked him if it'd be alright if a drew the clock tower from LEGOLAND. "Yeah, yeah," he said. It took me so long to draw the tower itself that I had to rush to draw the slide so that there was some more context to the drawing. This one feels unfinished to me, but I'm trying to keep these to about 10 minutes of my time. Some days, like this one, I just don't have enough time to do the drawing justice.

Again, the scattered placement of his letters are my favorite part of this one. The "V" is going down the slide, the "c" is on its way up the ladder, the "i" and the "T" are waiting to get splashed on the steps, and the "O" and the "R" are hanging out at the top of the tower. I'm always wanting to put some order into where he places his letters, but at the same time I find it liberating to realize that he doesn't care about order and, perhaps, neither should I.