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.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How about my letters at the top of a snowy mountain...

How about my letters at the top of a snowy mountain...

Before he asked me to draw the tallest building in the world yesterday, he asked me to draw his letters "digging a hole in the snow." I had no idea what he meant by that, so I pushed him for another idea and  we went with the tallest building thing. Looks like he didn't forget about the snow though. Snowy mountains on a brown sack aren't easy to pull off. After I drew them, I figured I needed something to add a little more context, hence the random skier giant slaloming down the side.

He added his letters, my favorite part of this drawing, with his now signature expressive eyebrows. They make me smile.

Oh, and I almost forgot this exchange of ours:

"Dad, do you know what a hurky is?"

"No, what is it?"

"This is a hurky. This is a hurky of snow falling on this guy's head," he said to me as he was filling in the black mark above the skier's head.

"A hurky?"


Okay, then. A hurky of snow is what's falling on the skier's head. You learn something new everyday. :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

How about my letters at the top of the tallest building in the world...

How about my letters at the top of the tallest building in the world...

I was pretty sure the tallest building in the world currently stands in Dubai, but I couldn't remember its name. I had to look it up. The Burj Khalifa stands 2,717 feet above the ground. Victor was super impressed by its size as he watched me draw it. What's more, he had seen the One Perfect Dive VISA commercial featuring this amazing building. He had me replay it over and over when he first saw it. It is quite an impressive commercial. Notice that his letters are on the building and the "T" is taking a dive!

I was a little impatient with this one as it took me much longer than I had anticipated. It was hard for me to capture the essence of the architecture of the building. What makes this sack memorable for me is that Victor decided to draw the boats in the water. I found an image of four simple boats and he drew the first two on the left before we ran out of time and had to rush out of the house. They look great and I made sure he knew how proud I was of his effort. It's great to see him start to copy his dad by giving it a go himself. He may very well learn to love art and drawing through this little project of ours. What a great gift that would be!