Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Peanuts Christmas Scene with Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and Woodstock

"What'll it be today?"

"The ice castle from Frozen," he said, remembering that that was his first choice yesterday before we settled in on Marshmallow.

"I don't know if I'll have time today," I said, although I didn't have yesterday's excuse. I handed him my iPhone to pick a picture of the ice castle, but I wasn't much in the mood to draw it. Once he picked the picture, however, I thought it'd actually be pretty cool to try. But by the time I sat down, I realized that I really didn't have the time today. "Sorry, Buddy, we'll have to pick something else. I just don't have the time to do it."

"I don't know what to else to pick."

"How about something Christmas-y?"

Right away he pointed to the Peanuts Christmas clock that we bring out every Christmas. I figured it'd be easy enough to finish in time and it was. It felt cool to draw these childhood favorites. Doing so made me realize that with all the practice, I am now comfortable to draw whatever I want. I can do it! I can draw anything! I thought to myself, Fun!

"I like it! Can you add the bird?"

"His name is Woodstock." On the clock, Woodstock is on the tip of the second hand and flies around the dial with each passing second. After I started drawing him in the air, I realized that I should have put him instead on Snoopy's stomach. No matter. This one was fun to do. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

How about the snow monster from Frozen...

Marshmallow Snow Monster from Frozen

"What are we doing today?"

"I don't know. I have no idea," he said dejectedly. Then he perked up. "Oh yes I do! Just kidding. The ice castle from Frozen."

"Um, I don't have time to do that one today," I said, relieved that it was true. I wasn't interested in tackling the ice castle.

"Okay. How about the snow monster from Frozen?"

"I'll try," I said, trying to remember what he looked like.

His name is Marshmallow and was actually fun to draw; although, I did feel a bit stressed this morning since we had to leave early today so that I could make it on time to a meeting at work.

He ate his breakfast quickly, came over to my side of the table and said, "Hey, you're almost finished."

"I am finished."

"Are you going to write 'Frozen'?"

"Do you want me to?"

"Yeah! You know, like the way it's designed."

"Right. I'll add it." I had no time left so I did so super quickly without much attention to detail. I really wanted to draw the "O" in his name like the "O" in "FROZEN" but I forgot in my hurry.

"Oh, he looks creepy!" he exclaimed. "Do you want to mess with him?"

"No!" I replied.

"Me neither," he agreed.

Monday, December 16, 2013


Olaf from Frozen

"What should we do today?"

"I already know! Olaf!"

I expected Olaf to be much easier than yesterday's Elsa, but that's not quite how it turned out. I messed up his eyes on my first try and had to start over. For my second try, I started with his eyes but for some reason that made drawing his head a challenge. I screwed up again on his mouth but was sort of able to fix it. He's cute but a little too stout I'd say. I was nervous when I showed it to Victor, fearing his critiques.

My fears were for naught this time. He looked at it and had nothing but positive things to say, "I like it. It's cute. Olaf's cute. He's very funny."

I nodded and breathed a sigh of relief.

Friday, December 13, 2013


Elsa from Frozen

Last night we talked about doing the characters from the movie Frozen. He was pretty excited about it and definitely wanted me to do "Elsa and Anna and Olaf."

"What's for the snack sack this morning?" I asked him.

Sure enough he remembered our conversation from yesterday. The choice was obvious. "Elsa. Remember?"

This one was difficult. Every line mattered.

"She looks a little evil," he commented when she was about half way finished.

I tried very hard to get it right. "Done!" I exclaimed.

"Does she look mean?" he asked.

"No. I don't think so," I defended.

He studied it. "No. Except that the eyelashes are kind of too big. Looks like dark eyeshadow. But I like it." He considered something. "This is just a suggestion," he said cautiously. "Maybe if you want, you could add 'Frozen' or something."

"Like in the way it looks on the poster?"

"Yeah! You can add it while I read."

"Okay." We had a little extra time so I added it.

He read his book out loud beside me. He looked up to see the title. "Oh, you're a really good drawer!" he said with honest enthusiasm.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Alien on a Robot Flying Around Machine

Alien on a Robot Flying Around Machine

"Do this robot flying around machine," he said, finding another alien from the "Draw 50 Aliens" book. It was due back today.

"Sure," I said, taking a closer look.

"Can you not do that fat nipple boob sort of thing?" he asked.

I smiled inside. "I'll make it less pointy," I said about the front of the flying scooter.

I drew enjoying the process today.

"Yeah, that's what I'm talking about," he said when he saw the finished product. Just as he came by, I noticed that I had forgotten the spinning lines around the rotating back wheel. He saw me add them and asked, "Do you want to add some wind or something?"

"You want to help me add that?"

He did and felt proud of his small but important contribution.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Alien Sipping a Drink

Alien Sipping a Drink

"Another alien today?" I asked.


We've been working on aliens from the "Draw 50 Aliens" book he brought home from the school library.

"Do this one!" he said with enthusiasm after flipping through every single page.

I made quick work of this bizarre looking alien sipping a drink.

"Oh, that looks so weird!" he said when I was done.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Monster-y Alien 2

Monster-y Alien

We picked this monster-y alien from the "Draw 50 Aliens" book yesterday, but for the very first time that I had the time, I didn't draw a sack. We had had a rough night the night before. In fact, every single night, he plays the classic games of avoiding bedtime and all things related to our nighttime routine. I'm tired of the challenging evenings and wanted to talk to him about how to move forward. Instead of multitasking, I put my Sharpie down and focused on our conversation. It went okay, but I'm not convinced that he'll change his behavior. Parenthood is tough!

He anxiously asked me several times if I was going to draw today. I guess he truly missed it yesterday. That made me feel warm. I assured him that I would as soon as I prepared his lunch as always. I knew which one to do so I opened the book and got to work.

"Can you make this one look more like the picture? Last time you made it look nicer than the picture," he reminded us, referring to the Monster-y Alien I drew yesterday.

I took my time and tried my best not to make him look nice.

"Ooh, cool! He looks maaad."

"Alright! I guess I did a better job with this one."

Friday, December 6, 2013

Monster-y Alien

Monster-y Alien

Yesterday he brought home the book "Draw 50 Aliens" from his school library.

He flipped through it some and then said, "Do the monster-y one."

"Okay," I said flipping through the book myself. Of course the one he picked was just about the most complex one in the book! Up for the challenge, I got started with a good deal of focus this time.

I had just begun when he walked around the table and saw the outline of the head with just its eyes. "Aw, that's really cute," he said.

Hmm, I thought, 'cute' isn't what I was going after! I shot him a look of disapproval.

"The first part looks so cute. Then it's going to look really weird, right?" he said catching my drift.

"I guess. We'll see."

When he saw the finished drawing, he compared mine to the reference and exclaimed, "Oh my god!" He liked it. I could tell. But then he added observantly, "This one looks nicer than the other one."

I welcomed the the lack of criticism with a smile, then realized he meant it didn't look as mean.

"Over here he looks a little bit mean," he said pointing to the reference. "Look at the difference. The tongue is longer."

"It is," I agreed with a sigh.

"I like it Daddy!"

"How do you like your name?"

"I like it. It's kind of monster-y."

Yes, I thought, 'monster-y' is what I was going after!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Davy Jones

Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean

"What'll be today?

"A house with Christmas lights," he said thinking of something Christmas-y like yesterday's Christmas Tree. But he remembered what he really wanted yesterday and quickly changed it up, "No, no! Davy Jones! Now we can do it."

He was right. We had plenty of time so I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He couldn't decide. I kept prodding him to pick one but he just kept scrolling and browsing. I got frustrated with the delay and threatened not to do it. I wasn't in the mood for something complicated, but I knew this one would be. I was extra sleepy and just wanted to go back to bed.

He finally picked a screen capture from the movie, knowing full well that I expected him to pick one of the many illustrated options.

"I don't think I'll have time to do it anymore," I warned. 

"How about this one?" he said picking a drawing this time. It was a terrible illustration, simple but not cool at all. 

"I'll pick," I said, taking the phone from him. I found two good options right away. One was Davy Jones's full body. The other was just of his head. "Of these two, which one?" I asked, still giving him the final decision.

He pointed to the one with his full body. 

I sat down still sleepy and more frustrated than before at all the wasted time. I would have had plenty of time, but now I was expecting to feel rushed. Instead, I fell into a zone. I lost myself to the outside world and I looked up twenty minutes later to see the completed drawing. I was very pleased with what I saw. Wow! I thought, He looks cool!

Victor saw it and said, "Oh my god! He looks creepy!"

Monday, December 2, 2013

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

"Should we do something Christmas-y today since it's December now?"

"Oooh, Davy Jones."

"That's Christmas-y?"

"...wearing a Christmas hat," he added cheekily.

"No time for that today," I informed him. We were running behind schedule and I had very little time to draw. 

"How about Captain Jack Sparrow?"

"No time for that."

"Okay, can you do the tallest Christmas tree?"

"No time for that." But I did look up Christmas trees. We settled on this one and I rushed to get it done. My favorite part of the drawing is his name placement.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Titanic Sinking

Titanic Sinking

"Any ideas for today?"

"I just got one," he said lying, still looking around the room for an idea. After a few moments, he said, "You know, instead of the Starbucks thing, the Jamba Juice thing." We also have a clear Jamba Juice straw-cup similar to the clear Starbucks straw-cup he used as inspiration yesterday to suggest the Starbucks Mermaid.

"I've already done Jamba Juice," I reminded him.

"You have?"


I showed him the picture. "Ooh, I like it," he said.

I could tell he wasn't in the mood to brainstorm so I made my own suggestion, "How about the Titanic?"

"Yeah!" he exclaimed. He's been fascinated by the Titanic from the very first time he heard the story. He's watched a ton of YouTube videos about it. I'm kind of surprised he's never suggested that I draw it. He took a long while picking one, but eventually we settled on this shot of the Titanic sinking.

He finished his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and then as if he suddenly remembered what I was drawing, he ran around the corner shouting, "I want to see! I want to see!" He studied the picture and the drawing. "What are all those dots?"


"What's debris?"

"You know, pieces of the ship and ash and stuff."

"Oh, ash!"


"Cool. The Titanic's pretty cool Daddy," he said gleefully. I always feel somewhat sad thinking about the Titanic, but I had to agree with him. The Titanic's pretty cool.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Starbucks Mermaid

Starbucks Mermaid Logo Plus Two Dinosaurs

"What's for the snack sack today?"

He gazed over the countertops and said, "Starbucks Mermaid," as he spied our tall, clear Starbucks straw-cup on the counter.

"By itself or on a cup or something?" I asked for clarification.

"By itself," he said, adding, "and then you can draw a background."

The Starbucks Mermaid turned out to be one of the hardest things I've ever attempted to draw. The positive and negative space was so difficult for me to manage and keep straight. I threw away my first attempt. Things started out a little better on the second try, but I would have tossed it out too had I had more time. I suppose it came out okay all things considering, especially if you look at it from afar. 

He came by and said, "Ooo! I like it! I like it! Do you have time to draw a background or something?"

"No," I told him, "but there might be enough time for you to draw a background."

And that's what he did. "I'm going to do designs," he said, but then drew a couple of dinosaurs instead. "Am I a good drawer? Because I can draw legs that look 3D?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said encouragingly.

I could tell he was proud of himself as he put the finishing touches on his flair.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Just Designs

Just Designs

"Do you have an idea for today?"

"Nope. I have no ideas."

"No ideas?"


"Come on, there are an infinite number of ideas."

He thought about it some more. "You could do designs like this," he suggested, pointing to his own art on the table. He's been participating in a basic art class as part of his after school program. I've been very impressed with the art he's brought home. Yesterday it was an okapi, the giraffe/horse/zebra looking animal from the Ituri Rainforest in the Congo. Around the okapi he had drawn lots of free designs adding a little of his own flair to it.

"Just designs?"

"You can do an American flag. You can do lightning bolts. That can be your snack sack today."

"Just designs?"

"You can do any designs you want. I don't need to tell you which designs. You can copy some of mine if you want. Do you want to?"

"Sure." I got started but I must admit that it felt uncomfortable for me to feel free to be creative. I started with the web in the corner and just tried to think freely.

"Do you know how to do lightning bolts?" he asked as my first one came out horrible. "I can do lightning bolts really good," he boasted.

I tried a little harder to think about what a lightning bolt is supposed to look like. On my second try he said, "Yeah, that one looks better."

I kept at it, filling the sack with different sorts of designs.

"Oh, cool! That's pretty good!" he said when he saw it finished. "See what I'm talking about? You just get better and better," he said mimicking me since I told him something similar earlier in the morning about his own drawing abilities. "See what I mean? A design can become a beautiful piece of artwork."

"That's right," I agreed. "Can you find your name?"

He couldn't. He looked and looked, then finally I had to point it out to him. He was thrilled that not only was it hidden, but that it was written three times. He loved that! He smiled and kept saying, "Cool!" as he studied the letters in his name.

Just before we left, he ran upstairs and came down hiding two of our favorites behind his back, the Cheese Spider and the Panther Set In Flames. He slipped them into his backpack trying to avoid eye contact with me.

"Why are you bringing those to school?" I asked casually.

"I want to show my friends what you drew already."

"Did you think I wouldn't want you to take them to school?"


"They are yours so you can do what you want with them."

"I'm just bringing them to class so my teacher can put them up," he explained, still unsure if I approved.

"That's okay, they're yours," I assured him. Although I was okay at the start for these to be tossed, now I'm a bit more sentimental about them. There are a lot fond moments attributed to these sacks. Plus, I love how excited he gets when we go through them from time to time. But they are his and if he wants to take them to class or give them away like he did with yesterday's Perry, then I suppose that's okay too. We have so many now and there's no end in sight.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Perry the Platypus

"Can you do Haunted Mansion from Disneyland?"

"I could...but it doesn't look like much of anything." I did the search and sure enough it just looks like a house. 

"And Pirates of the Caribbean doesn't look like anything either, right?"


"Can you pick something? I don't have any good ideas."

"Something from Disneyland?" I asked with mock inquiry. He's obviously excited about the fact that we're going to Disneyland next week. Plus, he played with the Disneyland explorer app a lot yesterday. I took a look at pictures of other rides like Matterhorn, Space Mountain, and the Mickey ferris wheel, but none seemed like good subjects.

Then he said all of the sudden, "You can do Phineas and Ferb if you want to." He browsed, then decided on Perry instead.

Half way through I felt pretty sure I'd have been better off had I begun with thin tip of the Sharpie. I considered starting over, but decided to see it through. Perry ended up too skinny and didn't look wholly like himself. It came out okay, but definitely not great.

"What do you think? Should I start over?" I asked seriously.

He came over to take a look. He agreed that I should start over, but asked, "Can I keep this one Daddy?"


"Yay! I'm going to color it."

I worked a little more carefully and it did come out better on the second try.

"Ooh. That looks a lot better! Cool!" he said when he turned the corner and saw the finished product. "I like it!"

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tweety Bird

Tweety Bird and a Christmas Tree

"What should we do today?"

"Maybe a dead toad or frog?"

"Why dead?" I asked in mild horror. Boy, I really never have any idea what might pop out of his mouth.

"Never mind. I'm just kidding," he said having second thoughts. "Let's see....hmm...Tweety! Tweety Bird."

That was a big change, I thought.

I handed him my iPhone and he very quickly said, "Yeah, do this."

"With the tree?" I asked for clarification.




I got to work. I don't know if it's because I was distracted or sleepy or thrown off by the dead toad request, but this one came out uninspired. I wasn't sure if I should start with the tree or Tweety Bird. I started with Tweety, messed up a few times, almost started over, but decided to persevere instead. I knew the tree would be tough for me and it was. I tend to struggle with symmetry. I was happy when it was all over.

Victor came by when I was finished and took a long gaze at it. He said nothing. I think he was feeling nice today and I was thankful for his restraint.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Golden Ninja from Ninjago

The Golden Ninja from Ninjago

"What'll it be today?"

"Golden Ninja."


"The Golden Ninja from Ninjago."

"Oh, okay," I said realizing he was referring to one of the LEGO Ninjago characters.

I handed him my iPhone with the search results. "Daddy I like this. It has the Golden Ninja and the Green Ninja."

"I'm not doing two," I said right away.

"I only mean the Golden Ninja."

"Okay, I'll do my best. Why'd you choose the Golden Ninja today?"

"'Cause my friend wanted it."

Ah, now he's taking requests! I thought.

"Every time he sees the snack sack he asks, 'Where's my Golden Ninja!?!'"

"So he's been asking for a while?"



I gave it my best effort today working to capture all the details.

"Whoa! Cool!" he exclaimed when he saw the finished drawing.

When he came home from school, I asked him, "What did your friend say about the Golden Ninja?"

"He wanted to keep it."


"Yeah! He asked me if he could have it."


"Yeah! He took it and put it in his backpack."

"Wow! Cool!" Okay, my art is officially hanging up in somebody else's house now. That is pretty cool!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tower of Terror

Disneyland Hollywood Tower Hotel Twilight Zone Tower Of Terror

Yesterday, I went to a parent-teacher conference. Right at the start, his teacher showed me the showcase of snack sacks in the classroom. She said, "I can't believe that isn't what you do for a living...that you've never really done that sort of thing. It's amazing!"

I blushed. I've never been very good at accepting compliments.

The sacks were displayed underneath the whiteboard to allow the kids to see them up close. She said the class really looks forward to seeing them each day wondering, "What did he do today!?" I'm definitely encouraged to do a simple drawing workshop at some point with his classmates. That should be fun!

"So what's for the snack sack today?" I asked as I always do.

He smiled. "It's getting we're going to Disneyland...and it's going to be all World of Color," he said trying to justify a request he knew wasn't going to fly.

"," I said casually. "It wouldn't look like World of Color even if I tried."

"Ooh, what is it called?" he pondered as he sat up with excitement. "The Tower of Terror," he said declaratively. 

I nodded not knowing what I was getting myself into. I definitely felt in a rush on this one despite spending over 30 minutes. I wasn't even half way done at minute 20 so I really moved quickly to finish in time.

When I was done, he came over and read, "The Hollywood Tower Hotel." He considered it. "That's a weird name for it," he concluded.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Crazy Monkey

A Crazy Monkey

"What'll it be today?"

"A monkey. A crazy monkey."


I handed him my iPhone with a bevy of crazy monkeys on it. "Do this one," he said after scrolling up and down a few times.

"Oh, that's Abu from Aladdin."

"Yeah. Except don't do the hat!"

"Okay," I said a little surprised. That wasn't what I expected him to pick. There were some seriously crazy monkey drawings to chose from and he chose Abu from Aladdin. Interesting.

"He looks like a duck-monkey," he said with a chuckle and an edge to his voice.

This option was much simpler than most of the others, but I had a feeling this one was going to be tougher than it looked. As expected, I messed up a bunch. But I'm getting better at fixing things on the fly, so it's not so easy to tell where all the mistakes are.

He ate his breakfast with the independence of a child lost in his own imagination. Then all of the sudden he remembered what I was up to and yelled, "Dad, can I see it?!"

"Sure. Come take a look."

"Did you X out the hat?" he asked walking around the table. "A-ha-ha-ha! Yeah!" he said with a hearty laugh, "It looks like a duck-monkey!" He stared at it as he continued to giggle. "Do you think it looks like a duck-monkey?"

"Ha! I suppose it does," I said. We hugged and laughed together staring in astonishment at the crazy duck-monkey.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wile E. Coyote on a Rocket

Wile E. Coyote on a Rocket

With exuberance he said, "The snack sack is the wolf. No, the coyote. Wile X. Coyote."

"Wile E. Coyote," I corrected.

"Wile E. Coyote," he repeated.

"Can you do this?" he asked after finding the one he wanted.

"Yeah," I said.

Perhaps I was over confident. I had to throw out 3 sacks today, the most ever. I just couldn't start it out right. First, I tried portrait orientation and drew the rocket nose way too big. Then I tried landscape orientation but drew the rocket nose crooked. For my third attempt I started with the wrong proportions. Part of my struggles were because the reference was a screen grab from a cartoon versus an outlined coloring page like I used yesterday for Bugs and Daffy. I sort of goofed up his face, but he's still recognizable enough. This one was a challenge. All in all, however, I think it turned out okay.

When I was done, he came over to take a look. I tensed up fearing his usual criticisms, but none came. "Did you make the 'Victor' kind of like the way they do 'Loony Tunes?'"


"He-he, look at Wile E. Coyote!" he said with a laugh.

I smiled too. I was happy that he was happy.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bugs and Daffy

Daffy Duck and Bugs BunnyDaffy Duck and Bugs Bunny

"What'll it be today?"

"I don't have anything. I've used up everything."

"No way, so many things to choose from."

"I don't even know."

He's been watching a lot of Looney Tunes lately, so I suggested, "What about something Bugs Bunny related?"

"Oh yeah! Bugs Bunny!" I handed him my iPhone and he scanned the options for a long while. "This one!"

"Oh, that's hard because I'd have to draw Bugs and Daffy."


"I'll try. I'll start with Bugs and we'll see."

I liked the idea of drawing two of my all time favorite cartoon characters. He finished his breakfast and went to go play. I really struggled with the marker bleeding on the paper today. I wanted smooth stokes but if I paused for even a moment, the line would get fat. Bugs didn't come out looking right, but I couldn't start over. Luckily, when I added a small stoke for his arm, it fixed Bugs's face making him look much more like himself. I really like how Daffy came out.

"Do you have time to do Daffy Duck he called out from the other room?"

"Yeah. I'm all done. Come check it out."

He studied the drawing. He smiled and gave out a small laugh taking in the scene. "How do you spell Bugs?" he asked.

That was his way of asking for the Sharpie. He studied my face as he leaned toward the drawer to grab one of his own. He could tell that I wasn't thrilled about him adding to the drawing. I always have mixed feelings, especially if I'm happy with my work.

I have an internal struggle since the art work is mine and I feel proud of it sometimes when it comes out well. However, the sacks are for him. They are his after all. And I definitely want to encourage him to draw, so I stepped aside wondering what he would add.

"I'm going to make this a thunder cloud," he said deep in concentration, "and add lightning." He added his lightning. "This is going to be weird," he said as he continued to add stuff.

I found myself saying, "Sometimes less is more," before I could even try to stop myself.

"I know. I just added a little detail."

"Okay, but too much detail and then it doesn't look like anything anymore. Less is more."

"Okay," he said as he continued to add more stuff.

I watched him silently as he worked. His characters are cute.

After several more minutes he declared he was finished, "Done!"

Monday, November 4, 2013

Magna Charge from Skylanders Swap Force

Magna Charge from Skylanders Swap Force

"Snack sack idea?"

"Magna Charge."


"Magna Charge. It's a Skylander from Swap Force," he said helpfully. His best friend got the new Skylanders video game for his birthday and they played it together for the first time yesterday.

I'm never too excited to do these because there aren't usually simple references. This one was no different, but I sat down to take on the challenge of drawing from a photograph of the game piece.

After he finished breakfast, he scurried over. "I want to see!" he exclaimed. He took a look and said, "Oh, it's turning out pretty okay."

Pretty okay? Apparently I was getting no pass on this very detailed toy.

"Uh, his wheel is a little too fat," he added as we were packing up to go.

What he didn't notice is that the base was supposed to be an intricate set of gear bits on top of each other. I ended up simplifying it for the sake of time. Ha! He didn't catch that! I thought to myself as we stepped out the door.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A Real Turkey

Turkey in the Sunshine

"My teacher said, 'Yes.'"

"To what?"

"She said, 'Yes,' that she would put up the snack sacks in the classroom."

"Oh!" I said with surprise. I had forgotten that we had talked about that.

"Do you want me to bring the ones we've been keeping?"

"No. That was K. We are now in 1st grade."

He looked down pensively and paused for a long while. "Okay," he concluded. 

"That's cool!" I said, truly excited. "What should we do today?"

"A jack-o'-lantern."

"We've already done that. And it's not Halloween anymore."

"See, I don't have any ideas."

"You have an infinite number of ideas."

"Brainstorm," he said to himself. "How about something Christmas?"

"Um, next would be Thanksgiving."

"Okay, do a turkey."

"A real turkey or a cooked one?" I asked mostly as a joke. I knew what he meant.

"Real," he replied. I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He picked quickly and asked, "Is this too much details?"

"No. I can do that."

This was a coloring page reference so everything was just floating. I felt compelled to put the turkey on the ground even if it was just a few lines that gave the sense of a location. 

"Heh," he said. "Cool. But his toes should have been behind the pumpkin."

I had to laugh that he noticed.

"You just didn't notice, right?" he said, giving me the benefit of the doubt.

"I noticed, but I drew the pumpkin too far away," I explained. I pointed out how it appeared in the reference drawing, adding, "See here. The pumpkin should have touched his chest over here." I pointed. He paid close attention. "I didn't want to draw extra long toes, so I just drew them normal size."

He studied both the reference and the drawing some more before nodding his head in full comprehension.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Chinese Pagoda

Chinese Pagoda

"You want something for Halloween since it is actually Halloween?" I asked him.

"Um, no," he said clearly. "I want something from the buildings book for the last time," he said. He had to bring his library book back today. He flipped through the book then asked, "Can you do the Shen building, please?"

It was actually a Chinese pagoda, but he recognized the building style from the movie, Kung Fu PandaBoy, I had to rush this one! It was complicated.

"Are you following the steps or just looking at the picture?" he asked me.

At first I didn't know what he meant. Then I realized the book had sketched out steps to help with the proportions and basic structure. "I never do that," I told him. I was feeling like it might have been a good idea this time. I was worried I'd run out of space at the top since I started at the bottom. There were so many repetitive lines and curves. I kept getting confused where I was. Every time I tried to orient myself, I got confused again. I just pushed through though.

When I was done, he exclaimed, "Ooh! That's nice!" then added, "Shen Tower," under his breath.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

The Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures book is due back to the library on Thursday so he planned on picking something else from it today.

He couldn't decide and asked me to choose, but I left the choice in his hands. He almost picked a pagoda "from Kung Fu Panda," a beach house, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, but finally settled on the Taj Mahal.

"Just do the Taj Mahal, please," he said overwhelmed with all the options.

I had the time, but definitely felt some pressure today to do a good job. I took a deep breath and focussed like I did yesterday. I like how it came out.

"Daddy, the Taj Mahal is cool! I like it," he said with a big grin.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow

"You're doing this one Daddy," he declared after flipping through his library book, Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures, for a few minutes.

"The Church of St Basil in Moscow, U.S.S.R." I read.

"You've done something more complicated than this, right?"


"So you can do this one!"

"I can!" It had been a while since I'd drawn something so complex. I gave it my full attention and took my time.

He finished his waffles just about when I finished the drawing. He asked me, "Can I come over and give you a hug?"


"Ooo, nice. That's cool!" he exclaimed. As he admired the cathedral, I soaked in the warmth of his hug.

Monday, October 28, 2013

An Igloo


I let him oversleep today so we got off to a late start.

"I need something easy today," I told him.

"Do something from my drawing book," he suggested. He took out Draw 50 Buildings and Other Structures as his library book this week. "You can pick anything you want," he said encouragingly.

I opened the book to a random page. "An igloo?" I asked. Easy enough, I thought.

"Sure," he said.

I drew this one fast, probably too fast. I made lots of mistakes. Plus, I used a new Sharpie and wasn't prepared for the extra ink flow you get with a new marker.

"Wow! That was fast!" he exclaimed when he walked over. "Is that all you can do?" he asked. I didn't answer. "Is that all you can do?" he repeated. "Can you do another snack sack on the back?"

I finished so fast we were slightly ahead of schedule, but I didn't really have time for more. "Uh, no. We've got to go," I told him.

"Aww," he said with a pout.

Friday, October 25, 2013

LEGO Vampire

LEGO Vampire

"What should we do today?"

"I don't know. Maybe a LEGO vampire?"

"Good idea!"

He looked for a while and obviously not happy with the choices said, "Okay, just do a regular vampire."

"Nooooo!" I exclaimed. I went over and helped him pick one of the LEGO versions. I'm still unhappy about my effort on the vampire from last year.

"This one," we agreed.

"Cool. I'll even do the red eyes."

When I was done, he came over for his analysis. I'm not exactly sure why, but I added the dots on the cape to make it look a little different than the jacket. He asked, "Are those holes on the cape? Because sometimes capes have holes, right Daddy?" He didn't wait for my answer. "It's kind of like glitter."

"I think it looks cool," I said in my defense.

"I don't."

His honesty made me chuckle. 

"Why did you laugh?"

"It looks cool," I repeated, ignoring his question. 

"Not to me."

I laughed a full laugh this time. 

"I made you laugh," he said with a smile. "Because I'm being funny."

"Yup! You are funny."

Continuing with his analysis he said, "This one looks scary," gesturing toward the reference on my iPhone. "This one looks nice," he said pointing to my drawing.

I shot him a look, but didn't say anything.

"It's okay. I still like it."

Thanks, I said to myself in a sarcastic tone.

"I like it friendly. But, it would be cooler with red eyes."

"Thanks for reminding me," I said as I jumped up to look for a red pen. 

"Ooo, cool!" he said when he saw the finished LEGO vampire with red eyes. "Wow! You found a red pen. Nice!"

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Werewolf


"What should we do today?"

"I don't know."

"Come on...think of something," I said encouragingly.

"A werewolf!" he said suddenly and with emphasis.

"Okay," I said, "Let's find a good one." I've never heard him mention werewolves before.

He picked this one quickly and I got to work.

He came over to watch me draw. "You're the best drawer! I know, you're like Picasso." He learned about Picasso in drawing class yesterday. He came home with a really good dove drawing that he did.

"Thank you," I replied sheepishly.

"Wow," he whispered slowly. He studied the drawing and compared it with the reference turning his head back and forth between the two. "That is so awesome." He continued to compare. "He looks mean." He studied it some more finally concluding with, "That arm is super huge."

Yeah it is, I thought to myself. I knew I had messed that up but tried to fix it as best I could. He always notices!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Zombie


After pushing hard on him to think of something new, he finally said, "A ghost. No! A zombie!"

"Do you want to draw it today?" I asked. We had a lot of extra time because he woke up very early this morning. I thought it might be fun for him to draw some of it at least.

"Maybe tomorrow I'll draw it myself."

"Okay," I said knowing that it was unlikely that he'd be drawing tomorrow.

He really enjoyed looking through the zombie options. "Oh my god! These are really good zombies!"

"They are, aren't they!" I agreed. What he didn't know was that I searched "zombie coloring pages" instead of "zombie drawings". The drawings are even cooler but oh so detailed. And some were pretty gory.

He picked this guy. "He's kind of gross and weird," he said as he handed me my iPhone.

"I agree!"

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How about Frankenstein...


"What should we do today?"

"I don't know."

"Well, you can think of anything!" I reminded him.

"How about Frankenstein?" he said with little hesitation. I love it that a little push so often works.

I did a search and handed him my iPhone before stepping into the other room to go get something. 

"I got it!" he announced across the house.

"Let's see," I said as I walked back to the kitchen.

"Do you like it?"

"Yeah! It's spooky!"

"But can you make the eyes more furious?"

"Um...," I uttered not really understanding.

"Yeah, like maybe not just circles. You could draw triangles...if you want."

I followed his suggestion for the eyes, but in the end I'd say that mine looks far less "furious" than the original. I made the face too long. Perhaps that has something to do with it. Oh well. I usually feel pretty critical while drawing but after I take the photo and look at the finished drawing with fresh eyes I realize that it's not half bad. This one looks real good, especially if I don't look back at the reference.

He came over to take a look. "Dad, I said to make the eyes more furious! They look more tired."

You know the saying, You're your own worst critic? Well, he proves that saying wrong all the time. :)

Monday, October 21, 2013



"I don't know. You pick. I don't have any ideas."

"How about something Halloween-y?" I suggested. 

"I know...but...I don't know."

I drew a blank too and said nothing.

We both stared off into the distance in silence. He had nothing. I had nothing. I decided to literally type "Halloween" into Google image search for inspiration. It worked! I found several spooky scenes in black silhouette. I almost picked one, but saw a cool looking witch on a broom and showed it to him. I thought about it and wasn't sure if I'd ever drawn a witch.

He looked at it for a moment, then said, "Hmm, how about a different witch?"

"Okay," I said and searched "witch." Lots of cool options came up.

"Pick something quickly," I said. "We've wasted a lot of time already."

"This one," he said in a flash.

 I liked it too. "Let's do it."

He ate breakfast and got ready for school really quickly today. "Can I mess around?" he asked. 

"Sure. You can play in your playroom," I suggested. He didn't run upstairs. "Or you can watch me draw," I added. He was already watching.

"I want to watch you draw," he said with his eyes intently following my strokes. 

I smiled. That was real nice to hear. But then he started wiggling and swaying and hitting my elbow. He did so repeatedly. I was getting a little nervous that I wouldn't have time to finish so I was trying my best to focus and work diligently.

"Can you please stop hitting my elbow?" I said in a serious tone.

After a few seconds he said, "I'm going to go play."

"Why don't you stay? Just don't hit my elbow anymore."

"It's okay. I think I'll go play."

I guess it made sense for him to take advantage of the extra time to "mess around." He rarely has that opportunity in the morning. Having said that, I bet he'd have stayed to watch me had I not expressed my frustration with his wriggling.

I finished with just enough time to pack it up and go. After having a creative block to start with, I was very pleased with this Halloween-y drawing. On our way out the door he got a glimpse of the finished witch. "Oh cool! That's freaky!" he said intensely.

She sure is!, I thought.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Giraffe Neck

Giraffe Neck

I woke up this morning with an idea of what to draw. That's actually never happened before. I had the idea to do something close up. The neck of a giraffe came to mind. I'm not sure why.

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"I don't know what to do."

That was my opening. "Should I pick?" I asked, jumping at the chance.

"Yes," he replied.

He finished his breakfast and went to brush his teeth without checking out what I was drawing. When he finally did come by, I was about half way done.

"Uh, what are you doing?" he asked. He studied the drawing for about a minute before he added, "Giraffes are not Halloween."

"I didn't say I was gonna do Halloween."

"Oh." He watched me as I started on the giraffe's mane. "You'll have to do thousands of lines for the hair."

I didn't count but I probably came close. I took my time. I'm not too sure he liked it, but this one came out just as I had wanted it to.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Skulls Jack-o'-lantern

Skulls Jack-o'-lantern

While I made his breakfast, he flipped through a pumpkin carving pattern book. Every year we meet up with friends for a pumpkin carving party. "You're going to do this bat," he informed me. "It actually looks pretty cool." He flipped through a few more pages. "Momma's gonna do this house." He flipped back a couple of pages. "I'm going to do this wolf." He looked up at me. "Okay, daddy?" He phrased it as a question, but it wasn't really a question. In truth, I end up carving all three of our pumpkins every year.

"So...should I draw something Halloween today?" I asked.

"This skeleton!" he exclaimed. "I mean this skull."

It looked cool to me. I was real careful with this one even paying close attention to the direction of the strokes around the pumpkin.

When he saw it, he said "Ah, cooool!" He studied it more closely. "I see the 'Victor'. It's right there!" he said pointing.

"I love drawing these dark black ones. They are always fun to do!" I told him.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tree Rex

Skylanders Giants Tree Rex

I'm not sure exactly how or why, but we went from Halloween to Christmas to Skylanders and finally ended up with Tree Rex from Skylanders Giants.

He got in trouble for playing with his toys instead of getting ready for school so I didn't ask him which drawing he wanted. 

I'm sure he would have picked one where Tree Rex is standing upright, but those looked more complicated than this one.

He came over to see exactly what I was drawing and said, "Um, that's a weird thing of him."

I had to chuckle. "Kind of," I replied. "It's just that I don't have much time and had to pick one I could do."

He came by to guide me through the title art, his name, and the little element circles. In the end, we agreed that it looked pretty cool.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Panther Set In Flames

Panther Set In Flames

"What should we do today?" I asked.

"I have no idea," he said and sat pensively. "You've done a battleship," he added.

"How about we do something with fire?" I suggested. A stack of fire safety materials were on the kitchen table. He brought them home from school yesterday. I did a search for "fire drawings" and handed him my iPhone. 

I figured I'd be drawing some flames but of course he picked something much cooler and more complex. "This one!" he exclaimed as soon as he saw this panther set in flames.

I was about to start but noticed that the thick tip of my twin-tipped Sharpie was squished down. I checked the others in the drawer. They all looked the same. "See! That's why I don't want you using my markers. You have your markers and these are mine," I said, not masking my frustration. He pushes down so hard when he writes that it only takes one line drawn to spoil the tip of a new Sharpie. I took a deep breath. "See," I said showing him the tip. "This is what happens. You press too hard and it flattens the tip. Now I can't really use this end to draw."

I could see him evaluating my concern. "Oh," is all he said. We agreed that he should have his own. "But I want colored ones," he informed me. "I think they have some at Target or something," he added helpfully.

"Okay, for you maybe. But I don't use color because it would take too long for me to draw with color too. It's really hard for me to make time to quickly draw these every morning," I said slowly.

"I know. You really make them well."

I got to work and carefully started with the panther's face.

He finished his breakfast and walked over to get a closer look. "Oh yeah! Cool!" he said taking stock of my progress. "It actually looks more realistic than the drawing."

I smiled inside at the compliment. He went to brush his teeth while I finished up. "What do you think?" I asked as we walked out. 

"Awwwesome," he said, elongating the word. "Yeah, awesome!" he repeated. 

He brought this one back and the next morning he showed it to me. "Look! I brought this back and I'm going to color it on the weekend!"

Monday, October 14, 2013

Despicable Me Minions

Despicable Me Minions Riding in a Car

He brought home a bunch of Despicable Me coloring pages from school on Friday. This morning, they were still on the counter untouched. I shuffled through them and asked, "How about this one for the snack sack?" It was a close up of one of the minions.

"How about the one with the car?" he suggested.

Of course he'd pick the most complex one. This one had three minions riding in a car. I looked at the clock. We were running early. I had no excuse but laziness. "Okay," I told him, "I guess I have the time today so I'll give it a shot."

It was super hard for me to get the proportions right on this one. I should have started with the bag sideways for sure. As a result, the car looks a little squished in the front and in the back. Somewhere half way through I considered tossing the whole thing out and starting again. There wasn't time so I just carried on. Taking a step back, it still looks pretty cool and he thought so too.