Thursday, January 24, 2013

Do you want to do a piano?

Do you want to do a piano?


"I need something a little easy today," I told him as I set down his plate of waffles.

"I know, but all the things I like are a little tricky to do and I just want to do them."

"Okay," I said ignoring his comment, "but I need something a little easy today."

"It's close to Valentine's Day so why don't you do something Valentines?"

"It's a little early for that."

"I know but can you just do it."

I gave him a look.

"Okay, do you want to do a piano?"

I thought this one was going to be easy, but it wasn't. I had to throw out my first try. Fewer lines means fewer chances to cover up any mistakes.

He came by and added his own touches, scattering his letters all about and adding his own musical notes to the scene.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another Dragon

Another Dragon


When he asked for "another dragon" today, I was definitely into it and ready for the challenge. Dragons are real fun for me to draw despite all the detail.

I took my time and kept working through minor mistakes. I clearly didn't leave enough room and had to leave out much of its long sweeping tail. That didn't phase me today.

I had fun adding his name in as part of the flames. He really liked that and kept pointing out how hot the fire must be. When I was finished, he had to take the Sharpie and write it out directly on the bag. I always get a little nervous when he takes the Sharpie after I'm pleased with the outcome. I never know what he's going to add. "Less is more," I always remind him. Today he listened and kept his additions small.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013




"What's for the snack sack today?" I asked him as I do each morning.


"Oh, we've never done T-Rex."

"I want it to be scary," he added. We settled on this one for its sharp teeth.

He took the Sharpie again today adding in much of the dinosaur skin detail, the volcanos, and his letters. Once again, the R was sneaky and found a hiding spot among the stripes on its tail.

"I wonder what Lucas is going to say today. He always says 'Awesome! How did your dad do that?'"

"What do you say to that?"

"I don't say anything because he won't believe it."

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Castle

A Castle


"A castle."

"We've already done a castle."

"Not a sand castle, a real castle."

"We've already done a real castle."

"No we haven't." I showed him the picture. "Oh well, let's do another castle." We've done so many now, we are both forgetting what we've already done.

"Okay, but it can't be too detailed."

He wanted me to draw a castle on a hill. He picked this one although the hill was hardly noticeable. He later revealed, after I had started, that he actually wanted me to draw something else... a particularly "spooky looking castle." I guess he felt it had too much detail and picked this one instead.

Again this morning, I wasn't really into it, probably due to remnant feelings carrying over from yesterday. 

He watched me today all throughout and asked about each part I was doing. He corrected me a few times and looked intently at the picture as I drew. When I messed up, he analyzed the differences between the reference and my drawing, freely offering up his critiques.

There were plenty of mistakes in this one. I personally hate that the foggy hilltop below the castle looks like clouds with rain coming out of them. He said I should have drawn the hill all dark. Perhaps he was right.

He took the Sharpie to add his letters. "I know where to put them," he assured me. 

He talked as he filled them in, "The 't' looks like this because it is diving."

"Is that cool?" he asked to no one. "The 'o' looks like a comet," he continued. "The 'r' has to be somewhere hiding." 

"Ah, yes, the sneaking R...always hiding", I thought.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013




This morning, I was startled awake at 4:30am by my wife's alarm and never really fell back asleep. I was a little cranky and he was a little quiet so we started off our morning together on a down beat.

Yesterday, he brought home a book from the library all about fireworks. So of course he asked for fireworks today.

I told him I didn't like the idea because "fireworks only look good in the sky." I knew I couldn't draw them well on a snack sack. Nonetheless, I gave him my iPhone. He didn't like the only drawing of the bunch (despite me advocating for it) and continued to search for a few minutes. I dismissed a few of his options because they were too complex. He finally picked a photograph that was simpler than some of the others. He begged me to draw it in color. We got into an argument over something else and I almost didn't draw anything at all. 

I considered picking a different fireworks scene or something altogether different. I stewed on this as I was making his lunch. In the end, I conceded and put together this quarter-hearted color. I didn't try today. I didn't want to do it and it shows. I didn't draw what I saw, I just drew what would get it done quickly. 

He came by to see it and said, "I love you daddy." My heart swelled and I felt it beating in my chest.

"Do you want to add something else?" he asked when I was finished.

"No," I said, "you can add something if you want to."

"I want to," he replied.

"But you have to read all your books first," I told him. He sensed there was no getting out of this so he started reading obediently.

"Did you already take a picture?" he asked looking up from his book.

"Yes," I said.

"But I was going to add something," he said pleadingly.

"Only if you finish all the books in time," I reminded him.

He didn't. Sometimes being the enforcer means, as a parent, you have to give up something you want too. I was really looking forward to seeing what he might add today. I'm sure Victor didn't know that. He didn't complain. He just continued to read his books slowly.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Alright, now a fountain...

Alright, now a fountain...


"Alright, now a fountain," he said assuredly. I had avoided drawing a fountain yesterday and knew I wouldn't get out of it today.

I did my search and found that there were, of course, no good reference drawings of fountains, only photographs. I really didn't want to do a fountain, but I took a deep breath and muddled my way through it. He knew I wasn't feeling confident, so in a rare show of active encouragement he said across the kitchen table, "Oh, that is looking so good!"

When I was finished, he said, "Well that fountain looks soooo..." he dragged it out and then added, "awesome!"

I'm pretty sure he was just being nice.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Work Site

Work Site

Work Site

Today it was hard to find something to draw.

He started, "You have to put something and then you put designs on it."

"I don't know what that means. You have to be more specific," I pleaded.

"A basket. Or maybe a plate."

"No," I said. He was merely looking around the room for objects to name. Then he gave me a lot of ideas that were repeats of stuff we'd already done: Empire State Building, a TV, etc.

Finally he said, "A fountain." I did a search but he thought they all looked "lame." He finally picked one but I didn't like it. I knew there was no way I'd be able to make this photograph of a fountain look like anything remotely resembling a fountain on this snack sack.

Then he said, "work site," completely out of the blue.

"Work site? Work site? Where the heck did that come from?" I wondered. I kept quiet and did a search.

He looked and looked but didn't like any of the options. We were running out of time. I took my iPhone back and found this silhouetted work site that looked cool so I picked it without his blessing.

These silhouetted drawings take a lot of time even though it always seems that they'll be easier to draw. I messed up the proportions of two of the men and had to draw a new platform, not in the reference drawing, for the guy in the middle. I explained my issues to him as he watched. He got very interested. Several times he repeated both the problem (mistake) and solution (cover-up) out loud. He liked analyzing how I had goofed up and how I had fixed it.

He decided he knew where his name should go and took the Sharpie from me. I don't know why he splits the letters up sometimes like he did here. It bugs my orderly sensibilities, but I'm learning to give him creative license when he takes the Sharpie.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New Year Times Square

New Year Times Square

New Years Time Square

"You said yesterday that you knew what you wanted for the snack sack today," I reminded him.

"Oooh, yes! It's a surprise. I'm not going to tell you!" he said coyly.

"Come on. I need to do it," I prodded.

"It's Happy 2012 New Years with fireworks!"

I searched Google Images myself this time because I knew exactly the type of drawing I wanted to do...New Year Times Square.

He didn't watch me work this time. He finished his breakfast and went to brush his teeth. When he came back to take a look he said, "Oh my gosh! That is awesome!! That is cool, cool, cool!!!"

At school I saw him showing it off to the kids next to him in line. He stopped his teacher on his way into class to show her. He was very excited.

Later he told me, "This is the coolest of all." Needless to say, he brought it home.

"Oh you like this one?" I asked.

"The most!" he said.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

How about a meteor falling...

How about a meteor falling...

Meteor falling

"I know exactly what to do! How about a meteor falling?"

I handed him my iPhone but asked him not to pick one with the Earth in it because I thought it'd be too hard for me to do. He picked one with the Earth in it anyway.

I was a little annoyed and it showed in my stare back at him. He raised his voice and started complaining, "Why do you always not do the one I ask you to do. You always..." I cut him off. I like a challenge but I knew I didn't have the time today. We exchanged a few more unpleasantries but I relented. I figured to just do it without paying much attention to the details.

As I was drawing it he said, "Oh my gosh! It looks just like it. Well, maybe not." I had to agree.

When he was finished with his breakfast he asked, "Can I watch you? I never get to watch you." He walked around to my side of the kitchen table and sat next to me as I wrapped things up. I think this was his way of apologizing and attempting to smooth things over between us. I welcomed the attention and company.

"Are you finished?" he asked unsure. I nodded. "Well, that doesn't really look like Earth." I had to agree.

He grabbed the marker from the table and added more lines and clouds. I asked him to go ahead and write his own name on there. He did and added, "they're scared," referring to his letters as he drew eyes and expressive eyebrows over each one. I love it when he does that. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle

Space Shuttle

"A rocket!" he said with excitement.

"A rocket ship or just a rocket?" I asked for clarification.

"Just a rocket," he replied.

I handed him my iPhone. After taking a look at the options he changed his mind, "Okay, a rocket ship."

He picked out this space shuttle. I tried hard to get this one right since it's always a challenge for me to work from a picture instead of a reference drawing. I think it came out okay, but I forgot to ask him what he thought of this one.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Dragon!

A Dragon!


"A sea monster? No, let's do a monster truck!"

"Another one? We've done a monster truck before."

"I know, I know."

I did a search and handed him my iPhone. After browsing through the monster trucks for a while, he changed his mind, "Oh, I've got a better idea. A dragon!"

"Yeah, that's a better idea," I agreed.

This one was fun to pull together and looks really different from anything we've done so far.

"I don't like it. I love it! It looks great dadda!"

It's always so sweet to hear him get real excited about a drawing. He brought this one home.

"Did you write stories about this one?" he asked pointing to the Crystal Landscape we did yesterday. It was on the kitchen table. He has started noticing that I take notes of our interactions each day. I've shared them with him a few times.

He affirmed, "I like your stories dadda."

I can only wonder what he'll think of these "stories" when he's older.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Crystal Landscape

Crystal Landscape

Crystal Landscape

"Let's do Santa."

"We already did Santa."

"Oh, that's right. Have we done a house?"

"We did lots of haunted houses."

"Let's do another crystal."

Somehow we ended up picking this landscape which included a couple of crystal pillars on the side. When I was finished, he said, "Oh, that looks just like the picture! Well, maybe not just like the picture, but you're doing your best." Despite his criticism, I know he liked it because this one came home.

We chatted a bit this morning about how he didn't want to go to karate because he was shy. I told him that I wouldn't be drawing on the sacks if I was worried about what everyone else was going to think -- the other kids, his teacher, etc.

He told me that he had shown everyone my drawings and they all liked them. "They were like, 'How did your dad do that?'"

He explained to them, "Well he just looks at a picture and focusses and concentrates and does his best." That was really sweet for me to hear how he talks about me to his friends.

"Can I be a drummer when I grow up?"

"You can be anything you want to be. You just have to try hard and practice and you can be whatever you want."

"I want to be an artist!"