Friday, September 27, 2013

The Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty

"Snack sack!?!"

"The Sta-tue of Li-ber-ty," he said in a sing-song voice, then asked, "Do you know what the Statue of Liberty is made of?"

"Iron?" I guessed without thinking.

"No, copper," he replied satisfied to have stumped me. "Do you know why it's greenish?"


"Because when the salt water and the mist, which has little drops of water with salt in it, touches it, it turns green."

I was impressed by his answer. He must have learned a bit about the Statue of Liberty at school yesterday. This one was weird for me because I drew it bottom-up starting with the base platform. When I got to the bottom of her robe I became nervous that I would mess it all up. I paid extra care not to.

"The statue's face looks so weird," he told me. When I didn't answer him, he asked persistently, "Do you think so? Do you?"

"Yeah," I said dejectedly. I knew I'd messed up her face and didn't want to dwell on it.

He went to brush his teeth and came back when I had just finished. "Why did you have to draw lines on my letters?"

"Because I wanted to make it look like bricks."

He ignored me and took control of the Sharpie adding clouds, a bird, and his own version of his name as he sang to himself. I guess he was in a singing mood this morning.

"He has fire on his butt," he said as he drew firey looking lines. 

"What is that? A bird?" I asked.

"No that's a 'v' and its butt's on fire."

"Oh," I said. It's been a while since he added his letters randomly like that. 

"'o' is like a meteor. He came all the way from the sky."

I refrained from reminding him that less is sometimes more. This time, I enjoyed watching him have fun with it all.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Froot Loops Bird

"What should we do today?"

"The Froot Loops bird bathing in a Froot Loops bowl," he said scooping a spoonful of Froot Loops into his mouth.

"Hmm. I don't know about that but I can look him up," I said. "His name is Toucan Sam by the way."

"Who's name?" he asked inquisitively.

"The toucan."


I did a search for "Fruit Loops" and learned that it is actually "Froot Loops." I've gone my entire life not really paying attention. I handed him my iPhone with lots of options. He took a very long time picking one. I think he was looking for something complex and most were straightforward. I eventually had to pressure him to pick something. When he finally did, he picked a photograph of someone's square 3D box cutout of Toucan Sam. It was clearly an activity from the back of the box that someone was showing off. 

After staring at it for a minute I refused to do it. "It's not going to look like anything if I draw it," I said.

"So you're not going to draw anything?" he asked. 

"I'll draw Toucan Sam which is what you asked for in the first place." So that's what I did. The proportions aren't perfect but it looks okay. He came by to nitpick on the beak but liked it nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Goofy in Stayin' Cool

Goofy in a Bathtub Full of Ice Cream

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Mickey Mouse again!"

"Something else from No Service?" I asked, since we had so much fun with Donald and Mickey yesterday.

"No. Bad Ear Day," he suggested referring to a different Mickey Mouse animated short and remembering his trailing thought from yesterday.

I did a search but not too many images came up specifically from that cartoon. He ended up picking this funny snapshot of Goofy paddling in a bathtub full of ice cream from Stayin' Cool.

"Put it in a a truck or something," he told me knowing full well that in the cartoon Goofy is paddling inside an ice cream truck. I wasn't sure I'd have time. Plus, I couldn't find the snapshot in context of Goofy inside the truck and didn't think to just look up the actual cartoon on YouTube. It's often important where I choose to start drawing. Sometimes I choose well and get the proportions just right. Sometimes I don't. Today, I started with his leg and worked my way up to his face all the while super nervous of screwing the whole thing up. I was happy with the outcome.

Looking for approval, I asked him, "Did you see it?"

"Yeah, I saw it," he said flatly. "It's not really the same."

"Why?" I said with a stinging feeling in my chest. 

"Because it doesn't have the triangles," he said gesturing toward his eyes as if I was missing something tremendously obvious.

"You mean in the eyes?"

"Yeah," he replied. "Why didn't you do that?"

I shrugged. I didn't know really. I had done so yesterday. Perhaps the marker tip filled them in before I even had the chance. He's so observant and critical! The characters definitely have triangle cut outs in their eyes which is a distinctive feature of the animation style in these shorts. Oh well. I still like it despite the fully filled in eyes. :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Donald and Mickey in No Service

Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse in No Service Cartoon

"What should we do today?"

"Mickey Mouse," he said after some thought.

I was pretty sure I had already done a Mickey Mouse, but I absolutely love the newer Mickey shorts with the old-school-new-school vibe. I did a search and he picked this funny screen capture from the cartoon No Service.

"Draw this one...because it's a little funny," he told me. 

Let's see if I can pull this off in time, I thought. 

The look of these two characters squaring off wearing each other's clothes is hilarious. We both got a kick out of analyzing it. 

"Why is Mickey upset?" he asked inquisitively.

"Because they were trying to steal each other's clothes to get some lunch. Remember, Goofy said 'No shirt, no shoes, no service!' Mickey doesn't wear a shirt and Donald doesn't wear shoes."

He nodded, then added, "Donald is naked."

"He sure is!"

He walked off to brush his teeth. When he came back I had made quite a bit of progress. "Oh, you did the detail. Hehe! Now it looks like they're in a place."

"I know."

"Donald looks ridiculous," he said seriously as he studied the drawing. When I didn't respond fast enough, he repeated, "Doesn't Donald look really ridiculous!?!"

"He does!"

Before we stepped out the door he made plans, "Tomorrow we're gonna do Bad Ear Day."

Friday, September 20, 2013


Tarantula Spider

This was a very frustrating morning. We got a late start because he overslept and I wasn't strict enough about his wake-up time. I found out a while later that to make the morning even tighter, he fell back asleep after I nudged him awake.

Downstairs, he was extra cranky not just because he was forcibly awakened, but also because he got grounded last night for making the nighttime routine a nightmare. So no TV this morning for him which guaranteed him to be in a sour mood.

I had a lot of household chores to take care of and didn't get down to picking my subject until I had less than 15 minutes before we had to be out of the house. I had planned to draw an ICEE cup since I skipped out on doing so yesterday; but, as I was wondering if I could finish it in time, he jumped in with a new idea.

"Do Prism Break!" he exclaimed with authority. He got some new Skylanders for his birthday on Wednesday. I felt a lot of pressure to get started, but did a quick search and handed him my iPhone. It took him too long, however, to decide on Prism Break vs. other Skylanders that showed up. Plus, there were no good drawing references and it's always harder for me to draw from a photographic reference.

I had to take charge immediately and went to Plan C. With little time left to draw much of anything, I quickly did a search for a tarantula spider drawing. I banged this one out in what little time I had left. I've never felt so much tension trying to produce something decent in such short order. Tomorrow, I'm waking him up early!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Mario - Nintendo

"Snack sack idea?"

"Uh, no," he said after he gave it some consideration.

"Should I pick?" I asked, then tested, "Or you don't want a snack sack today?"

"Um, you pick. Just don't do anything Halloween. I have a lot of ideas, but they are for the holidays."

I didn't have much time today. I was going to draw an ICEE since he was so excited to wear his new ICEE shirt on his birthday yesterday, but I didn't think I had enough time to find the right reference. Maybe tomorrow, I thought. Instead I looked down at his placemat and figured that Mario is a great character to draw.

He came around to my side of the table to watch me draw and said, "You've already done Mario."

"Yeah, but not this Mario," I retorted.

"Yeah, not this Mario," he repeated.

I didn't want to user color, but with only outlines, the drawing looked incomplete. I tried adding some shading and am pleased with how it turned out. I love doing cartoon characters.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Happy 7th Birthday Victor!

7 Cupcakes

My boy turned 7 today! I had in mind to draw one cupcake with a sign sticking out with "Happy 7th Birthday!" on it. But in looking for the right reference I saw this drawing of 7 cupcakes. It seemed meant to be; although, this wasn't my best effort today. My version doesn't quite match the original and my lines are a bit sloppy. I'm not exactly sure why I numbered them either. Then, I made the tag banner in a random stroke of inspiration, but it doesn't quite make sense. It's a tag attached to what exactly? I thought after I had drawn it. When I was all done, I had the desire to start over. I might have had I had the time, but I didn't.

He wasn't very impressed either actually. He read the tag and said nothing more than, "Heh, that's what it says on the card."

No matter, we're celebrating nonetheless. I can't believe he's 7 years old! It's amazing how fast time flies!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It's Kind of Annoying Orange, But Not Really...

Bat and Pumpkin with Lightning

"What's for the snack sack today?" I asked, thinking I knew what his request was going to be.

"Do a character from Annoying Orange."

That came out of nowhere, I thought. I was fully expecting to draw a frog since he spent our first five minutes together this morning asking about frogs and flies and some game he played recently with a frog. I dutifully ran a search for "Annoying Orange" and handed him my iPhone.

"This one," he said.

"That's not Annoying Orange."

"It's okay. It's kind of Annoying Orange, but not really."


"I think you need to do it sideways."

"How come?"

"Because. I just want you to."

This one took no time at all. When I was done, I handed him the Sharpie. "Here, you write your name today."

"Daddy, I drew a cloud."


I left the kitchen and came back to see lightning and his name all bubbly, "Like the pumpkin," he told me.

"How come the 'R' is normal?" I asked.

"Because if I make it bumpy it will just look like a scribble scrabble."

"Oh," I said, pretending to understand.

"I'm just going to do one more lightning," he said. Then he looked up and asked, "Can I do fire?"

"Yup," I told him. "It is just about time to go though."

"Good?" he asked, seeking approval.


"Now, I'm gonna shade the steam."

He's cute! I thought.

"Do you like it?" he asked.

"Yeah!" Now I know why he wanted me to do it sideways. He had big plans for this one!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Chomper Plant from Plants vs. Zombies

Chomper from Plants vs. Zombies

"A Chomper plant from Plants vs. Zombies," he told me without hesitation.

I like it when he gets on a roll with a particular reference. Unfortunately, I messed up right away on this one and had to start over.

Once he had finished his breakfast he came over to my side of the table. "Are you going to make the teeth sharp?" he asked as he walked over. "Oh! You did make them sharp. Cool!"

I smiled at him, pleased with his reaction.

"Can you do the purple and green?"

"No," I said. I likely had the time but still don't want to introduce color. It's hard enough for me to complete these in 20-30 minutes each morning. Even just coloring things in takes longer than you'd expect it to.

"How about I bring it home and you do it at home on the weekend?"

"If you remember to bring it home. You haven't brought any home this year," I said with a wounded tone. Well, maybe one, I thought to myself.

He didn't respond.

To make up for yesterday I added the "vs." to his nameplate. I still messed it up, but it's sort of readable. It seemed silly to write "vs. Zombies" on this one and not yesterday's so I wrote "vs. Chomper" instead. He laughed when he saw it and kept repeating, "Victor vs. Chomper. Victor vs. Chomper. That's funny!"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Zombie from Plants vs. Zombies

"What’s for the snack sack today?"

"A zombie from Plants vs. Zombies."

"That's a good idea!"

He’s been playing the game some, but the idea was triggered today because the episode of Jessie he was watching this morning was called "Zombie Tea Party."

I decided not to let him pick which zombie today because we were running behind schedule. Plus, the choice was obvious! As I started, I was hopeful it would turn out well. I really wanted to do a good job this time.

I started with the zombie's right hand and worked my way down. Usually I would have started with the head. I kind of messed up the lines and proportions on his upper body but you can't really tell. The head looks cool and I do like the drawing overall. It's a bit nerve racking knowing that every stroke might mess up the whole thing, especially when the start of it feels really good like it did today. I was going to add "vs. Zombies" under his name but messed up the "vs." and ran out of time so I just left it with his name only.

"Let me see! Let me see!" he exclaimed as soon as the show was over and he could focus his attention to my drawing.

"That doesn't really look like a zombie," he said. After a pause he added, "…with the big feet. Zombies have small feet."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013



"What’s for the snack sack today?"

"Maybe…" he said with promise. "Um, no," he added with regret, "I don't have a snack sack idea." He took a moment, then said softly, seemingly in defeat, "You choose today." Not a second after he said it, he was struck with an idea. "A battleship!?" he exclaimed.

He looked for a while and picked a photograph of the USS Midway. We had just visited this grounded battleship turned museum over the weekend. It looked way too complicated for me to draw so I refused. He picked this funky artistic rendition of a battleship instead. This one also looked like a lot of work, but at least it was a drawing to start with. I was looser with my attention to detail than normal and didn't try to match everything perfectly. Today he came to sit on my lap to watch me as I worked through it. I love it when he does that!

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Monster of Some Kind...

"What should we do today?"

"A monster of some kind."

"Okay," I said despite thinking it was a little early for Halloween stuff. I ran a search for "monster drawings" on my iPhone and handed it to him.

"Can you draw these three and just the creepy tree?" he asked after searching for a few minutes. The original had a little boy on a ladder and some tools hanging from the tree too.

"Sure," I said reluctantly. I really didn't have the time to do this one justice, but I did my best with the time I had.

"The gowns should really be all black," he criticized.

I ignored the comment. The fact was that my Sharpie was starting to run a little dry. Leave it to him to be so perceptive. I bought some new ones but have since misplaced them. I know he liked it nonetheless. These ghouls definitely look creepy.

He’s been drawing monsters of his own lately. I had to go into work on Sunday and brought him with me. He drew a giant monster on the whiteboard. It had a big orange head with expressive eyes and eyebrows. Its giant mouth was wide open, exposing its super sharp teeth. I had never seen him draw so freely. I am excited to see his confidence growing. It was impressive to see his own creation come to life. So cool!

Thursday, September 5, 2013



"What should we do today?" I asked.

"SpongeBob," he said without much hesitation.

I didn't notice until a little later but he got the idea from a SpongeBob coffee mug in our cabinet. Had I realized that right away, I probably would have just drawn the cup. But since I didn't know, I ran a search as I usually do. He took way too long to pick one of the many options. I began to pressure him and he hurriedly picked this one.

"This one's kind of funny, right?" he asked. 

Sort of, but not really, I thought.

"Can you make his eyes cross-eyed?" he asked referring to the way SpongeBob's eyes look on the coffee mug.

"Sure," I said.

This was a classic SpongeBob look. Not all of the options were, so I was happy he picked this one. I had fun giving it a go.

"I like it," he told me, "It's exactly like the picture but bigger, right?"


 "Why does SpongeBob always wear a tie?"

"I don't know. That's a very good question."

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Two Big Walkie-talkies

Two Big Walkie-talkies

"What's for the snack sack today?"

He thought for a few moments. "I just got an idea. Two big walkie-talkies." He paused. "Like those," he said, pointing to a pair of toy walkie-talkies on the counter behind me. They were actually pretty small. I had forgotten they were even there.

He found them this weekend among some of his older toys but couldn't play with them because their batteries were dead. They use 4 little calculator batteries each. The batteries were way too expensive at the grocery store so I need to buy them online where they are sold at a fraction of the price. Meanwhile they've been on the counter waiting.  

I'm not a fan of drawing physical objects, but I arranged them in front of me and did my best. I forgot to ask him what he thought of it and he forgot to tell me anything. I prefer hearing his reaction, even if it's critical. Not hearing what he thought of the finished work, it felt like something important was missing from our morning today. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Palm Tree on a Deserted Island

A Palm Tree on a Deserted Island

Palm Tree on a Desert Island

"Any ideas for the snack sack?"

"Nope," he said a little too quickly.

I suspected he was sore that I wasn't letting him watch a show while he ate breakfast. He had woken up early and watched a show upstairs while I sluggishly got ready. He then took his sweet time changing and really lagged as he prepped his waffles. I didn't like the pace he was going at and we didn't have much time left to get out for school anyway.

I tried to entice him, "How about Elliot, from Open Season?"

"No," he said grumpily. He paused for a moment sulking, then asked, "How about Boog?" I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. He searched and scrolled for over 5 minutes. He couldn't pick anything.

"How about I draw what I want to draw today?" I asked declaratively.

He didn't respond and I was running out of time. The vision of a palm tree popped into my head. I did a search and found this classic deserted island view. I made quick work of it, then went upstairs to get some socks.

"Just so you know...I like the snack sack!" he yelled to me from downstairs.

"Cool!" I yelled back.