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.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Meatbalrus from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

After a day off, we were sure we wanted to do another Foodimal from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. We had already done a Tacodile Supreme, Cheese Spider, and Bananostrich. I did a search for the Foodimals and we looked at them together. We almost picked the Fruit Cockatiel but ultimately decided on the Meatbalrus. 

As I started out bottom-up I said, "The feet are kind of platypus-like."

He heard me but didn't make a sound.

This one was pretty simplistic compared to the others. I did my best to pay attention to the details to help make it come to life on the sack.

After he finished his breakfast, he came over to my side of the table and exclaimed, "I want to see the Meatbalrus! I want to see the Meatbalrus!" He took a look and added, "He-he. That is kind of platypus feet. Yeah. That's pretty good!" he said joyfully. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Surfer Dude

Surfer Dude Riding a Wave

His class had a field trip planned to the pumpkin patch today so I wasn't packing a snack. They asked us to put his lunch in a clear gallon sized Ziploc bag. I didn't expect to draw anything, but as I was about to fill the Ziploc, I saw that the Capri Sun juice bag had this cool surfer dude on it. I decided to see how quickly I could sketch him onto the bag. I didn't even sit down. It took me all of 3 minutes.

"Are you drawing a surfer?" he asked, reaching up onto the table, looking over toward the opposite end where I was standing.


"Oh, cool!"

Once again, just like yesterday, I found that drawing even a little something felt better than drawing nothing at all.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Bananostrich from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

In sticking with the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 theme, he asked, "Remember a banana-dolphin?" I didn't even have to ask him for an idea today.

"I do, but I don't have much time. I'm not even sure I can do a snack sack today. Mom is taking you this morning, remember?" I had to go to work early today.

"Oh," he said in disappointment.

I could have easily decided to head out the door, but I had a few minutes to spare so I did a quick search instead. It wasn't a banana-dolphin after all. "This Foodimal is a Bananostrich," I informed him.

"Oh! Still looks like a dolphin to me."

"That's all I have time for," I announced after quickly drawing it in just a few minutes. 

"Aww. Cute!"

I just didn't want to skip a day and I know he didn't want me to either.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cheese Spider

Cheese Spider Foodimal from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

"What should we try today?"

"This time a Cheese Spider because you did pretty good on the Tacodile."

I had a feeling we'd be sticking with the Foodimals today from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. Yesterday's was fun to draw and it was no surprise that he wanted the Cheese Spider today. I had to really rush this one and skimp on some of the details in the webbing. I still spent 20 minutes but we got out of the house later than normal as a result.

"What do you think of the Cheese Spider?" I asked him on our way out. 

"It's good...except that it looks like it's freaked out," he said pointing at the eyes. He was right, as always. It did looked freaked out.

This sack came home (all crumpled up). He showed it to me in the afternoon and observed, "This way it looks like it's whining," turning the sack upside down. "This way it looks like it's angry," he said turning it right side up. He kept flipping it back and forth taking in the difference.

He hasn't been bringing the sacks home much lately. Perhaps he brought this one back because we were flipping through our collection and reminiscing before bedtime yesterday. I think taking a trip down Memory Lane made us both more sentimental about our mornings together and the art that we have produced.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Tacodile Supreme

Tacodile Supreme Foodimal from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

"What should we do today?"

"One of those things from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2."

We saw the movie on Friday night. We loved the first one and didn't want to wait until Saturday to watch the sequel. This was the very first time we went out in the evening for a movie all together as a family. We had a lot of fun and the movie was quite funny and clever.

"Good idea," I told him. In the movie there are many cool food-animal creations called Foodimals.

I ran a search and saw lots of options. I knew it might be tough for me to draw any of them, but I handed him my iPhone anyway.

He debated between the Tacodile and the Cheese Spider, finally choosing the Tacodile Supreme. I had a feeling he'd pick that one. It was a nice isolated shot on a white background as opposed to many of the other options that were complicated screen captures from the movie.

"Good choice!" It wasn't easy, but I took my time and am I'm happy with how it turned out. All the Foodimals in the movie are cool, but this one may be my favorite.

"You gonna do the drool?" he asked. 


"I love you Dadda," he told me from across the table.

"I love you too!" I replied.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Mickey Mouse Riding a Scooter in Croissant de Triomphe

Mickey Mouse Riding a Scooter in Croissant de TriompheSneaky R and the r Billd-ing

"What should we do today?"

He mumbled something I didn't understand.


He strung a bunch of random thoughts together still not making much sense. After some more probing, I was able to discern that he was describing the Mickey Mouse short with the fish in it. It's called Gasp! and I did a search for stills from it. In the end, though, he picked this image from the French one, Croissant de Triomphe, where Mickey rushes throughout Paris to get Minnie fresh bread for her bakery across town.

I worked slowly and steadily on this one because I had plenty of time. He wrapped up early too and came over to watch me draw. 

"Can I color in the arms?" he asked.

"Sorry. I'm still working on it," I said coloring them in myself. I was focused on making it all come together.

"Can I color in the next thing?" he persisted.

I could see that he really wanted to contribute today. I was pleased with how it was turning out which actually made me a little reluctant to share drawing duties. But I do love it when he shows his own creativity on the sacks. I decided to save the leg for him to color in. "Sure. When I'm done."

"Can I do the mouth?"

"You can. Later."

"Are you going to do the detail?"

"I don't think I'll have time for the city in the background."

"Can I do it?" I could tell he was anxious to get his turn.

"Here," I said as I finished, handing over the Sharpie.

He went to it. I expected him to add the "detail" of the city, but instead he added a "meteor" around the scooter, "because it's going so fast."

As he continued to add lots of lines to the drawing, I couldn't resist passing on a little reminder, "Too much stuff makes it not easy to see what the picture is."

He pretty much ignored me and I decided to just let him have at it. He added his letters with expressive eyes, something he hasn't done in quite a long time. He added streaks to each letter because of their "speed." Of course the "R" had to be sneaky and ended up on the back as part of the "r Billd-ing" complete with a flag on top.

I finally had to stop the flow of creativity when he started pounding in the dots on the R, effectively ruining the Sharpie. By this point he had gotten marker all over his face. I sent him to wash up and did my best to admire his additions.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mickey Mouse in New York Weenie

Mickey Mouse Peering in New York Weenie

"What should we do today?"

"Another Mickey Mouse thing...and this time from New York Weenie." In this short, Mickey chases a runaway hot dog throughout Central Park.

I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He picked a snapshot of Mickey looking extremely enraged and not like himself. There are many such stills in this short since Mickey's frustration level is at an all time high. The hot dog is quite the foe.

"Let's pick something else. This is ugly."

Surprisingly, he agreed without comment. "This one then," he said picking a snapshot with Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in it.

"I can't do three drawings."

"It's just one."

"Yes, but there are three of them. I don't have time today."

Frustrated, he went back to scrolling. After a lot of prodding, he picked this shot of Mickey peering through the bushes of Central Park. I started with the thick tip of the Sharpie today but couldn't control the ink spread. I had to start over on a new sack with the thin tip. I worked quickly and took shortcuts on the scenery to finish in time. Since it wasn't his first choice, nor his second, he didn't have any comments on this one.

We rushed out the door to walk to school as we do every morning. A few steps from school I got a strong feeling that I had forgotten to include the snack sack in his backpack. We stopped to double check. Sure enough, it wasn't there. We were running late already so there was no chance to go back together.

I asked him to just go ahead and I ran back home. I hadn't done any real exercise in months. My heart was racing but I was determined to get it to him in time. I made it home quickly and found it right on the kitchen table.

I ran back toward the school, faster this time. But as soon as I was in the sight of other parents, I started walking. I felt embarrassed to be running for some reason so I power walked the rest of the way. The school bell rang just as I stepped on school grounds. His class was already inside and settling down when I made it to the door.

Victor was waiting near his desk, ignoring the chaos around him, standing up looking out towards the door anxiously. He greeted me outside and I handed it to him. "Is this the same one?" he asked to no one in particular. "Yup, it's the same one," he answered to himself unable to hide his smile. I watched him head back into the classroom with a skip in his step and I breathed a sigh of relief as I headed back home. It meant a lot to me for him to have his sack today and clearly it meant a lot to him too.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mickey Mouse Screaming in Yodelberg

Mickey Mouse Screaming in Yodelberg

"A monster truck."

"We've done several monster trucks already."



"Okay. Something else from the Mickey Mouse cartoons." He thought for a moment. "From the snowy place," he clarified. He was talking about the short Yodelberg in which Mickey tries to avoid starting an avalanche as he tries to get to Minnie who lives at the very top of the mountain.

I did a search and the moment I saw this snapshot of Mickey yelling I knew he would pick it. He did.

"Won't be easy, but let's see," I said optimistically. "I knew you'd pick this one."

"It's funny isn't it? How did you know I'd pick it?"

"Because it stands out."

"Yeah it does." He watched me as I worked. "Don't forget to not connect the tail," he cautioned quite observantly. The tail was indeed disconnected from Mickey's body. "It's so funny," he repeated, studying the finished drawing. "You're missing something," he informed me as he took hold of the Sharpie. He re-outlined the tail and made it "a little fatter."

Just as it looked like he might do a major overhaul to the whole drawing, I said, "Enough." It was time for some morning reading so we settled into the sofa, he in my lap, to read a story.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Toy Story Space Alien

Toy Story Space Alien

I asked him several times about today's snack sack and he ignored me. I walked up to him and asked him very directly, "You're not going to pick anything?"

"No," he replied, "you pick."

He sounded pretty resolute so I didn't press him to brainstorm. I bet he's sore because he's been in trouble lately. In fact, he's grounded indefinitely until he shows that he can be more responsible and mature. He's actually a really good kid, but knows how to push our buttons and has been taking it a bit too far this past week.

I decided to do something from Toy Story because he had a Toy Story theme day at his summer program today. After browsing through lots of options, I decided to do the space alien trio who say, "You have saved our lives. We are eternally grateful." I ran out of time though and could only draw one of them.

"I want to see! Which one did you do?"

Ah, so he does care! I thought.

"Ah! He-he," he laughed. "Cool!"