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.