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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Yertle the Turtle

Dr. Seuss Yertle the Turtle

"What should we do today?"

"I keep running out of ideas so I don't know."

"Should we stop doing it?" I asked, surprising myself. I should really have shown more patience, but I've been a little frustrated with his recent inability and indifference toward picking new things to draw every day.

"What?" he asked.

"Snack sacks."

"No. Sometimes I just need two minutes. You choose what you want," he said, throwing it back to me.

"How about Dr. Seuss? We haven't done anything from Dr. Seuss," I told him. Last night we'd read the Happy Birthday to You! book which I'd never heard of, let alone read. As usual, I was left amazed by the silly story and original illustrations.

"Yes we have," he insisted.

"What?" I asked, trying to think back. "From the Lorax? That was just the rocks, 'Unless'."

"Yeah, but it's still from Dr. Seuss."

"But we haven't done any of the fun characters!"

"Okay, then do Yertle the Turtle."

Yertle the Turtle is another Dr. Seuss book I’ve never read myself. “Okay,” I said.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. He browsed for a bit. “This one is too crazy!” he shouted. He showed it to me, but I didn't think it looked too crazy. He didn’t wait for me to respond. He kept scrolling. “I've got it! This one,” he said. “It kind of looks like a horse...a horse with a shell on its back.”

This one was easy, although, I didn't get his face quite right. I drew his beak first and didn't leave myself enough room for his eyes and face so it's a bit more compact that it should be. Otherwise it looks cool. I wanted his opinion. “So what do you think?” I asked him as I moved the bag in front of his face.

“Of the snack sack?” he said, distractedly. He was playing Minecraft on his iPad.

“Yes.”

“Yeah, it looks awesome,” he said, hardly looking at it.

He was distracted by Minecraft and justifiably so. In just the past couple of days, he’d begun to play the game in survival mode instead of creative mode. It’s hard for a snack sack drawing to compete in a moment when he's enthralled with what's new and fresh and dangerous. However, just like Dr. Seuss and his wonderful creations will stand the tests of time, I believe our little project will as well. Games like Minecraft may have their impact, but I believe they are less likely to maintain the same kind of permanence.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Root Beer Guy

Mug Root Beer Logo with Bulldog

"Snack sack idea?" I asked him.

"Peppermint Pattie," he said without hesitation.

"What do you mean?"

"A Peppermint Pattie," he repeated, gesturing toward the pantry. We have taken a liking to York Peppermint Patties and recently bought a Costco-sized box. I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He didn't really like any of the options. I didn't blame him. "I know what else we can do," he said all of the sudden.

"What?"

"The root beer guy," he said while pointing to a 2-liter bottle of Mug Root Beer that was also inside the pantry. I did a new search and handed him my iPhone again. To my surprise, he picked a black and white brand logo instead of an actual can or soda bottle. It would seem that he's finally catching on to what's easiest for me to draw.

It probably would have looked cooler if I'd been able to fill in the logo all blacked out behind the bulldog and the MUG label. I didn't want to rush and ran out of time after I got all the elements drawn in. I like how the bulldog came out most. "How's it look?" I asked him.

"Oh, wow! It looks good!" he exclaimed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Foam Hand - Go Kids

Foam Hand - Go Kids

Last night we chatted as he was getting ready for bed. "What was your favorite part of going to the game yesterday?" I asked him.

We'd gone to watch a San Diego Padres baseball game on Sunday. It was a rare spontaneous outing spurred on by a promotion put on by his school district. We paid $20 for $50 seats. He'd been asking to go watch a Padres game ever since he went on a field trip to Petco Park with his summer program. He doesn't particularly like baseball, but I wanted to encourage his enthusiasm, so we went to the game.

He thought for a moment. "Getting the big hand," he said.

As I mentioned, he doesn't really like baseball. It was a good game with lots of scoring, but he hardly paid attention. Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure the only reason he wanted to go was to get the big foam finger and point it all around. On his insistence, we bought it just as soon as we got there. He loved it but didn't use it quite as much as I had expected. "So we could have gone to the game, bought the foam hand, then came right back home and that would have been just as good," I said in good humor.

"Yeah, pretty much," he answered cheekily.

"You're silly. I know what I'm going to draw tomorrow, though."

"What?" he asked. 

"Guess!" I said, pointing to the hand.

A smile creeped up onto his face. "Yeah!" he shouted.

In the morning, I got to work on the hand straight away without checking in with him. I didn't want him to change his mind. I made quick work of the outline, then asked him, "Should I put 'Go Padres'?"

"Definitely don't put 'Go Victor'."

But that would make a lot of sense, I thought. "No?" I asked.

"No. Put a croissant."

"Huh?"

"Put, 'Go Croissant'."

"Um, no." I had no idea what he was talking about. I ignored him for a while and kept working. When I was ready, I asked again, "What should we put?"

"'Go root beer!'"

"No! I don't want to put something that makes no sense." He looked at me like I was the weird one. "I'm just going to put 'Go SD' or 'Go Victor', okay?"

"Um, yeah, okay." He paused, then interjected, "Actually, put 'Go Kids'."

"Oh, okay, 'Go Kids'," I said. "Sure, I can do that. And then I'll put 'VT'." I showed him the original.

"Yeah. 'VT' here and 'Go Kids' here, okay?" he said, pointing out the correct locations for each.

When I was finished, I realized that I should have drawn it the other way around so that he could have put his hand in the sack to wave it about. Ooops! I'd thought of that last night but completely forgot this morning. Ugh. I was mad at myself. I considered starting all over, but didn't really have enough to time for that. "What do you think of it?" I asked him.

"It's good," he said without much enthusiasm. Perhaps if I'd made the bag functional as a pointer, as it should have been, he'd have had a more enthusiastic reaction.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Baby Penguin

Baby Penguin

"What should we draw today?"

No answer.

I asked him again, "What should we draw today?"

No answer.

"Victor I need a snack sack idea," I said more firmly.

"Okay, do a baby penguin," he blurted out.

"A baby penguin?"

"Mm-hmm," he hummed.

"Okay," I said.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. "Oh my gosh! These are all super cute! Dad, if you could, could you do this one? He looks super cute!"

"Sure," I agreed. I was very careful to maintain the basic shapes as I colored it in. I knew it'd be easy to lose focus and add a stroke outside the outline, thus losing the cuteness effect. Based on Victor's reaction, I did a good enough job.

"That is the cutest snack sack that you ever did," he said with delight. "I'm so bringing this home. There's no way that I'm not." He stared at it some more. "That took you a long time," he added.

"It always takes longer when I have to color something in," I told him.

"Oh my gosh! He is so cute!" he exclaimed one last time before we headed out the door.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday Victor!

8 Scoop Ice Cream Cone

I can't hardly believe it, but Victor turned 8 years old today. I drew an 8 scoop ice cream cone for his 8th birthday. Last year it was 7 cupcakes. The year before, I drew a birthday cake. As usual, I didn't tell him what I was going to draw. I just got started.

As soon as I was finished, I showed it off and asked, "What do you think?"

"It's good!" he said with a big smile.

His new school doesn't support sending in treats to celebrate a kid's birthday. Instead, they've asked us parents to think of creative ways to celebrate in the classroom. Naturally, I thought of coming to school to celebrate with him and teach the kids about drawing. Since the school didn't want real treats, I planned for the kids to learn how to draw treats...things like candy, cup cakes, and ice cream.

I arrived at his classroom about an hour before lunch. The kids were excited to have a visitor, as was Victor. I brought in a bunch of classic snack sacks to share. Victor joined me at the front of the classroom. We started by explaining our project and browsing through the physical sacks as well as the photos. He was thrilled to flip through them all pointing out little notes about each. The class was very engaged.

Just about everyone raised their hand when I asked how many kids wished they were better at drawing. I handed out worksheets with drawing samples of the various sweets. I explained how starting from basic shapes can be a good technique for breaking down a drawing you want to copy. We worked together as I drew on the whiteboard and they drew on paper. Even Victor's teacher joined in for the lesson. I gave a few more tips on drawing mechanics and then let them loose.

I handed out some more paper and some blank snack sacks. I asked the class to draw creatively with the suggestion to incorporate sweets into the scene. The kids were quite enthused. Minus two exceptions (one girl wasn't interested for whatever reason and hardly participated and one boy got frustrated and emotional as he struggled to copy the sweets to his own satisfaction), the energy was overwhelmingly positive with kids thoroughly enjoying the creative session.

The hour flew by and it was a challenge for the kids to settle down, clean up, and prep themselves to head out for lunch. They finally left the classroom well after their lunchtime had officially started. I shuffled on out myself happy to have made Victor's day a bit more special.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Batman

Batman

"What's for the snack sack today?"

He thought for a long while. Finally he said, "I'm starting not to have ideas."

"Remember, you can think of anything."

He said nothing.

"You had lots of Looney Tunes clips on the iPad that we haven't done," I reminded him. "Or how about this guy from Lucky Charms since you like them so much," I suggested pointing to the leprechaun on the box of cereal.

"What's his name, Daddy?"

"I think it's Lucky."

"Oh, yeah. Right. It is Lucky."

"So should I draw him?"

He ignored me and asked, "Did you put wine on that?" He was referring to my toast. "If you did I want some," he said with mischievous smile.

"No. It's jelly, silly," I informed him. In fact, it was blueberry preserves.

"Oh," he said in disappointment.

Before I could stop myself, I said in my best Gru voice, "I'm making a line of jams and jellies." That gave me an idea. "How about Gru or Dr. Nefario from Despicable Me?" I suggested.

"Um, no," he said without hesitation. "How about Silence Ramsbottom?" he asked.

"Ramsbottom? Okay," I said. I did a search and found his first name to be Silas.

Victor browsed through the options for Silas Ramsbottom and was likely disappointed with them since the character is funny and memorable only for his name. "Something here gave me an idea," he said and paused for effect. "Batman!" he whispered in a deep Batman-y voice. It's funny how random things pop into his head.

"I've already done Batman," I said.

"No, you haven't."

I actually wasn't sure. "Well, I know I've done the Batcave."

"Yeah, but in it Batman was tiny."

"I think I've done Batman before," I repeated, although I was feeling more doubtful now.

"No you haven't," he insisted.

He was right. I took my iPhone back and searched through our old stuff. I found the Joker and the Batcave with a tiny Batman shadow in it, but no real drawing of Batman. "I guess I haven't," I admitted.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone once more. He picked this one pretty quickly. I drew Batman carefully and only messed up a little bit. I considered shading him in but decided against it. When Victor saw it, he shouted, "It's awesome!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How about King Kong...

King Kong

"What should we do today?"

He ignored my question.

"I need to know what to draw so I can get started."

"Um, not Mario because he's too violent." That seemed like a random comment, but I remembered that he mentioned seeing a YouTube video where Nintendo's Mario was portrayed as a character committing a lot of violent acts. I haven't seen it for myself. He's brought it up from time to time, so it's clear he was a bit traumatized by it. He assured me he will never watch it again. I believe him.

"How about a different character from Mario?"

"No," he said quickly. Then out of no where he asked, "How about King Kong?" He'd seen a few scenes of the newer Peter Jackson version of King Kong a couple of weekends ago at a friend's house. The fight scenes in that movie are pretty impressive and he was naturally struck by them. We didn't sit to watch the whole movie though. We just watched bits and pieces as we did other things.

"Okay," I said, a little concerned about him picking something really complex to draw.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. "I found one," he said right away, "It's going to be easy." He handed me the iPhone.

"Does this one seem easy to you?" I asked him, tilting the iPhone back toward him.

"Not exactly...because of all those teeth, but it's so awesome."

I couldn't disagree with that. It did look awesome. I worked with the fine tip of the Sharpie and chicken scratched my way to a pretty cool looking King Kong.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yoshi

Yoshi

"So what am I going to draw today?"

"What about...um..." he trailed off and thought for a minute. He went on to tell me random things about his friends, school, and how he's, "not a super fan of watermelon, because it's kind of weird."

"What's for the snack sack, Buddy?" I asked, interrupting his stream of consciousness.

"I don't know," he said, pausing again. With a spark, he suggested, "How about Yoshi?" The other day, he bought a small Yoshi toy at the store. He had seen it the weekend before, then decided to buy it with his own money this weekend. For him to exhibit that type of planning is unusual. The toy brought him a lot of joy. He played with it for that entire first day and has been working on his impression of the small dinosaur Nintendo character. "Yoshi!" he exclaimed, imitating his voice. He's pretty good an mimicry.

I'm not even sure who Yoshi is exactly except that he's part of the Mario set of games from Nintendo. I made quick work of this one, happy to use the thick tip end of the Sharpie like I used to do. I enjoy working on outlined drawings, especially when they are of cartoon characters.

When he saw it finished, he said, "Wow! Whoa! That's quick! That was quick."

I smiled.

"Do you want to do another one?"

"No, I don't. I don't need to do more than this one."

"But you can add to this one if you want to."

"Not today," I said. I've learned that I can get him off my back when I defer instead of decline. It worked. He didn't press anymore.

The next morning I asked him about the snack sack. "What happened to Yoshi? I see you didn't bring him back."

"Yeah...well...let's see...there's this kid. You know those rocks I brought home the other day? Well, he had more yesterday...and...um..."

"You traded the snack sack for the rocks," I said, connecting the dots. I could tell he was worried how I'd react.

"Yeah. He really, really wanted Yoshi like really, really bad. And he said he'd give me all of the rocks if he could have it."

"Really?"

"Let me show you," he said, on his way to retrieve them.

Looks to me like Victor probably got a good deal. The rocks are the type of translucent blue decorative rocks you might put in a vase. They're real nice. So that's new. The snack sacks are being traded as currency. Interesting.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bugs Bunny with a Giant Gold Rock

Bugs Bunny with a Giant Gold Rock

Twice this week I found his snack sack in his backpack with the snack still in it. It was clear that he has not been eating his snack everyday. What's more, it seemed likely that he hasn't even been taking the snack sack out of his backpack. A lot of thoughts raced through my head. I tried to learn more.

I asked him if he was playing instead of eating. I asked him if he takes the snack sack out of his backpack at all during the day. I asked him if he shows the snack sacks to his friends. He gave me no direct answers to my questions. I pressed some more, but he remained vague and I don't understand exactly why.

"Do you still want me to draw?" I asked him, fearing he might say, "No." I thought about the time and effort I put into drawing these sacks. I thought about the past sacks that likely weren't even taken out of his backpack. I felt emboldened to add, "I'm going to stop drawing if you're not going to eat your snack."

He sheepishly apologized saying he hasn't been very hungry.

"Do you still want me to draw?" I asked again.

"Yes. I'll eat my snack from now on."

I felt relieved that he still wanted me to draw. After asking that second time, I was pretty nervous that he might say he didn't want me to draw anymore. "Okay, so what should I draw today?" I asked, moving on.

"You get to choose anything from the iPad."

"Oh, I get to choose?"

"Yeah."

I grabbed the iPad and opened the Photos app to browse the stockpile of Looney Tunes screenshots he captured over the summer. In the cameral roll, there were a few recent pics he took at school. I found a funny selfie he took of himself yelling at the camera. I showed it to him and asked, "Should I draw this?"

He smiled and said, "No, don't do that. It's weird."

"It's funny," I teased.

He shot me a look, knowing I wasn't being serious.

I browsed for a bit and ultimately picked another snapshot from, "Barbary-Coast Bunny." Yesterday I drew Bugs Bunny in a pile of gold coins from the same cartoon. Here, in this scene for today, Bugs runs into this giant gold rock. Once he recognizes it for what it is, he does backflips and cartwheels across the grass all the while yelling, "I'm rich! I'm rich! I'm faaaabulously wealthy!" That clip is a memorable one from my childhood. I can remember repeating those words all the time when I was young.

I took my time with this one and like the way it came out. When he saw it, he said, "It's good. It's good. Except that it'd be better if it was colored in."

"I agree," I told him. He was right. A giant gold rock should look like a giant gold rock.

As we headed out the door, I couldn't help but wonder if he'd take this one out of his backpack today and what it might mean to our project if he doesn't.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Bugs Bunny in a Pile of Gold Coins

Bugs Bunny in a Pile of Gold Coins

"What should I draw today?"

"What about I get something on the iPad and you put it on your phone...because I've got a good one."

"Okay."

As I was prepping his breakfast, I heard the trash truck down the street. Normally it comes much later in the morning. I rushed outside to get our bins out onto the street in time.

Victor walked out of the house after me with his iPad causally carried in one hand. "I've got one, Dadda," he shouted over the noise.

"Go back inside, Victor," I scolded. I was worried he might drop the iPad on the sidewalk.

When I got back in the house he showed me what he'd picked. "This one!" he yelled with excitement.

It was the same exact screenshot of Red Hot Ryder that I'd drawn a couple of weeks ago. "I already did that one."

"No, you didn't."

"Yes, I did. I'll show you." I took out my iPhone and found the image.

He looked at it carefully not wanting to admit that he'd completely forgot. "No, this one is different," he said confidently.

He showed me on his iPad that there were two frames he'd captured. One with Red Hot Ryder's belly sticking out a little bit more than the other. They were almost identical. "It's the same thing!"

"No, it's not."

"It's the same thing!"

He picked this one of Bugs Bunny in a pile of gold coins pretty quickly after he relented. In this scene from, "Barbary-Coast Bunny," Bugs uses this slot machine thinking it's a telephone. He asks his Mom to loan him a few bucks and hits the jackpot.

When I showed him the finished drawing, he said in a cute mousy voice, "Ooo, pretty good!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Apple iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6

We didn't draw a snack sack yesterday because he stayed home with a headache. He was feeling better today, although I wasn't feeling my best.

"I need a snack sack idea," I told him.

"How about an iiiiPhone?" he suggested, elongating the pronunciation.

The Apple Watch was announced yesterday and I'd shown him some of the pictures and video of it along with the newer iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. I did a search for, "iPhone drawing," but he, of course, did not pick a drawing. He picked a color glossy of an old first or second generation iPhone.

"That's an old one," I said.

"It looks exactly the same as yours."

"No it doesn't. Look at it more carefully."

He looked for another. He found a newer one, but it still wasn't the latest. "This looks exactly like yours."

"Let's do the iPhone 6 since it was just released."

"They made a new iPhone too?"

"Yeah, I showed it to you yesterday."

"No. You showed me the watch."

I'm not exactly sure why he didn't ask me to draw the Apple Watch. He was very enthusiastic about it yesterday telling me, "You have to buy one! That it is the coolest watch in the world! Can you play games on it?" When he saw the watch face with apps on it, he screamed, "Oh my gosh! You definitely have to buy one!"

"I showed you the new iPhone too," I reminded him. I went to http://www.apple.com and showed him again, but he didn't really like any of the promo shots. I did a new search for, "iPhone 6." He picked this image which looks to be a fake mock-up and not the real thing. I didn't want to go back and forth anymore so I just accepted it.

It wasn't a fun or easy subject to draw so I felt very uninspired today. I also wasn't in the best of moods. I've been feeling extra tired all week. I rushed through it and it shows. Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day.

At least he liked it when he saw it. He exclaimed, "Wow! You drew all of them!" referring to the app icons. He was pretty excited. I guess I have to remind myself sometimes that that's what it's all about.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Minecraft Steve with a Diamond Sword

Minecraft Steve with a Diamond Sword

Victor got up, prepared his own breakfast, ate it, and got ready for school all by himself again today. He was ready to go even before I made it downstairs.

"What'll it be today for the snack sack?" I asked him. He was relaxing on the couch playing Minecraft.

"Can you help me pick something, Dadda?" I love it when he calls me "Dadda."

"You don't have any ideas?"

"Nope."

I wondered if he was tired of the Looney Tunes snapshots or if he just didn't want to pause from playing Minecraft to flip through them.

"How about something Minecraft?" I suggested. At the moment, he was building a lighthouse and I couldn't help but think that Minecraft building blocks are like LEGOs for the digital age.

"That will take a long time for you to draw, Dadda."

"I mean a Minecraft character."

"Oh, okay."

"Which one?"

"Do a search for Minecraft characters."

"Okay, I will."

It didn't take him long to pick this one. Drawing it was much harder than I anticipated. If I had to do it all over again, I'd use a different strategy  one that would help me plot out the grid better. The proportions are all wrong here, but it looks okay as a finished product.

"What do you think of this guy?" I asked him, pushing the snack sack in front of his face.

He was too busy playing and hardly looked up. "Good. Good. It looks a little bit messed up."

"I told you it'd be hard." Looks like he's back to being critical. Oh, well, I try.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Daffy Duck Stomping on a Genie

Daffy Duck Stomping on a Genie

"What should we do for the snack sack today?"

"Let me see," he said. He browsed the screenshots on his iPad and picked another snapshot from the cartoon, "Ali Baba Bunny."

"I'll do it, but I wish you could tell that it's a genie." I searched through the other screenshots but there were none with the genie's face visible.

"Look. See. There's the lamp," he said in rebuttal.

"I know, but when I draw it, it won't be as obvious." He didn't seem to care. "I'll do it if you want," I told him. So for the 6th time, I drew a still from, "Ali Baba Bunny." Here, Daffy is upset by the appearance of the genie. He stuffs him back into the magic lamp, fearing the genie wants to steal his found treasure. It was pretty easy to draw and I always enjoy drawing Daffy. He's such a character.

"What do you think?" I asked Victor when I finished.

"Yeah, that's good, but the Daffy is messed up a little bit."

He was right. I'd messed up on the mouth just a little bit. He's always so observant!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A Skeleton Popping Out of a Graveyard

Skeleton Popping Out of a Graveyard

Last night he asked me, "Dad, tomorrow can you do a skeleton popping out of a graveyard?"

"Yeah, sure! Why do you want that?"

"Because I'm making one for a friend."

"You mean you're going to draw that for somebody."

"No, you are."

"Oh, someone asked for it?"

"Yeah."

"Someone in your class?"

"No."

"Someone from your after school program?"

"Yeah."

This morning I ran a search for a skeleton popping out of a graveyard just like he asked. I knew which one I wanted to do and I knew which one he would pick. I don't usually tell him which one to pick, but I did today. He liked it but, of course, he scrolled and picked the other one.

"This one looks easy. It's just the skeleton head and a hand reaching out."

It was, in fact, very complex. It was mostly black and looked like a charcoal drawing. "That doesn't look easy at all."

"Okay," he said. Fortunately, he let me draw the one I picked.

We were up early and I didn't have to make lunch today. I had plenty of time and finished relatively quickly. I was amazingly done early, something that rarely happens. It was a nice feeling not to have to rush for a change.

After having shown off the Bugs Bunny at Pismo Beach snack sack from yesterday, he was excited to bring in old snack sacks to school today. When he woke up he told me he had taken out the ones he wanted to take. He had a mess of sacks on the floor. He grabbed a random armful of snack sacks and started to head out of his room.

"That's too many," I told him. "I thought you were picking out your favorites."

The next thing I knew he had put them all away. "I decided not to take any today."

"Why?"

"Because I have to go over 300 snack sacks to pick my favorites again."

I wanted to press him to pick a few but decided to just let him go play. We're rarely done with breakfast early, so I knew he'd relish the opportunity to just mess around at home before school. I did feel a bit sad and responsible for bursting his bubble, though. I sighed as he ran to his play room. I'm sure he'll bring a stash of snack sacks in soon, especially as the artwork draws more attention.

When I picked him up after school, I asked, "Did you give the snack sack to your friend?"

"Yup."


"What did he say?"

"He said, 'Oh my god! That is sick! Oh my god! Your dad is the best drawer ever!'"

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bugs Bunny at Pismo Beach

Bugs Bunny at Pismo Beach

Today he picked another screenshot from, "Ali Baba Bunny." I'd guess he took about fifty snapshots from this one cartoon. I suppose he's taking us through the major scenes in order. This one is toward the end.

"Is that really what Pismo Beach looks like?" he asked me.

"I'm not sure. I've been there, but I don't remember."

I got to work and tried my best to pay attention to all the little details of this scene. I was a bit disappointed that Bugs's head is turned, but I'm too much of a stickler to alter the reference. That, and I'm still not very confident making any real changes to what I'm looking at.

When he saw it finished, he yelled, "Whoa! That's good!"

When I picked him up after school, he was excitedly showing off the snack sack. When he saw me, he came right up to me and waved the snack sack in front of my face. He said, "People were like, 'Whoa! Whaa-!?!'"

He waved the sack in front of one of the leaders of his after school program. "What's that? Did you draw that?" she asked.

"No, this guy did," he said, point at me with his thumb. "My Dad!" he added proudly.

"Oh! Wow, that's cool! Are you an artist?" she asked.

"Not really. It's just something we started back in Kindergarten," I explained. I pulled out my iPhone and showed her the album of all the snack sacks we've drawn. I gave her the run down of how we got started.

She was impressed and visibly excited. "That's really cool! He's gonna look back and think, I had the coolest Dad in the world."

That made me smile.

Victor continued to show it off to the other people in the room. He came back up to me. "My teacher said it's okay for you to come in!" he blurted out.

"Oh, you finally showed her your snack sack today?"

"Yeah."

"And did you show it to the other kids in your class?"

"Yeah, a lot of people were so surprised. They were like, 'Whoa! Your Dad did this?'"

I guess I need to start thinking about what I want to do for the classroom drawing session this year. It will be fun sharing our project with the kids in his class at this new school.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Daffy Duck Hugging a Pearl

Daffy Duck Hugging a Pearl

"What are we gonna do today? It's got to be easy because I don't have a lot of time."

He browsed through his collection of Looney Tunes screenshots again. "Got it!" he shouted.

This one looked easy enough and I always enjoy drawing Daffy. It's yet another snapshot from the cartoon, "Ali Baba Bunny." Here, Daffy has been miniaturized by a genie after having desecrated the spirit of the magic lamp. He follows Bugs's rabbit hole to Pismo Beach and grabs hold of this pearl. This is the fourth still we've done from that cartoon. We've done Bugs and Daffy in a cave full of treasureDaffy popping out of Bug Bunny's head, and Daffy Duck Swimming in Treasure.

It didn't take me too long to finish. Victor looked over at it and asked, "What's he holding?"

"A pearl."

"We've never found a pearl."

"No, huh." We've never been anywhere near a real clam shell, I thought.

"Dad, would you want to be shrunk and find a pearl?"

"Nope."

"Why not?"

"I wouldn't want to be shrunk."

He considered the thought, but made no comment. I suspect he'd be just fine being shrunk, especially if he could hug a pearl and yell, "It's mine! It's mine! All mine!"

Friday, August 29, 2014

Daffy Duck Swimming in Treasure

Daffy Duck Swimming in Treasure

"What should we do today?"

"This one," he said, pointing to another Looney Tunes screenshot on his iPad.

I was excited to do it the moment I saw it. It's another snapshot from the cartoon, "Ali Baba Bunny." This is the third still from that same cartoon. We did Bugs and Daffy in a cave full of treasure a couple of days ago, then Daffy popping out of Bug Bunny's head yesterday.

I drew Daffy quickly, then I got to work on the coins. I had visions of filling the entire snack sack with coins. I knew it would take a long time, but I underestimated just how long. The minutes slipped by and progress was slow.

As soon as he'd finished breakfast, I asked, "Do you want to help me?" hoping he'd say, "Yes." I continued, "You could do that side and I can do this side."

"Sure," he said.

I reached for another Sharpie and handed it to him. "But don't press too hard," I reminded him. "See how I do it?" I drew a few coins to demonstrate. "I don't hardly press down at all."

He drew a few of his own coins. "It's hard not to press down," he admitted.

"No it's not. Just try," I said, trying to encourage him. I swished out several more coins. He did the same.

A minute hadn't passed before he said, "I'm tired." He said this after having drawn about 20 coins. I didn't expect much from him so this wasn't a surprise; but, I was hoping to get more production out of him. "You're too good," he said. The compliment was meant to deflect any attempt to convince him to continue. He put down the Sharpie and went to go mess around.

I worked fast and furiously to add as many coins as time would allow. I worked well past our normal leaving time, but ultimately had to call it quits. I may not have reached my goal to cover the entire sack, but there are a lot of coins here and it does look pretty cool.

He agreed. "It looks awesome!" he shouted when he saw it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Daffy Popping Out of Bug Bunny's Head

Daffy Duck Popping Out of Bug Bunny's Head

"What's for the snack today?" I asked. I expected this to be another day for a Looney Tunes still. It was.

He scanned the screenshots on his iPad and picked. "This one. It's Daffy popping out of Bugs Bunny's head."

With a description like that, I knew it'd be a fun one. It's another screenshot from the cartoon, "Ali Baba Bunny." We did Bugs and Daffy in a cave full of treasure from the same cartoon a couple of days ago.

We stayed pretty independent today. We sat mostly in silence as he ate his breakfast and I worked on the snack sack. He finished eating, then brushed his teeth. He passed by several times but didn't take notice of my progress.

He didn't see it until we were headed out the door. I left it on the bench by his backpack so he'd see it before we left. He laughed hard out loud. "Ha-ha-ha-ha! I like it. It's funny!"

I agreed. Actually, the entire cartoon is funny. I can see why he likes it so much.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Looney Tunes Cat Shrugging

Looney Tunes Cat Shrugging

The plan was to walk to school this morning. Since I knew it would take an extra 20-30 minutes, I got up early. I prepped his lunch and made his breakfast before I woke him up.

"Good morning!" I said gently as I walked into his room. He struggled to open his eyes. After some shakes and some hugs, he sat up. I wanted to get a jumpstart on the drawing, so I brought the iPad with me to his room. This entire week he's been selecting screenshots from Looney Tunes cartoons. I figured he could do the same again today. "Can you quickly pick something from the iPad for the snack sack?" I asked him. He selected a few screenshots that weren't really appropriate. A couple were violent and a few others were odd stills that didn't look like much out of context. He finally picked this cat.

I urged Victor to get ready quickly and got to work drawing right away. After about five minutes, I heard noises upstairs, but he wasn't down yet. I went to check up on him and found him playing with some toys at his bedside, something he never does in the morning. I reprimanded him and asked him to, "...please hurry up." He knew we needed to leave early today, so I'm not sure why he chose to mess around. It's like he times his insubordination for maximum frustration.

I looked it up and this cat is a precursor to Sylvester. He chases and is abused by an early Tweety Bird in the cartoon, "Birdy and the Beast." This shrug comes as a gesture to the audience just before the cat drops to the ground from a great height. When he hits the ground hard, Tweety says, "Aw, the poor kitty tat! He fall down and go...BOOM!" It's a scene Victor's watched countless times. We drew Tweety from this same cartoon when we did Tweety Bird Yelling, "BOOM!" toward the end of the last school year.

This drawing took longer than expected as do all of the ones with black filler and negative space. It was hard to keep the "white" lines exposed for creases and definition, especially those of his eyes and whiskers. The cat's feet don't show in the screenshot or at all in this segment of the cartoon, so I merely drew a bottom border line.

When I was done, Victor didn't say anything but he did shrug in a pleasant way, mimicking the cat.

I was trying to get us out the door, but he refused to get ready. Instead, he sat messing around on our electric piano. When I asked him to get ready he said, "Okay," but continued at the piano with no intention of moving. My patience was wearing thin. I told him he'd lost the use of his electronics for the rest of the day. He's been in trouble all week, so I had him on a short leash. Once I said that, he jumped into immediate action. He was a model kid for two full minutes, getting ready faster than ever before.

"What do you think?" I asked him about the snack sack on our way out.

"Good," is all he said. I could tell he was sore with me.

We left almost ten minutes later than I had planned, but we made it to school just on time. I do love walking with him. He held my hand most of the way which made me feel so special. I miss our morning walks to school. For three years before he started at this new school we walked together nearly every day. His previous school was much closer. Perhaps we'll walk from time to time, but I'm not sure. It's certainly doable, but it is a pretty long walk...and not as fun for me to walk back by myself.

When he came home he said, "Hey Dad, do you know where the snack sack is?"

"No," I replied, unsure of what he was getting at. I went over to the bench. "I don't see it in your backpack."

"It's not in my backpack," he said at the same time. "I didn't see it there. Oh, I might have lost it!" he said with distress. "If I did lose it, I'm really sorry, Dadda."

"It's okay," I said. At this point, we both want to preserve each and every one of the snack sacks. We have the pictures, of course, but the sacks themselves represent something very special to us, something we want to keep and display for years to come.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bugs and Daffy in a Cave Full of Treasure

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck in a Cave Full of Treasure

This morning, Victor woke up before I did. He came to find me in my bed and jumped on top of me. We chatted about this and that for several minutes before we decided to get up. Often when he's on restriction, like he still is today, he's extra sweet. Partly it's because he's on his best behavior, but partly I think it's because he has fewer external distractions. Without the TV, the iPad, or the computer, he puts his entire attention on Mom and Dad. I like it.

As soon as we got downstairs, he went to his iPad to find another Looney Tunes screenshot for today's snack sack. "Can you do this one?" he asked me.

"Um, you won't be able to tell what it is. I'm not even sure what it is," I told him. It looked like something from outer space. He didn't explain it. I still have no idea what it was, what cartoon it was from, why he'd saved it in a screenshot, or why he wanted me to draw it on a snack sack.

He browsed some more and showed me a picture of Elmer Fudd shooting himself in the face. The screenshot consisted of his body, a puff of smoke in place of his head, and his arm holding a revolver. "How about this?" he asked.

"That's not appropriate for school," I told him.

"Why not? It's just a cartoon."

"That's not appropriate for school and you know that," I repeated. I haven't shared with him any of the tragic stories about school violence, but he generally understands that violence and weapons are no laughing matter at school.

"Okay," he said and went back to browsing. He picked a snapshot of a cartoon car, with a silly screaming face on it, falling from the sky. Much of the car was not in frame so I told him I didn't want to do it. He thought he could find a better still, one with the entire car in it, but he couldn't find any in his set. In fact, many of the screenshots he's captured have incomplete views of the characters. He finally picked this snapshot of Bugs and Daffy in, "Ali Baba Bunny." He asked me, "Can you do this?"

"Sure."

"You can do it!? Yay!" he shouted with genuine enthusiasm and, I believe, some relief.

This one took a long time. It wasn't easy drawing all that treasure, but I was committed to filling it all in. Meanwhile, he'd finished his breakfast and brushed his teeth.

"Where's the snack sack?" he asked from around the corner. "Ooo!" he said as soon as he saw it. "It's awesome!"

When he came home that afternoon, I found the sack all crumpled up in his backpack. "Did you show this one to your friends?" I asked him.

"Yeah! They said, 'Wow! He is good!'"

Monday, August 25, 2014

Red Hot Ryder

Red Hot Ryder Holding A Club on a Horse

He woke up late this morning. He tends to do that when he's been in trouble the night before. Being on restriction, he realizes that he has no reason to get up any earlier than he has to. He lost use of his iPad and all electronics for reasons I won't get into here.

As he did for the past couple of school days with Bugs Bunny and Leo the Lion, he went to his iPad to choose a Looney Tunes still. He picked this shot of Red Hot Ryder from the cartoon, "Buckaroo Bugs." I think it's funny that the narrator introduces Red Hot Ryder as "Brooklyn's famous fighting cowboy." Victor has watched this cartoon countless times and loves the dialog in it, usually replaying certain phrases over and over and over again. In this snapshot, Red Hot Ryder is about to give his horse a wallop to get it to stop. He had pleaded with the horse and asked it repeatedly to, "whoa," but it just kept galloping on, leaving him with this obvious course of action.

I took to task and finished pretty quickly. I'd intended to draw it smaller and include his whole hat and the entire club. Instead, I unintentionally drew it with the scale and proportions that match the snapshot exactly. His hat and the club are clipped in the screenshot just as in my drawing. I definitely enjoy drawing these cartoon scenes. It would appear from the plethora of screenshots Victor's saved on his iPad that I might be doing many more in the coming days and weeks.

We didn't speak much this morning. I could tell he was a little sore about being on restriction. We didn't have much time for chit-chat anyway. He went through the routine more smoothly than normal -- one benefit of him looking to be on his best behavior to earn his privileges back.

"What do you think?" I asked him.

"Looks pretty much the same," he replied. It may not seem like much, but that was actually a high compliment considering how critical he can be sometimes.

It's interesting now that he uses his iPad at school because I no longer have control of what he does with it during the day. I did, however, explicitly tell him that I didn't want him using it before school which he had done last week.

So far, I've parked and stuck around at the school until his teacher opens her door. He hasn't yet told me not to stay, but he has made it clear, on account of him ditching me once we get to the stairs, that he doesn't want me to be too near. Oh, how things have changed from the days in Kindergarten and Pre-K when he wouldn't leave my side. I've kept my distance, respecting his space, but I stay because I relish the opportunity to watch him interact with the other kids.

On the second day of school, he took out his iPad and found a shady spot to sit down. I looked across the playground and wondered why he wasn't running around or playing with any of the other kids. It was a warm morning. I found myself wishing he was releasing energy in the sunshine instead of sitting down, all by himself, in the shade. It made me worry about his future at this school and the challenges of finding new friends.

The playground was full, as was the blacktop, with kids running, jumping, climbing, and sliding. Several kids near the buildings were chatting and being silly in groups or in pairs. There were many other kids on their devices too. He wasn't the only one. Most of them were by themselves, independently typing or tapping away. I wondered how he'd make friends if he just kept to himself with his focus locked onto the screen of his iPad. Was this the future of school playgrounds? Was he avoiding the challenges of making new friends in a new school? I stared out across the field, then at the kids playing basketball, then at the ones on the play structure.

I looked back to find Victor and was surprised to see a crowd of kids around him. Some were sitting by his side; others stood looking over his shoulder. There was one kid standing directly in front of him looking upside down at his screen. I was pretty sure he was building something new in one of his Minecraft worlds. Clearly the other kids were excited about it. I thought the access to technology was making him antisocial; but, as it turns out, it was the iPad and Minecraft that drew in the others. I only recognized one of the other kids, so it was clear that these were new friends he was making.

Later that evening, he confirmed it. "Today I made new friends, Daddy. They like Minecraft," he told me. He listed out their names. That made me very happy. Now I know he'll be alright. Things may be a little different at this new school, but the future looks bright on all accounts.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Bug-eyed Bugs Bunny Freaking Out

Bug-eyed Bugs Bunny Freaking Out

"I need to know what to do for the snack sack because I don't have a lot of time." We were running very late today.

"Okay, let me see." He grabbed his iPad mini and began scanning the hundreds of Looney Tunes related screenshots he captured over the summer. Yesterday we did Leo the Lion. "It's easy. It's just Bugs Bunny's face." He studied it and added, "If you want, I can pick and easier one."

I took a look at it and said, "It's okay, I think I can do this one." It was actually a still from the half live-action, half cartoon movie, "Looney Tunes: Back in Action."

These types of silly expressions are one of my favorite things about older style cartoons like Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and the like. These funny faces always made me laugh as a kid because they are such outrageous exaggerations. Having said that, I'm not particularly fond of drawing them out of context. There have been many other times I've declined, but today, I had no time to be choosy.

I sat down and made quick work of it. After being feverish for the past couple of days, it was nice to be able to concentrate better with a less cloudy head. In the snapshot, his mouth was cropped in the frame. I didn't want to draw it like that, so I drew in what I expected Bugs's lower lip to look like.

When he saw the finished drawing, he smiled. Then he said, "I'm going to color in the mouth and the tongue and the..." He trailed off.

I thought he meant later, but he picked out a Sharpie from the drawer and began coloring in the back of Bugs's throat. I was nervous that he'd color outside the lines, but he was pretty careful as he filled it in.

He saw the look of concern on my face and asked, "Do you have that look on your face because I took one of your Sharpies?"

I ignored the question. "We really don't have any more time Victor. We've got to go." It was true. We had to get going.

He finished up and I quickly fixed the outlines to keep the edges looking smooth. He looked at it and smiled one last time before he slid it into his backpack.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Leo the Lion

Leo the Lion Climbing a Tree

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

"You know, the snack sack's on the iPad."

"It is?"

"It is." He scanned the screenshots and stopped on one. "It's Leo the Lion."

Victor spent several days over the summer taking screenshots on his iPad mini of his favorite Looney Tunes scenes. He literally took hundreds of stills. For some cartoon snippets, he took screenshots frame by frame. He's given me the impression, mostly by stating it directly, that he thinks I'll draw them all.

I looked over his shoulder. It was a snapshot from "The Lion's Busy" featuring Leo the Lion and Beaky Buzzard. "What's happening in this cartoon?" I asked him.

"There's an eagle that's trying to eat the lion." In a deep voice, mimicking Beaky Buzzard, he said, "Temper, temper, Mr. Lion."

I flipped through the other snapshots. "It's a vulture, not an eagle," I corrected.

"Exactly," he said.

"I can't see Leo's tail and stuff. Do you want me to just cut it off or draw the rest of his body."

"Just cut it off. Just do it exactly as it is."

"Okay!"

When I was done, he laughed, "He-he-he!"

"What do you think?" I asked.

"I like it!"

When he came home that afternoon, I was happy to see that he'd brought this one home, unlike the one from yesterday which went lost.

"I told my teacher that I want you to come into class."

"Did you show her today's snack sack?"

"No."

"Um, you need to show her so that she knows what you're talking about!"

"Okay, I will."

He's funny. He likes to jump right into things sometimes without setting any context. Nonetheless, I have no doubt that I'll end up in his classroom sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How about the school...

Design39Campus

We had a conversation about the snack sacks last night. "So, tomorrow, we'll draw our first snack sack of the year," I said with excitement in my voice.

"Can I tell my teacher that everyday you'll draw something cool? Can I tell her that?"

"Sure. Will you want me to do a drawing lesson with your class?"

"Sure. You want me to ask her?"

"Um, later."

"So, like, tomorrow maybe."

"No, later. Just try to get settled first."

"Okay, so maybe the next day," he said, clearly excited to get the ball rolling.

Today is his first day of the school year. He's in 2nd grade now and attending a new school constructed over the summer called Design39Campus. The school was literally completed just in time. Their promise is to do school differently by using both online and hands-on project based teaching that encourages design thinking and a growth mindset. He's excited because the school is big and new....and...that he gets to use his iPad everyday there. We are both curious to see how things go.

This morning it felt good to sit down with a Sharpie and a snack sack after such a long pause. "Tomorrow you can pick whatever you want; but, today, I want to draw something specific for the first day of school -- something that represents your new school or the 2nd grade."

We discussed several options but couldn't settle in on an idea even after several minutes of going back and forth. Finally, he said, "How about the school with me on a path riding a skateboard to school."

"But you don't even know how to skateboard," I stated very practically.

"I know, but it will look cool."

I couldn't argue. I searched for a suitable reference picture of the school. I ended up picking one of the original schematic drawings from the design plans.

I got to work, but failed to manage proportions well. I quickly ran out of room. I was frustrated with my progress throughout. Not only was I out of practice from having taken a break all summer, but I was hot and feverish. I had a rough night last night and was feeling quite ill this morning. I was having trouble concentrating. The only thing I had going for me is that I had plenty of time.

I just kept plugging away hoping that the finished product would turn out okay. Once I had finished the building, I decided to draw Victor on the roof instead of on a skateboard. He loves climbing so he was pleased with the change.

"Ah-ha-he ha-haha," is what he said when he saw it. I guess he liked it. 

When he came home from school, I asked, "How was your first day?"

"It was awesome!"

"Oh, yeah!? Why?"

"Because they let me play Minecraft!" he shouted. "It wasn't only educational stuff they let you do on the iPad."

"I'm sure they'll crack down soon," I told him.

It wasn't until later in the evening that I noticed that he didn't bring this one home. Perhaps he simply forgot to since it's been a while. That's too bad. At this point, I'd like to save them all.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yoyo Dodo Congratulates Victor

Yoyo Dodo

Today is the last day of the school year. The year flew by. Victor's growing up so fast! I cannot believe I've been drawing snack sacks every day for two whole school years. It's been an amazing journey.

I've been nervous about this last drawing for the past couple of days. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it has to do with the uncertain future of our little project as this year draws to a close. It's hard for me to say for sure that we'll continue all throughout next year.

I'm taking his suggestion from yesterday and drawing Yoyo Dodo holding a sign of congratulations. I don't know very much about the character except that he's a wacky precursor to Daffy Duck's wacky antics. Victor's silliness shines through no matter what we're doing, so perhaps he identifies with the Dodo in that way.

I struggled drawing this one, messing up several times. I think it was the nerves that kept me from focussing; plus, he was talking to me throughout. He was chatty and kept on spewing out random thoughts and asking questions like, "Do you think I had a terrible nightmare or a really happy dream last night?"

He was being serious, so I had to pause to think. "Well, you didn't wake up or come into our room, I don't think, so I don't think you had a nightmare. I think you had a happy dream."

"You're right. I did."

Normally I would have asked him to tell me about it, but I'd just made another mistake. I messed up the ring around the Dodo's neck. He didn't take notice and didn't explain his dream, but he did keep chatting and asking me questions. I did my best to stay focussed on the drawing.

I decided to use the silver Sharpie today even if only for some highlights. It's been in the drawer for half of the year and I haven't used it, not even once. The ink from that marker spreads quickly so I'm glad I didn't plan any detailed work for it. After writing out the message of congratulations, I wished I'd written the message bigger and in a special font. Oh well.

"Dad, are you done?"

"Just about."

"Can you draw him standing on Porky's head?"

He wasn't standing on anything, much like my first drawing of Yoyo Dodo. "No. I don't want to do that."

"Okay, can you have him standing on a rock?"

"Sure." What I drew looks more like a haystack, or something less sturdy than a rock, but it works to place him somewhere. "What do you think?" I asked him.

"I like it. The Dodo here looks a lot more younger don't you think?"

"Yeah, I suppose," I said, although I had no idea what he meant.

"The Dodo looks a lot more younger," he repeated in a sing-song voice as we walked toward the door.

There it is, my last snack sack for a while! I don't expect to draw anything new until August. His summer program has it's snack time right when I usually drop him off in the morning so it doesn't really work out for him to take a snack. It's time to take a pause.

I remember being worried last year that he wouldn't want me to continue. I could have never imagined that he'd get even more into it, working to have the snack sacks displayed in his classroom and encouraging me to come in to share our story and teach the class a few things about art and creativity. It was a sweet year. I'm happy to have made the time to bring a little creativity to our mornings together. I feel most grateful for how it has broadened our relationship.

Congratulations Victor! You are now a 2nd grader!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tweety Bird Yelling, "BOOM!"

Tweety Bird Yelling, "BOOM!"

"This is your last day to choose a snack sack," I told him. "Tomorrow, I get to pick what I want to do." Tomorrow is his last day of 1st grade.

He thought for a bit and then said, "I know exactly what I want, but it's on the iPad." He went to go get it. He sat back down and began to scan through one of our Looney Tunes compilation videos. He stopped on the cartoon with Porky Pig and Yoyo Dodo, "Porky in Wackyland." He paused on a scene with the Dodo's arms spread wide. He told me it was the image he was hoping to find when we did Yoyo Dodo weeks ago. "Can you do this except on this hand can you draw it closed and holding a sign that says, 'You Made It!'?"

That was sweet to hear, but I wanted to choose what to draw tomorrow. Oh well, I thought. "I suppose I can do that, but that sounds like that's for tomorrow. How about you pick something else for today?"

"Okay," he said. He scanned some more within that same cartoon. "Can you do this?" he asked.

Without the context of the full scene, the still he chose didn't quite define exactly what was going on. I knew from having seen the cartoon that the Dodo, looking to pound Porky, was holding an iron ball in a slingshot over Porky's head. "No. It won't look like that," I explained, "No one will be able to tell what it is and, besides, he's about to hurt him."

He understood. He scanned some more and picked a different still with Porky's butt hanging out a window. "Can you do this?"

"No."

"Why not?"

"Because it's got Porky's butt hanging out a window." Of course this was met with a bunch of laughter.

He searched a different cartoon and picked this still of an early Tweety Bird from, "Birdy and the Beast." Just before this still, Tweety had said, "Aw, the poor kitty tat! He fall down and go...BOOM!" It's a classic line. I've seen Victor watch this snippet over and over and over again. The scene has made him laugh with such ferocity I was sincerely worried he might explode from the laughter bursting out of his little body.

It was a simple reference so I finished rather quickly. He came by to take a look. "Do you want to add someone covering their ears?" he asked.

"No," I said. I knew that my drawing could not do justice to the delight this scene has brought to him. I think he was fishing for ways to make it more special.

"Do you want to add lines because it's so loud?"

"Yeah, sure," I said. I added them, but there wasn't anything else to add. He watched the scene a few more times and I thoroughly enjoyed watching him laugh with such delight.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The plane with the Space Shuttle on it...

NASA Space Shuttle Carrier Aircraft

"What should we do today?"

He thought for a long time without answering. We were both groggy and cranky after a long day at Disneyland yesterday.

"I need an idea or I won't have enough time," I warned. We were already running very behind schedule.

"Can you give me an idea?"

"How about something Disneyland or something rainforest or something Space Shuttle?" We visited the California Science Center in Los Angeles on Saturday where the Space Shuttle Endeavour is housed.

He thought for another long while. "How about a booster?"

"A booster doesn't look like anything." I knew he meant a rocket booster.

"Yes it does. It looks like a funnel."

I ran a search and showed him the results. "See, all the options are the Space Shuttle," I told him. "I don't want to do something exactly like what I did before." I'd drawn the Space Shuttle back during our very first year.

He scrolled and asked, "How about this? The plane with the space shuttle on it."

The coolest thing we saw at the California Science Center was a video that showed how they transported the Space Shuttle from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to the Los Angeles International Airport and then through the streets of L.A., narrowly avoiding trees, power lines, cars, and people as crowds looked on in amazement. "Okay," I said a bit exasperated. I didn't have much time left.

He'd picked a simplistic drawing at least. However, as is typical with the "easy" ones, I had a hard time with it. I had to throw out my first try and would have likely thrown out the second had I had more time. I tried to fix it as best I could, but the perspective and proportions just weren't on target today.

My time was up. It was time to go. I finished and he was nice to say, "Oh, you did pretty good!"

I didn't agree. I was still feeling cranky. I took a picture and we headed out the door.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo Bear Cooking Over a Campfire

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo Bear Cooking Over a Campfire

"Do you want the same one from Yogi that you said you wanted yesterday?"

"Yeah."

"Okay, you're going to have to find it again because I didn't save it."

"Okay, I know exactly which one it is." It was a snapshot of Yogi and Boo-Boo cooking over a campfire.

This makes the fourth day in a row that we've done Yogi Bear scenes. That may just be a record. I'm not sure if we've even done Looney Tunes scenes for four days in a row. So far we've done: Yogi and Boo-Boo running from Park Ranger Smith, one with Yogi and Boo-Boo preparing a campfire, and one with Yogi stealing food.

With all the practice, I made quick work of this one. When I was almost done, he came to my side of the table and said, "Can you move, please? I want to see how you're doing." He took a look and approvingly exclaimed, "Oooh, gooood!" He studied it some more and asked, "Can you add more background, instead of just grass?"

"You can add it," I told him. Lately, I've been encouraging him to draw more.

"Okay! Tell me what to do."

"You can draw trees."

"Okay." He did. "Should I draw a redwood?"

"Yeah, do that." He drew a taller tree, the redwood. "Maybe you want to add some detail on the bark," I suggested. He did.

"What else?" he asked. I thought for a moment. "Oh I know, a nest!" he shouted before I could say anything. He drew it and the bird.

"Cute," I said. He drew another bird. I asked, "Is that the momma and that's the baby?"

"No. Here is Daddy and this is Momma," he clarified by pointing each out to me.

"Okay."

"I can add rocks." He did. "Now I'll draw mountains." He did. "Daddy, look! I made some look near and some look far."

"Oh, cool." He's been proud of his newly forming skill of drawing perspective.

I left for a few minutes to quickly send a work email. He was still drawing when I came back. "Still drawing?" I asked.

"Yeah! I still have a few more things to do. One more mountain," he said. I was impressed that he knew to draw the mountains behind the smoke. "These are snow volcanos so they kind of trick you." He told me all about the snake, and the crystal ball on a stick, and the treasure box, and a story about how the snake tricked them by stealing the crystal ball. His imagination has no bounds. In days past I would have told him that less is more; but, today, I let him be free to create what he wanted.

"It's time," I finally called out. "You have to add your name."

"Okay, what should I do it like?"

"Maybe you can do it in the root system," I suggested. He did. 

"It's actually one root. Look Daddy! It connects!"

"Awesome!" Today, he made a nice set of additions to the original. He was very proud of his work and so was I.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Yogi Bear Stealing Food

Yogi Bear Stealing Food and Picnic Baskets

"What's for the snack sack?"

"Yogi, again."

"Again?" We've done Yogi scenes for the past two days. One with Yogi and Boo-Boo running from Park Ranger Smith and another with Yogi and Boo-Boo preparing a campfire.

"Yeah." I ran a search and he found a couple of options that he liked right away. "Dadda, today can you do this one? And then tomorrow can you do this one?" he asked, unable to decide between the two. I guess Yogi has made quite an impression on him. I'm surprised actually. I've never been a big fan myself. I guess he's pretty silly and Victor loves silly.

With the recent practice drawing Yogi, I was done quicker than usual. He looked over and exclaimed, "Whoa! You're done already?!"

"Yup!"

"Victor's picnic," he read on the side of the picnic basket. "Oh, I like it!" He stared at it for a long time. "Can I ever color your snack sacks?"

"Of course," I replied. "Once I draw them, they're yours. You can do what you want with them."

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo Bear Preparing a Campfire

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo Bear Preparing a Campfire

"What's for the snack sack?" he asked this time!

"I don't know. You tell me."

"The Flintstones." I had introduced him to The Flintstones and The Jetsons on YouTube earlier this week. He'd never seen either cartoon. I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. He looked at options for a minute, then changed his mind. "Actually, Yogi again." I ran a new search and he picked another Yogi scene quickly. "This one!" he yelled.

"Looks good." Yesterday we had drawn a funny scene of Yogi and Boo-Boo running from Park Ranger Smith.

He sat next to me while I drew today. We had a long discussion about art and drawing. "How are you such a good drawer?! What you do...it looks exactly, I mean exactly, like it."

"Just a lot of practice, Victor. I've gotten better with time. I'm more confident now. Before I used to..."

He completed my sentence, "...get worried you'd make a big mistake."

"Yeah. I'd be worried the whole time that I'd make a big mistake and mess it all up. But now I don't worry as much. And I still make plenty of mistakes..."

He continued for me, "...but they can't tell because it's a big drawing."

"Yeah. You can always fix mistakes."

He watched me carefully as I drew the cabin. He studied my lines and the choices I made about the order in which I drew it. "You're the best drawer I've ever seen."

"What about your art teacher?" I asked, deflecting the compliment. His school has a part time art teacher that comes to his class once every few weeks I believe.

"She does easy stuff. You do hard stuff."

"Yeah, but that's probably because she's doing easy stuff with you guys since you're kids."

"No. She does easy stuff."

"Maybe you should ask her to show you her own art. I'm sure it's good."

"Okay. Next time I'll ask her. But you're the best artist I've seen."

"Thanks, Buddy." I was done. All that was left was to add his name.

"May I do my name?"

"Sure."

"Have you done my name as flames?"

"Yup."

"Can you do it?"

"No. You do it."

"Can you tell me how?"

"I think you know how."

"How about I draw some logs, and a fire, and then my name is part of the smoke?"

"Sounds good." I knew he knew what he wanted. He's always creative and very specific when he asks for the Sharpie. He did a good job of adding a campfire that wasn't in the original reference and creatively adding his letters to the smoke. His artistic ability is improving and I couldn't be prouder of him!

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