Friday, January 31, 2014

Dragon Robot

Dragon Robot

"Do you want me to do a robot?" I asked. He brought home the book, "How to Draw Robots," yesterday from the school library. 

"Yeah!" he exclaimed.

"You cannot do this, right?" he asked cautiously right off the bat.

I came over to see he was referring to an intro page with 7 complex robot people and animals. "Um, no," I said.

He flipped through the book and came back to the intro page and asked, "Can you just to this?" tracing the outline of one of the characters with his finger.

"The dragon robot?" I asked.

"Yeah. Can you just do this?" he asked again, repeating the action of tracing his finger around it.

"It's not in the book somewhere?" I asked.

"No," he said flipping through the book to prove it to me. I flipped through it myself thinking he must have skipped a page, but sure enough, it wasn't in there.

"Okay. I guess I'll draw it from here then. I have the time today."

This was a pretty cool robot. We couldn't believe it didn't have a page all to itself. Books like this one always break the process into steps that build the drawing in layers. They include blocking lines and basic shapes that are supposed to be erased when the drawing is complete. I never do that. Perhaps I'm doing it the hard way, but I pick a starting point and draw out from there completely free hand, simply following my 8th grade art teacher's instruction to, "Draw what I see, not what I think I see." At times my drawings are off alignment or out of proportion, but only sometimes. Usually, I do pretty well with the angles and proportions just by maintaining concentration. It's especailly cool when I hit all the angles and proportions spot on like I was able to do this time.

"Oh, he looks super scary!" he said when he saw it complete. He studied it. Then he added out of the blue, "Sometimes you should make your own drawings. Is that going to be hard?"


"You have to practice if you want to. That's if you want to. But you don't want to, right?"

"Not really. It's just that it's hard for me to draw something if I'm not looking at it," I told him.

Perhaps one day I will start taking a turn at drawing creatively from my mind's eye, but right now I don't yet feel ready.

Thursday, January 30, 2014



There was confusion today as to whether or not he needed to bring a lunch or even a snack. He's having a Teddy Bear breakfast this morning and neither of us were sure. 

He advocated to bring at least a snack. He was also very quick to ask for a shark. He was pretty excited about the shark tank he walked through during his SeaWorld field trip earlier in the week. In fact, he said the class walked through it twice. I handed him my iPhone and right away he picked this one.

"You can't do this, right?"

"I can," I assured him. I expect he thought it was too complicated. 


We wondered if I had ever done a shark. He didn't think so. It seemed odd that we hadn't done a shark almost two years into the project, but he was right.

"Ooh, cool!" he said when he saw it.

I was very confident in my strokes today and it shows in the quality of the drawing. It looked great and I felt great throughout the process. This is a favorite of mine, and of his, for sure. He brought this one back today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pirate Penguin

Pirate Penguin

"You don't even have to ask me, 'What's for the snack sack?' today."

"Oh yeah?" I stopped what I was doing to look at him. "What's for the snack sack?" I asked anyway. 

"What's for the snack sack?" he repeated. "A penguin."

"Okay," I said. We didn't do a snack sack yesterday. His class is studying penguins and went on a field trip to SeaWorld yesterday, in part, to observe the penguins there. 

"Remember how Bugs Bunny says 'penguin'?" He asked. "Pen-gu-in," he mimicked.

"Yeah," I smiled. Bugs has the best mispronunciations and over-pronunciations in the business.

I handed him my iPhone and he spotted the penguin I had done last year. "Hey, here's the one you did!"

"Yep, that's the one." He's still on a kick to revisit old subjects, which I'm not thrilled about; but, I've decided to just roll with it.

"Oh, cool, a pirate. Can you do this one?"

I shot him a look. I didn't love it and it hardly looks like a penguin to me.

"Please," he insisted. 

"Sure," I said taking back my iPhone. Using the thick tip of the Sharpie I was more deliberate with my lines than usual. I retraced over some of the lines to create stronger accents like the reference drawing. 

He looked at it and said, "Wow! It looks exactly like it." Looking for differences, he added, "I can't even tell which one is which. You did it so good!"

That was nice to hear. It's so rare for him not to find any faults.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Monster Truck 2

Monster Truck

"What should we do today?"

"Good timing. I just had an idea." Under his breath in a low whisper, he debated with himself, "I'm not going to say it. Okay, I'm going to say it. I'm not going to say it. Okay, just say it." He took a deep breath and asked, "Another monster truck?" He looked up at me, "Is that okay?"

Yesterday we went back and forth about choosing new things instead of repeats of past items. I was going to say, "I've already done a monster truck," but figured we could find something pretty different than the last one. "Depends on the monster truck," I told him.

"Is this really hard? Because it looks good to me."

"I'll try," I said, feeling some tension building in my neck already.

"Yeah!" he shouted with glee.

This one came out better than the last monster truck. The only thing I wasn't happy with is where I placed "Victor." 

When he saw the finished drawing, he said, "I like it." He studied it and added, "But why didn't you put my letters on the teeth?" I guess he didn't like the placement of his name either.

"I don't know," I said with a shrug.

He brought this one home today. He seems to really like monster trucks. It might be time to go to another rally. What I remember most about the last one is how loud it was. This time we'll bring earplugs.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Bugs Bunny at the Beach

Bugs Bunny at the Beach

"Any ideas today?"

"I know we have time for this because we woke up at the same time."

"What is it?"

"The Empire State."

"But I've already done The Empire State."

"I know, but I want to see the cool buildings."

"I know, but I don't want to do something that I've already done."

"Okay then, a birthday cake."

"I've already done a birthday cake. I want to do something new."

"Okay, Bugs Bunny."

I was about to say, "I've already done Bugs Bunny," but I refrained. I have a soft spot for the Looney Tunes characters and I knew he'd pick something wildly different than what I did last time with Daffy in it too.

I ran a search and right away he picked this complex scene of Bugs at the beach next to a VW Beetle. I really wasn't sure I had enough time and gave him a look that meant, "Find something easier!" He searched for a different one, but claimed he couldn't find anything else he liked.

"Please, can you do this one?"

"I'll try." 

Perhaps because I didn't draw much growing up, haven't drawn at all during adulthood, and don't ever doodle, it still amazes me that I start with a blank sack and after 20 minutes there's a whole scene drawn that isn't half bad. I guess a couple hundred bags so far has given me some practice. It definitely stresses me out to be so pressed for time, but I do enjoy the challenge.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship

"Any ideas for the snack sack today?"


"Victor, any ideas for the snack sack today?"



"I'm having trouble thinking of anything."

"Come on, you can think of something."

"I'm the brainstormer, right?"

"Yeah! Let's pick a category. Do you want to do animals, places, things, buildings,...?"

"I want to do buildings. Something cool that we've already done. Like maybe the Empire State?"

"I don't think I'll have time for that."

"Oh, then you probably won't have time for the tallest building in the world."

"No, and besides, I like to do new stuff."

After searching around for some time on Google image search, we somehow ended up with this simple cruise ship.

I didn't care for the finished drawing too much myself, but he had unusually high praise for it when he saw it. "This I really like. It looks exactly like that," he said pointing to the reference.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014



"What should we do today?"

"A birthday cake!" he exclaimed, "Because it's your birthday!" He must have seen the puzzled look on my face because he added, "...if you want to."

"I don't really want to, no," I said. I didn't like the idea of my birthday cake on his snack sack. And in any event, my birthday had already passed.

"Okay, you get to choose then for your birthday."

"Hmm. I get to choose?"


I got started without telling him what I was drawing.

"Ooh, what are you going to draw?" he asked walking over to my side of the table to check it out. "Ooh, Superman!"

I worked quickly and was putting on the finishing touches, adding the stars in the sky, by the time he finished his breakfast.

He asked, "Can I draw a big shooting star?"

"Sure," I said, handing over the sack and the Sharpie.

The marker squeak loudly the moment he started drawing his first line. "Don't press so hard!" I reminded him.

He drew his shooting star, the marker squeaking with every stroke, then put the Sharpie down.

"Well here's a bunch of open space. You can fill that in too," I said pointing at the sky.

"With what?"

"Stars and circles."

"How about an alien?"

"Do it!"

"Ooh, maybe a comet."


He drew it all and announced, "All done."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sven from Disney's Frozen

Sven from Disney's Frozen

I got home late last night and felt very sluggish this morning. He was tired too for some reason. Usually he wakes up on his own, but today he slept in. I let him sleep until about 8:00am.

"Any snack sack ideas for today?"

"No," he said still groggy. "Do you have any?"

"Maybe we can do something else from Frozen?" I suggested. On Saturday, we watched Frozen for the third time in the theaters. "Maybe Sven, but I'm not sure I have enough time."

I did a search and we picked one quickly. I had less than 15 minutes left which was just enough time to complete it.

"Daddy, what happened to this part?" he asked pointing to his back and butt.

"I kind of made him too skinny at first and tried to fix it."

"Oh," he said, still groggy.

We headed out the door, neither of us looking forward to the day ahead.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Cute Parrot

Cute Parrot

"What's for the snack sack today?"

He sat pensive and silent.

"What about the cute parrot from yesterday? Do you still want that?"

"Yes!" he blurted out right away. 

"Okay, cool. That's what I'll do."

"But instead of having him stand on nothing, can you put a branch right there?" he asked pointing to its feet. I hadn't even noticed.

"Sure," I said. I pulled this one off quickly.

He finished his breakfast, came around to my side of the table and asked, "Can I see?" He admired it saying, "Oooh, cutie!"

I smiled.

"Where's my name?"

"Look for it."

"I don't see it. Can you give me a hint?"

"It's small."

"Oh, I see it!"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014



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

"Daddy, I told you yesterday. How do you not know?"

"Maybe I don't remember."

"A parrot," he told me.

"I guess I've never done a parrot before," I said, thinking back at all the animals I've drawn. "I don't think you told me that yesterday."

"Oh, I guess I didn't," he admitted. He hadn't. Yesterday he started out with wanting an animal and then shifted to Big Bang Trigger Happy before he ever decided on one.

I ran a search for parrots and handed him my iPhone. He picked one quickly. "Oh, this one is so cute! Can you do this one? It's so cute."


Instead of handing me the phone, however, he kept scrolling through the options. He showed me a couple more until he landed on this one that I ended up drawing.

"Can you do this one?"


"Don't forget to draw the moon behind him. But only after you've finished. Can you draw another one tomorrow?"

"I can do whatever you want. You always choose."

"I might like this one a lot and bring it home and color it. Would that be okay?"

"Whatever you want to do with it. It's yours."

I picked up an older Sharpie today. The newer markers put too much ink on the sack making it less forgiving for mistakes. It was a relief to not have to worry so much about bleed or drawing quick, sharp lines. I had time and felt in the groove. I like this one a lot.

"Ooooo, cooool!" he exclaimed. "It looks exactly like it...except the feet are too small."

Always a critic. He must be my boy. ;)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Big Bang Trigger Happy

Big Bang Trigger Happy from Skylanders

"What'll it be today?"

"I've got an idea, but it has to be an animal."

"Which animal?"

He paused for a long while thinking. Then he asked sheepishly and out of left field, "Would it be okay if you did Trigger Happy?" He was referring to one of the Skylanders.

"Haven't I already done Trigger Happy?"


We looked him up. I hadn't, so I did. The one he picked is specifically Big Bang Trigger Happy.

After he finished his breakfast he asked me, "Do you think you're doing a good job Daddy? Do you think it's looking good?"

"Yeah," I replied.

"Can I see how it's coming out?" he asked walking around the table. "Ooh, it is coming out good!"

He sat next to me reading his school book aloud as I worked to finish the drawing. He watched me draw and I learned all about magnets. I love our time together in the mornings.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Grinch

The Grinch

"My Dad is going to do the Grinch today," he announced, referencing me in the third person.

He had announced the same on Thursday evening, but since he stayed home sick from school on Friday, the Grinch was made to wait. He clearly had it on his mind this morning because I hadn't even asked him about the snack sack yet. He's rarely ahead of me.

I ran a search for Grinch coloring pages and handed him my iPhone. When he showed me the one he wanted, it was in color, not a coloring page outline.

He noticed the change in expression on my face and asked, "What's wrong?"

"This is the only one that is in color. You didn't pick one with an outline. Did you do that on purpose?"

"No," he defended. We sat in silence for a few beats. "Should I pick something different?"

I waved him off and got to work on it. Despite waking up on time and having a smooth morning, I still didn't get started today until after 8:00am. Between breakfast, getting him through the routine, making his lunch, gathering his stuff, and checking for homework or other things, it takes a long time to get ready in the morning. I felt hurried, but did my best to stay calm.

"I want to see the Grinch-y," he said rushing over from the bathroom after brushing his teeth. "Was it too hard?"

"Not too bad, no," I said honestly.

"Okay good, because I don't want to ever pick anything that's too hard for you."

That, I know is not true, but I let it slide by for the moment and gave him a smile.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


Chompies from Skylanders

Our routine was thrown off because I went to the dentist this morning before he woke up. I had less than 10 minutes to draw anything.  "What do you want on your snack sack today? It's going to have to be super easy," I warned with a nervous edge in my voice. I feel a great deal of stress when I'm in a rush.

He shouted, "Chompy!" as he picked up a tiny one-inch monster toy that was sitting on the table. 

I had seen the thing there for a week and didn't know what it was exactly. "His name is Chompy?" I asked.

"Yeah, you remember, the Chompies from Skylanders?"

"Sure," I said unsure.

I looked them up via a Google image search and found only one drawing. He picked it. I rushed my way through the process making plenty of mistakes, all the while working in chicken scratch.

"I want to see the Chompies," he said after putting his shoes on and remembering that he hadn't paid any attention to the finished product. "Oh, they have sharp teeth," he observed. He studied it some more. "Is that a Chompy sun?" he asked about the one in the corner. He didn't wait for my response. "What's that heart for?" he asked pointing to what maybe are it's tonsils or uvula.

We were super late already so I rushed him out the door without answering or showing him the original for comparison. He tends to get very chatty when we're late. It's very cute, but like today, it usually isn't the time to entertain all his curiosities.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ice Castle from Disney's Frozen

Ice Castle from Disney's Frozen

"What should we do today?"

"Ice castle," he said without hesitation. This was the third time he'd asked me so I couldn't refuse.

"Finally I have enough time," I told him. In fact, I had it in mind to attempt the ice castle today anyway. I had even considered waking up early to do it justice. I had visions of doing an amazing job, but it didn't quite work out that way. Even though I had a lot of time, I still felt rushed. Plus, the reference color poster snapshot was not an easy reference to work from.

When he saw it, he started in with his critique. First off he said, "You could have written 'Frozen.'"

I shrugged at him with my eyes. I had no more time left to add anything.

"Oh well, there's not a lot of detail. But it's okay."

"Just okay?" I asked.

He said, "Yeah. There's not a lot of detail."

I showed him the picture reference and defended myself, "See there's not that much detail in the picture."

"Yes there is!" he said animatedly. "See all that!" he said pointing to the castle, "That's detail." He continued, "And there's this swirl, like a tornado," he said pointing to a wisp of cloud coming out of the castle and into the sky. 

"Yeah, okay," I conceded. "It was pretty hard to do," I added looking for a little compassion.

He understood and just let it be as we headed out the door to school.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014



"What should it be today?"

He thought for a moment. "We've never done Scooby-Doo," he said somewhat randomly.

"We haven't," I agreed.

I did a search for Scooby-Doo drawings and handed him my iPhone. "I found it!" he cried out after just a few seconds. "Is this one okay?"

"Sure." Again, I didn't have very much time today and had to rush it.

He took a close look when I was done. "It looks exactly like the drawing, except these lines need to be a little darker," he said pointing to the back leg. He wasn't even looking at the original but managed to notice the one mistake I made.

"It actually isn't that the lines aren't dark enough, but that the leg isn't long enough. See..." I said showing him. He's got a real good eye for fine details.

"Well it's your picture, so that's okay," he said supportively.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Nespresso Machine

Nespresso Machine

With the holiday break it's been a few weeks since we've sat down to draw anything. Unfortunately, I had hardly any time today. I had lots to do in the morning and he woke up late to boot. Better said, actually, I woke him up very late because I had lots to do.

"I need something super easy today because I may not even have enough time to do anything," I told him as I rushed to get his breakfast onto the table.

He looked over at our new Nespresso machine and said, "A coffee maker?"

"It's a Nespresso machine."

"Okay, then a Nespresso machine."

"I can try, but I still have to make your lunch. How about another option?"

"A phone?"

"Which phone?"

"Your phone."

I wasn't happy with that option either. I had about 10 minutes when I sat down. I decided to just try the Nespresso machine. I had no time to do it justice and it is always a challenge for me to draw using a real three dimensional object as the subject. I spent about 7 min on it. It's definitely not my favorite work.

He was in a pleasant mood, however, and refrained from his usual critique. "Oooh, good!" he said with a genuine smile.