Friday, February 28, 2014

Dr. Doofenshmirtz

"I know what you're drawing today," he said without me asking, channeling his inner Phineas. "Remember the mean Dr. Doofenshmirtz?"

"Yeah," I replied. He had called him "eee-vil" yesterday when he picked him before we settled in on a more complex scene with Dr. Doofenshmirtz fighting Perry.

"That's what you're drawing today."


"That's going to be easy!" he told me.

I wasn't so sure about that. I tried extra hard to focus on the details and proportions. I really wanted to get his eyebrows right but didn't. He looks good overall though.

He smiled when he saw it and a said, "Yes!"

I don't know why, but I started rushing when I was doing the name. Like a dummy, I spelled it wrong and left off the "H." Duh! I wanted to start all over but, of course, there was no time and nothing I could do about it.

He didn't mention it so I asked him, "Did you notice your name?"

He read it out loud in a funny way, not quite pronouncing it right. He smirked, but didn't say anything, which I think means he thought it was weird. Oh well. He didn't make mention of the spelling error either, presumably because he has no idea how it's supposed to be spelled.

What he did say was, "On the weekend can you do two snack sacks? For two of my friends?" He was going to have a playdate with them on Saturday. "I want you to show them how you do it."

That's new. I'm being commissioned!

This one came back home. He really liked it. That night over dinner, we started talking about Hubble's incredible photos from the deep reaches of outer space. I had the idea to display my iPhone screen onto our TV via Apple TV to appreciate them. We scanned through a few pics and then he said, "Hey! Can you show the snack sacks so that they just play."

"I can!" I set the album on my iPhone to play in slideshow mode. We watched the whole set of 260+ snack sacks with our eyes glued to the TV. We kept staring and making little comments. We both thoroughly enjoyed reviewing the work and he complimented me throughout. It was a very sweet moment.

"How are you so good?" he asked when the slideshow had run its course.

"All I do is try," I answered.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dr. Doofenshmirtz Fighting Perry

Dr. Doofenshmirtz Fighting Perry

“What’s for the snack sack today?"

"Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Perry,” he said sticking to the plan he made yesterday morning. Before I could say anything, he added, "Oh, we definitely don't have time to do them fighting...or do we?”

“No, I don't think I can do both.”

He seemed okay with that. I searched for Dr. Doofenshmirtz only. "Ha! This one," he said finding one quickly. "He looks eee-vil," he said, mimicking Dr. Doofenshmirtz.

"Because he is eee-vil,” I added.

I was about to start but thought, Oh, what the hell?! I'd rather do a full scene. I looked up Dr. Doofenshmirtz fighting Perry and handed him back the iPhone.

There weren't many options. He first picked one with Perry in the exact same pose as in the snack sack I had done of Perry last year. I didn't want to do it again, even if it was now part of a scene. I asked him to pick something else. 

He picked this one which looked fun to me. I completely messed up Doofenshmirtz at the get-go. I tried to fix him but ended up just throwing the whole thing out. That caused me to be really pressed for time. I got Doofenshmirtz right the second time, but he looked as if he was smiling as opposed to angrily fighting. I tried to curl the corner of his mouth down a bit, but didn't want to risk messing up his whole look with too much ink around his mouth. It's the small things I struggle with sometimes when I'm not 100% focussed on all the details, especially critical ones. 

Victor noticed right away. "Why'd you make Doofenshmirtz a little happy?” he asked.

“What?” I said, although I, of course, knew exactly what he was taking about. 

"You made him a little too happy.”

“Yeah, I noticed that,” I admitted. "I tried to curl his mouth down a bit, but he still looks a little happy, I know.”

"It's good except for that," he consoled.

As usual, nothing gets by him. He's critical like his Dad.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014


"What are we doing today?"


Okay, I've seen Johnny Test twice now so I at least know that Dukey is the talking dog. The episode we watched yesterday was largely about Dukey and how he wanted to go to bring-your-pet-to-school day. Johnny picked his pet lizard instead, fearing Dukey might end up the star of a reality series if he brought him to school. I like the show. It's funny.

There weren't too many options for Dukey. Victor picked out an image of him with a super fat belly. Laughing, he showed me the phone and said, "Okay, this one."

"No," I said, "That doesn't look like him."

He found a different one with Dukey not even the main focus of the capture. "Okay, this one."

"No," I said.

He ended up picking this silly one of Dukey in bunny slippers, reading with his morning coffee. I messed up the proportions at first, but I was able to fix it. I retraced over the entire drawing which helped cover up some of the mistakes.

He liked it. "Cool!" he said. He looked at me and asked, "Are you going to do the 'Test' part?" He was wondering about his name and thinking about how I had done it in the Johnny Test from yesterday.

"No. I'm just going to do your name."

He watched as I filled in the mini Johnny Test silhouette inside the letter "O".

Reiterating his comments from yesterday, he said, "I love how you do it so small."

As we were walking out of the house, he planned out the snack sacks for the rest of the week. "Tomorrow I want you to do Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Then the next day I want you to do Perry."

I nodded in agreement.

"Or...could you do Dr. Doofenshmirtz fighting Perry?"

"If I have time."

"Okay, then I need to wake up early tomorrow and you need to get ready early tomorrow so that you have time."

"Okay," I said as we walked out into the sunlight.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Johnny Test

Johnny Test

"When are you coming to my class to teach drawing?" he asked excitedly.

"I need to figure out exactly what I'm going to do and say," I responded. I'm a little nervous about going actually. I really don't know exactly what to do or say.

"Well, you promised my teacher a long time ago."

"I know. I know."

"I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to stand up there with you and pick on someone and they can ask you to draw something."

"Um, I want to pick something easy. I can't take too much time."

"Like the Empire State?"

"No," I said slowly and deliberately, "probably a character that everyone knows."

Then his eyes got wide and he exclaimed, "Johnny Test!"

"Is that what you want today?"


We shifted gears to search for a good shot of Johnny Test. I studied the image he chose. "It's really two things," I told him. "It's Johnny and the guitar."

"You've done two things before."

"Oh, I can do it. It's just that the more there is, the more time it takes." As is so often then case, I looked at the clock worried I didn't have enough time. I worked efficiently and finished just in time to rush out the door. 

His reaction was priceless. He took it all in with a gush of compliments, "Oh, jeez. Oh, jeez. Yup! I love it! I love it!" Then he noticed his name and the tiny Johnny Test head in the "O" like in the original logo. He continued his gushing, "Oh, gosh. How'd you do that? Victor Test! It's a good thing I have an 'O' right? I have flaming hair! Yay! Oh, jeez. How'd you do that? How'd you make his head so small? Okay, I'm totally showing this to the teachers. Whoa! I totally love Johnny Test. How'd you make his head so small? Seriously, how'd you do it!?!"

I felt proud today. I couldn't help but walk out of the house and into the sunshine with a big smile on my face. This one came back home. I knew it would.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jack Skellington

Jack Skellington

"What's for the snack sack today?" I asked for the first time in 10 days. He was off for winter break all last week.

"Jack Skellington?" he said curiously.

"Makes sense," I told him. He had asked for Jack Skellington on the last day before the break but then changed his mind to Oogie Boogie.

"Why do all of these look scary?" he asked browsing through the options. After careful consideration he said, "This one."

"I thought you'd pick one of him looking happy," I said, clearly misinterpreting his question.

"I like him looking scary," he confirmed.

I wasn't thrilled with the choice. "It doesn't look exactly like Jack Skellington, don't you think?"

"It looks like him to me."

"Well, let me give it a shot."

This was a hard one. It has an ominous front facing perspective, black-out parts that always take a ton of time, all those slender finger segments, and that creepy smile. As I drew, it didn't look like much of anything until it all came together toward the very end.

"Oh good!" he said nodding with a big smile as soon as he saw it finished.

When I picked him up in the afternoon, one of his friends came up to me and said with a big smile herself, "You are such a good artist."

"What'd you say?" her mom asked curiously. 

"He's such a good artist!"

"How do you know that?"

"Because he draws on Victor's snack sack everyday. It's so awesome!"

Victor pulled out two snack sacks from his backpack, today's Jack Skellington and the SpongeBob and Patrick one from before the break. He waved them around and showed them off. The mom looked at them amidst the kids squealing and pushing each other to get a better view. 

"Wow, you really are a good artist. Those are amazing!"

"Yeah," her daughter confirmed. "They are so cool!"

I have fans! Hearing the compliments really made my day.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Oogie Boogie

Oogie Boogie

“What should we do today?”

"I just thought of an idea. Have you done Jack Skellington?”

“Actually, no I haven’t.” He finally got brave enough to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas recently. We have all our movies loaded up digitally and available to play instantly via our Apple TV.  For a long while he avoided the movie worried the grim story and sinister characters would scare him. It was probably the right choice. Now that we watched it together as a family, he really enjoyed it.

“Actually, Mr. Oogie Boogie,” he said changing his mind. He's been watching clips of the movie on YouTube with special interest in Oogie’s signature song where he repeats the line, "You're jokin'.” He’s learned it almost all the way through. He sings it with great inflection and characterization. The kid has got quite the engaging personality, especially when he gets into character. I’ve often wondered how popular he might be as a child actor on TV. He’s got the charisma for sure, but I’m not sure he’d follow anyone’s direction but his own.

We picked an option quickly. I felt focussed today and had plenty of time to work since I didn't have to make lunch. Today is his Valentine’s Day party so his class is having a big celebration with food and sweets. He sat next to me working on his Valentine’s Day cards. He was bringing SpongeBob valentines for the boys and cute dogs and cats valentines for the girls.

After some time showing rare focus on his task, he looked over and said, "Oh you're done. Lemme see.” He studied it and said with a huge smile, "Oh niiice!”

Looking over at his valentines, I couldn't help but think that Oogie Boogie is an odd choice for Valentines Day.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

SpongeBob and Patrick

SpongeBob and Patrick


"We've already done SpongeBob," I reminded him. 

"But I just want SpongeBob," he said staring at a coloring page he brought home yesterday.

I decided not to protest. I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. The first hit was the very same coloring page he brought home. 

"Look! I found the same one!" he exclaimed. He couldn't have been any more excited. "Can you just do this one!?!"

"Sure," I said and made quick work of it.

This one came back home on February 24th. I wonder where it had been for over week? Probably lost in his shuffle at school.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Supermarine S.6B

Supermarine S.6B Racing Seaplane

After being home sick for the last few days we're now back to our normal routine. His cough is better and he's much more energetic, finally.

We still had the "How to Draw Planes" book and decided to use it since it was due back to the school library today. I was surprised he picked this old-school Supermarine S.6B racing seaplane. I was expecting him to pick a fighter jet.

I sat down feeling stressed for time although I had plenty. Toward the end, I started to rush, feeling extra pressure for no apparent reason. Staying home with him meant several days away from the snack sacks. The disruption to my own routine seems to have had an impact on my confidence.

"It's good," he said without much emotion, "but you missed a line." There it is. His old critical self. He's definitely feeling back to normal. :)

"Which one?" I asked.

He pointed to the propeller. I explained that since it was in motion it didn't have the line in the source drawing either. He understood and we headed out the door for another day of school and work.

Friday, February 7, 2014


Virgin Galactic SpaceShipOne

The new library book he brought home was, "How to Draw Planes." He picked SpaceShipOne.

I've followed Virgin Galactic's progress for years now. Very early on in their development, I even considered investing the $250,000 for a ticket. Going up into space would be quite an amazing experience. I'm also curious what the resale value of the ticket could be. It seems to me that some rich folks would be willing to pay millions to be one of the first passengers if and when the project reaches its goal. My guess, however, is that the ticket isn't transferable. Oh well, it's not like I have a spare $250,000 to apply to the investment, but it's fun to think about anyway.

"You're doing good daddy."

There it was, the encouragement I was looking for yesterday. "Thanks," I said.

"That was easy," he said. "You did that quickly."

"There was a lot less detail on this one," I told him.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Robot Knight

Robot Knight

His "How to Draw Robots" book was due back to the school library today so I knew we'd be doing one last robot.

I did not wake up with the same energy that I had yesterday so when he picked this robot knight, I gave an internal sigh. It was just about as complex as yesterday's robot man. I wondered if my low mood would affect the outcome. To my surprise, it did not. I worked for over 30 min with the Extra Fine Tip Sharpie again. I like how it gives me more control. I worked deliberately, but felt rushed toward the end. I had to draw the lower half of his body in half the time I did his upper half.

I was disappointed that I hadn't left enough room for the full sword; but, I am happy that the angles and proportions came out pretty good. It's not quite as tight as yesterday's but it still looks cool. 

"He's fat Daddy," was what Victor had to say when he saw it finished.

"No he's not," I said defensively.

"To me he is. His shoulders are a little puffy."

I ignored him and packed up our stuff to go. After all my work, it was a little disappointing that he was critical. I could have used some good will today to boost my spirits.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Robot Man

Robot Man

"Are we going to do a robot or something else?" I asked directly. We had misplaced the "How to Draw Robots" book, but I found it yesterday.

"A robot," he said.

He picked this robot man that looks like a transformer. I considered following the instructions and steps but decided to just do it my way. I had plenty of time today for a change, so I took my time. I wanted to get this one right and proportional. I usually use the Ultra Fine Point end of the twin-tipped Sharpie, but today I switched it out for an Extra Fine Point Sharpie I had in the drawer. It allowed for me to focus in on the detailed features of his face. I stuck with it for the rest of the drawing. This was the very first time I'd used this more precise Sharpie and I enjoyed working with it. I'm very proud of how the drawing turned out.

I was so lost in the work, in fact, that I forgot that I still had things to do to get ready. I was out of time and I still had to go upstairs to change. He was studying the drawing when I ran back downstairs.

"What do you think of this guy?" I asked out of breath.

"Oh, he's cool!" he replied.

It was hoping for a bigger reaction, but I can tell that he really liked it since he brought this one home after school.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Olaf Smelling a Flower

Olaf Smelling a Flower

"What should we do today?"

"How about Elsa?"

"No. I've already done Elsa."

"How about another Olaf?"

This is starting to become a pattern. I've already done Olaf too. He's been stuck in a rut, picking things we've done in the past. I thought about it and decided to give him a pass with Olaf. He's been coming home just about everyday with a new drawing he's done with Olaf in it. "Okay," I said reluctantly.

He took a long time searching through the options and finally said, "This one."

I have to admit that I didn't like his choice but decided not to refuse it. I wasn't in a very good mood to begin with this morning and drawing a repeat subject in a scene I wasn't too keen on left me feeling uninspired. I just wanted to finish quickly, so I did.

To my surprise, he brought this one home today after school.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mirror Writing

Victor in Mirror Writing

My wife and I were headed out of town over the weekend through Monday. We arranged for Victor to stay with some friends who'd take him to school on Monday as well. As I was packing up his clothes and school items, I realized that I'd be packing a blank sack if I didn't draw anything. I was already running late to the airport, but decided to quickly draw something, anything on his snack sack. I'd never drawn out a snack sack ahead of time before.

I figured the easiest thing to do was to simply write his name out in a unique way. In fact, that's all I had intended to do when I started this project a year and a half ago. I literally had no time to spare when I pulled out the Sharpie. As a kid, I taught myself how to print in mirror writing and that's the idea that popped into my head.  I printed his name as quickly as I could and got the proportional heights all wrong. I had to fix the "V" and the "I" after I had added the "CTOR." It's kind of a mess, but I just didn't want to send him off with a blank sack.