Friday, May 30, 2014

King Crominus from LEGO Legends of Chima

King Crominus from LEGO Legends of Chima

"What should we do today?"

He sat thinking for a few seconds. "What do you think it should be?"

"I don't know. I don't decide." I had a feeling this wasn't going to be an easy process today.

"Right. You're the drawer. I'm the brainstormer."

"That's right."

"I want someone with a big butt."

"Um, I don't think so."

"How about a bomb?"




"A volcano!"

"We've done lots of volcanos." We had done at least one, two, three.

"But they look fake. Do a real volcano."


"I want a really tall building."

"Which one?"

"I don't know. Give me an idea."

"We've already done tall buildings." We had. Early on we did both the Empire State Building and the Burj Khalifa. "Why don't you think of something new?" I prodded.

"A sponge. SpongeBob!"

"We've done SpongeBob."

"I want a character that is out of his mind. Something that is completely insane. Did we do Patrick?"

"Yup, we've done Patrick."

He thought for a few more seconds. "LEGO Chima," he blurted out.

"Finally, you pick something different." I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He picked something and I couldn't tell what it was. "What is that?"

"You don't know LEGO Chima do you?"


"That's why you don't know what it is."

"I can't see anything. What is this?"

"You need to turn it."

"Oh." I turned it to the correct orientation, feeling dumb. I had to look it up to find out that this is King Crominus, the leader of the Crocodile tribe. Of course he is, I thought.

We sat drawing, side by side, again this morning, just like yesterday -- me working on the snack sack, he working on his pop art drawing project. Today he was coloring it in.

"Finished," I announced.

"Whoa! That looks pretty much exactly like it. Oh, it looks exactly like it!" he said excitedly. It was refreshing to receive nothing but praise. He took a look at his name. "Oh, you should have added the...Can I add something?"


He took out a light blue marker and added the glowing orb over the "i" in Chima. "And I need to color in my name too." He added in his little touches as I marveled at how rapidly he's growing up.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Angry Gorilla

Angry Gorilla

I was able to get right to work this morning since we had already picked out an angry gorilla before we settled on the funny gorilla I drew yesterday. I started from the angry gorilla's mouth, drew around it, and then up. I always get nervous about getting the proportions wrong when I don't start top-down, but it came out pretty good.

When he saw it, he exclaimed, "Whoa! It looks a lot more scarier than that one!" He pointed to the original reference.

It did, kind of, I thought.

"Can you do my name super sharp?" he asked of me. I tried with the "V" shooting for something like the gorilla's teeth. "That looks like a leaf," he informed me.

I remained silent, but I had to agree with him.

"I mean sharp," he said. He took the Sharpie and did it himself. "Like that!"

"Fair enough," I said. I took back the Sharpie and continued adding details to the drawing. The reference was a cartoon picture, so the color and shading was hard to emulate. I did my best.

He finished his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and did his morning reading all very swiftly today. He came up to me and asked, "Can I mess around?"


"Can I get started on my Pop-Tarts box?"

"Yeah!" I exclaimed. He had brought home a drawing he had done of a Pop-Tarts box, copying the style of the famous pop artist Burton Morris. I guess they had covered this at school. Upon closer inspection, what he had drawn was actually a mashup of Burton Morris's popcorn box and Pop-Tarts art. It was a drawing of popcorn with the Pop-Tarts art on the popcorn box.

He sat next to me, beginning to draw over his pencil lines with a Sharpie. "Dadda?" he said without looking up.


"I love you."

"I love you!" I said with a warm feeling in my chest.

We sat drawing together, side by side, for 10 minutes as I added in details and shading to the angry gorilla and he added to his pop art.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Funny Gorilla

Funny Gorilla

Victor is going to be in a school play about the rainforests and rainforests' animals. He is playing the part of a gorilla. We are responsible for coming up with a creative costume for him to wear in the play. While we searched last night for costume ideas, he saw a cartoon gorilla that made him laugh hard.

"It's so funny, right? Can you draw this tomorrow on my snack sack?" he pleaded.

"Yeah," I agreed.

I tried to find it again this morning, but couldn't track it down. I searched and searched. We began searching together. We found many other gorilla faces that made him laugh and a few that were scary.

"If you can't find the other one, can you do this one?" he asked. "His face is angry!"

"I'm running out of time," I said, feeling a bit anxious. I was pretty sure I wouldn't be able to finish the angry gorilla. I kept searching for the one we saw yesterday because I remembered that it looked pretty easy. It took another couple of minutes, but I finally found the one I was looking for. We agreed to do this funny gorilla today and the angry one tomorrow. I could see us doing silly gorillas for weeks. There are lots of funny options. We'll see how it goes.

When he saw my finished drawing, he laughed and giggled. His laugh is infectious and, soon, I was laughing and giggling too. I wish all our mornings were filled with such laughter.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Guy From the Movie Free Birds

Governor Bradford From the Movie Free Birds

Our family spent all of last week on the Disney Wonder cruise ship traveling up the west coast from San Diego to Vancouver, Canada. We had a blast together and enjoyed our very first family cruise.

Yesterday was Memorial Day so we were all off from school and work for one more day. While he watched the movie Free Birds on his iPad mini, he paused it and said with a big grin on his face, "Daddy, tomorrow I want you to draw this."

I walked over to take a look. To my surprise, he hadn't paused it on one of the main characters or one of the main scenes. Instead, he had picked this shot of the character Governor Bradford. "This one?" I asked.

"He looks funny, right?"

"He does."

"I took a snapshot so that we'd have it for tomorrow."

This morning, I asked him as I always do, "What should we do today for the snack sack?"

"The Disney Wonder!" he shouted.

"We've kind of already done that."

"No. That was just a cruise ship."

"No. It was a Disney cruise ship."

"But it wasn't the Wonder. It was another ship."

"Um," I stalled. I didn't want to draw another cruise ship. I change directions. "Remember yesterday you wanted me to do a character from that movie?"

"Which movie?"

"Free Birds."

"Oh, yeah," he said with a giggle. He immediately went to get his iPad. He turned it on and burst out laughing when he spotted the saved image. "Yeah. Do this!"

I sat down to start drawing. I could tell it was going to be a challenge. "This is hard because it's not a line drawing," I told him.

"It's okay. You can do it," he said encouragingly.

"I'll try, but it's tough to make it look like in the cartoon with just the Sharpie."

Mid-way through, he came over to take a look at my progress. He giggled when he saw it and said, "It's still funny when you draw it. You know what makes it funny? His eyes and these lines," he said pointing to the Governor's forehead. "Are you going to make him look fat?"

"I'll try, but I don't know how to make those shadows like in the picture." In the end, I focused mainly on his eyes, hair, and mustache since those are the character's most prominent features. I ran out of time for anything else. I think it came out alright, but not great. He liked it and laughed again when he saw it finished.

Later that afternoon, when he came home, he took it out of his backpack and giggled again. "I showed it to my friends and they laughed when they saw it. It's okay to laugh, right? It's supposed to be funny, right?"

"Sure. It's funny," I assured him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mr. Penguin's Sidekick

Mr. Penguin's Sidekick

"What should we do today?"


"We've already done a penguin." We had actually done several sacks with penguins including a cliff with penguins on it, a cartoon penguin, and a pirate penguin.

"No. Mr. Penguin," he clarified, looking at a small Penguin action figure on the kitchen table.

"Oh," I said. I did a search and handed him my iPhone. He looked for several minutes without saying a word. I prodded him to pick something.

"Can you just do Penguin's sidekick because there's no good penguins. They're all too fat or cartoons."

Penguin is fat and he is a cartoon, I thought to myself. I wasn't sure what he was talking about. "Who's his sidekick?"

He showed me this guy. "His sidekick's funny. He-he."

"Okay," I told him. Outside of the action figure he got as an accessory to some Batman related toy, I wasn't sure where he'd seen "Mr. Penguin" or his supposed "sidekick." "Where've you seen The Penguin?" I asked him.

"Scooby Doo."

I doubted that, but just let it go. I used the thick tip of the Sharpie for the first time in a long while. I felt unsure of my strokes but this was a simple drawing. I was done in just a couple of minutes.

I showed it to him and he smiled. "Since you're done so quickly, can you do The Penguin too?"

"Um, I didn't leave any room for The Penguin."

"You can do him down here like this," he told me, pointing to the bottom of the sack.

"Maybe, but you have to pick a reference."

He looked for about a minute. When I prodded him to pick something, he gave up and said, "Never mind."

I didn't press it, preferring to finally have some free time in the morning.

As he finished his breakfast he said, "Your nose is kind of like The Penguin's nose. It's kind of sharp."

"Thaaanks," I said.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Taz Grabbing Daffy Duck

Taz Grabbing Daffy Duck

"What should we do today?"

"The one, the only..." He paused for dramatic effect. "One more Tasmanian Devil." We did a Taz way back near the beginning of the first year.

I did a search and handed him my iPhone. "Look at this one," he told me. He read the sign, "Mother!" He laughed, "Ha!"

I laughed too.

He kept browsing and showed me a picture of a real Tasmanian devil. "It looks cute," he said.

"I'm not sure I agree," I told him.

He kept browsing.

"I can do that one if you want," I said. I was pretty sure he hadn't asked me to already because he expected me to say, "no," since it had Daffy in it too.

"Oh good! But one thing, can you do the teeth a little, like, sharper?"

The teeth were more rounded in the original. "Sure. I can do that," I said.

I really like how this drawing of Daffy Duck came out. Daffy is my favorite of all the Looney Tunes characters.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Wile E. Coyote Chasing The Road Runner 2

Wile E. Coyote on a Rocket Chasing The Road Runner

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Lucky Charms."

"What about Lucky Charms?"

"Uh, never mind," he said with a smile. "Okay, this is the last Road Runner and Coyote thing, okay?" he asked shifting gears quickly. We had recently done one with Wile E. Coyote chasing The Road Runner.

"Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah, please."

I ran a search and he picked this scene. I took a deep breath before I got to work. It's always cool doing a full scene, but it's also a lot of work. At some point I lost my reference and messed up Coyote's body. I pressed forward. For the background I also lost reference, but pulled it all together somehow.

"Oh, cool!" he exclaimed when he saw it. "Where'd you put my name? Oh, I see. Can you put 'ACME' too," he said pronouncing it wrong. "What's ACME?"

"It's the place where The Coyote buys all of his crazy things."

"Oh, he invents his stuff and then they build it?"

"No. He orders the stuff directly from ACME."

"Oh, so they already have all the stuff, and then he buys it, and they deliver it to him?"

"Right." The little details of all these classic Warner Bros. cartoons are what I love most about them. They are so memorable.

"Where's the tongue? Hmm, you made the face kind of too fat, right?" I had also messed up The Road Runner's face. He was right about that. "You messed up a little bit there, right?"

"I did," I admitted. I was happy he didn't continue with the critiques. He could have gone on and on with this one; but, lucky for me, he didn't.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mario vs. Godzilla

Mario vs. Godzilla

"What should we do today?"


"We've already done Mario," I reminded him. I was thinking of this closeup of Mario we did back in September.

"I mean Mario vs. Godzilla," he clarified. He was referring to a YouTube video he's been watching. In it, Mario fights Godzilla in short clips of the two fighters squaring off with silly sound effects interspersed throughout.

"So you want to pause the video and I'll draw that?"

"Yeah, exactly."

We played the video and he picked a still where Mario's face is shown half burned due to a shot from Godzilla's blue fire blast. I didn't want to do that and didn't think the burn would look like a burn when I drew it. "Instead, I'll do Mario with a fireball," I told him. It was a still from a few frames earlier.

He reluctantly agreed.

When I was done, he remarked, "Godzilla's so big and Mario's so small!" He took a moment to take it all in. "You really couldn't make that look like the real thing, so you just did it like that?" he asked critically. He pointed to Mario's face.

"It looks pretty close," I defended. I wasn't exactly sure what he meant, so I showed him the original. I thought it had turned out okay.

"Yeah, but there he looks mad. Here he's just eh."

I ignored the comment. Without any scenery, the snapshot feels a little empty, although, that's exactly how Mario and Godzilla look in the video still on a white background.

"Do you want to write your name and stuff?" I asked him. He took the Sharpie and added just his letters all about. To my surprise he didn't add any of his own embellishments to the scene. This was one time I wish he had.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Cyborg Dragon

Cyborg Dragon

"What should we do today?"

"Can you look up a real cyborg?"

"What do you mean?"

"Last time you looked up 'cyborg,' but this time, I want a real cyborg, like with a person's face."

I wasn't sure what he was talking about since yesterday's cyborg Long John Silver from Disney's Treasure Planet had a face; but, I did another search for cyborgs anyway and handed him my iPhone.

"Look! This is a cyborg dragon."

So much for a cyborg with a person's face, I thought. "Um, we've done something real similar before."

"No we haven't."

"Yes. It was like a robot dragon or something."

"Yeah, that was a robot dragon. This is a cyborg dragon."

Who was I to argue? Plus, it did look pretty cool. I got started thinking that the details could be sketched in quickly without my typical regard for getting it all just right. I underestimated how complex it was.

"Are you finished?" he asked when I was only half way through.

"No. There are a ton of details," I said, feeling the time pressure.

"That's because it's a cyborg. If you were a cyborg, would you just want nothing? If I were a cyborg, I'd want a lot of details."

Again, who was I to argue? I just kept my head down and focussed on getting it done.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A Cyborg like from Treasure Planet...

Long John Silver Cyborg from Treasure Planet

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Can you help me pick a category? I'm becoming a brainstorm loser."

"No you're not," I responded quickly. I don't like him getting down on himself about picking ideas in the morning. "Yesterday you said you wanted some other character from Pokémon today."

"No. I decided I don't want to do Squirtle."

"Okay. Did I ever do Godzilla?"

"No. You said it was too complicated and that you'd do it on the weekend." He sat thinking for a while. I watched as his eyes light up as an idea entered his brain. He blurted out, "Ah, a cyborg, like from Treasure Planet."

I gave him my iPhone with options from a generic search for cyborgs, but he didn't like what he saw. "I wanted one like the one in Treasure Planet," he told me, repeating himself.

I did a new search and he picked this shot of Long John Silver as a cyborg in Disney's Treasure Planet. Thinking it was too complex, he asked me sheepishly, "Can you do it?"

"Sure," I assured him. I had plenty of time and it didn't seem too complicated. I enjoyed drawing this one and am happy with how it came out.

He was too. When he saw it, he shouted, "Oh! Cool! Cyborg!"

Tuesday, May 6, 2014



"What should we do today?"

"Can you do another character from Looney Tunes?"

"Sure. Which character?"

"Um, let me think." Without any pause, he rapidly shifted gears. "Instead, let's do Pikachu," he said.

I honestly know nothing about Pikachu or Pokémon and I'd bet he doesn't know much more than me. Perhaps he's played the game at a friend's house. He seems to especially like Pikachu for some reason, though. He picked this scene although he anticipated that I would refuse. I was actually was happy to do another scene and this picture was simple enough.

He finished his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and came back to the kitchen. "Are you finished?" he asked.


"Cool!" he exclaimed, taking a closer look. "He-he," he laughed, "It looks funny."

"Does it?"

He ignored me. "Did you already write my name?"


"Can I?"


He took his time and found a clever spot for it. "Look Dadda. I did my name like rocks."

"Cool!" I exclaimed, mimicking his delivery. We both smiled at each other and headed toward the entryway to put on our shoes.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wile E. Coyote Chasing The Road Runner

Wile E. Coyote Chasing The Road Runner

"What's for the snack sack today?"

"Give me a category."


Before I could start, he said dejectedly, "I'm a brainstormer failure."

I'm guessing he felt bad about asking me for help, thinking that being a good "brainstormer" meant coming up with new ideas by himself. I let the comment slide, not wanting to get into it, and just gave him some categories, "More from the Amazon. Candy. Cartoon characters."

He cut me off. "Candy is too easy for you."

"Victor, I don't want to do things that are hard for me. I just want it to be cool, not hard. Do you understand?"

He didn't reply. "Looney Tunes. What haven't we done from Looney Tunes?"

I named a few characters as I searched for Looney Tunes options on my iPhone.

"How about Road Runner?" he suggested after some browsing.

"Sure. We've never done him."

"Can you search for 'Road Runner'? There's not very much here."

I did.

He picked quickly. "I found it! Can you do it?" he aked with apprehension, presumably because it was a whole scene and included Wile E. Coyote.


A big smile came over his face. "Daddy, how are you so good at drawing?"

"I try."

He finished his breakfast and came over to my side of the table. I was just about finished. "Oh, cool! Are you done? Oh, no, you have not done The Road Runner's feet."

"He doesn't have any feet in the picture. See?"

"Yeah, he does."

"Not really," I said pointing to the cyclone that represented his running feet. "Those are his legs and feet but they are going so fast it looks like a tornado."

"Yup," he said, finally getting it. "The coyote looks kind of funny, doesn't he?"

"He does."

"That looks super cool. Awesome!"

I added the scenery as he watched.

"Oh my gosh, that looks super cool! Can I write my name?"

"Yes, but you have to do your reading first."

He read more diligently than usual, giving himself plenty of time to add his name. He left a gap where the "o" should have been. "Where's the 'o'?" I asked him.

"Up here," he said, pointing toward The Road Runner's tail. "It's a trick."

"Um, that looks weird, but, okay."

He changed his mind and added the "o" to the other letters. I think Looney Tunes has been our most popular subject. I really do enjoy drawing the characters I loved as a child and it's wonderful to see Victor grow attached to them as well.

Friday, May 2, 2014

A Cobra


He's been studying the rainforest at school and I've been trying to get him to think of rainforest things for a few days. Despite my prodding, he's been hesitant to choose anything from the rainforest. Today I didn't ask him. I just did a search for "rainforest animals" and handed him my iPhone. I stepped away for a minute to start a load of laundry. When I came back, the phone was sitting on the table.

"Did you pick something?" I asked him.



"A snake."

I picked up the phone to take a look. "Ooh, a cobra!"

We've actually never done a snake which is surprising. I was hoping for something relatively easy today and I got my wish. This one wasn't very complicated.

"Can you make the tail longer he asked?"


"Because I don't like it when the tail is short."

"Okay. How would it go if it was longer?"

He used his finger, pressed to the phone, and showed me how the snake's tail would be if it were longer.

"So, straight up over its head?"


"Okay, I can do that."

When I was finished, I retraced over the entire outline, something I rarely do. I'm not sure if I like the results, though. Some thick strokes ended up in the wrong places. I also don't usually change the drawing, but I'm happy with the extended tail.

Since this one was easy, I finished with plenty of extra time. "Do you want to write your name today?" I asked him.

"Yes!" he shouted. I opened the drawer to get him a different Sharpie. "Can I use the silver one?" he asked.

I figured, What the hell? but gave him a lecture about not pressing so hard. I demonstrated that the marker writes just fine with zero pressure.

"I can do it. I won't press hard. I don't think so. Please!"

I gave him a stern look and handed over the silver Sharpie, pretty sure the tip would be pressed flat in a matter of seconds. I went upstairs to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. When I came back, I saw what appeared to be a bunch of silver scribbles on the sack.

"Are you finished?"


"What's that you drew?"

He said, "Here's 'T.' He's falling down. Here's 'V.' He's sliding down. Here's 'i.' He's just chillin'. Here's 'c.' He's playing checkers. And here's 'r.' He's splashing into the water."

I wasn't sure where "o" was and didn't ask him. I couldn't help but smile at his never ending imagination. He's just like me, but even more so. He doesn't want anything to be boring.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

That Monster Thingy

Monster Thingy

"What should we do today?"

"Remember you said you'd do another Godzilla?"

"We had the conversation yesterday, but I didn't really agree."

"Do you like Godzilla?"

"Not really," I said honestly.

I really don't get the Godzilla craze. I ran a search anyway and handed him my iPhone. He found one he liked and walked over to me. He never does that. "This one is so cool," he said, not showing it to me. He kept embellishing until I asked to see it.

"I can't do that," I told him. He had picked a very complex Godzilla head. It definitely looked cool. I had to agree with him on that. But it was just too intricate for me to try this morning.

"Please, please," he pleaded.

I looked at it more carefully. "It has too much detail," I said. I wasn't trying to get out of it. It really did have too much detail.

"Can you try?"

"Maybe I could make it my own way, but I won't be able to make it like that."

"Can you try?"

"I can try my own way."

He changed his mind abruptly. "How about that monster thingy?"

Before we settled in on the Venus flytrap from a couple of days ago, he had picked a bizarre combination drawing of a scorpion, spider, crab, Venus flytrap, and who knows what else, monster thing. I had said, "No," then, but didn't have any reason to say, "No," today. I redid the Venus flytrap search and found it pretty quickly. The original had boobs and an egg sack in the crotch. He asked me not to do the egg sack because it looked weird. I told him I wouldn't do the top like that either.

"Yeah, I didn't want you to do that either."

It's always difficult for me to draw things that are symmetric, but I did my best.

"Why is it so creepy?" he asked.

"I don't know, but it looks weird."

"It does."

When I was done he said "Nice! Thank you for not doing the nipples and that other thing. I just know that my teacher and my friends are going to like this one."

"How come?" I asked with genuine curiosity. For me, there wasn't much to like.

"Because they both like monsters and stuff."

"Really? Your teacher likes monsters?"

"Yeah. Maybe we can call an art professional to do that Godzilla."

I must admit that I didn't like the demotion nor the notion that someone else could draw something that I couldn't. "I could do it," I assured him, and myself, "It would just take me a long time is all."

"Oh. So, maybe you can do it on the weekend," he suggested.

"Um," I uttered.

"Can you Daddy?"

"Um," I repeated. I wasn't so sure about drawing it on the weekend, but, I told him, "Maybe." And maybe I will...but I doubt it.