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?"


"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?"


"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.


"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?!"


"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 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?"


"Have you done my name as flames?"


"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!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo Bear Running From Park Ranger Smith

Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo Bear Running From Park Ranger Smith

"Snack sack?"

"A grizzly bear."

"Oh, a grizzly bear," I said, surprised to hear something new right off the bat.

"No, Yogi Bear. That was quick thinking, right?" We'd recently seen the Yogi Bear live-action movie.

"It was!" He's been taking a really long time to come up with ideas so it was refreshing not to have any struggles this morning.

I ran a search and handed him my iPhone. He browsed for a few minutes. "For some reason I really want this one! Can you do it, Dadda?"

"Sure." I really enjoy doing cartoon scenes.

I started with Yogi. Half way through, Victor came over to my side of the table to take a look. "Ooh, people are going to like this one! It's funny, right? Because Yogi is spitting at Mr. Ranger!"


"Daddy, what's that line for? On his tongue. Did you just make a little mistake?"

"Yeah." He doesn't miss anything, I thought.

"That's okay. The kids won't really know."

"Thanks," I said.

He finished his breakfast, brushed his teeth, and came back to me. "You can finish tomorrow, right?" he asked.


"You can finish tomorrow. You can maybe just give me a regular sack and then finish tomorrow."

I was running out of time, but was pretty sure I could get it done. "I've never not finished," I told him.

"Yeah, when you weren't here."

"Okay, but I've never not finished one in the morning. I'll finish." I was determined now. I wrapped things up quickly. We were in a rush to get out the door, but I did finish it.

"It looks exactly like it! He-he. Which is your favorite? Mine is Boo-Boo."

"Yeah, he's excited to have that cupcake!" We both chuckled at the scene as we stepped out the door.

When he came home that afternoon, he told me, "A lot of people laughed at Yogi Bear. It's funny right?!"

"It is!" I assured him.

Monday, June 2, 2014

How about a mamba...

Black Mamba Snake

Black Mamba Snake

"Dad, would you like to be called a boob?"

"No." That's one way to start our morning, I thought. I immediately had images of the Horton Hears a Who! movie in which the Mayor is called a boob. "Why did you ask me that?"

"Because the Mayor is called a boob," he answered, assuming I knew exactly what he was talking about, which I did. He had seen the movie again at school on Friday. "Would you like to be called a boob?" he asked again.

"No. Do you want me to draw Horton?"

He ignored the suggestion.

"What should we do then?"

"Me as a tiny little baby! Hahaha! Just kidding. How about a Rubik's Cube?"

Last night, I had obsessively worked on solving the Rubik's Cube. I messed up so many times before I was finally able to copy the YouTube instructions without error. There it sat on the kitchen table successfully solved. "Um," I uttered.

"Just kidding! How about a mamba?"

"What's a mamba?"

"It's an animal from India, someone told me."

I looked it up having forgotten what a mamba was. "Oh, it's a snake," I said, once I saw the search results. That made me think of Kobe Bryant's nickname...The Black Mamba. I handed Victor my iPhone and he picked one quickly.

"Just do this one. It's not a mamba, but it is a snake."

"Well it says 'Black Mamba' on it, so maybe it is a mamba."

"Oh, I see."

I was very disappointed that I didn't leave enough room to draw its tongue. Its tongue is one of the coolest parts of the original reference because it's long and curly. There just wasn't any room for it and there was nothing I could do about it.

When he saw it finished, he said, "Oh, it's too bad you didn't have room for the..." He trailed off as he gestured with his finger and tongue.

"I know. I'm super frustrated that I didn't leave room."

"You could add it here," he suggested, opening the bag up some. He had the idea that I could still add it under the crease of the sack.

I tried it and it worked. "It worked," I shouted.

"I told you!"

"Yup, it worked! Great idea!" It was a great idea. How very clever!