Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Millie and Tigger Flanked by The Grinch and Rudolph

Millie the dog and Tigger the cat live with our pet deprived children's aunt and uncle.
This napkin was a misguided attempt at a holiday gift for said aunt and uncle.  I figured as long as I was nagging the kids to make holiday cards, I ought to set a good example.  

As you can see, bizarre creepiness ensued.  Of course last year I drew a fruitcake bearing sleigh being pulled by cockroaches for a Christmas present for my mother, so it is perhaps not a surprise that the result this year was also a bit off. (Link to roach/reindeer sleigh here)

Ansel looked at this today as I was finishing it and told me sympathetically that he thought that the Grinch's facial expression was a mistake.  I told him he was absolutely correct... (although there are several other things that also contribute to the image's weirdness...perhaps too many for me to further discuss here. )

Ansel had just finished having a tantrum because he felt he had messed up the drawings on his cards. And thus, I had a wonderful opportunity to model how to behave graciously in the face of drawing failure.

Ansel's much nicer version of Rudolph.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mech Santa With Robo Rudolph

One last attempt at rendering the man in red and white and his red nosed steed in some Terminatoresque, cool for small small boys, guise.  (Surprisingly, my iPhone is not questioning my spelling of "Terminatoresque")

And of course, you can see the other attempts at holiday themed napkins from this year and last here

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Minions Christmas: Santa and Rudolph

We wish you a Minions Christmas!

Somehow I have managed to resist buying the recently released DVD for "Despicable Me 2"
Given my sons' enthusiasm for the minions, I am afraid I will not be able to hold out indefinitely.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Child Alien and Predator in Santa's Lap

And what do you want for Christmas?

Perhaps no holiday can be complete without bringing out the Predator and Alien kids.  (See other appearances here and here)

I used to take the kids to Macy's at the beginning of Christmas vacation so they could sit next to a frustrated actor guy with a beard and tell him that he was not really Santa.  The activity itself is free and if you go early on a weekday, the line is fairly short...

...and riding up the escalator in the store always gave me a few moments to consider how remarkably grateful I am that  the rise of online shopping has made it largely unnecessary for me to drag two rowdy and impolite boys through a department store in order to actually purchase anything.  I cannot imagine how much more fun life would be if I had to take them along to buy one of them a pair of pants... or, more inconceivably, to buy a pair of pants for myself. 

We have not been to Macy's in a a few years.  The kids are no longer much interested in the man in a red suit, and those Santa guys already suffer too much abuse without our help.

(They look cute and cooperative in this photo, but they just finished telling Mr. Claus that he is an imposter. )

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rudolph, the Grinch, Max and the Abominable Snowman

Ghosts of Christmas Past:

The "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" television special from 1964 (broadcast every year since of course) and "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas" (1966 version by Chuck Jones) were certainly staples of my childhood.

Not so much for my sons.   I think they would probably say that both shows are a bit boring.  Not enough weapons, too much plot.

Although I should add  that the most memorable parts of each for me were not the main characters.  My favorite part of The Grinch was always his comically put-upon dog-turned reindeer Max.  And I was somehow terrified by the "Abominable Snow Monster" (could it have been the roar?  it certainly wasn't the face).

I think my kids would probably agree that the supporting characters were the best part.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Santa Mech with Present Cannon

Today we have another weaponization of Christmas image.  I thought perhaps that the Cringle-Jaegger should shoot wrapped gifts out of the cannons.  I'm not sure that this concept will be clear at the first grade lunch at the Quaker school, or even that it would be suitably peaceful if clearly explained.

I was coming down with something last night.  Can you tell by my poor drawing of the mountain?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Candy Cane Ninja

Ansel was suddenly struck with an overwhelming need for candy canes yesterday...perhaps another child had one in his or her lunch?

I was unable to provide the immediate gratification that he felt he deserved.
But I drew candy canes on a napkin. 

Of course, he did not see the napkin as compensation for the lack of the real thing.  He told me this morning that I must have drawn them in order to remind myself to buy him some as soon as possible.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Penguins Pull Santa's Sleigh

Our younger son says he is "into penguins."  He is also into the idea of Santa... although he would be the first to tell you that there is no such person as Santa in real life.

Speaking of reality: my kids will be eager to point out how IMPLAUSIBLE (one of their favorite words) this napkin opposed to all those other very realistic napkins...

And yes, I am aware that penguins are exclusively found in the southern hemisphere.  But reindeer do not reside at the north pole in real life either.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Hiccup And Toothless With Snow Dragon

How to Make Your Snow Dragon: Hiccup works while Toothless models....or maybe just lurks.

Should we ever get a significant snowfall this winter, I may regret this drawing. Previous snowman attempts in years past (most notably, Captain Rex from the Clone Wars) have always ended badly, and I doubt we would be able to pull off a convincing snow dragon.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sven From "Frozen" with Rudolph The Red Nosed

The issue of relative reindeer realism was clearly a problem for me on this one.

Sven, the "Labrador-like" reindeer (if Labradors could understand human speech and follow the plots of movies...) was popular with the boys.  And Rudolph is always appealing. 

But I should have known better than to tangle with the Rudolph nose realism question again.  Last year, all images of Rudolph that did not feature a light bulb style nose were resolutely rejected. (like this one)

To avoid nose-related rejection, I did not let Ansel see Sven and Rudolph this morning.  It is almost noon as I type this...he is probably complaining about it right now...

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bartleby From "Bone" Reflects Santa

Only 16 days to go... and even monsters look forward to Christmas.

The kids love Bartleby, the endearing Rat Creature cub.

We're on book 6 out of 9 (plus the prequel), so we will definitely finish rereading the series before the holiday.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Skrill from "Dragons: Defenders of Berk"

The latest Dragon from the How To Train Your Dragon franchise, is able to store and then emit lightning... and to survive being frozen in a solid block of ice for decades. 

Our kids did not find this at all implausible.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bart Simpson with the Stupid, Stupid Rat Creatures from "Bone"

Just what is in that quiche?: Bart Simpson hangs out with the stupid, stupid rat creatures from "Bone"

Our sons really enjoy the malevolent, yet ridiculously idiotic, dumb and dumber pair of rat creatures from the Bone series. The rats often miss opportunities to eat the books' main characters because they are too busy arguing about whether their victims should be consumed raw or baked in a nice quiche.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"Bone"s Red Dragon and Thorn with Hiccup and Toothless

We are working our way back through the entire excellent "Bone" series by Jeff Smith as Ansel is old enough to really appreciate them this time around:  There's slapstick cartoon characters, scary monsters, a cute girl, and of course, a dragon who smokes... What more could we possibly ask for?

I left the dangling cigarette out of this one for first grade lunch.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thor with Olaf from "Frozen"

Thor is thinking fondly of those frost giants.

 Thor lost again over the weekend.  The kids were willing to go see "Frozen" despite the female characters, and the singing.  Olaf the slapstick snowman definitely sold the product.  (He says the word "butt" more than once!)

Perhaps if Olaf appeared in the Thor movie, I could convince them to see that also?  It's all Disney, after all....

Rudolph the Reindeer with Teddy the Bear

My nose is so bright I gotta wear shades: Teddy and Rudolph herald the slippery slope from Hanukkah to Christmas:

Our younger son had some regularly scheduled, but rather unpleasant, blood work done recently and earned a trip to some sort of retail establishment that his mother would normally prefer to avoid.

 Build-A-Bear is of course already pushing Christmas hard, so we could not avoid acquiring a reindeer with a light-up nose....

And sunglasses.... Because what Rudolph does not need Ray Bans?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Menorah Turkey Says Happy Thanksgivukkah

Happy Thanksgivukkah from the menorah turkey. This one did not go to school today as everyone is at home languishing with the flu...perhaps he can take it in the year 79,811 when the two holidays coincide again.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Minecraft Thanksgiving

Ansel requested a napkin featuring the Minecraft skins of Grim Reaper and Iron Golem, and I was apparently seized by an irrational desire to get started on the topic of Thanksgiving.

Archer came home early today with a fever and was able to give me a lengthy critique based on the snapshot of the napkin on my phone.  He offered extensive commentary regarding which Minecraft skins I should have included rather than the ones I thoughtlessly drew on this napkin..."Mom! BurittoBrine, really? When you know how much I like Herobrine?"
He also questioned my overall composition.  He was only slightly mollified when I showed him the original source in Norman Rockwell's painting:  ("Freedom to play too much Minecraft"...?)

Friday, November 22, 2013

Bad Island Mo Mos Bring Lunch

While we were finishing rereading Doug TenNapel's "Bad Island" last night, Ansel requested these unfriendly little aliens on his napkin for today.

In the graphic novel, they are determined to force the parents of a human family into a lake of acid.  But I thought maybe we should put their sharp sticks to a more positive use here on the napkin. 

Or maybe they are looking to malevolently torment the napkin recipient with a healthy lunch of whole grain pasta and a fruit and a vegetable.  Our kids are usually happier to have a bagel for lunch....  Just a bagel.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Penguinocalypse and Bunnypse

I can't really explain this one beyond it being the ultimate combination of cute and deadly.
The penguin (of course) comes from the silly internet meme of the penguinocalypse- the origin of which I do not have time to figure out.  I can point out that the mouth on the original image seems to that of a lion, and that if one googles "lion yawning," the results are quite impressive.

I added the bunny to continue the insipid/ threatening theme, but the rabbit is definitely not as perfect a combination as the penguin.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Minecraft Brothers with Skeletons

Lacking a napkin image request last night, or a compelling idea of my own: I transformed the boys into Minecraft characters... sort of.

They did actually recognize themselves this morning.  The glasses and the matching outfits were the cause, I'm sure.  They have been wearing the same t-shirt and pants for several days.  Unable to come up with anything more personal, I backed them with the dancing skeletons from "Don't Mine at Night."

One of my sons, aware that I often google late at night looking for something to draw on a napkin, asked this morning, "Is there really fan art online of us as Minecraft characters?"

Well...not previously honey... but now there is, I suppose. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cardboard Pacific Rim Jaeger with "Cardboard" Characters

We read Doug TenNapel's "Cardboard" again over the weekend.
While we made some more cardboard stuff, we were not able to pull off the fabrication of a huge mech like "Pacific Rim"s Gypsy Danger.

Thor Faces a Minecraft Creeper

Thor versus a Creeper...Who would prevail?

I'm afraid the Creeper came out on top at our house over the weekend. My husband and I offered to take the kids to see "Thor: The Dark World," but our younger son preferred to stay home and play Minecraft.

It would be utterly pathetic to have to hire a babysitter in order to go see a superhero movie designed for small boys.

I blame the "Super Hero Squad" TV show for much of Ansel's dislike of the Thor character.  In that series, Thor is mostly comic relief: a long-haired girly-man with a funny accent who likes to admire himself in the mirror.  Ansel tells me the problem is not really Thor, however: he just doesn't like the Avengers "separated."  Meaning, the Avengers movie was OK, but none of that Iron Man, Hulk, or Thor stuff. 

I think the problem might be that the preview on TV was a little scary....
But those Creepers can be scary also.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Simpsonized Hiccup, Astrid and Toothless

The boys have been very interested in The Simpsons lately, on the lookout for age-inappropriate jokes and references.

Not that they have lost interest in "Dragons: Defenders of Berk." Not at all...One is just much less likely to hear the word "penis" used on the dragons show.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Skylanders Swap Force Lightcore Grim Creeper

Our sons are eagerly awaiting the arrival of "Swap Force" as a holiday present.  I am not clear on what is particularly appealing about this Grim Creeper fellow, but he seems to be one of their hypothetical favorites.

Perhaps it is the scythe?  They are partial to scythes.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Smash from "Smash: Trial By Fire"

As soon as we finished reading "Smash" by siblings Chris and Kyle Bolton, the boys wanted to know where was the next book in the series?

It was certainly a pleasant read, and I am always happy to provide an example of how brothers can do something together besides pelt one another with Nerf darts.

They were not too impressed with my didactic message, or with my klutzy drawing on the napkin.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Adventure Time Meets Pacific Rim

The kids rewatched some of "Pacific Rim" on dvd yesterday...leading to the Jake-Kaiju and Finn-Jaeger.  Don't think there are any high rises or tanker ships in Ooo, however...

Inari Fox with Iron Man Arms and Palm Repulsor

Weaponized cuteness: What bug eyed furball is not improved by palm repulsors?

We forced our oppressed sons to watch some of "Iron Man 3" over the weekend.  They resisted initially because anything that mom and dad want to watch must be boring... even if it is a big ridiculous superhero movie that was made mostly with 10 year old boys in mind.  Afterwards, they offered that it hadn't been SO bad after all.

The critter here in the Iron Man arms is an "Inari Fox" one of those internet memes that gets passed around as a real animal.(link here) The image that comes up most often is actually a fimo and fur doll made by "Santiani" on Deviant Art. (link here)

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Waddles and Mabel Wish Scarlett Happy Birthday

A birthday napkin for the 11th birthday of a child of a friend from high school:

Unlike my sons, the child in question reportedly was pleased by her representation on the napkin.  Her mom caught me at a slightly less psychotically busy moment a while back when we were heading into a long holiday weekend and I thought I might actually have time to do an extra napkin.

Now, I have the nagging feeling that I should be doing napkins for all of my friends' children... and for all the other people who asked nicely after our strange TV appearances earlier this year.

I have not really been able to get my mind around the commission question yet.  These things are napkins, after all.  They are... to put it charitably, not archival... not really a sell-able artwork.  But they can be time consuming, and certainly could be in a commission context. My kids are often dissatisfied with the results, but they are not paying me...And  I almost enjoy their criticism.  In short, I have trouble imagining a price that would be both reasonable for the commissioner and for me, the person who is already getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night... and who has to pay New York City babysitting rates to get anything beside the bare minimum accomplished.... and then there is also that teaching job and my erstwhile career as a sculptor to consider...

But it was nice to get a chance to draw something with a bit of girl aesthetic for a change...or at least without any weapons.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Reggie From "Free Birds" with Pizza Steve from "Uncle Grandpa"

"Hang on to your nuggets"... and to your dairy, and your gluten:  Thanksgiving food that talks back.

We saw "Free Birds" over the weekend during a ten year old's birthday party.  The movie's other tagline posits itself as "The best turkey movie of all time."  This may be true.  Perhaps it would be wise to leave it at that.

I will observe, however, that it reminded me strongly of "Chicken Little" a widely panned 2005 Disney movie that was the object of obsession for our older son for much of the period between his third and fourth years.  Something about the talking birds, wimpy underdog protagonist and invisible flying ship catapulted me back to our repeated, stupifying viewings of "Chicken Little."  That said,  "Chicken Little" features one of my favorite animated characters of all time: Fish Out of Water ....and "Free Birds" does not have that redeeming feature.

At any rate, "Free Birds" posits pizza as the solution to the problem of the Thanksgiving driven murder of turkeys.  While my children are happy to embrace an exclusively dairy and gluten based diet whenever possible, Uncle Grandpa's Pizza Steve presents a further food empathy challenge.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Mr Gus Tells Gipsy Danger To "Embrace The Weird"

Is Mr. Gus a small, laid back kaiju?

Our sons found Mr. Gus's uncharacteristic hysteria on "Treasure Island," the latest episode of "Uncle Grandpa" to be extremely hilarious. He has trouble accepting the "embrace the weird" lesson of the episode.

Given the weirdness and flexibility of the Uncle Grandpa universe, I figured Mr. Gus might as well be enlarged to the size of the kaiju in "Pacific Rim."  His calm demeanor and flat affect, however, made it hard to imagine him engaged in any physical conflict with Pacific Rim style  jaeger.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Regular Show's Mordecai and Rigby on Toothless

"Dude! Watch out, we're going to fall off!"

Episodes of "Regular Show" usually take a turn for the weirdly implausible somewhere around the midpoint, so the idea of Mordecai and Rigby riding on a dragon is no more unreasonable than most of their adventures.

While our sons may not want to be the slackers from "Regular Show" as much as they would like to be Hiccup, Rigby and Mordecai's behavior is certainly influential.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Toothless and Hiccup Are Confused By Candy Corn

It's still "Post Halloween" at our house.

My kids requested an image of Hiccup being confused by candy corn.  They hypothesize that there is not probably not mass-produced candy in Berk.

Our older son has given some careful thought to the quality of Hiccup's life.  He told me that he thinks that Hiccup has it better:  He has a dragon, doesn't seem to go to school, and is pretty independent. I pointed out the likely lack of video games and refined sugar in Hiccup's environment. (I think the napkin request hails from this point in the conversation)  Archer offered that he would be willing to trade the iPad for a real dragon.  That seemed more or less reasonable, but I added that, at least in the Dreamworks version, Hiccup does not appear to have a mother.  Archer replied, "He seems to do well enough without one."  So there Mom.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Dragon With Candy Horde, Again, Post Halloween

Happy end of Halloween.

We survived the holiday, including a long bike ride home in the dark drizzle, and returned with more candy than should be stored in one apartment.

By the time the kids went to bed late last night,  I was completely incapable of coming up with an interesting image for a drawing.  I had an actual pile of candy to look at while I drew this one, but probably nothing short of the presence of an actual dragon would have been compelling enough to turn this into an interesting image.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Dragon with Candy Horde

The kids thought this one was OK even though the dragon was a girly purple and not a trademarked character.

Happy begging for candy day. Our sons have been quite involved in their costumes, but let us not be confused: it's really about the candy....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Predator And The Alien Trick or Treat as Batman and Robin

My kids always like to see a scary, powerful character looking insipidly cute.  They were not too impressed with my efforts here, however.  While I tried to make our murderous friends look childlike, my sons would have been far more pleased if had drawn drawn them as doe-eyed bobble heads. I

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Toothless With Werewolf Hiccup

Halloween & Dragons #6: WereHiccup:  No doubt, Toothless is hoping that is a mask.

I think I might have reached the end of this particular series.  Perhaps we will try something else Halloween themed for the last two days before the actual trick or treating.

Which is not to say that the kids have lost any enthusiasm for "How to Train Your Dragon" or for their Hiccup costumes....I have already stated that last minute costume switching will not be tolerated this year.  I set a horrible precedent a few years back when Archer changed his mind and I somehow managed to cobble together a homemade Captain Rex costume in 48 hours.  And Ansel has a history of boycotting his intended costume at the last moment and going as "A guy in dark clothing" or the like.

This year it is going to be Hiccup for both, with no last minute changes.  Really.... Only 48 hours to go....

Here's that Rex costume from 2009.  It's amazing what you can do with a sharpie, masking tape and a freshdirect box if you are insane....

Monday, October 28, 2013

Zombie Hiccup With Toothless

Halloween with Dragons #5:

No Halloween series could be complete without zombie representation.

I thought maybe a decomposing dragon might be a bit much for lunchtime, so I left Toothless among the living.  Perhaps I was just being lazy.  At any rate, given Toothless's unflagging devotion to Hiccup, no doubt he would remain loyal even if the boy were an ambulatory corpse.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Astrid, Toothless and Hiccup in Teen Titans Costumes

Halloween with Dragons #4:  Starfire and Robin with a Dragon wearing a Batman mask.

While the kids are much less fixated on Teen Titans Robin and Batman right now than they have been in the past (see all the Robin napkins, or the Batman napkins) I was pretty sure that Hiccup in a Robin costume was going to be an acceptable concept.

While Ansel chuckled when he looked at this, he did ask me what Toothless was wearing, so obviously I failed to sell the Batman mask.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Astrid, Toothless and Hiccup in Star Wars Costumes

Halloween with Dragons #3:  Today Leia and Luke pose with Yoda.

Our kids aren't all that interested in the original Star Wars movie lately, so I am pretty sure this one would not have gone to school today had Toothless not been wearing Yoda's ears.

I briefly considered dressing Hiccup as Han Solo because of the whole sibling thing... and there's the vest parallel...But despite all the online fan girl enthusiasm for him, Hiccup just didn't seem like he could pull off the dashing scoundrel look.

Let's just hope he isn't really Astrid's brother. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Astrid And Hiccup Dress For Halloween

Continuing the "Dragons & Halloween" series:

My older son insisted that Hiccup should be regarding a set of fake fangs with dismay. I am not sure exactly why...perhaps because they don't have such things in Berk. 

He also argued that Astrid should be costumed as a chain-saw wielding serial killer. That seemed a bit harsh for the character...and for a first grade lunch at a Quaker School.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hiccup and Toothless with Carved Halloween Pumpkins

Halloween anticipation is building around here.  I already dread the let down that will arrive on November 1st.

The kids' costumes for Hiccup before and after the foot amputation are almost done.  There are some unresolved issues about representing the metal prosthetic foot and the strings at the neckline of his tunic, but otherwise we have most of it pulled together.  And by "we" of course I mean me.  The kids have contributed a great deal of art direction by way of strategic nagging, but have yet to actually make anything.

Perhaps there will be some more Halloween themed napkins between now and the actual evening when the Hiccups go out to demand candy.  I'm not sure if I can come up with anything interesting... much less 8 days of Halloween imagery, but it seems the kids can barely think about anything else.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Hiccup Rides the Alpha Banshee from "Avatar"

Hiccup rides the alpha Banshee from "Avatar":

We managed to get the kids to sit through the second half of "Avatar" over the weekend.  (Being small boys, they found the movie too long, too talky, with not quite enough weaponry and fighting until the end...but they were quite interested in the lack of clothing on many of the characters.)

Afterwards, they told me that the Na'vi were a lot like the Vikings in the Dreamworks Dragons franchise...except the blue people don't wear as many clothes.