Monday, March 31, 2014
As far as the kids were concerned, we had a fairly ungratifying vacation from school, full of doctor's appointments and a time consuming neuropsych evaluation. This morning, I listened to my younger son tell one of his teachers how horrible his vacation was, and how he did absolutely nothing that was fun.
Just for the record, we also went to Toys R Us a disturbing number of times and had a particularly indulgent visit to an arcade. At the arcade, they played the sort of expensive immersive console video games, featuring macabre characters like zombie skeleton pirates, that 7 year old children probably should not be playing.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Reading the most recent issue of "Invincible" (#109) the kids were reminded how much they like the character of Monster Girl.
Due to some sort of curse, Monster Girl ages in reverse. She switches between appearing as an increasingly younger female human form and an increasingly larger monstrous male form. Issue #109 takes place in an alternate universe when her age regression has reached toddlerhood and her monster form is, as Archer observed appreciatively, "the size and power of Godzilla."
This particular issue reminded me why Monster Girl might be relevant to me....
(There's more of this sort of stuff, of course, at my rather moribund website ninalevy.net)
|From the late 90's|
Saturday, March 29, 2014
Perhaps Rollo and Hiccup are debating whose show is a more accurate depiction of Vikings.
The kids were very impressed with the shrink wrapped subway car devoted to the "Vikings" television show. So impressed, in fact, that we had to wait ten minutes to ride in that particular car rather than in a regular car that did not have a large picture of a bare chested man on the outside and laminated photos of fur seats on the inside.
The "Vikings" train led to a discussion of which sort of Viking was more realistic- this particular show or Dreamworks' "Dragons: Defenders of Berk"
No doubt Hiccup's hair, makeup and personal trainer budget is smaller.
Thursday, March 27, 2014
This is my second submission for a drawing on cocktail napkins contest held by Tuaca, so this definitely will not be going to school in a child's lunchbox.
I seem to be stuck on the lion imagery. Tuaca has roots with the Renaissance Medicis (and their marble lions) and has heraldic lions on the bottle.
Maybe what this one really needed was a marble lion....
(My other napkin submission can be seen here if you don't want to scroll down.
The official website for all submissions is http://www.tuacaart.com/gallery/ although you will need to be able to say that you are at least 21.)
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Thanks to a string of unpleasant doctor and evaluator appointments and the need for bribery, we've been at Toy R Us twice in the last two weeks.
We were therefore able to view a whole wall of Godzilla 2014 toys on the first visit, and then go away and incubate a burning desire for Godzilla merchandise, only to return and discover that apocalyptically all of the 50 or so mid size Godzillas that shoot lasers from their mouths had been sold... or disappeared somehow....
Archer then decided that what he really needed was the "Giant Size" Godzilla. (The size of a small child only, but it definitely would have required its own seat on the subway on the way home, had I been both deranged and able to afford such a thing)
I unilaterally ruled that the mini kaiju and villains/friends set made more financial and logistical sense.
I might even have bought them for myself .
Monday, March 24, 2014
We are still on vacation for school for another week, so this is definitely a not-for-Quaker-lunch napkin. The "kitty sniper" was supposedly the kids' all time favorite image last year, so this is an even more inappropriate version. The chainsaw gun is inspired by "Gears of War"
Friday, March 21, 2014
Ansel was reminded recently how much he liked the "Secret Saturdays."
This character appears in a couple of episodes in the third and final season of the show.
I substituted a strawberry for his sword to make the image more peaceful for lunch.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
This one is definitely a not-for-a-lunchbox-napkin.
Perhaps unwisely, I submitted an entry for a napkin drawing contest run by an alcohol manufacturer.
The contest rules stipulated that the image should not be appealing to children, which seems contrary to the entire nature of the Daily Napkins enterprise.
I drew this one on an actual cocktail napkin, which was half the size and much less gratifyingly patterned that the 3 ply dinner napkins that I regularly use.
I think I can observe without too much self aggrandizement that I draw on napkins with more skill than the average person, and perhaps more even than the average person who has submitted a napkin for this particular contest. (There are a few other people who draw on napkins several times a week, but only a few.- See the "Other Napkins" page for some examples.)
But I suspect this is not the sort of thing the drink's advertising department was hoping for when they set up the contest. And perhaps the way this image has turned out partially explains why I have not found much success in the world of commercial art so far. The iconography of the drink in question involves lions, so this is what came to mind for me....at least so far.
You can see the napkins entered in the contest at http://tuacaart.com/gallery although you will need to attest to you age being more than 21 to enter the website.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
We recently spent an afternoon at a local paint your own made-in-china slipcast ceramic tchotchkes shop. Ansel painted a red headband on a cartoony cute hedgehog and dubbed it "Kung fu hedgehog." For whatever reason, "Kung Fu Panda" was never a huge success with our kids, but now the Kung fu hedgehog concept is just hysterically adorable.
I borrowed a Bruce Lee pose and backdrop although the kids don't really know Mr. Lee from, well, a hedgehog.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Friday, March 14, 2014
Archer has been hard at work building various characters in Scribblenauts Unlimited on the Wii U. While he has produced considerably more complicated figures (Master Chief from Halo, or so I am told...) his avatar for himself is pretty plain.
As he's on a class field trip to the Natural History Museum, today is one of the rare occasions that Archer takes a packed lunch to school.
I'm a little out of practice on producing two napkins in one evening, so I was relieved that I did not have to draw anything particularly complicated...although I added Godzilla to the image just to make sure that I didn't get too much sleep last night.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
As I might have mentioned previously, my sons adore anything that has a whiff of the inappropriate... even when they are not sure what exactly is inappropriate about the material.
They really enjoy the scandalous (for lower school children) qualities of the webcomics Dr. Mcninja (slightly inappropriate) and Bearmageddon (quite inappropriate).
This is the case even though the younger kid cannot read yet, and the older one usually doesn't pay close attention. I can substitute other words for the profanities and skip the references to drugs. The disembowelments, however, are harder to skate past.
On this napkin, Dr. McNinja's receptionist Judy takes a non-violent member of the Bearmageddon cast for a drive. The latest installment of Dr. McNinja, a prequel about Judy, titled "Why a Gorilla," describes how her translation device malfunctions and she ends up saying things like "dog farts."
It just doesn't get any better than that for our kids.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
We had been in sort of a latent phase regarding Batman recently. We hadn't been rereading any of the two bookshelves worth of DC materials stashed in the boys' bedroom.
That was, until we received the recently released "Batman Li'l Gotham" compilation by Dereck Fridolfs and Dustin Nguyen. This holiday themed all-ages series features all of the Robins and associated Bat characters drawn as big headed kids. For our sons, it has an appeal similar to the "Tiny Titans" series where characters from different timelines and stories are all affably hanging out together. And it is quite beautifully drawn and painted.
After a long discussion of which Robin was which during bedtime reading last night, I had the delusional idea that I was going to draw a whole bunch of Robin-kids goofing around.
This sort of drawing with multiple characters/multiple costumes was definitely a mistake for me to think I was going to be able to pull off after I should have already been in bed last night.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Sherman and Mr. Peabody meet with Oprah to discuss the advantages of interspecies adoption...or maybe they are talking about how difficult it is to raise a child afflicted with macrocephaly.
I had tried to interest our kids in Rocky and Bullwinkle and their friends Sherman and Mr. Peabody without success last year. The original shows were just too talky for their taste. The present movie about the dog and his boy, however, features slapstick, snappy catch phrases and jokes about armpit hair, so our sons were more or less pleased. Based on the preview, I expected a "Chicken Little" style disaster and was almost pleasantly surprised. Beyond its lousy gender politics, the movie is basically likable.
I dozed off last night while I was supposed to be helping the kids to bed, waking up far too late to come up with anything interesting for lunch or napkin decoration. I expected that Ansel would balk at this image, as he's barely seen a talk show and just who is Oprah anyway? Perhaps our appearance on the couch of the Fox News morning program last year helped him appreciate the humor of appearing on TV to discuss your parent's peculiarity.
Monday, March 10, 2014
Despite the kids' initial protests, we watched "Ender's Game" over the weekend.
The futuristic kid-centric violence of course completely won them over. Archer declared that he was "pretty much jealous" of Ender as his education involved video games and was all about combat...And he gets to destroy an entire planet, after all. The difficulties of the character's situation were of less concern. I did not bother to point out that poor Ender probably had to study math and science also and did not have the benefit of LEGOs, pizza, or well... family support.
I thought we were done with Fluffy, Ansel's class hamster, but he requested the rodent be portrayed in the war room from the movie.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
This is another image from a year ago that I somehow never managed to post... I think.
At the time, we were right in the middle of the Assassin's Creed IV obsession around here. And at the tail end of the Batman obsession. Although, like Star Wars, Batman is never completely out of fashion. Assassin's Creed is never out of fashion, for that matter. But I am not drawing Connor on napkins several times a week at present.
I usually added strawberries on the end of weapons to make them more friendly for Quaker lunch, but here I guess the strawberry is the point of contention. Or maybe they're just having a moment.
It's not easy being so green.
While posting the Hulk image yesterday, I was reminded that I had never posted this one from last year. Napkins featuring Hulk are apparently few and far between enough that they stick in my memory... sort of.
Looking at this one now, I can only observe that it is very.... green. I might try and vary the shade if I were going to draw this image now, but I guess I only had a couple of green markers a year ago.
Friday, March 7, 2014
"The other guy" looks down on those "puny gods."
Two of the most satisfying moments of "The Avengers" for our sons involve the Hulk and the Asgardian brothers.
In the first, he casually shoves Thor off the screen without even looking at him, presumably just because he can and because Thor is sort of irritating. The Hulk later literally wipes the floor with Loki, just as Loki is delivering a condescending speech about how he is a god and is sick of the interference of these boring little mortals. Leaving Loki shell-shocked on the floor, the Hulk smirks ever so slightly and says, "puny god."
In both scenes, it is a case of a giant id smacking down a talky, pretentious long-haired adult with fancy clothes: What's not to like about that if you are a 7 year old boy?
I sometimes resort to telling our kids that they are boring me when they are really behaving badly... (like that is going to make them stop.) When I watch the Hulk and Loki scene, I think I ought to reconsider my tactics.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Although he was vociferously against seeing "The Avengers" again, the movie won our younger son over pretty quickly because of Hawkeye. Afterwards, there was a great deal of pretend shooting of things in the living room with a bow that once fired mini marshmallows before being broken long ago.
We hadn't done a "secret life of Fluffy the first grade pet hamster" napkin in quite a while, so I cast her as Hawkeye in the scene where he theatrically leaps off a midtown roof while shooting a grappling hook into the side of the building.
Strangely enough, I find the ridiculously implausible antics of the likes of Thor and the Hulk to be less distracting than the violations of the laws of physics committed by the "normal" physical specimens like Hawkeye and the Black Widow.
This morning, Ansel seemed slightly annoyed that I had sullied Hawkeye's coolness by turning him into a female rodent.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Every first grade class at my sons' school does a poetry project around Valentines Day where they respond to the phrase, "Inside my heart lives..." After reading several years worth of these poems posted on the bulletin board, I can offer the general observation that most often the kids describe their hearts as being occupied by pets, furry toys, the love of their family, rainbows and other comfortingly warm and fuzzy things.
Not so with my sons. Our first son's poem four years ago was exclusively populated by his obsession of the time: Star Wars characters. Our second son has upped the ante by name-checking both the Prince of Darkness and Death himself.
I set myself the task of making these particular heart inhabitants look warm and fuzzy. Unfortunately, I misremembered the last two supporting characters as "devils" instead of "demons." Perhaps I made this mistake because I really wanted to draw Tasmanian Devils instead of having to come up with cute cartoon devils.
The poem has been stapled on a public wall at school for several days, but I have not heard from the school psychologist yet.
He must be busy.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Continuing our Godzilla streak, it seemed that we could not miss out on the infant version of the Kaiju. Google results suggest that there were several cinematic iterations of "Baby Godzilla" including perhaps "Little Godzilla" and "Godzilla Junior."
It seems, at least from my 5 minutes of haphazard search engine research, that the infant Godzilla has been portrayed as being conveniently about human size. Given the recent inflation of the adult Kaiju- (and he looks even larger than before in the trailer for the 2014 movie) I felt the baby had to be bigger than a guy in a foam suit.
But he had to be cute...somehow...
Over the weekend, the boys developed a sudden interest in The Legend of Zelda game and the "Dark Link" character in particular.
Neither of them have ever played the game, and I don't think Ansel has ever even seen it played. But the idea of the black-clad doppelganger of a hero is always enticing for him... And yes, he using the word "doppelganger" when discussing Dark Link, although his pronunciation is iffy.
Regrettably, I based this drawing on a blurry snapshot of our sons acting out a "Link battle"- ie, bludgeoning each other with Nerf swords and shields. They were both quite displeased with the results. Archer was put out that his character (regular Link) did not have a visible sword, Ansel thought they both looked "weird" and was concerned that the characters would look too much like him and Archer.
And even before this general griping from the juvenile critics, I had to awkwardly flip the image from right to left, because Link is left handed, don't you know? I did not.