Thursday, July 19, 2018

Helmets on the Subway

What if we could all wear our favorite helmets on the train?

Everyone is absorbed in their phone on the subway- a sort of digital, mental helmet.

But wouldn’t it be more fun to wear a Fortnite or Halo helmet? And you could worry less about other people sneezing and coughing on you.

I started thinking about this after watching our younger son wear a cardboard helmet on the way home from camp.

I seem compelled to draw things on the subway, though the environment is clearly way too complicated for my skill set (and maybe the napkin genre) 

Just struggling to put one thing in front of another lends a weird outsidery art quality to the endeavor. And as a teacher at an institution that grants MFAs, I am afraid that my outsider privileges have been permanently revoked. Hashtag “notoutsiderartjustawkwarddrawing”

And despite the crowded train scene, I only managed to include 7 helmets, just the tip of the desirable helmet iceberg around here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Shark vs. Knight

Left Shark vs Daedric Knight:

The kids have been playing Garry’s Mod. They are mostly interested in repeatedly blowing one another up with ridiculous weapons.

I thought their avatars could be interesting to draw in unweaponized acrobatic combat.

I might be alone in that interest.

...and while the Left Shark was not all that challenging, the Skyrim armor was clearly a bit more complicated than I needed. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

Fortnite Llama

Llama, Llama, Fortnite Drama:

Damaged as I am by 15 years of sleep deprivation, I cannot hear the word “llama” without mentally echoing “Llama,  Llama, Red Pajama.” This is the hooky title of a children’s book that I read over and over again to at least one of our kids. (The younger one claims no knowledge of it, but that probably means I only read it to him 50 times instead of the 100 times I read to his brother.) 

Five minutes of googling tells me that this 2005 book by Anna Dewdney has since become a “cultural touchstone” and a franchise (several sequel books, a Netflix series, a rap by Ludacris, etc) So I am no doubt not the only one burdened by the mental compulsion to echo all instances of “llama” with “pajama.” 

But there is a strange relevance here in regard to Fortnite and online gaming.... 

Ms. Dewdney’s book was about a young person’s difficulty with staying alone in his bedroom without his mama.
As I recall, baby llama’s poor self-regulation eventually led to much “llama drama,” boo-hooing, and wailing, which finally summons his annoyed mother to tell him to simmer down and go to sleep....while of course reassuring him of her love. 

The drama, wailing, and general poor self-regulation in our house is now less about separation anxiety and more about the frustrations of online gaming in general...and Fortnite in particular.

We had intense stress about llamas over the weekend. I cannot claim a deep understanding of these “llama”/piƱata things’ role in the game, but their acquisition is essential. Hysteria can easily blossom when they can’t be found...or when, GOD FORBID, one is snatched away from under ones nose by another player.

Listening to my sons intermittently screech in frustration is perhaps unnecessarily traumatic for me. If only I, like the mother in the book, could successfully encourage less startling expressions of llama drama.

... but let’s be serious, I never succeeded in getting them to go to bed without drama.  
At least we did get a llama, so there’s that.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

More Fun with the Giant Pet Rat

Riding a Giant Rodent to Peer Group Notoriety:

While we were on the pet rat topic, our younger son observed: “if the rat was big enough for me to ride to school, and then it climbed up the building...I would be the talk of the school!” Indeed he would.

The rat here is climbing up the facade of the building that houses summer camp. I think they might be more flexible about that sort of thing than would his regular school.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Ghost’s Mask From Ant-Man and the Wasp

The Joy of Headgear That Totally Obscures Vision:

Don’t get me started about the quantum realm where Michelle Pfieffer apparently had decades of access to shampoo, mascara, and fingerless gloves... 

And besides the character’s problematic relationship to physics, Ghost is definitely not a satisfying villain, or anti-hero, or whatever. 

But, as far as our kids are concerned: she has a cool mask, so it’s all pretty good. 

This particular napkin was a slapdash effort, produced in a rush in the morning before our departure for camp...when I was supposed to be making breakfast, folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, packing the lunch....

I did not have time to capture the weird retro textural variations on the hood and suit...but did at least draw the weird, can’t-possibly-see-out-of-them, glowing, pseudo eye protuberances.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

NYC Subway

Handheld Puppies:
(What if everyone on the train had a personal puppy instead of a cell phone?)

I might be on the edge of becoming a full blown tinfoil hat wearing crazy person at any moment...but I will spare those not in my immediate family my thoughts on the topic of radiation. Let’s just say that I have a suspicion that maybe it is not a boon to one’s health to spend a lot of time underground in a metal tube full of cell phones that are constantly searching for a signal. 

These sorts of thoughts don’t stop me from riding the subway daily. But I am grateful that our younger son is tall enough that strangers on a crowded train can’t hover their phones directly over his skull while they scroll Facebook between stations. 

But wouldn’t be nice if we were all looking at our own personal puppies instead of phones?

Dogs have been clinically proven to improve the health of their human companions, but they are not exactly encouraged on the subway. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Optimal Pet Rat

We still remain petless despite our younger son’s sincere and persistent requests for a dog.

As I am sure I have already mentioned, I suggested to the kids that a rat would be a smaller, easier, pet...and maybe something that would not aggravate their father’s allergies.

Unsurprisingly, no one wants a pet rat.

Maybe we see too many of the non pet variety on the subway....and in our yard and garbage cans.

During one of our pet rat conversations, our younger son said, “we can get a pet rat, as long as it is larger than my brother and can teach me Kung Fu!”

Then there was some bickering about whether the hypothetical rat should be named Splinter or Ratatouille. 

If only there were a giant rat that could cook and provide educational exercise for the kids...

More likely the large rodent would be sitting on the couch eating cookies and watching YouTube just like the kids.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Mask in Blue and Gold

Mask in Blue and Gold:

The camp project was a clay face mask:

While other kids made cute animal faces, our son’s mask featured gold rimmed eyes crying blue streams.

I am resisting even attempting an interpretation of his imagery. 

But I did make a lessor napkin version.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Helmeted Knight with Background Dragon

Our younger son is working on a video at camp that features a knight and a dragon. We spent the Fourth of July making the knight’s helmet pictured here out of cardboard.

Fashioning compound curves out of corrugated materials proved way more challenging than I anticipated. I vaguely remember knocking out a cardboard “Captain Rex” Star Wars clone trooper helmet in an evening with time left over to draw the rest of the costume in Sharpie on white pajamas many years ago... So many years ago that my older son was young enough to develop a life threatening need for a clone trooper costume the night before Halloween...and apparently I was young and foolish enough to make him one. 

I don’t remember that helmet being so challenging, but perhaps I was just not sleeping enough at the time to form accurate long term memories.

Or maybe this loss of helmet building skill is a symptom of progressive cognitive decline: losing one’s keys, poor word retrieval, and the “inability to fashion helmets out of flat materials”

In fact, I am a little sleep deprived right now. Can you tell?

My son is now telling me that we need to remake the helmet over the weekend as he has decided that it requires a more complicated design.

At least the dragon is two dimensional.

Here’s the previous helmet from way back in 2009
Maybe it was more impressive in my memory...

Monday, July 2, 2018

DeadPooh and Cable Too

Consider yourself pounced.

Having sat through the “Christopher Robin” movie preview a couple of times now, listening to Ewan McGregor say, “POOH!” repeatedly....well, it seemed like we had to have a DeadPooh.

I was thinking about pairing him with Spider-Tigger-Man, or maybe Wolverine/Tigger, (too much claw similarity) but our younger son thought Cable was a better bet. 
Perhaps I was just trying to avoid the additional labor of figuring out what Cable was wearing in Deadpool 2 and exactly what his arm looked like.

As it was, I neglected to draw the stuffed bear on his belt...but perhaps that would have been redundant...or meta?

Friday, June 29, 2018

Incredibles’ Jack Jack and Jurassic World’s Carnotaurus

Which One Will Prevail?

We haven’t seen either The Incredibles 2 or Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom yet, and we are going to have to choose one movie to see first this weekend.

I think we are leaning towards The Incredibles. 
And clearly Jack Jack is going to kick that Carnotaurus’ butt anyway. It can’t even stand up to the tyrannosaurus long enough to eat Chris Pratt in the preview.

Not that we will miss an opportunity to see dinosaurs eat non super humans. 
Definitely not.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Skull Rings

Skull Rings Go Well With Everything:
(particularly with good dental hygiene)

In her office, our Pediatric Dentist has a bin of cheap toys that one might think that our kids are pretty much too old to find interesting...

But who among us can resist plastic skull rings? 
I certainly can’t resist drawing them.

They were a bit small for our giant son, however, so they were only first or second knuckle rings.

He was more conservative in his ring application on this visit having learned his lesson previously. At another appointment, we had to apply copious amounts of mom’s lip balm to his finger to remove the undersized kiddie ring. 

But that wasn’t a skull ring anyway. Just a plain old ring.

I tried to improve the rings for the napkin. The eye sockets weren’t quite that glow-y. 
My sons hair, however, definitely looks better in person. No matter how many times I draw it, I can still mess it up.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Deadpool Goes Full Winnie The Pooh

Deadpool Goes Full Winnie the Pooh

Amid the avalanche of pop culture references in Deadpool 2, there is a memorable one to the honey loving denizen of the hundred acre wood.

The reference comes up after Deadpool has been torn in half and is home regrowing his lower body as a pair of toddler legs with adjacent little kid anatomy.  Like the name checked bear, Wade is only wearing a shirt.  And there is also a “Basic Instinct” reference. I’ll leave it there.

Yes, so very inappropriate for family viewing.  That was the point of course.

But I find the display of male body parts in a mainstream movie in a non sexual (and non violent) context to be not entirely a bad thing. 
I realize this may not be a popular sentiment. There is a thicket of gender issues here that I will resist wading into today. But suffice it to say, while the Deadpool film franchise certainly prides itself on boundary pushing, it troubles me less than most R rated action movies as it is not so steeped in misogynistic imagery.

For the napkin, of course the pants had to be on, so the Pooh reference had to be shifted a bit....but the DeadPooh possibilities are there... My kids were not big Winnie the Pooh fans back in the day. (They preferred Curious George)

But, like most small children, they did enjoy reclining on the couch without pants. 

Monday, June 25, 2018

Article in Esthetic Lens Magazine

Delighted to have something about the napkin endeavor posted by Esthetic Lens Magazine today.

Here, a napkins in the real world portrait of the kids included in the article. It’s from way back in 2014 when Minecraft teeshirts were super cool. 

There have been a great many napkin portraits of the increasingly large kids since, but I think this one remains one of the more convincing....maybe I am not improving in my old(er) age?

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Boy with Approximate Face

Boy with Approximate Face:

It has been a rough couple of weeks for napkins. I had a portrait related deadline that I failed to make twice...and am still finishing. But the end is in sight.

Here our younger son is posing with a drawing based roughly on his face that was included in the project. I’m only using adult faces, so I made him look a bit older...and maybe female? 

He was a good sport about it, mostly. 

Napkins will be returning soon. Summer camp has already begun.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Fortnite Rogue Agent Birthday Card

This is another mother/son collaboration card.

The birthday kid’s Fortnite skin is Rogue Agent, therefore, this.

Sadly, none of my son’s friends favor the more outlandish, more entertaining to draw, Fortnite skins like, say, Cuddle Team Leader or Leviathan.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Fortnite Birthday Card Collaboration

Sadly, not a napkin, just plain old paper

When the gift for a good friend is a lame gift card... you might have to make an extra special card. 

Rust Lord is the birthday kid’s favorite skin in Fortnite  so he seemed like the appropriate bearer of birthday greetings.

I drew the ink outlines and my son did the color. He did a much nicer job than I would have. I would have been all wrapped up in the light problem with the glowing candles reflecting off the helmet and such...and past experience indicates that I probably wouldn’t have been able to make any of that work.

There are more birthdays coming up, (with more lame gift cards) so perhaps there will be more such Mother/Son collaborations.