Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Retribution

Thanksgiving dinner strikes back...with squirt guns.

The napkin recipients' father hasn't eaten red meat or poultry since his childhood, so we usually have a salmon on Thanksgiving. My mom has contributed a turkey for those who are not philosophically opposed to the eating of poultry.

The original concept was thanksgivIng dinner items holding machine guns. Given recent world events, I tried to recast the machine guns as squirt guns. There is such a real world item- a clear plastic machine gun shaped squirt gun called the "Saturator." 

Star Wars Thanksgiving

"Only at the end do you realize the power of the Dark Meat"

Clearly grasping for a Thanksgiving theme this year... 
The boys wanted to know why does Kylo Ren Turkey seem more fluffy than Dark Vader Turkey?
And why do they not have their light sabers.

Alas, I did my best. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ezra Bridger and Kylo Ren

Ezra, the adolescent hero from the animated show "Star Wars Rebels" and the big bad guy from the upcoming "The Force Awakens." They might be having fun...or engaged in a mortal struggle...we're not really sure.

This is the napkin that I was supposed to be working on during our appearance on the Good Morning America 40th anniversary live steam Star Wars segment last night. I did not make a whole lot of progress on it at ABC. We managed to shift the emphasis to the kids...well...pretty much just being themselves, rather than me trying to ink a napkin, which was definitely not going to make for exciting viewing.

At first, the boys were grouchy about having to take the train back into Manhattan on a school night. Then they were really annoyed that no one would give them the passcode for the ABC wifi (the nerve of those corporate security types!) and that they had to entertain themselves with offline games while we waiting in the green room with a rather depleted snack table. But they were thoroughly impressed by the other Star Wars content that preceded us: $3000 of Star Wars toys together on one coffee table! A family who built their sons AT-AT bunk beds! Another family who installed an enormous light-up replica of the Death Star on the roof of their home!

The kids managed to pull it together and be pleasant on camera when it was our turn. Our older son was so naturally chatty while offering his opinions on the relative merits of the several movies in the franchise, that the GMA host Dan Harris suggested that he might have a future in television.

By the time we left at 8 pm, the boys had downed a couple of cans of soda each and were revoltingly full of energy. They felt the appropriate post broadcast activity would be a trip to a toy store to buy Star Wars toys. We walked about 10 blocks bickering before I convinced them that their plan was not going to pan out.

I finished the napkin after I finally got them to wind down and go to sleep at 10pm.

My younger son specifically requested the combination of Ezra and Kylo for this napkin. But he and his brother would like to point out that Ezra would be much older by the time he might have encountered this particular character.  I couldn't cope with the task of aging Ezra while trying to keep him recognizable, so I assuming a time portal or some other excuse for the two guys being on the same napkin.

Got to keep these drawings plausible.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Good Morning America 40th Anniversary Star Wars Hour Appearance

The napkins have been asked to appear on a special live stream  of Good Morning America this evening around 6:30-7:30 as part of a segment on Star Wars... and people who do obsessive things relating to Star Wars I am guessing.

To quote from the GMA live stream at :
"Good Morning America” is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a 40-hour, non-stop live stream. The “40 for 40” event features celebrity performances, as well as exclusive, memorable content, special guests and will be hosted by current and previous “GMA” anchors. Watch the “GMA” 40th anniversary live stream from Tuesday, Nov. 17, through Thursday, Nov. 19, to celebrate 40 years of “GMA"

They have already had an appearance by One Direction, the cast of the Hunger Games...and right now as I am typing this with the livestream video window open, an attractive woman is talking about her favorite brand of hairspray.  

I will be talking to host Dan Harris, and, yes, drawing on a napkin...Live On The Internet..

I'm hoping the show will have the kids talk.
They are far more telegenic than I am.
And they know a lot more about Star Wars

For more information on Twitter and other social media, the relevant hashtags are:

Olaf on Hoth with Tauntaun and Wampa

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ewok, Jawa and BB-8

Diminutive Star Wars people squabble over BB-8...or maybe they are sharing nicely?

Our kids are pretty enthusiastic about the upcoming Star Wars movie... But will there be Endorians and Jawas?

(Probably a better chance of seeing Jawas on Tatooine)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cast of Characters Who Could be in "Goosebumps" Movie

...take one of those abominable group selfies...

My younger son and I finally saw the "Goosebumps" movie over last weekend. His brother was going to a fun birthday party, so he was feeling terribly under-served and required some compensation. As far as I was concerned the movie was pleasant, but not particularly memorable.  My son thought it was great and immediately wanted me to pledge to take him to the sequel, whenever it might be made and released.

While we own several "Goosebumps" books, and I have tried to convince my horror-loving children to read them on many occasions, the series has just not been very popular in the past at our house.  I must confess that I was unaware what a publishing juggernaut the series has been...350 million copies have sold worldwide, and it is the second most popular children's series of all time, according to Wikipedia.

The movie's specific and rather dopey plot aside, "Goosebumps" the movie's charm is that it is a compendium of funny horror characters and therefore transcends the possible failings of each tale of scary zombies, creepy clowns, malicious lawn gnomes, deadly werewolves, etc., etc.

Being an 8 year old, my son was willing to attribute the original creation of many of these sorts of characters to R.L. Stine and the Goosebumps franchise. I reminded him that certainly the idea of werewolves, zombies, the abominable snowmen and ventriloquist dummies among many others predate Scholastic Publishing, some by tens if not hundreds of years.

And, on a more personal note, several of these characters appeared in my recent sculpture show "Popular Monsters," so perhaps I am particularly not willing to cede all credit to Mr. Stine.

Today's napkin is a reunion of sorts of characters who could appear in a best selling children's book series, in a major motion picture, or in my small, unsaleable sculptures.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Kylo Ren and Darth Revan

Everyone needs a little R & R in their Star Wars universe. 
(Pithy tagline provided by my 12 year old son)

When the first "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer came out a few months ago, there was a lot of conjecture about just who was that guy with the red lightsaber with the cross guards?  Some Star Wars authorities opined that it was a "Knights of the Old Republic" character, Darth Revan. Of course, Darth Revan lived thousands of years before the events of the Star Wars movies.... (You already knew that, right?) Therefore, it was rather unlikely that he would be appearing in the movie.

I guess he was such a cool dude that people were still hoping that the guy in the mask was going to turn out to be him. My older son tells me that Darth Revan could crush a planetoid the size of the Death Star just using his force powers. Take that, Luke Skywalker.

At any rate, while this Revan person is not in the upcoming film, it seemed like he should be paired with the guy who is, Kylo Ren.

They can commiserate about how challenging it is to not be able to see out of one's helmet, and how hard it is to go to the bathroom while wearing a floor length robe.

Perhaps the force comes in handy for that sort of thing.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Powerful Pumpkins

What did one Jack O Lantern say to the other?
"Cut it out."

Maybe not.  Maybe he said, "Watch out, or I am going to zap you with my lightning force powers!"

There's been a weird post-Halloween trend at our house in which the boys pretend to be pumpkins...not inert gourds, but fighting pumpkins with super powers.  

It defies explanation mostly. I think it has something to do with the "pumpkin armor" and "pumpkin costume" available in the Terraria game. 

I was going to draw said costume or armor, but the boys had made some pictures of their characters, and wanted me to work from their sketches. They explained that both pumpkin guys could generate force lightning and that one was wearing a wizards hat, and the other, a red fez.  

My favorite moment of their pumpkin game was an instance during a sword fight where the older brother had just skewered the younger with a Nerf weapon.  The elder pronounced him dead or at least injured, but the younger replied, "No, you just stuck your sword into my cut-out eye hole. You didn't hurt me at all."

They told me that in my drawing the pumpkins were too human and not cute enough.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Posing with Popular Monsters

Thanks to everyone who took the time to pose and shared the image on social media or with me!
The images below are by no means comprehensive...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spooky Scary Skeletons

A Unicorn, a Velociraptor....and some guy....send shivers down your spine....and are really hard to draw.

As usual, I discovered that the phrase that my older son has been contantly repeating recently was not of his own manufacture, but was actually proliferating on the Internet.  My first tip-off came when one of his friends came over to, yes, play video games, and said the same phrase over and over in the same tone of voice.  (Again, I have been consistently sleep deprived for well over a decade, so it takes a lot for me to catch on.)

At any rate, "Spooky Scary Skeletons" is a 1996 song by Andrew Gold, a video of a classic Disney animation with the song that has over 5.3 million views on Youtube, some Minecraft video spin-offs, etc, etc. I am just going to say that there's a link to the "know your meme" page on the topic because I don't think I can begin to unpack all of it right now.

My son asked for unicorn, Alien and velociraptor skeletons doing a high kicking "Michigan J Frog" style dance.  I was definitely not up to the challenge.  I had a hard enough time just drawing some vaguely anatomically correct skeletons and trying to put one in front of the other.  And what does the Alien skeleton look like anyway? (No doubt the answer is available online somewhere...)

The original Disney short of the dancing skeletons is truly inspired and inspiring... and I should have done better. Maybe I will give it another shot.

My son had something more like this in mind...with skeletons. Easy, right?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from Pumpzilla

Or maybe it's a Kaiju O Lantern?

Since the younger child starred on the last pumpkin-themed napkin, we had to give the other, Godzilla costumed, one equal time.

My younger son did look at this napkin wistfully and said, "I wish pumpkins could actually do that."

The Doctor and the Terrible Lizard pose after trick or treating.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Head

Jack O Lantern pumpkin head. He is a fearful sight:

We did finally get around to carving a pumpkin last night.  I did all of the messy excavation and removal of pumpkin guts, and left the design to my younger son. I think his concept might have some debt to Minecraft Creepers.

After roughing out the face, it quickly became clear that the whole point of this activity was the repeated and....can I say ironically, pointless, stabbing of the pumpkin with various sharp implements.
The cutting of the Jack O Lantern design in no way fulfilled this urge. The joy of inflicting additional meaningless damage seemed inexhaustible. As usual, impulsive destruction was so much more compelling than thoughtful creation.  Eventually, the pumpkin stabber had to be pulled away and made to go to bed.

 Since we've been doing a series of photos of people posing with the sculpted heads from my "Popular Monsters" show, it seemed like a there ought to be a head substitution.  I was aiming for a Headless Horseman sort of backdrop.  I considered putting my son on a rearing horse, but just didn't have time to tangle with equine anatomy.

Most of the damage was on the back side of the pumpkin, and cannot really be appreciated in the photo below. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Godzilla and the Prom Queen: A Halloween Team-up

A close female friend of my older son describes her Halloween costume as a "Goth Prom Queen turned Demon."  As the parent of two sons, I must admit to being grateful that I have been able to remain blissfully ignorant of the complexities of female preteen Halloween costume choices.

I did not get to see my inflatable Godzilla son interact with the ironic prom queen at their Middle School Halloween dance last weekend, so I had to resort to imagining them together... sort of.

My depiction of her is not a particularly good likeness, but it is definitely more realistic than my drawing of my son's Godzilla costume.  For various reasons, we ended up with an adult sized costume.  Despite containing a slight 12 year old, it still inflated to its maximum volume, so the resulting height to width ratio was perhaps a bit peculiar... And not like that drawn on the napkin.

The photo below is of the 8 year old brother wearing the costume, so the height to width ratio is even more un Godzilla-like, but I am so amused by the tiny human toes peaking out of the feet, that I could not resist including it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Inbread Cat for "Popular Monsters" Exhibition

While the show is almost over, I am still working on heads for it....or maybe it's just that the project is ongoing. My sons like to call this one the "Toast Cat," but I believe the official name of the meme is "Inbread Cats" or "Cat Breading."

No actual cats were tormented during the making of the sculpture... and my dignity is certainly too far gone to be a concern.

And... as a public service announcement to those of you desperately looking for an opportunity to see sculpture and napkin drawings in downtown Brooklyn this week  (or to pose yourself as a Toast Cat a shark or Grumpy Cat):
The show runs through Friday October 30th, 9 am- 6 pm.
It could be seen on Saturday October 31st by appointment.
The info is below just in case:

Popular Monsters: Sculpture and Napkins Drawings

Humanities Gallery
First Floor, Library Learning Center
Long Island University, Brooklyn
1 University Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201-5372

Travel: B, Q, R to DeKalb Avenue
2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street
A, C, F, to Jay Street
For more information,
call 718-488-1198

google map location link

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blast O Lantern

With Halloween bearing down on us, I had big plans to carve pumpkins with the kids today, but was impeded by their sincere desire not to carve pumpkins. They don't like the messy business of cleaning out the insides, the actual carving takes too long, and they are totally uninterested in participating in my parental fantasy of a fun seasonal craft activity.

But, no question, they would be all in for blowing up a pumpkin.

One of our many books of collected Liō comics, "Reheated Liō," includes a strip about an exploding pumpkin where the blast actually creates the jack o lantern's features. Having looked around online at various videos of exploding pumpkins, I can report that this is not a realistic scenario. I did not have much success at drawing it either...lack of good source material, perhaps.

But if we could make it happen, the kids would definitely be into it.
Maybe we can explode a turkey carcass in November.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sewer Clown

Why so serious?

This  character was designed by our younger son for our still only hypothetical family webcomic. He recognized that we had a shortage of bad guys in the cast of characters. With a name like "Sewer Clown" and six arms, tentacles for legs and two multi-pronged tails, how could this guy not be creepy?

My son says that he had not heard of or seen the sewer occupying clown Pennywise from Stephen King's 1986 novel and subsequent TV miniseries "It."  I'm not entirely convinced that he wasn't exposed to a stray reference or image of King's sewer clown by his older brother who avidly and repeatedly watches YouTube videos like "The 100 best horror movie characters of all time." But maybe it's just that sewers and clowns go together so perfectly.

As you can see below, my son's original drawing is much better than mine. I was instructed to make the clown look realistic, because as my son told me, "That's your talent Mom, making things look more realistic."

I suspect realism isn't really the point with this guy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crark from "Reed Gunther"

Beefcake with claws and tentacles:

Our kids really enjoyed Chris and Shane Houghton's comic series "Reed Gunther" about a bear-riding cowboy in an old west world populated by monsters like the tentacled Shark/Crab. Reed and friends encounter this last giant monster at the end of the first volume in front of the half finished installation of the Statue of Liberty. After a narrow escape by our heroes, the Crark ends up in the freshly poured cement foundation, presumably vanquished.... Although in a later panel, it appears to be waving its claws even after the Statue of Liberty's head has been dropped on top of it, so perhaps a future appearance in a sequel is a possibility.

Chris Houghton's drawings of the Crark in the comic are much more monstery and much less silly-beefcakey.  Somehow my default mode when drawing superheroes and monsters for my sons is always something with defined abdominal muscles.  Maybe this is because my younger son often specifies that there should be a "six-pack." Or maybe this says something unfortunate about me... In this case, I didn't do a very good job with those external obliques anyway, so perhaps a less hunky physique would have been better.

And, to make an uncomfortable admission, I debated about whether there should be nipples of some sort on this thing. "Nipple" does seem to be one of my sons' most favorite words lately. As in, one brother punches the other and then the punchee shrieks loudly, "Ow! My NIPPLE!" (This is to make everyone who does not have two small sons feel much better about their lot in life.)

I thought seriously about putting a strategically located starfish on each pectoral, but decided dealing with the fallout from my sons just wasn't worth it.