Monday, August 21, 2017

Justice League Members View the 2017 Eclipse


Be Sure to View the 2017 Eclipse Safely:
(Even if you are Batman)
(Unless, perhaps, your head is already on fire)

We are getting ready for the Great American (partial) Eclipse here in Brooklyn.

There's been a lot of discussion about how to view the eclipse in a safe manner. I am the proud owner of not one, but two, arc welding helmets, so we are pretty well outfitted. But the kids really wanted cool eclipse viewing glasses to be purchased expressly for the occasion. Not too much chance of that happening now at t minus one hour.

I am still thinking about a Fresh Direct box viewer though. Unfortunately, our latest delivery is not due until 3-5 pm today, so I will have to unpack our paper recycling pile.

The three superheroes Batman, Firestorm and Stargirl hail from the latest DC Cartoon Network show that my kids have been watching, "Justice League Action."  

Firestorm has a perpetual flame emanating from the top of his head so a eclipse box viewer will protect his vision, but not prevent all burning.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Napkin Portraits



We are still working on the napkin portrait thing.
I have to embrace a certain amount of failure on these, since I can't see very well to compose the shot and my collaborator is definitely not a perfectionist.


And sometimes, just plain absent:

Friday, August 11, 2017

Rainbow Six Siege's Sledge Makes a Partial Appearance


Who needs explosives?
Or napkins?

My older son asked for this character from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. 

I hear his catchphrase is "Who needs explosives?" Apparently his "tactical breaching hammer" works better than incendiary devices. 

I was more interested in drawing his stylish gas mask, but quite frankly, did not have time to draw either very well. This napkin was produced in the morning, in the harried 15 minutes between serving a breakfast that the kids ignored, and hurrying them out the door to camp.

Thus it has the dreaded (and previously forbidden) white space.  In their younger youth, my kids decided that napkins with white areas were a sign that Mom was shirking. And God forbid that one brother got a fully colored napkin, and the other an example of maternal lack. I tried to explain the design appeal of properly used negative space, but no one was buying. 

Perhaps napkins are just not the medium to elicit discussions of design and negative space?

But by now, the kids are older and slightly more relaxed about how much time was spent on one napkin or another. This is good, as the whole activity is obviously beyond ridiculous. 

I do think, however, that Sledge looks kind of nice disappearing off to the side. And thousands of napkins later, I still appreciate the lovely patterns on fancy Vanity Fair dinner napkins.
My older son asked for this character from Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege. 

I hear his catchphrase is "Who needs explosives?" Apparently his "tactical breaching hammer" works better than incendiary devices. 

I was more interested in drawing his stylish gas mask, but quite frankly, did not have time to draw either very well. This napkin was produced in the morning, in the harried 15 minutes between serving a breakfast that the kids ignored, and hurrying them out the door to camp.

Thus it has the dreaded (and previously forbidden) white space.  In their younger youth, my kids decided that napkins with white areas were a sign that Mom was shirking and probably didn't care enough. God forbid that one brother got a fully colored napkin, and the other an example of maternal lack. I tried to explain the design appeal of properly used negative space, but no one was buying. 

Perhaps napkins are just not the medium to elicit discussions of design and negative space?

But by now, the kids are older and slightly more relaxed about how much time was spent on one napkin or another. This is good, as the whole activity is obviously beyond ridiculous. 

I do think, however, that Sledge looks kind of nice disappearing off to the side. And thousands of napkins later, I still appreciate the lovely patterns on fancy Vanity Fair dinner napkins.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Terraria's Moon Lord


The Moon Lord's Hand Sees All (...the Food You Are Not Eating at Lunch)

The Terraria game resurfaces as a favorite with our kids on a regular basis. Hanging out with a couple of friends at camp reinvigorated their interest recently.

I don't know much about the Moon Lord beyond the fact that his face resembles Cthulhu and he has a glowing eye in each palm.  For whatever it is worth, the eyes in his palms are oriented vertically and are not like the "Hamsa" hand common in eastern religious iconography. 

The Terraria wiki says: "Moon Lord is a Hardmode, post-Lunatic Cultistboss.  It is Terraria's final boss."

There's a lot more to this boss, thematically, and visually. I just went for the aspect that was easiest to draw on a napkin.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Subway Portrait Napkins






Public Degradation with Absorbent Paper Products:
(Perhaps not one of our more successful "napkins in the real world" photo sessions.)

I thought this year's napkin portraits should be staged in the subway since our rides back and forth to summer camp were a notable feature of the summer...for me anyway. I biked the boys back and forth to school for five years, so we did not see much of the trains on a daily basis then. And for the last two years, they have been at separate schools, and a three person train ride was relatively rare. Next year, perhaps they will be going to camp without me having to chaperone so consistently. 

So, I thought commemoration was in order.

Or, it is possible that I was just being a sadist.

The kids are always not up for having their picture taken with napkins (or without napkins, to be honest). And this time, I added the adolescent-mortifying twist of doing it in public with a selfie stick. My older son described our seven minutes on the subway platform as "just about the worst thing ever." He added, "Mom, this is why I resist leaving the house, because then stuff like this happens." 

Indeed. Leave your seat on the couch, and the next thing you know, your sadistic (and masochistic) mother might be forcing you to do dumb stuff on a subway platform. Well.... there was no actual forcing. I did bribe them with a somewhat indulgent lunch, so I don't think they suffered all that much. But I'm sure the psychological scars are deeper than I can imagine.

Nobody on the platform gave us a second look. It is New York. We have all seen so much worse in the subway.




Thursday, August 3, 2017

Goofy Self Portrait Napkin



Every summer I try to do a set of portraits of the kids and maybe myself. I am not always successful. Last summer, we never managed to get a good picture of the napkins. Even when there is bribery involved, the kids usually have about 90 seconds of patience for me and my dippy napkins, and that is not always enough to orchestrate the real world shot.

This year my plan involves a selfie stick and the G train platform. The kids are fairly horrified by the prospect, and I anticipate an even lower than previous level of cooperation. 

I've almost finished the napkins, but now have the much more challenging prospect of luring the kids back to the G platform.

My napkin face looks a bit startled here in a test shot, perhaps by the goofiness of the idea...or maybe just the goofiness of my hat.

(Go to "Napkins in the Real World" to see previous attempts)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Nightcore "Believer"



Feel the PAIN

My sons are not much concerned with the concept of originality or authorship when it comes to these napkins and have often instructed me to "just copy" an image that really interests them.

Courtesy of a mixture of my klutzy drawing and misplaced hubris, I usually manage to put my own spin on the drawings that are supposed to just be copies.

My younger son specifically told me to "just exactly copy the cover image from the Nightcore Believer video" but as usual I wasn't able to leave well enough alone...and, as he would be quick to tell you, I don't do anime style very well.

But before I could even try to draw, I first had to figure out what Nightcore is. My son made the request as if it were something familiar to everyone, so perhaps I was alone in my ignorance? On the off chance that others share my lack of exposure, I will now quote Wikipedia: "A nightcore edit is a remix track that speeds up its source material, increasing its pitch."

I have to add that my kids' understanding of Nightcore is a bit more specific: for them it is a popular song that is accelerated to near chipmunk pitch and then paired with a moody anime style, minimally animated, drawing.

In this case, it is Imagine Dragons' song "Believer" which, due to my cohabitation with preadolescents, I had already heard a few more times than is healthy for my middle aged brain. But with this video, one can hear it faster, and with the benefit of the lyrics helpfully printed on screen. I had not previously realized the frequent and emphatic use of the word "pain."

I have included the original image with a bit of inspired lyrics superimposed... and a screenshot of "pain" which is thoughtfully isolated on screen when it appears, just so one should not miss it.

Click on the images if you wish to experience adolescent pain yourself.



Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Chthulu and Godzilla


I Welcome Our Alien Overlord Cthulhu 

In any substantial conversation about giant monsters (that one has with adolescent boys) there is always the consideration of size. 

Whose monster is bigger?

A while back, (I am far behind in my napkin posts) our older son was on a bit of a Cthulhu kick. Now, I cannot recall what prompted it. Unfortunately, by the time I had drawn the napkin, he was mostly over it.

But, Cthulhu is claimed to be a whole lot larger than King Kong or assorted Kaiju- even the greatly enlarged Godzilla from the 2014 film.

Perhaps Godzilla will be like a mere action figure in comparison to our alien overlord.

Not that there is anything "mere" about Godzilla action figures.

Child Constantine With Flaming Demon Lollipop


Underage Constantine with Appropriate Oral Gratification Object:

My younger son has been watching "Justice League Action" lately, including the episode "Trick or Threat" where Batman, Zatanna, Constantine, and Doctor Fate are turned into 10 year olds by Klarion the witch boy and then visit the House of Mystery.

Being ten himself, the idea of a similarly aged Constantine was pretty compelling for my son. (Halloween costume?) He was quick to note that the kid version of John has a sucker perpetually in his mouth rather than a cigarette. 

I guess the need for oral gratification starts early. 

I did upgrade Constantine's lollipop to a flaming devil head gummy, since the images for the live action tv show favor flames....and because that was more fun to draw.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Just Do It


Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf Says "JUST DO  YOUR HOMEWORK!!!"

Our younger son attends an excellent school, which makes us all very happy most of the time. But there is the matter of the phone book sized stack of homework pages assigned for the summer.  Our son is a relatively responsible student when it comes to this sort of thing....but he is still a ten year old on summer vacation, so, to put it mildly, there is some resistance. And as is the case in all things, I am in charge of nagging.

If only I could enlist Mr. LaBeouf's motivational assistance. 

It might be impossible to completely miss Shia LaBoeuf's meme-worthy real life antics, but perhaps you don't have YouTube watching children and have remained blissfully ignorant of the "JUST DO IT!!!" or "Actual Cannibal Shia LaBeouf" memes. 

I cannot claim any expertise here, but I did scan the "know your meme" pages on these topics...and might have watched the videos in their entirety.

It seems that a few years ago, Mr LaBeouf performed a histrionic motivational speech against a green screen background which was then posted to YouTube. The video, while mostly grating to watch, spawned a thousand memes- or at least a good many...to the point that, my sons, who were not really sure who Shia LaBeouf was at the time, were quite aware of it.


In a unrelated development, composer/songwriter Rob Cantor posted a humorous song about Mr. LaBeouf being a cannabalistic killer on SoundCloud in 2012. Mr. Cantor explained the origin of the song at some point as being just that he found whispering the name Shia LaBeouf to be funny. This song, again, begat many renditions and memes, and was later produced by Mr. Cantor into a rather lavishly staged performance featuring interpretive dancers wearing giant Shia heads, two choirs, a string quartet, and the perhaps supportive participation of Shia LaBeouf himself.


Or watch the Actual Cannibal song by Rob Cantor video performance
Worth a view if you haven't seen it. Unless you have better things to do?

I combined various instances of LaBeoufery along with a poorly drawn likeness of the man here on the napkin. His pose and outfit is from the motivational video, the oversized head (I added large hands, just for good measure) and dancers hail from Rob Cantor's production. His hairstyle comes from another notable public appearance...perhaps when he was discussing his plagiarism. I can't remember.

My apologies to Mr. LaBeouf, meme makers, and actual cannibals everywhere.
And we still have homework to do.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Illegal Pets



The Not Fast and the Furrious:

I don't really have a good rationale behind this one, but I will take a swing at explaining it....

Pets, our lack of one and apparent inability to get one, is a constant topic of conversation between myself and my younger son. We keep trying to come up with some sort of engaging animal that he would enjoy caring for that wouldn't  cause an anaphylactic allergic reaction in his dad.

At some point, we discussed the possibility of a ferret, and even visited a pet shop that featured them while we were out of town. Because of course, they are still notoriously illegal as pets in NYC.  A quote from the press release from the NYC health department regarding ferret illegality:

"Ferrets are known for their unpredictable behavior, and they are prone to vicious, unprovoked attacks on humans....In New York... a ferret could crawl through holes in walls or travel along risers or ducts to other apartments, with potentially tragic consequences for the neighbor of a ferret owner."

Sounds bad, doesn't it? And kind of funny. I suspect dogs present a much bigger threat to city dwelling humans. Although the concept of roving packs of malicious ferrets creeping through the ductwork of large apartment building to attack unsuspecting neighbors makes a fine horror film plot.

Not that I am campaigning for ferrets in the city in general or in our home....

I just needed something to pair with the Giant African Land Snail to provide a sense of scale. Alas, enormous snails are not legal as pets in the entire United States. There is apparently some risk that they could become a dangerous agricultural pest...and that they can also damage buildings. (But can they go through ducts to attack neighbors?)

So, while I find the idea of a huge pet snail very entertaining to contemplate, it seems I will not be able to get a 10" tall snail for my son to snuggle.

He is not sad about that.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pomeranians Celebrate the End of Shark Week 2017


My younger son thinks that a Pomeranian would be the best breed of dog for us to have...if we were able to have a dog. 

He has very defined opinions on what sort of haircut this hypothetical dog should have. 

He has not offered an opinion on what sort of shark costume would be preferable, so I am offering a few options here.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sharks in Rainbow Six Siege


For Shark Week 2017

My older son has been playing a lot of "Tom Clancy's Rainbow Siege" with friends from school.

The game's website explains that "Siege is a brand-new style of gameplay embracing the reality of counter-terrorist operatives across the world: intense and asymmetrical close-quarters combat between attackers and defenders."

Sounds compelling, but maybe what it really needs is playable sharks.

Shark Week Pizza Party


(But don't hang around to find out who doesn't get a second slice)

There was pizza in the lunch boxes. That's my excuse.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Red Hood and Deadpool


The Red Hood and Deadpool Point Some Fingers Nonviolently:

One cannot help but notice the similar appeal of these two red masked individuals. 
And their visual appeal is intensified when they are holding and pointing their guns. 

I was trying to find a less weaponized arrangement for the two that also explained why they are so close to one another....other than to fit on the napkin...

I thought perhaps the finger trap allowed for some gratifying finger pointing posing without the actual guns.

Maybe.

Unfortunately, it meant I had to draw both of their overly detailed gloves.

Uncle Feather from Judy Blume's "Superfudge"


The Mynah Bird from "Superfudge" shows how cosmopolitan he is.

Our younger son is supposed to read 2-6 chapter books out loud to an adult over the summer. 

We've been working our way through Judy Blume's "Superfudge" the sequel to "Tales of  a Fourth Grade Nothing"  reading on the subway train every morning on the way to camp.

Both books have quite a bit about pets, which as I may have mentioned, is a contentious topic around here.

In "Superfudge," the annoying younger brother, who previously distinguished himself by eating his older brother's pet turtle, gets a pet of his own, a talking Mynah bird. Uncle Feather has a sarcastic flair for word repetition and says hello in French. 

Sadly, Mynah birds are very hard to come by these days. I don't think they reproduce well in captivity. 

I'm not sure that a talking bird would fill the puppy shaped hole at our house anyway. 

Even if it spoke French.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dragon Claws


No One Notices Your Dragon Claws on the New York City Subway:

(Adolescence can be rough, with ones body changing all the time.)

This image was based on some origami "dragon claws" (google it- they are a thing) that my older son wore all the way home from camp on the subway. 

But only on one hand. He needed the other hand to use his phone.