Saturday, February 28, 2015

Birthday Hydreigon

A napkin/card for a Pokemon themed 8th birthday party.
It is probably way too much pink and purple for a male birthday child, but so be it.

When our older son was 8, the Pokemon infection was so widespread and intense that the second grade teachers outlawed Pokemon cards at school. There were many Pokemon napkins as I tried to compensate for our son's lack of $15 cards. Mercifully, our younger son's second grade enthusiasm for things Pokemon is much less intense.

But after attending this Pokemon birthday party today, the situation has escalated noticeably.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lil Bub and Terminator

Internet Cats with Robots: Day 2

Why this pair? It really defies explanation.  Lil BUB definitely seemed like the obvious follow up to Grumpy Cat.  According to her official website, she "has overcome great challenges, is a published author, a talk show host, a movie star, and has helped raise well over $100,000 for animals in need." 

When I spent a few sleep deprived minutes contemplating which pop culture robot would be her ideal counterpart, I did not have any sort of epiphany.

 While C-3P0 does have a similar facial expression, in hindsight, perhaps I should have gone with Ultron.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Baymax and Grumpy Cat

"Hairy Baby!'

Ansel had forgotten how much he liked "Big Hero 6."
He had not, however, forgotten the "Hairy Baby" scene.  As it was included in the original trailer, and the more recent advertising for the DVD/iTunes release, there was really no way to forget it.

Mochi, the cat in the movie, is mostly agreeable and plump. After listening to many repetitions of "Hairy Baby"and marveling at the efficacy of sound-bite advertising on the 8-12 year old mind, I was perhaps feeling...grumpy.

And I am continually impressed at the internet meme and marketing marvel that is Grumpy Cat.

Additionally, yes, I am aware that Grumpy Cat is really a female feline, is actually named "Tardar Sauce," and as she suffers from feline dwarfism, is probably smaller than depicted here. These important facts and others were drawn to my attention by Grumpy Cat authorities in the past when I mistakenly referred to her as a "he."

Next up, Lil Bub with the Terminator?... or Trash Cat with Wall-e?..."Happy Cat" (The one who says, "Can I has cheeseburger?") with the Cybermen?

The possibilities are endless... or at least several.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Turkor the Ungrateful From Terraria

We've gone a few days without a Terraria boss napkin, so we were overdue.

Ansel was a bit suspicious of this drawing when he saw it this morning before school.  His endlessly-informed-about-all-video-games older brother reassured him that, yes, Turkor really does have a cooked turkey body, and really does, Hydra-like, sprout extra heads. 

I had seen a video clip on Youtube last night that featured two heads.  If I had know that there could be more, I definitely would have included them.  I am always pleased when I get a chance to draw a wild turkey head.

Here is a link to the Turkor page on the Terraria Wiki if you still doubt that this could possibly be a character:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dovahbear from Skyrim

What could be more compelling than video games that you are too young to play?:
Games that you are too young to play that also have bears wearing horned helmets.

My older son turned twelve this morning, and has now renewed the argument that he is old enough for M rated games like Assassin's Creed and Skyrim. After all, we let him play some 12 plus games when he was a mere 10 or 11. He is wisely not extending this argument to Grand Theft Auto at the moment...although he has on other occasions.

As far as I know, there is no lap dancing in Skyrim. But there are Dovahbears, and they are pretty enticing as far as both kids are concerned.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Attack on Titan Survey Corps Cake

I have used something in excess of 16 sticks of butter over the last 23 days.

Due to poor long range planning on my part, the kids' birthdays are only 22 days apart.
This makes for a challenging February for me, as there are two birthday cakes and two classrooms' worth of "birthday snack" cupcakes to be baked, and more importantly, to be frosted. Baking is definitely not one of my talents, but I do have a fair amount of experience with squirting colored frosting .

The kids claim to have outgrown frosting depictions of things like dragons and puppies. Both asked for geometric cake decorations. Given my haphazard style of frosting application, this proved to actually be harder than drawing a superhero or a dog. Ansel requested a target and Archer asked for the insignia from the Survey Corps capes in the manga series "Attack on Titan."

When laboring over the the fussy geometric pattern on Archer's cake at 1am a couple of days ago, I actually thought back fondly on previous cake requests like "The Predator Riding Godzilla."

Friday, February 20, 2015

Wicket and Paddington with Storm Trooper Helmet

An Ewok and a Bear share a moment.
Maybe they are considering eating something other than marmalade?

I thought that Wicket and Paddington had so much in common, how could I not put them together on a napkin?  They are both short, furry persons who wear stuff on their heads and live in forests.

And Ewoks and Bears are sometimes predatory. If the details of "Return of the Jedi" are not fresh in your mind, my sons would be happy to remind you that the Ewoks initially try to roast Luke and Han alive for dinner. At the conclusion of the movie, the Ewoks are playing Storm Trooper helmets and armor like a xylophone, and the suggestion is that the former occupants of the armor have met a rather unfortunate, (but perhaps not unsavory) end.

Of course Paddington and his much larger Aunt Lucy and Uncle Pastuzo seem to prefer to eat marmalade.  Spectacled Bears, the real life bears who live in Peru, actually eat very little meat. (I looked this up on Wikipedia, can you believe it?) But they do eat some flesh when it is available.

Stormtrooper might be an acquired taste.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ewok Pilot and Yoda Hanging Out

Yub Yub?

There's been a little resurgence of interest in things Star Wars recently at our house. The contents of the enormous container of action figures and space ships got strewn all over the hallway, and we reread some of Jeffrey Brown's "Jedi Academy" series.

One of Ansel's favorite aspects of the series is "Ewok Pilot" a comic-within-the-book penned by the main character. The Ewok Pilot creates humorous disorder and speaks in cute Ewokisms along the lines of the aforementioned "Yub Yub!" and the always popular "EE Chee wa maa!!"

While the two characters might be near the same height, I didn't think Yoda would be as  impressed as my sons are with Ewok Pilot

And....pathetically, I just have to point out how nicely the napkin pattern lined up with Yoda's face. It's rare that I am able to make it work out so well.
Sad that this passes as a visual design accomplishment for me, but so be it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Scabby from Chickenhare Book 2

 "Scabby wants to live!"

The boys really like the Chickenhare books by Chris Grine, and particularly "Chickenhare Volume 2: Fire in the Hole"  The book includes this scene where Scabby the sea captain expresses his feelings after being told that he and his companions are going to be transported to hell by a devil. 

This proved to be way too weird for lunch,  however.
I cannot say that I was surprised.

Monday, February 16, 2015

George and the Cherry Tree Observe Presidents Day

We definitely need to work on our Presidential recognition skills.  Ansel has learned how to recognize a few extras beyond Obama courtesy of the Simpsons (JFK, FDR, Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon) but clearly we need to do better.

I fantasized about some sort of obscure presidential napkin team-up in the spirit of "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter":   Rutherford B. Hayes, Boss of Werewolves, William H. Taft, Beastmaster. James Garfield, Zombie Hunter, James K. Polk, Shapeshifting Overlord. etc.  I just couldn't find the time to work something like that out, conceptually or logistically.  Instead, I went for the low hanging fruit: a "Guardians of the Galaxy" Rocket and Groot style team up. 

Even the second graders know that the cherry tree story is bunk, but the tree looks nervous anyway.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Insipid Valentine with Hamsters

Valentines Day Nom Nom Nom:
Fluffy Rodents Gnawing on Love.

One can never go wrong with hamsters, a cookie and a purple backdrop.
If only that combination worked so well in the real world.

My sons find Parry Gripp songs endlessly diverting... particularly the "Nom Nom Nom" song.  The hamster on the left is based on the opener from that video. He is, however, eating something much more healthy on YouTube.  I briefly considered drawing heart shaped broccoli, but fortunately came to my senses before it was too late.

Could this be the appropriate follow-up to the Shark Valentine?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Valentines Shark

Love Bites.
Have a Jawsome Valentines Day.
You're Fin-tastic Valentine.
I Would Bite at the Chance to be Your Valentine.
You're My Chum, Valentine.

Shall I stop now?

The kids in second grade are decorating bags today during class for the collection of their valentines tomorrow. So, clearly there will be no avoidance of the Valentines topic despite the fact that the actual day falls fortuitously on the weekend.

What is the right look for a valentine for 8 year old boy? My previous forays into this topic have not been terribly successful. But I thought I could not go too far wrong with a shark.

Ansel was not impressed with my pathetic attempt at a satiny fabric draped on the floor. "Mom, what is the shark laying on?" he asked this morning. I could only reply, "On some bad drawing."

You can see the last year's forays into bad Valentinery here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Robots from "Omega the Unknown"

What if you found out that your parents had been robots all along?

We've been reading Jonathan Lethem and Farel Dalrymple's 2007 revival of the Marvel series from the 70's. "Omega the Unknown" is an unusual superhero comic. The main protagonist, a 12 year old boy, discovers during a catastrophic car crash that his parents were robots. His subsequent life in New York intersects with a mute alien Superman like guy in a cape, murderous nanotech robots, and a corrupt self-proclaimed superhero called the Mink.

The story has been a little challenging for the kids to follow, but they are not much interested in straight superhero comics lately, and seem to appreciate the alternative quality of the story and the artwork.

Ansel's favorite parts so far have been the idea that parents could be robots...
...and how cute the Mink's nanorobot infested amputated hand is after it sprouts feet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Duke Fishron From Terraria

When Pigs Fly:
Just when you thought there could not be another Terraria boss napkin....

A boss who can do it all: swim, and....oink?
According to the Terraria Wiki, Duke Fishron "appears to be part pig, part dragon, and part fish."
Below is an image from the game.  I slimmed him down and made him look more sharklike.  I am not sure why...Maybe because I like to draw sharks?

Now that we are 8 napkins in, I am definitely ready for a new obsession.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Terraria's Plantera

When Plants Attack:
Terraria's Plantera offers a carnivorous, yet vegetarian, lunch option today.

My son seems to have an inexhaustible enthusiasm for Terraria bosses on his napkins.

Over the last few weeks, it was beginning to seem like his social self-consciousness was making the napkins maybe more trouble than they were worth. He was often concerned that whatever was on his napkin might be too weird or too revealing to let his classmates look at it. His older brother Archer is an unselfconscious and indefatigable proselytizer for his own pop culture enthusiasms. Ansel, however, is both very socially acute and quite concerned about how he and his stuff are being received.

For the moment, the Terraria boss series seems to have pulled the napkins back from the brink of retirement. There appears to be a lot of positive response from his classmates and a couple of burgeoning friendships developing around the topic of a shared interest in Terraria.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Twins From Terraria

What could be worse than a giant laser shooting eyeball?
Perhaps a giant eyeball with teeth?

As I may have mentioned before, Terraria features many creative monsters and bosses, and several pair sensitive body parts with pointy teeth. 
Ansel was so pleased with the giant eyeball concept that he made some additions to our zombie eye paperweight so that it would look more like a Terraria boss. (Why do we have a zombie eye paperweight?... Excellent question that)

And speaking of disturbing images.  I was googling a bit, looking for a good close up of a human eye to use while drawing this napkin, when I came across several good views of what is really going on in human eye anatomy.  I'm not sure why I never really gave much thought to what feature physically creates the beautiful color patterns that we see in irises. Now that I have seen the actual structure, it makes perfect sense...and I see it whenever I look at an eye.... and I find it very disturbing.  

...more disturbing even than an imaginary eyeball with teeth.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Terraria Boss Ocram, Second Form

Not Just Another Pretty Face:
Finishing up the week with another Terraria boss

The Terraria wiki entry tells me that this handsome guy is the final boss of the mobile and console versions of the game.  The wiki goes on to offer all sorts of information and advice, including the usual compliment of colorful Terraria names: Ocram can be summoned using the "Suspicious Looking Skull." He (or she?) can be fought using a "MegaShark" and 1000 Crystal Bullets. When defeated, he drops "Souls of Blight."

Ocram looks a good bit like a Predator, (the pop culture alien rather than lions, tigers and bears) so it is not surprising that my older son found him to be rather interesting.

I don't think my younger son knew what he was going to get when he requested this one, however.  When I showed him the napkin this morning, his reaction was something like, "huh."

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Golem From Terraria

Yes, it is another boss from Terraria.
Terraria seems to have upstaged Minecraft in popularity in my son's second grade classroom this week.

Ansel has already plotted out the next few days of napkins featuring Terraria bosses for me. We haven't had a run of napkins on one topic like this for quite a long time. My older son had an unfortunate obsession with DragonVale several years ago. Before that, there was an even more entrenched fixation on Pokemon.

Now, as in the case of the two previous obsessions, there is a bit of compensation via napkin going on. Terraria bosses that have not yet been encountered, much less defeated, DragonVale dragons that had not been hatched, and Pokemon cards that could not be afforded can at least appear on napkins.

Ansel is usually much more ambivalent about the napkins than by his older brother was. He tells me that he often does not show them to the other kids at lunch. But he does seem to be enjoying the attention of his Terraria-fan classmates lately. I suspect the recent requests might even be coming from other kids

I know that my ability to help him seem cool to his peers is going to disappear as he gets older, so if it's working a little bit now, I am pretty happy to oblige.

Here's an image of the Golem from the Terraria Wiki:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Brain of Cthulhu, Second Form

"Really! I want to see a brain in my lunch!"

The Brain of Cthulhu is another unappetizing boss from the Terraria game.  While this flying, teleporting brain is perhaps not quite as lunch-spoiling as the previous napkin depicting the Wall of Flesh, I would not have drawn it had Ansel not insisted. I completely failed in my attempt to make it any more aesthetically pleasing.

As the napkins recipients' grandmother just pointed out to me, it does look like it is a heart being eaten by a brain. I suppose the metaphorical possibilities of that situation are extensive and fraught. My limited understanding, however,  is that the brain opens up to reveal the heart inside as the game progresses... so perhaps the suggestion is that the heart is chronically imperiled.

Or maybe it is just designed to be a nasty combination of vulnerable body parts and teeth and should not be given too much thought.

I hope it is not upsetting any impressionable 8 year olds at lunch today.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Skeletron Prime fromTerraria

Watch out for "Rage Mode":

When you live with two kids who are utterly unconvinced by the axiom that "children should be seen and not heard," it is hard to steer dinner table conversation to contemporary events, world politics, or even to what happened at school today....

...when you could be discussing the endlessly fascinating topic of Terraria instead.

Skeletron Prime is a "Hardmode Mechanical Boss" in the game, in case you are wondering. He is comprised of a skull, sometimes spinning and sporting spikes, and four autonomous weaponized limbs.  He will "occasionally enter 'Rage Mode' in which his attacks become more aggressive." And from what I can tell, if one does not kill him by dawn, one's goose is pretty much cooked.

I quoted the above information from the Terraria wiki, but it has probably been lobbed across the dinner table in the middle of the adults' attempted conversation about....well, anything.  Sometimes it is hard for me to catch the precise details being offered about a game when I am busy expressing my opinion that perhaps we could be discussing something else.

As you can tell by the napkins, I do make a genuine effort to take an interest in my sons' interests.
And I try to positively and gently encourage them to take an occasional interest in MY interests.

And I am working on my parental Rage Mode.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Shark with Birthday Cake

I am not sure why our younger son decided that he wanted to watch "Sharknado" again on Saturday morning, but as it was his "birthday weekend" I was more or less willing to indulge him. I was trying to work on frosting his cake, so I was not paying close attention, but I can offer the opinion that the movie does not benefit from repeated viewing. 

His class studied ocean animals during the fall of second grade, so perhaps he was exposed to a more, shall we say, "nuanced" view of sharks. But I think it is safe to say, that the recent education did not get in the way of his appreciation of shark slaughter and general scenery chewing.

It seems like it is still his birthday today, as there is the school acknowledgement, complete with a "birthday snack" of cupcakes frosted with green frosting (applied by his sleep deprived mother at 1am on Sunday morning)... so a birthday themed napkin seemed appropriate.

There was a lot of Nerf weaponry involved in the birthday party and a target themed cake was requested.  Drawing concentric circles in frosting without a compass or turntable was surprisingly challenging. It definitely would have been easier to draw a frosting shark.