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.