Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Puppy Diss Track Vlog


Who's the Dawg Now?
The canines convene. Could they be making a diss track?

(Another in our vlogger/internet famous dog series)

While I see it as my job to try to expose my kids to aspects of culture that they might miss or not appreciate otherwise, the exposure usually flows in the other direction and I end up trying to understand things that, well, I find challenging. 

Let me be entirely honest: I am a woman who was born in the late 1960's. (I am ancient in online years) I attended a couple of institutions of higher learning that had very selective admissions processes. I might have considered myself to be at least an aspiring intellectual at some point.

So, this YouTube vlogging thing... I have to admit that I don't really have the resources to understand some of it. 

Like the online gaming obsession, I try not to just completely dismiss the whole endeavor. The vloggers that my kids watch, seem, well... perhaps less mature and more materialistic than would be ideal....

Ok, yes, I understand that this is entertainment, not role modeling....with trips to the mall, "Prank your Bros," and "Look at my expensive car!" moments sprinkled throughout.

As to the squabbling, gossiping and dissing that goes on within the community of vloggers... Let's just say, that I don't have anything constructive to add here. 

In preparation for making this drawing, I watched several "diss tracks" where one vlogger raps about how his former friend, brother, or significant other, is now uncool, unsexy, stupid, and just not as wonderful as his own sportscar owning self. Ok. Well, they are not clubbing baby seals or selling unnecessary pharmaceuticals to children, so why should I bother to disapprove?

But they have dogs! 

Some of these folks have dogs who have millions of followers on Instagram. And who among us can disapprove of a cute dog with 2.6 million followers?

But maybe the dogs themselves might disapprove. Who knows?

I had some fantasies about how fun it would be to draw puppies posing in pseudo-rapper diss poses, posturing in front of their Rolls or Lamborghinis. But as usually, I was too busy just trying to accurately render the dogs in question: Kong, Apollo, and London. (Companions to Logan Paul, Jake Paul, Faze Banks and Alissa Violet if you are not among the following) 

And here are all the relevant Instagram handles if you need to know more: @ourdoglondon @kongdasavage @apollothek9 @banks @alissaviolet
@jakepaul @loganpaul

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Deadpool Wears Deadpool


No better way to annoy your parents than to wear your Deadpool onesie all day long.

Deadpool would. 

Our son found his onesie at Walmart and the rest is history. 

Ongoing history.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

...That Explains the Laser Puppies


Of course my kids enjoy the short spoof movie "Kung Fury."  We first watched it long ago when they were far too young for such things. A 1980's style rogue police officer develops fantastic martial arts powers, and travels back in time to kill Hitler, "Kung F├╝hrer" with a detour to a prehistoric era inhabited by fur-bikini clad Valkyries, a giant God Thor and velociraptors that shoot laser beams from their eyes. When he is told that he has landed in "the Viking Age" Kung Fury responds, "That explains the Laser Raptors!"

Laser Puppies seemed the appropriate response to Laser Raptors...though I did give some consideration to the possibility of Laser Sharks.

But Laser Puppies have appeared recently, and repeatedly, in the entertaining Disney XD animated series, "Star vs. the Forces of Evil." so this is not totally unexplored territory.

But our Laser Puppies are Pugs and French Bulldogs, not just any puppies.

So there.....

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Portuguese Water Dog



"I should have been a pair of ragged claws..."
Or just one big claw and a happy dog on a beach...

We had a lovely trip to a friend's house out on Long Island last week.
We got to hang out with his dog and see thousands of lopsided fiddler crabs scuttling around furiously (fleeing from us of course) on the tidal beach.

Not that the dog and the crabs were the only highlights of the trip.
In all honesty, the dog was not pleased to be on the beach on that particular day. And the crabs didn't want to hang out with us any day, ever.

But they were the only two features of the trip that I could readily combine into a silly drawing that somehow seemed appropriate to me. (Maybe just me?)

Thanks so much for letting us stay at your cool house Alex!

Actual Atlantic Marsh Fiddler Crabs (Uca Pugnax):
From the web, demonstrating the one oversize "cheliped" on the males:

And from my video of the mass crab flight from the scary humans:



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Thank You Note (Again)


Absorb Any Thankfulness Today?

My sons had a great summer at camp. One was a camper and was an "intern in training."

As always, it was, and is, difficult to come up with an appropriate way to thank the people who are generous enough to teach my kids. I have enormous admiration for people who work skillfully with children (and with my kids in particular!) since I am a pathetic amateur always in need of improvement in this area. 

And how can we express this enormous gratitude? With a briefly executed sketch on a non archival paper product of course.

Unfortunately, I did not get to spend much time on this one unfortunately. It suffers from a bit too much unintentional awkwardness...unlike the intentional awkwardness of the other napkins. Ha ha.

But the kids do look a little bit like our kids.

And they did not actually have to pose for the thank you note. While they may not have felt consciously appreciative of that, there was an absence of their usual complaints, so I was extra thankful about that also.

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.