Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kid Portraits for 2014

As usual, they suffered mightily while this picture was being taken.  I asked them to be still, and requested some adjustments of hand positions and such.  Torture.

Because their faces are covered, you cannot tell how much they are suffering.

I try to do a couple of portraits every summer during the downtime between summer camp and school.  You can see the previous portraits at the links below to discover whether my drawing is improving... or getting worse.  My camera phone has definitely improved since 2012, so at least the resolution and white balance are better.

Summer 2013
Summer 2012
March 2012

Below are the two individual napkins, photographed in the usual manner.
And a photo of the kids on the floor without napkins, so you can see how much pain they experienced during this project:


Friday, July 25, 2014


Colossatron from Halfbrick is subtitled "Massive World Threat" which appeals very much to Archer's video game sensibilities.

Drawing rectilinear, robot-like things is not something that I do well, and I must admit to shirking most of the details of this city-destroying alien robot snake thing.  I am afraid that I may get another chance.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Demo Man from Team Fortress 2

I haven't drawn an age inappropriate, violent video game character holding a piece of wholesome lunch food in place of a weapon in a while.

Archer tolerated my substitution of flaming broccoli for Demo Man's giant gun with relatively good humor this morning.  The guy still has explosives attached to his vest, after all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Godzilla and the Colossal Titan

Monster size matters:

Godzilla and the Colossal Titan from "Attack on Titan" seemed too obvious a pair to pass up.

Of course, it had to be "classic' Godzilla and not the star of the 2014 movie, as the new kaiju has grown to something  in the neighborhood of 100 meters. The Colossal Titan is a mere (and much more plausible) 60 meters.

For those who are sticklers about super-monster size, I know that the classic Godzilla should be a bit shorter, at around 55 meters, but perhaps he is standing on his tippy toes. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cybil from Mark Tatulli's Lio Comic

LOL Axe Cat:

Our kids reread the several collections of Lio comics that we have once every few weeks.  They particularly enjoy Cybil, Lio's cute and fluffy, yet well armed and potentially homicidal, cat.

In a one three panel comic, Lio pokes Cybil and she responds by suddenly threatening him with a large axe.  He takes her picture and sends it to "Cat Fancy Magazine"... much to the editor's horror.

This one is definitely not appropriate for Quaker school lunch.  The summer arts camp is much more tolerant, but perhaps we are still pushing the envelope. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Eren in Fire Titan Form from "Attack on Titan"

The obsession with "Attack on Titan" continues to blossom at our house.
We only have 5 of the 13 (and counting) manga volumes, but it is clear that I am going to have to come up with the others sometime soon.

As images of saucer-eyed children being devoured alive by giants passes for relaxing bedtime fare around here, I've been reading the books out loud in the evenings.

Doing so has made it clear why our sons love the series.  It is a fine distillation of the youthful fantasies of being able to rocket through the air to successfully battle giant monsters.

The fact that the heroic young protagonists are rendered in generic anime style as big-eyed waifs and most of the titans are more realistically drawn to look like schlubby, clueless adults is also an appealing facet, no doubt

The main large-eyed young protagonist Eren, can morph into a titan himself, but his titan is muscular, pointy-eared and can burst into flames, so he is definitely no schlub.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Corvo, Agent 47 and Connor Kenway

Cool killers from Dishonored, Hitman and Assassin's Creed III

Archer, a person of the ripe old age of 11, asked me yesterday which of these three games would I be most likely to allow him to play.  A thorough enumeration of the relative amounts of sadism and bloodletting in each of the three games followed. (For instance:  "Really! You don't HAVE to kill anyone in Hitman!")

I replied that this seemed like a trick question as I was pretty sure that all three were rated M.  Archer responded that 11 is almost a teenager and it was high time for his first M rated game.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Skylanders Legendary Chop Chop

Interest in Skylanders waxes and wanes around here, but never goes away.

Archer always has a list of Skylanders characters that he feels that he really needs to have.
Legendary Chop Chop is at the top of this list right now.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Minions and Alien and Strange Facebook Popularity

Erich Grey Litoff was kind enough to share this napkin on the Stan Winston School of Character Arts Facebook page where it accrued over 5,000 likes and 890 shares.

This is approximately 5,055 more likes and 890 more shares than our napkins usually receive on Facebook.  

Oh well.


Archer asked for a drawing of himself with Toothless.  My rendering of both of them, unfortunately, was not particularly successful.

Fortunately, Archer is more easy going than his brother when it comes to mediocre portraits by mom.  Ansel has recoiled in horror and refused to take nearly every napkin drawing I've done of him to school.  Archer kindly reassured me this morning that he would take the napkin even though the drawing of him wasn't very good.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Eren's Titan from "Attack on Titan"

Archer is still thinking a lot about "Attack on Titan"... the game, the television series and the manga books.

I have managed to remain mostly ignorant of what is apparently a big cultural phenomenon in Japan, but this probably cannot last. With particular delight, Archer showed me a Subaru commercial featuring attacking titans, arguing that this was evidence of the broad popularity of the franchise. I said, well, yes, it must indeed be popular in Japan. "How do you know this commercial is only running in Japan?" he asked. Well... it is in Japanese. I think the American equivalent would probably feature a General Motors vehicle being used to escape a horde of zombies.

Archer asked for the main character Eren's titan for today's napkin. In the "Attack on Titan" story, not only is the world endangered by giant naked (but genitaless) humanoids, but some regular humans can morph into these creatures in order to battle the others. (Still no genitals, though.) Perhaps this is an essential difference between Japanese and American culture? America's favorite monsters- zombies and vampires- are rarely naked.

Monday, July 14, 2014


Sometimes, I can take a simplified cartoony character from one of Archer's favorite video games and draw it in a more realistic way and achieve a vaguely amusing result.

Sometimes, the result is awkward and disturbingly weird...and not in an interesting way.

This is Archer's avatar of the moment on the browser game Bearbarians, available on the likes of and  

Unsurprisingly, Archer was not impressed this morning.  And I left the weapon out of the picture:
So...double fail for that.

The source material:

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Cherry Blossoms with Cat and Bird

I think it is safe to say that neither of my sons have ever requested flowers to be drawn on a napkin.

There was a lovely period before enforced gender conformity, when I was drawing princesses for Ansel.  Having said that much, now I cannot resist sharing a family annecdote... Ansel's interest in princesses coincided with the final phase of his toilet training, so I was using Barbie style Disney princess dolls as rewards for the successful evacuation of solid waste into appropriate recepticles. (And yes, I would have avoided buying such unrealistic- body-image-purveying dolls for a girl child, but somehow bucking gender conformity to buy them for a boy canceled out my feminist objections to the dolls). At any rate, here is the punch line to the story: we still occasionally refer to visiting the bathroom for solid waste as "I need to go earn a princess."

To return to the napkin  above:  it is rare that I get a girly request these days.  The floral napkin pictures here  is for a  7 year old daughter of friends, and was the result of a school fundraising auction.   All she asked for was "cherry blossoms"   No weapons, no lasers, no trademarked characters.  I hardly knew how to proceed.

After looking at hundreds of cherry blossom images  online, I was somehow compelled to add the animals into what became a rather fussy image.  I hope she is not too disappointed.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Corvo From "Dishonored"

Being too young to play "Dishonored" does not keep Archer from being a comprehensive authority on the game. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Winner of Tuaca Napkin Competition

I was honored to have my napkin selected for the grand prize in the TUACA napkin competition. (Link to TUACA facebook post on the prize)

The top image below (Two Lions Walk into a Bar...) was selected.  It was the third image out of four that I had submitted.  TUACA sent me a very generous check and a box full of TUACA themed swag.

The kids have already plotted many ways to spend the money.  They feel quite responsible for "our" prize as the napkin project overall is theirs.   If only they had any sense of financial reality...And if I could just manage to win a napkin drawing contest once a month....

You can click on the images below to see the original posts.

Thanks TUACA!

Rock Golem from Battleheart

Archer announced yesterday that he had been playing Battleheart for a total of more than 7 days.  I was a little confused by this statement, since I know he has had the game since 2011 at least.

(In fact, you can see a Battleheart napkin from 2011 here which reminds me what the napkins used to look like....)

I was briefly horrified by the idea that what Archer really meant was that he had logged 7 x 24 hours cumulatively  on the game.  After some questioning, he corrected himself, "Oh, I meant I've spent 7 HOURS total on the game."

While this did not make me proud, at least I didn't feel like Child Protective Services would be arriving immediately to pick him up.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Scorpion from "Injustice" with Zombies

Archer's latest fixation on a video game that he has not actually played has been "Injustice: Gods Among Us," and the Scorpion character in particular.

As he carefully explained to me this morning, "Injustice" is a Mortal Kombat style fighting game which features DC characters....with the exception of Scorpion who is an import from the Mortal Kombat universe.

Archer asked for Scorpion to be fighting at least two zombies.  When I started perusing creepy images of Walking Dead style zombies last night, I came to the conclusion that friendly "Plants vs. Zombies" members of the undead was a better bet for a lunchtime image.

One hopes that they are able to jolly Scorpion out of his bellicose mood before he punches one of their heads off.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Jeff the Killer and Ben Drowned

Archer enjoys freaking himself out with creepypasta characters like Jeff and Ben.
He wanted this image to be scary...but not too scary.

As his mother, of course, I have mixed feelings about this sort of thing.  One doesn't want to deprive one's offspring of a little developmentally appropriate enjoyment of horror.  But a situation where a kid is afraid to cross a darkened bedroom to go to the bathroom at night is definitely undesirable. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Zak Saturday and Komodo

About once every six months, Ansel is reminded how much he likes the series "The Secret Saturdays."

And once every six months, I am reminded that there is really nothing plausible for me to do with Zak Saturday's hair.  I drew his face and his pet/ family friend Komodo, the Komodo dragon, in a more realistic manner, but Zak's two toned hair really defies intervention.

Ansel's summer program is over at noon, so he is technically not taking a packed lunch to camp these days.  But he was feeling a bit napkin deprived, and felt that he needed to demonstrate what the napkins looked like to the people he hangs out with from 8 to 12.  I guess this napkin is just going along for a morning snack.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Godzilla Launches Fireworks Over the East River

Godzilla, Baby, You're a Firework:

The kids were very excited about the fireworks being back in the East River for the first time in several years.

Maybe the rain will let up so we won't need Godzilla and his "atomic breath" to make the evening impressive.

And while I'm at it, here's a link to last year's Fourth of July napkin, featuring the Alien, Predator, Uncle Sam and bomb pops.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Sonic from "Sonic and the Black Knight"

Archer requested that I copy the image off of the Wii game box, so I take no credit for Sonic's manly pose or charming weapon.

Sonic the Hedgehog, with his strangely naked noodle arms, Mickey Mouse gloves and 80's footwear, is a character that I have trouble appreciating, but Archer is always happy to discuss his merits at length.

I think we bought this game because four people could play at once, promising fewer WHOSE-TURN-IS-IT-REALLY? altercations at play dates...

Or at least that would be the case if we could ever find all four Wii controllers at one time.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Dante from Kingdom Rush

In my own defense, I can only say that this character is really tiny on the screen, and I had very little to work with on this one.

Levi from "Attack on Titan"

We still haven't seen the "Attack on Titan" TV.  Archer is in fact lobbying against watching it because he thinks it will be too scary for his younger brother...just benevolently concerned for his brother....

But he still wants to read all of the books.
And my manga-style drawing could still use a lot of help....