Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween from Pumpzilla

Or maybe it's a Kaiju O Lantern?

Since the younger child starred on the last pumpkin-themed napkin, we had to give the other, Godzilla costumed, one equal time.

My younger son did look at this napkin wistfully and said, "I wish pumpkins could actually do that."

The Doctor and the Terrible Lizard pose after trick or treating.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Head

Jack O Lantern pumpkin head. He is a fearful sight:

We did finally get around to carving a pumpkin last night.  I did all of the messy excavation and removal of pumpkin guts, and left the design to my younger son. I think his concept might have some debt to Minecraft Creepers.

After roughing out the face, it quickly became clear that the whole point of this activity was the repeated and....can I say ironically, pointless, stabbing of the pumpkin with various sharp implements.
The cutting of the Jack O Lantern design in no way fulfilled this urge. The joy of inflicting additional meaningless damage seemed inexhaustible. As usual, impulsive destruction was so much more compelling than thoughtful creation.  Eventually, the pumpkin stabber had to be pulled away and made to go to bed.

 Since we've been doing a series of photos of people posing with the sculpted heads from my "Popular Monsters" show, it seemed like a there ought to be a head substitution.  I was aiming for a Headless Horseman sort of backdrop.  I considered putting my son on a rearing horse, but just didn't have time to tangle with equine anatomy.

Most of the damage was on the back side of the pumpkin, and cannot really be appreciated in the photo below. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Godzilla and the Prom Queen: A Halloween Team-up

A close female friend of my older son describes her Halloween costume as a "Goth Prom Queen turned Demon."  As the parent of two sons, I must admit to being grateful that I have been able to remain blissfully ignorant of the complexities of female preteen Halloween costume choices.

I did not get to see my inflatable Godzilla son interact with the ironic prom queen at their Middle School Halloween dance last weekend, so I had to resort to imagining them together... sort of.

My depiction of her is not a particularly good likeness, but it is definitely more realistic than my drawing of my son's Godzilla costume.  For various reasons, we ended up with an adult sized costume.  Despite containing a slight 12 year old, it still inflated to its maximum volume, so the resulting height to width ratio was perhaps a bit peculiar... And not like that drawn on the napkin.

The photo below is of the 8 year old brother wearing the costume, so the height to width ratio is even more un Godzilla-like, but I am so amused by the tiny human toes peaking out of the feet, that I could not resist including it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Inbread Cat for "Popular Monsters" Exhibition

While the show is almost over, I am still working on heads for it....or maybe it's just that the project is ongoing. My sons like to call this one the "Toast Cat," but I believe the official name of the meme is "Inbread Cats" or "Cat Breading."

No actual cats were tormented during the making of the sculpture... and my dignity is certainly too far gone to be a concern.

And... as a public service announcement to those of you desperately looking for an opportunity to see sculpture and napkin drawings in downtown Brooklyn this week  (or to pose yourself as a Toast Cat a shark or Grumpy Cat):
The show runs through Friday October 30th, 9 am- 6 pm.
It could be seen on Saturday October 31st by appointment.
The info is below just in case:

Popular Monsters: Sculpture and Napkins Drawings

Humanities Gallery
First Floor, Library Learning Center
Long Island University, Brooklyn
1 University Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201-5372

Travel: B, Q, R to DeKalb Avenue
2, 3, 4, 5 to Nevins Street
A, C, F, to Jay Street
For more information,
call 718-488-1198

google map location link

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Blast O Lantern

With Halloween bearing down on us, I had big plans to carve pumpkins with the kids today, but was impeded by their sincere desire not to carve pumpkins. They don't like the messy business of cleaning out the insides, the actual carving takes too long, and they are totally uninterested in participating in my parental fantasy of a fun seasonal craft activity.

But, no question, they would be all in for blowing up a pumpkin.

One of our many books of collected Liō comics, "Reheated Liō," includes a strip about an exploding pumpkin where the blast actually creates the jack o lantern's features. Having looked around online at various videos of exploding pumpkins, I can report that this is not a realistic scenario. I did not have much success at drawing it either...lack of good source material, perhaps.

But if we could make it happen, the kids would definitely be into it.
Maybe we can explode a turkey carcass in November.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sewer Clown

Why so serious?

This  character was designed by our younger son for our still only hypothetical family webcomic. He recognized that we had a shortage of bad guys in the cast of characters. With a name like "Sewer Clown" and six arms, tentacles for legs and two multi-pronged tails, how could this guy not be creepy?

My son says that he had not heard of or seen the sewer occupying clown Pennywise from Stephen King's 1986 novel and subsequent TV miniseries "It."  I'm not entirely convinced that he wasn't exposed to a stray reference or image of King's sewer clown by his older brother who avidly and repeatedly watches YouTube videos like "The 100 best horror movie characters of all time." But maybe it's just that sewers and clowns go together so perfectly.

As you can see below, my son's original drawing is much better than mine. I was instructed to make the clown look realistic, because as my son told me, "That's your talent Mom, making things look more realistic."

I suspect realism isn't really the point with this guy.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crark from "Reed Gunther"

Beefcake with claws and tentacles:

Our kids really enjoyed Chris and Shane Houghton's comic series "Reed Gunther" about a bear-riding cowboy in an old west world populated by monsters like the tentacled Shark/Crab. Reed and friends encounter this last giant monster at the end of the first volume in front of the half finished installation of the Statue of Liberty. After a narrow escape by our heroes, the Crark ends up in the freshly poured cement foundation, presumably vanquished.... Although in a later panel, it appears to be waving its claws even after the Statue of Liberty's head has been dropped on top of it, so perhaps a future appearance in a sequel is a possibility.

Chris Houghton's drawings of the Crark in the comic are much more monstery and much less silly-beefcakey.  Somehow my default mode when drawing superheroes and monsters for my sons is always something with defined abdominal muscles.  Maybe this is because my younger son often specifies that there should be a "six-pack." Or maybe this says something unfortunate about me... In this case, I didn't do a very good job with those external obliques anyway, so perhaps a less hunky physique would have been better.

And, to make an uncomfortable admission, I debated about whether there should be nipples of some sort on this thing. "Nipple" does seem to be one of my sons' most favorite words lately. As in, one brother punches the other and then the punchee shrieks loudly, "Ow! My NIPPLE!" (This is to make everyone who does not have two small sons feel much better about their lot in life.)

I thought seriously about putting a strategically located starfish on each pectoral, but decided dealing with the fallout from my sons just wasn't worth it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cybil, the Homicidal Feline from Liō Comic, With Nerf Blaster

Killer Kitties agree, "It's Nerf, or nothing."

Our younger son was recently reminded how much he likes the cat in Mark Tatulli's Liō Comic. We were revisiting a previous Cybil napkin that is included in the show "Popular Monsters" at LIU.

While small, cute, furry things with weapons are always popular with our sons, I had not appreciated just how much the younger son liked this particular cat. In the comic, she is constantly up to no good, threatening the veterinarian with a hypodermic, wielding a grenade, various guns, or a chainsaw while wearing a hockey mask.

In this image, I was trying to top her previous napkin appearance where she was holding an axe. I considered arming her with some sort of a gatling gun (a favorite image at our house thanks perhaps to Axe Cop), but decided to draw a less dangerous Nerf weapon instead. I chose the Nerf Elite Vulcan / Havok Fire Blaster which might be the pinnacle of ridiculous foam dart weapons. It appears to retail on Amazon for the notable price of $450. I drew it in monochrome rather than the standard Nerf N-strike colors of bright orange and yellow for a slightly more menacing effect.

But if anyone is asking, it's a toy gun.  Cybil could no doubt do plenty of damage with just foam darts anyway.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The 11th Doctor Who and Godzilla

Time Lord sits on a Kaiju:

Our kids are preparing their costumes for Halloween: the 11th Doctor Who for the younger brother and an inflatable Godzilla for the older.  My older son warns us that the Doctor is very sensitive to radiation, and probably should not hang out with Godzilla.  More to the point, the inflated lizard costume is very sensitive to puncturing and deflation, so perhaps Godzilla should not hang out with an antagonistic 8 year old who is armed with a Sonic Screwdriver.

They will probably be trick or treating in different neighborhoods anyway, but I am hoping for at least one picture of the two of them together.

The relative scale, however,  will be quite different than it is pictured on this napkin.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Birthday Moose

What occasion could not be improved by a drawing on a napkin?

A woman who has been a close friend of mine since high school had a birthday today.  What could I give to a dear friend of over thirty years who just happened to be in town on her birthday?

I was slightly concerned she might be offended by the Mooseman.  She collected Moose related paraphenalia and tchotkes three decades ago, but I was pretty sure not so much in the present.  We are still consistently and warmly in touch, but I was slightly dismayed to find that I was having trouble coming up with a napkin image that might be less than 30 years out of date. But, after scrolling through years of her facebook feed and scraping around in the dusty corners of my prematurely senile mind, I could not do any better than something Moose related.

She took my callback to her childhood collection with good grace, and pointed out that he would double nicely as a Menorah.

(The number of candles only relates to the number of protruberances on the Moose antlers. We are both way past the age where an accurate number of candles should be lit on our birthday.)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Land Shark Vs. Space Pig

How to make a big mess over a long weekend:

One of the many joys of having two kids in two schools is that their time off does not always line up.  The younger one was at home today, both are off on Monday, and the older one is home on Tuesday.
Foolishly, I thought this would be a good time to start a project we've been talking about- making some cardboard and plaster sculptures of the characters for that web comic which we still haven't written yet. I thought maybe I could work with each child alone, as joint time in my studio tends to devolve into a play-fighting brawl. Each kid picked his favorite- Space Pig for the younger and the Land Shark for the older.

I tried to put the two characters together in a nondescript space on this napkin without much success.  My younger son told me that I had made the pig look scary and weird. The older son pointed out that I neglected to include the flaming chainsaws that the shark requires.

We did manage a little work on the sculpture today... It quickly became clear that my son was mostly interested in weapon design...and maybe this weapon he's building will be so cool that he cannot bear to see it plastered onto a pig sculpture and will have to keep it for himself... 

In the bottom picture, you can see that I made very little progress on Space Pig.  We spent a lot of time debating which way his joints should bend- whether they should be porcine-accurate or humanoid.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Space Pig

...not to be confused with "Pigs in Space"

This guy is another character for our hypothetical web comic.  I don't think my son has seen any of the Muppet classic "Piiiiigs.... iiin .....Spaaaaace" that was a staple of my childhood. Remember when The Muppets were one of only a very few offerings for prime time kids' programming?  My sons surely cannot imagine life without 24 hour access to video entertainment. Not that they are watching television in the middle of the night, or even very much during prime time. But I do remember being pleasantly surprised ten years ago to discover that "Dora the Explorer" was on at three in the morning to distract our then toddler son who was suffering with what he believed to be intolerable strep throat pain. Now we can assume everything is available all the time.

Speaking of 24 hour access, I would not be surprised if a bit of "pigs in space" exposure crept in via YouTube. This astronaut swine of course bears more resemblance to Halo than to that show.  My son insisted that he needed a complicated full head helmet....and to be wearing cool sunglasses when the helmet is off.

This was not one of my better efforts as far as spacesuit-design and limb-arrangement are concerned.  Here is the moment when I bring up the overused excuse that the drawing is on a napkin and looks pretty good considering....

Monday, October 5, 2015

Zombi Rambi with "Scorch Trials" Background

Our younger son's wish to see the "Scorch Trials" movie with a friend who is also a "Maze Runner" fan had been thwarted for almost three weeks, so I felt that I had to make it finally happen yesterday. In all of my parental guilt about not gratifying this wish before, I failed to give significant thought to the content of the movie. I did slog through all of the Maze Runner books back before the first movie came out to make sure it would not  not too scary...but over the weekend, they were not fresh in my memory.

So while I did know about the zombie-like "cranks" in the second and third books, I didn't realize, that they would be behaving horrifically like full blown zombies during so much of this movie. 24 hours later, there doesn't seem to be any obvious zombie-induced psychological scars and phobias in either of our kids. Perhaps it is too early.

But since zombies are still on our minds today, I thought maybe a cuter, more humorous version of the undead might be appropriate for a napkin.

We were introduced to the idea of "Rambi" by the graphic novel "Ricky Rouse Has a Gun." The story is set in a Chinese amusement park that is heavily "inspired" by American pop culture. Costumed characters in the park include the Dark Knight-like "Ratman," a bottom-heavy version of a flying elephant named "Bumbo," and the titular big-eared rodent as well as "Rambi," the red bandana-wearing mercenary deer. "Ricky Rouse"  was not written for  kids, and required significant editing, but our sons definitely appreciated the humor (and the violence.)

Perhaps I should add that neither child has seen the movie "Bambi" or "Rambo," but they still get the joke here.

Walking home from our viewing of "The Scorch Trials," my older son claimed that he has seen "some of nearly every zombie movie ever made" courtesy of YouTube, and was therefore an authority on that genre.

I hope he is just boasting.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Blobhead Guy

Don't let your head get so big that you can't stand up...

Our kids have an extensive collection of little plasticine characters that they have made for various stop-motion video projects.  These guys are in a pile in our living room, ready at any moment to make oil stains on that lovely bookcase that their father built.  Frequently, our younger son repurposes some of the clay for a new creation, and this pink blobheaded LEGO guy was last night's effort.

I am always pleased to have the opportunity to draw something that actually exists in our apartment and does not require extensive use of Google image search. Looking at the snapshot of the thing below, however, I still feel like I did not do it justice.  I prefer the proportion of giant head to body, the feeling of imbalance (even though it is really standing up) and the fact that you can see the whole "unicorn horn."

And I cannot explain why I thought it was a good idea to put him on a small island. I liked the idea of a big blob of pink oil clay, endangered in a pretty environment, sweating in the sun....but that doesn't really justify the situation.

Our son explained to me last night that this guy is, of course, yet another character for the web comic.  But he doesn't really do or say anything. He just appears in the background frequently.  And then, after the web comic has been running for a long time, we can ask readers to count all of his appearances and give a prize to those who get the right number. 

I am glad that the kid is planning so far ahead with his social media campaign. I guess we had better get started on this comic....