Monday, February 29, 2016

Dogs Playing Foosball

Never underestimate the appeal of Foosball....or of dogs.

Our younger son's school is in temporary quarters for the rest of the year, so amenities are rather limited, and the recreation space is a somewhat bare and gloomy basement.

But they do have a Foosball table, and that seems to be more than enough. Whenever I arrive for pickup, there is a large excited group of kids hopping up and down around the Foosball table. We often have to stick around for as long as possible so as not to miss any critical Foosball action.

I drew less kids on this napkin than are usually involved in the game, as I could only put so many dog heads together on short notice. My son was very concerned about which kid was which canine, but as this drawing was based on a concoction of several snapshots, I can't say that I chose the dog breeds based on the individual kids' personalities.

For the sake of full disclosure, and since he asked me repeatedly, my son is the second from the left. He says I made him look fat, but I disagree.

Speaking of the appeal of Foosball and dogs...I had to sit through the preview for "The Underdogs" movie multiple times last year, but now I see that after many reschedulings, its US release has been cancelled... My sons were very positive about the possibility of seeing a movie about Foosball table characters magically come to life in order to play soccer, but I lost patience after repeated viewings of the preview. Wikipedia tells me that this movie set the all time record for the box office opening of an Argentine film, but perhaps the appeal of Foosball was not enough to insure its distribution in the States.

(See a similar napkin from last year, "Cafeteria Dogs" at this link. I was able to be more thoughtful about dog breed choice in that case.)

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Garden Warfare 2 Birthday Cake

Agent Orange and the Pirate Zombie from "Plants vs. Zombies 2" on a birthday cake.
And Pirate zombie with strategically placed birthday candle:

Quite remarkably, our older son turned thirteen this week.

In related, remarkable only to me news, I have completed my baking and frosting duties for the foreseeable future.

This is a good thing. After staying up appallingly (and embarrassingly) late to squirt frosting on this cake, and then hosting a dozen adolescents at our apartment for an afternoon festival of video games, whacking with Nerf swords, and rubbing of frosting on various surfaces, I feel like I might have had my eightieth birthday this week....

My son wanted me to make the whole cake into an iphone and the image a selfie. While I thought that a lovely concept, I did not manage to pull it off. He did not announce his choice of characters until 8 pm last night, so he is very lucky that he got anything beyond white frosting and the "Happy 13" text.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

StormTrooper and Terminator "Just Dancing"

Maybe they are just dancing...

In a rare moment of napkin interest recently, the napkin recipients' father, also known as my spouse, suggested that there was a lack of Stormtrooper meets Terminator imagery out there in pop culture. After a brief google search, I can report that this does indeed seem to be the case. There are a few "Who would win?" sort of discussions and one video mash-up of Arnold vs. a Stormtrooper, but this does seem to be a slightly underexplored combination out there in internet land.

As the Storm Troopers in the Star Wars movies are always so terribly inept, it did not seem like a very fair contest to me, so I tried to come up with some other activity the two characters could share besides combat.

Last evening the boys and I were having one of our frequent and unproductive "how can you get more exercise while still playing video games for every possible waking moment of the day?" conversations, during which my older son resorted to proposing that we try "Just Dance" on the Xbox One. I suspect that he was just strategically humoring his mother's obsession with health and exercise and was not really serious. I think this because he then immediately pointed out that "Just Dance" was not really a good idea because the game would require buying a Kinect which would then spy on us in our living room.  (There's a whole other amusing topic!) I notice today when I looked "Just Dance" up for this post that this game can be playing with a just smart phone....

But, unfortunately, I am still in favor of not playing video games all day and instead exercising away from the Xbox.

While I was thinking about dancing games last night, however, I drew the trooper and T-800 "busting some moves." Since that phrase, according to Wiktionary,  is presently mostly outdated and now can mean anything from flatulence to seduction to attack, perhaps their ambiguous postures are just as well.....

Or maybe it's just my poor drawing....

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sloth Sith Holding Double Lightsaber

Speed matters not.

Star Wars and sloths continue to be hot topics at our house.

Our younger son is still working on his Sloth report at school. And last weekend we saw the vastly overpriced, but very gratifying for the kids, "Star Wars and the Power of Costume: The Exhibition" at the Times Square Discovery Center.

I had failed to draw a sloth holding a lightsaber on a previous napkin, so I had to remedy that oversight soon.

This was a late night slap-dash effort, done mostly with those nice toxic Xylene markers. I have tried to shift over to alcohol based markers as they are refillable and less of a health hazard.  But there are certain effects that are exclusive to the more solvent-y xylene markers... and that lovely intense purple does not seem to be available in the less toxic brands. I also have a nostalgic fondness for stinky art markers from watching (and smelling) my father use them for product design illustrations back in my early childhood. Or maybe I just like toxic materials. I spent almost two decades casting sculpture in polyester resin. Since becoming a parent, I have really made an effort to not wallow in solvents quite so often.  But this has absolutely nothing to do with Sloths or Star Wars.

Internet memes involving sloths seem to have peaked back in 2013, but they are definitely still around, including the truly awful "rape sloth" (I am not going to include a link to that one since my older son reads this blog: Hi Honey! please skip googling that one!) There is also the "astronaut sloth,"  and the more recent and unfortunately named "Slittens."

Another widely distributed internet sloth meme conveys the statement that sloths often fall out of trees because they mistake their own arms for tree branches.  While I do not have any firsthand information to contribute to this topic, it appears that the source of the sloth ineptitude rumor is actually just one comment in the satirical writing of Douglas Adams.

So....don't believe everything you see online: Sloths don't make rape threats or fall from trees because they cannot distinguish their own limbs from branches.

Sadly, nor do they wield double lightsabers.

Monday, February 22, 2016

BabyPuppyMonkey with RobotTigerChick

BabyPuppyMonkey and RobotTigerChick:

Okay, so maybe BabyPuppyMonkey is not more horrifying than PuppyMonkeyBaby after all.

I've done some more thinking about the triple hybrid genre suggested by the PuppyMonkeyBaby commercial. I think there needs to be a human, or at least human-like aspect, and the component nouns should all end in the long "e" sound. I spent a lot of time today baking and frosting cupcakes for my elder son's upcoming birthday, so I had too much time to consider this.

These rules do unfortunately result in the exclusion of the RobotTigerChick. In that case, we were just thinking of things that were cute or cool.

But there are lots of possibilities with ponies, Corgis, bumblebees, Yetis, duckies, guppies, combined with retirees, grannies, abductees, yuppies, jockeys or amputees...maybe with some shrubbery, pastry or Humvees mixed in.

The kids are not particularly impressed by this train of thought. They did, however, enjoy eating the extra cupcakes.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Onward Aoshima and PuppyMonkeyBaby

Awesome things combined with rather disturbing results.

"Onward Aoshima" was of course a favorite moment for my sons in the Gravity Falls canon.
Our younger son is still beginning several sentences a day with the words, "I can't believe Gravity Falls is really over...."

The boys did not watch the Super Bowl and thus missed the PuppyMonkeyBaby ad.  But somehow I could not restrain myself from showing them the commercial. It reminded me so much of the annoying qualities of Pokemon characters where all they can say is their own name, over and over and over again.

We are thinking of some other tripartite cute and supposedly "awesome" characters... RobotTigerChick comes to mind.  I like the dysfunctionally horrible possibilities.

PuppyMonkeyBaby is pretty creepy, but when you imagine BabyPuppyMonkey, you can see that it could be even worse. But my younger son was sorry that I had not drawn Aoshima in his more extreme four armed, rainbow spewing form, so perhaps awfulness is in the eye of the beholder

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Presidential Bros Smash

 Belatedly for Presidents Day:
(It's still "Presidents Week," right?)

I asked the kids to name as many Presidents as they could to generate the cast of characters above.  (They also mentioned John Quincy Adams, but I did not manage to work him in.)

The composition is of course based on the Super Smash Bros Wii U case image.  I say "of course" for those who spend a lot of time looking at Nintendo game cases strewn on the floor in front of the TV.

My kids wanted me to draw the Presidents all playing in a Super Smash game. I told them it was unlikely that I was capable of pulling that off. I can barely watch a Super Smash Game without wanting to have a seizure, let alone play, or draw it.

Some of the choices here were obvious: Lincoln is in Link's spot, Taft is in for Kirby, Teddy Roosevelt for Donkey Kong, JFK for Princess Peach...

Or perhaps not. Maybe it makes no sense at all.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Puppy Bouquet

A very belated happy Valentine's Day image for my younger son:

Valentine's Day went mostly unacknowledged at our house over the weekend. Our younger son exchanged cards in the classroom and indulged in a school-condoned sugar orgy way back on Thursday the 11th. By the time we got to Sunday the 14th, both kids had terrible colds, and we were all fairly unmotivated.

I had started this drawing before the weekend, but was too busy doling out hot tea, Kleenex, sympathy and Tylenol to finish it until today.

Puppies are pretty much the thing our younger loves the most. Due to his father's allergies and his mother's caregiving fatigue, his love is still unrequited so far.

And I had to add insult to injury by telling him that if we ever do manage to get a dog, it is unlikely to be a puppy. Having only marginally survived the infancy of two humans in our house, I don't think I could sign on to superintend to babyhood of a dog.

But, as he pointed out in his 9 year old wisdom, "Puppies are basically just small dogs!"
So here we have a great many very small dogs.

(This image was based on the Thinkgeek "Plush Puppy Bouquet")

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Puppy Pugpool

My sons want to see the Deadpool movie that opened yesterday almost as much as they want a puppy.

Sad to say, this napkin is the best I can do for the moment.

There is a "Dogpool" and a "Pandapool" among others in the rather extensive "Deadpool Corps" in the Marvel universe. But no image comes up when one googles for "Pugpool"...well, nothing beyond a pool for pugs anyway.  The web abhors a vacuum- particularly one that could be filled with a puppy wearing a superhero costume.

We had an extensive series of super dogs in mostly DC outfits back in 2013 when our younger son was suffering from more acute feelings of pet deprivation. You can see some of those napkins at this link. Or more exhaustively (63 napkins and counting) at this link

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Baby Sloth Not Holding a Double Light Saber

Couldn't we all improve our appearance with a double bladed laser sword?

Our younger son has been writing a paper on Sloths this week. 
He has not shared much Sloth information with me beyond the observation that baby Sloths are really cute.

He looked at this napkin today and said, "I thought for a moment that he was holding a double lightsaber. That would have been much better."

Yes, a lightsaber would have improved the image immeasurably, I don't know how I possibly could have missed such an obvious improvement last night. I considered trying to change the boring blue pole to a glowing weapon this morning, but while I probably could have pulled off the saber itself, the effect of the light on the Sloth fur would have been pretty much impossible to manage.

And... you know...I didn't want to compromise my "artistic integrity."


Maybe I will draw a baby sloth with a double light saber tomorrow.... if I am not too busy drawing something artistically important like a Pug puppy in a Deadpool costume.

(I originally thought the Sloth should be upside down, but inversion seemed to compromise cuteness...maybe.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Deadpool with Waddles from Gravity Falls

Two characters that our kids would like to see more of this month.

The final episode of the much beloved Disney series, Gravity Falls, "Weirdmageddon Part 3" is coming up on February 15th,  and of course, the Deadpool movie is going to be released later this week on February 12th. Fortunately, Gravity Falls is not rated R, so we should be able to watch that at least.

As previously mentioned here, we won't be seeing Deadpool for quite a while. We do own several Deadpool comic books that probably should not be in the hands of minors, but my threshold for potentially offensive materials in print form is much higher.

The kids felt quite strongly that Waddles the pig should have been dressed in a Deadpool suit on this napkin. (Pigpool... or Waddlespool?) They are big fans of the Deadpool animals like Pandapool that appear in "Deadpool Kills Deadpool"....and speaking of inappropriate materials: that book is emblazoned with "Parental Advisory: Not for Kids" right on the cover.

I just did not think I was up to stuffing Waddles into a Deadpool suit last night. And selfishly, I wanted to draw the pink and red combination of the two characters.

Perhaps more Deadpool Corps tomorrow.... I noticed while googling that there is plenty of imagery for "Dogpool" and "Pandapool," but nothing comes up for "Pigpool":

An unfulfilled online constituency.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Dr. McNinja with Miniature Hippo

"America, do you not want tiny hippos?"

We caught up on one of the kids' favorite web comics, Christopher Hastings' Dr. McNinja last week.

The Doctor's nemesis, King Radical sees it as his mission to make the world more "radical." One of the improvements he offers is tiny pet hippos. I am going to resist the urge to explain that any further, as I won't have much success.

Speaking of lack of success...I foolishly thought a tiny hippo would make for a pleasantly easy drawing subject. There is something about this napkin that reminds me of drawings I might have made in say, sixth grade. Maybe there are several somethings. The rainbow background does come from the comic itself, but my 12 year old self would have been pretty enthusiastic about that as a background solution for almost any drawing. Dr. McNinja's eyes and eyebrows are often slightly oversized and expressive in the comic, but in this slightly more realistic context... well, they say preadolescent girl to me. And the mangled hand....And the purple hippo.

My younger son pronounced it "Weird. Just weird." Normally, I might not take that as a criticism, but here, I have to agree.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Box of Markers

Smarter than a box of rocks?

Thanks to the newly available Copic Marker box, all of the markers are now in one container.
This may be my most significant accomplishment for the week. Not only did I buy this box and the containers that fit inside it, I then managed to move all of the markers into it...

Posting this picture, I am outing myself as a person with way too many markers. Maybe you are thinking, my god that is a lot of markers... maybe you are thinking that I ought to be able to make better drawings with all of those markers. You are probably right.

The markers used to live in a couple of "ArtBins" but the tops did not close very well, and once a month or so, during a sword fight, one of the kids would knock one over, leading to an unhappy half an hour of marker retrieval and reorganization. While not bombproof, or childproof, this thing latches shut and is smaller and easier to put away.

Ted Cruz and Tusken Raider Celebrate Victory in Iowa

After the Iowa caucus, I gave some serious thought to what Star Wars character would go best with Senator Cruz.

I finally settled on a Sand Person because Ted Cruz is not a believer in climate change, and is strongly against gay marriage and a women's right to abortion. These seemed like positions that the Tusken Raider community could also embrace.
...particularly that bit on climate change denial, as Sand People are uniquely well prepared for an increasingly difficult environment.

As you may have already gathered, I am not a supporter of Ted Cruz, or the Republican party in general. However, I do try to accurately represent other points of view so that my kids can make up their own minds.

And if you are a supporter of Senator Cruz's presidential candidacy, do not think my choice of Star Wars character to be overly snide: My sons like the Sand People. And they are fun to draw.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Nikola Tesla and His Favorite Pigeon

That special connection between a man and his favorite urban fowl:

Tesla may have been a germaphobe with OCD, but he had extremely positive feelings about New York City pigeons. Not only did he feed them in Bryant Park, he brought sick and injured birds back to his hotel room for nursing. As previously mentioned in the blurb for our Tesla and Pikachu napkin, he claimed to have a special relationship with one white pigeon that he said he loved "as a man loves a woman."

This image here was not one of my better efforts. Tesla became quite emaciated in his later life and removed his distinctive mustache, so he is a bit difficult to recognize in photographs and I did not have much success with his likeness.

I also had some trouble deciding what the situation should be with the light source in this image. Initially, I was thinking about trying to make it look like the glow from a plasma lamp, but I tried to stay away from drawing actual bolts of electricity, and the results are pretty muddy.

Our older son is still working on his research paper on Tesla. His younger brother says that he asked for a plasma globe for his recent birthday not because of all of the talk about Tesla, but because he had seen one in a YouTube video.

As it turned out, my image doesn't do plasma lamps, pigeons, or Mr. Tesla justice.
But the kids are quite excited about the real plasma lamp, so perhaps my drawing can be a little bit cool by association.