Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nessie Visits School Cafeteria

We read Doug TenNapel's "Iron West" in the school cafeteria yesterday.  The story includes a Loch Ness style "wingless dragon" deployed by a Native American shaman (later revealed to be an alien) to battle an army of "metal men" and a Transformer-like monster robot made from a locomotive.

There aren't too many spaces at school where one could unleash Nessie, but the lobby and mezzanine cafeteria did seem like a possibility.  My perspectival drawing is usually pretty poor, and napkin distortions make the situation worse, but the kids were at least able to recognize the setting.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuaca Napkin

This afternoon, drawing a glass of alcohol was strangely more compelling than working on mortgage paperwork.  The deadline for this competition is tomorrow.  I am not entirely sure why it has been so compelling for me, beyond the obvious fact that very few people or corporations offer monetary incentives for drawing pictures on napkins.

I had much bigger plans for the trompe l'oeil aspect of this drawing, but the 20 minutes I had to give it forced me to be more realistic... or maybe less realistic.  

I spend a lot of time thinking about realism and the merits of accurate representation both in regard to my own work and students' work.  Unfortunately, I did not have any meaningful epiphanies while drawing this...beyond perhaps the not very useful and persistent observation that I draw better when I don't have time to try hard.

You can see my other cocktail napkin efforts here.
And view the Tuaca contest page here
 Below,  source material and the napkin alone:

Bigfoot, Nessie and Yeti

We finished reading "The Beast of Wolfe's Bay" and started rereading Doug TenNapel's "Iron West," a graphic novel that includes a Sasquatch in a sort of steam punk old west setting that features cowboys, indians, aliens and special appearance by the Loch Ness Monster.

This all led to the question of why isn't there a Bigfoot superhero?  After a big of Google research, I can report that of course there is the Marvel character of "Sasquatch."  I don't think he is quite what the kids had in mind, however.  Nor does it seem likely that he will be appearing in a major motion picture any time soon. His back story involves a "mystic portal" to the "Realm of Mighty Beasts" which allows a former football player to be possessed by a "mystical beast called Tanaraq"  All of this makes irradiated spider bites and gamma radiation seem like relatively plausible excuses for super powers. 

For the napkin today, I tried to imagine a more palatable super cryptid team.  The guys are wearing pants because, despite all the crotch obscuring fur, it just seemed like a more reasonable solution. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bigfoot with Skylanders Lunch

Cryptozoology is never really out with our kids, but reading Erik Evensen's "The Beast of Wolfe's Bay" last night got Ansel specifically interested in Bigfoot.

The pseudo Sasquatch on today's napkin, however,  probably owes more stylistically to Doug TenNappel's graphic novels "Iron West" and "Flink."

He's holding Ansel's Skylanders Lunch Bag.  Maybe he doesn't know how to work a zipper...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lions With Liqueur

So, two lions walk into a bar....

This one is another entry for the draw-on-a-napkin contest for Tuaca. (
The Tuaca bottle features a pair of lions, although not a heterosexual couple.

My husband helpfully offered a few conversational snippets for the two, including:
"Do you come here often?"
"Gosh, I wish we had opposable thumbs"

I wish they had opposable thumbs also... I had a hard time imagining how they were going to hold the glasses with their paws.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Basewood Dragon and Dog

We had to read all of Alec Longstreth's graphic novel "Basewood" in one evening.  Even though the dog died, Ansel was immediately ready for the sequel.

I imagined a less antagonistic relationship between Dragon and Dog for the napkin.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Spawn Dog

Ansel was somehow reminded yesterday that he likes "Spawn."

I feel I should point out that this affection is not based on any actual exposure to the comic or movie.  His older brother has filled him in on the highlights of Spawn's powers and background.  Archer hasn't seen or read it either, but his comprehensive authority on all things pop culture is rarely derived from primary sources.

I think Ansel's interest is mostly about the costume and less about the powers or the references to Heaven and Hell.  I had a lot of trouble doing this costume with all of its animated red drapery justice late last night.

There hadn't been a super canine napkin for a while, so here we have Dylan the dog in the Spawn suit.  My apologies to Dylan's family. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boris as Victuals in "reMIND"

Last night we finished reading Jason Brubaker's "reMIND" a graphic novel which, among other compelling features, includes a talking, underwater-power-suit wearing cat.  This led to a discussion of why we do not have a cat (mostly because their father's airway would become constricted and he would die) They then wanted to hear their favorite stories about my long gone pet cats and how they used to pee in sinks, bathtubs and buckets...or on my art magazines.

I'm afraid this napkin image of my former pet Boris (the one who liked to pee on art magazines) standing in for the much more abstracted cat in "reMIND" was another after midnight, slapdash effort.  

Earlier in the evening, in a rare momentary lapse of my usual helicopter parenting style, I sat for ten minutes actually talking to my spouse about something other than the kids themselves while they ostensibly went to the kitchen to make themselves a cup of herbal bedtime tea.  During that ten minutes, they prepared and consumed two cups of very strong, highly caffeinated black tea with (judging from the depleted state of the jar) several ounces of honey each.  

Bedtime was a raging disaster.  One child had to get up to pee several times after 10 pm, while the other laid in bed wailing, literally bicycling his legs in the air.  By the time the kids were finally out of commission there was nearly no napkin at all.

I sadly resorted to making them caffeinated tea this morning....because, you know, they were kind of tired.

Boris near the end of his life in '98

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dylan as Cerberus

I have to apologize for my complete misspelling of the guardian of hell's name on the napkin. I can provide the usual excuse that it was close to 1 in the morning when I wrote the name, and I was trying to do several other things simultaneously. Perhaps, however, I should also admit that in some dark corner of my mind, I always want to call Cerberus "Cerebus."

Shame...I know. My older son would never make such a dopey mistake... but he gets a lot more sleep than I do.  At any rate, the younger kid does not read easily, so perhaps he let my spelling error slide today at lunch.

The heads here come courtesy of his friend Ben's dog.  I didn't really play up the "hell hound" aspect of the three headed dog.  I think the tail is supposed to be a serpent and the jaws drip poison among other deadly features...depending whose account one is relying on.  But this Cerberus/Dylan is more of an anatomical oddity than a true guardian of hell.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dylan the Dog Reclines

Dylan the dog reclines:

Our younger son wants to have a dog so very much. 

I am sympathetic to the urge for a childhood pet. I loved my unfriendly, neurotic cat, Muffin, despite her crankiness and her tendency to pee in the sink and the bathtub.  (Of course, I was not the one cleaning up her messages of displeasure, my parents were.)

Now that I am the cleaner of misdirected pee, I am pretty clear that my caregiving load is already more than I can handle gracefully, so there are probably no canine family members in our foreseeable future.

Therefore, we need as much vicarious pet gratification as we can find. Fortuitously, Ansel's best pal's family just brought home a beagle/hound mix named Dylan.  Dylan seems very pleasant and sociable...if a little unclear at this point about where the pee should go.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Alien with Foil Wrapped Eggs for Easter

What my older son actually said was, "Just because we don't enjoy the Easter Bunny anymore, doesn't mean we don't believe in egg hunts." I think he might have meant, "Just because we don't believe in the Easter Bunny anymore doesn't mean we wouldn't enjoy looking for eggs."  Maybe.

Our other Easter activities this year were less traditional.  We went to an "alternative Easter carnival" on Friday. The kids' favorite activities involved using a paintball gun to shoot at a unfortunate man dressed as a Peep holding a riot shield, ("Shoot Da Peep") and throwing a ball to try to "Dunk Jesus." Given the cold weather, there was no actual dunking involved. The man dressed as Jesus was dropped into a tank full of well used sofa cushions.

And we watched this Easter themed video spoof of the Alien movie. Thus the napkin.

A split second before "Jesus" hit the cushions.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Manly Easter Bunny

Can a rabbit than delivers pastel eggs to your home be masculine in appearance without being creepy?

I should preface my comments on this napkin with the exculpatory information that I didn't even get started on it until after midnight, when any normal person who has to get up at six would have gone to bed.  I got a late start on the evening after spending a ridiculous amount of time looking for a cell phone on which I had stupidly turned off the ringer and then idiotically left it in the sleeping kids' dark bedroom.

Absent an official request from Ansel last night, I thought (not that my thoughts were at all coherent at that point) that something Easter themed would be nice.

As a child myself, I never really believed in Santa, the tooth fairy or the other standard childhood holiday characters, but I was not quite sure about the existence of the Easter Bunny for perhaps longer than I should have been.

I think this might have had something to do with an early sighting of an adult in a bunny costume at some sort of Chicago department store.  And it might have had something to do with my parents pushing the idea.  At our house, the Bunny was definitely not associated with any religion beyond the love of candy, and was compellingly described by my parents as being so tall that his ears "just brushed the top of the door jamb as he passed through."  For unknown reasons, I always pictured him as being blue and wearing some items of clothing, like a vest and a bow tie. 

I admit I have described my childhood questions about the existence of said Bunny to my own kids in a sort of "hey, you never know" fashion.  We have had Easter egg hunts where the Bunny leaves them a note which is obviously in their mother's handwriting.  "Perhaps he sends me an email and tells me what to write?" I have pathetically suggested.

In short, they have never been fooled... or particularly amused.

When I started thinking, for 45 seconds straight at least, about drawing this Bunny that I had imagined in my childhood and described to my sons, I realized he was just not going to be cool, or masculine, enough for my younger son.

Attempts to make him more of a cool guy were, like my bizarre spin on the Tooth Fairy, mostly disturbing.  Ansel humored me by taking the napkin to school, but I am sure there were plenty of disclaimers issued at lunch.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Black Dog

Rereading one of our mythological animals books, Ansel was predictably enthusiastic about the idea of the "Black Dog."  This oversize canine's origins are primarily in European folklore and it is usually described as an emissary of the devil, a hell hound, or at least, a portent of death

Large glowing red eyes and a relationship with Satan are characteristics guaranteed to entrance my younger son.  If I explained the association with depression, that would probably charm him all the more.
I tried to draw a dog that was not too scary...or too depressing.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Flying Griffin

Our kids are often not so interested in real animals, but they are always want to read about monsters and mythical creatures.

The arrival of a couple of used books on the topic (including "The Mythical Creatures Bible") over the weekend escalated Ansel's enthusiasm to the point that he wanted a griffin on his napkin.

While I might have been slightly critical of some of the goofy contemporary renderings of these creatures in this book and several of the others in rotation at our house, I found it more difficult that I might have hoped to pull off a convincing griffin myself.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat With Fruit

Released from their separate sleeping bags in the bike by the warmer weather, the kids played the iOS version of "Mortal Kombat" together all the way home yesterday.

I am not proud to say that I thought it was sort of cute.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Last night, Archer came across an image of a Bearmageddon style Octobear in the sketch pages in the back  of the most recent Axe Cop book,  reminding him and Ansel how much they like Ethan Nicolle's other web comic "Bearmageddon."  Full of blood, dismemberment, profanity and pot jokes, even after I have edited it for lower school consumption, it is still age inappropriate...Much to my kids' delight of course.

I tried to cute up the Octobear idea for today's napkin, but Ansel was definitely not impressed.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tasmanian Devil Winter Soldier

Ansel is suddenly very interested in Tasmanian Devils...because they are so "cute."
Yes, the request for today was a Tasmanian Devil as the Winter Soldier from the latest Captain America movie. 

I think the results could have been worse.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Winter Soldier with Broccoli

Our sons pronounced the Captain America sequel as better than the Avengers movie because, "there were more explosions and more guns."  And three Helicarriers instead of merely one.

They were impressed with the Winter Soldier character and particularly appreciated his hair, as clearly HIS mother does not insist on cutting it when it obscures his vision.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Axe Cop's Wexter with Fire Breathing Dragon

Dragon vs. Dinosaur:  Sadly, not appropriate for Quaker first grade lunch.

We finished reading Axe Cop's "Revenge on Rainbow Girl" last night which included a huge battle featuring Axe Cop's Gatling gun-armed T-Rex and a red dragon.

I discovered last night that there just aren't that many images available online of dragons fighting dinosaurs. It's just one of those mysterious missed opportunities in the internet common culture.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bane Cat and Winter Soldier Cat

"No one cared who I was until I put on the mask."

I am not proud to admit that I watched the BaneCat video yesterday.  The cat wearing the respirator seems suspiciously mellow about the situation.  I hope pharmaceuticals were not required.

But that video and the promotional materials for "The Winter Soldier" made me think about the power of a bad guy who is wearing a mouth covering.

I was already thinking about cosplaying pets, as I had recently revisited our "super canines" series while posting them on Instagram.

(While I had carefully avoided Instagram in the past, "Daily Napkins" had suddenly acquired 949 followers on its nonexistent account thanks to one repost of a napkin image by Toby Turner a month ago.  I decided I might as well post some more images there as the Tobuscus-derived Instagram constituency seems much more enthusiastic than other social media platforms. )

Anatomically, cats just seemed to lend themselves to mouth covers more than dogs.
I am not sure that the above commentary really explains the image.
Perhaps I should just point out that I was very tired and it was very late last night.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hamster Falcon for "Winter Soldier"

The kids have been watching the previews for the upcoming Captain America movie fairly attentively.  But I think they were so distracted by the Winter Soldier character that they missed the presence of Falcon in the trailers.

We had the honor of hosting the famous class pet Fluffy the hamster for the duration of the school break, so it seemed like another rodent cosplay napkin was needed.

You might think that I could have gotten some better reference materials for this hamster while it was living in my house for two weeks, but it proved almost impossible to get a good photograph of her dark quivery little body. 

Boys with hamster blur attempting escape