Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Years Party with Star Wars and Fallout 4

New Year's Eve: an opportunity to reflect on what has been of real importance this year.

I am not proud to say that if you asked our sons today what they value most, they would tell you respectively, Fallout 4 and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. 

Due to what now looks like a lapse in judgement on my part, the older child has been hard at work on the latest iteration of Fallout since Hanukkah.  For our younger son, the recent frenzy around the release of the new Star Wars movie, "The Force Awakens" has oddly translated into a fixation on the earlier Cartoon Network animated series, now inexpensively, but perhaps unfortunately, available in its 6 season entirety on Netflix.

Therefore, as a memento of our obsessions of 2015, we have a napkin image of some of these characters at a New Year's Eve party: From left to right: Anakin Skywalker, predecessor to the latest Star Wars baddie, Kylo Ren, "Dogmeat" the faithful German Shepherd sidekick in Fallout 4, a Supermutant from the game, and Star Wars' Boba Fett.

Looking at this napkin earlier today, my younger son told me that I had "ruined it!" by putting a party hat on Anakin, because, "everyone knows he looks terrible in a hat."

I think there are more significant problems here than Anakin's head being covered.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dark Side Gingerbread

We have neglected to make a gingerbread anything so far this year. The kids are really enthusiastic about frosting and candy, but frosting and candy that are not intended to be eaten fail to hold their attention for very long.

Perhaps unfortunately, after googling "gingerbread Death Star" with me, my younger son is now convinced that we should make something like that ourselves. Having made this napkin, however, I feel pretty fulfilled in my need for Star Wars gingerbread and am unlikely to take on a frosted AT-AT or the like....(I suspect that there must be some hot glue involved in those gingerbread Star Wars vehicles that one finds pictures online)

We finally (Yes! Finally!) saw the movie today, and I am fighting the urge to say something spoilery about with whom one makes gingerbread houses over the holidays...but I will refrain...mostly. I drew this before we saw the movie so no spoiling was intended.

My son has requested a "Han and Chewie frosting a gingerbread Millinneum Falcon" as a follow up.

I don't know...I have a bad feeling about what would happen with all that fur and frosting.

Princess and Dinosaur Birthday Cake

We were honored to have one of our napkins reproduced on a birthday cake. The birthday child's dad emailed to let me know that they had Googled "princess riding a dinosaur" and found the Leia T-Rex napkin.

As the aging feminist mother of two mostly unappreciative boys, I am always pleased to discover that there is a female audience for any of the napkin imagery. Leila on the T-Rex was part of the "Star Wars rides Dinosaurs" series, or else she might not have made the napkin cut with my son.

While my younger son is actually quite interested in female characters in tv and movies (particularly attractive ones of course) he rarely wanted to take an image of one to school on a napkin...because ironically, manly 8 year old boys don't like girls, or at least don't admit it to their friends.

But I am glad that a three year old girl can enjoy this one- and to know that the image comes up early in a Google search for "princess riding a dinosaur."

Friday, December 18, 2015

Jedi Ewok and Mandalorian Jawa

No, we have not seen the movie yet (opening today, for those reading this in the distant future)....and will not for a while.... but this images was my younger son's request for the occasion of the opening of "The Force Awakens."

He specified that the Ewok should be dressed as a Jedi, and the Jawa as a Mandalorian Bounty Hunter like Boba Fett.  The Fetts are perhaps best recognized by their storm trooper-like helmets.  But when I asked my son if the Jawa should be wearing such a helmet, he regarded me sadly and said, "No, of course not, how can you tell that he's a Jawa if he's wearing a helmet?"

I am pretty sure that he had something more active and slapsticky in mind for these two, but I was only able to pull off something stolid and static.

You'd think I would be better at drawing Ewoks and Jawas by now, wouldn't you?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Holiday Card 2015

Happy Holidays 2015

I've been feeling a little hesitant to post actual images of my kids' faces recently. They are getting older and are more in charge of their online appearance...or lack thereof. However, as you can see, this was not a concern here. I am pretty confident that Google's face recognition software is not sophisticated enough to deal with this image.

The kids were quite pleased with their obscurity. (They stuck those bows on their own faces, that wasn't my doing) The actual card does not included the folded arms, but I think I like that part of it.

I do wish a little bit more of their faces were visible.

And, no, it is not a napkin, or even a drawing. Maybe I will do better on that front next year....

Here's our card from way back in 2011.  I don't think Google will be tracking their faces into adulthood based on that one either...


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Kids with Rudolph Menorah

We usually take a picture of the kids for a holiday card. This year, they were feeling uncooperative and I was feeling uninspired, so I drew this very Thomas Kinkade style mess instead.

Yes, there is nothing worse than a saccharine portrait of children drawn by their parent.

...except perhaps adding a reindeer with a bike light strapped to his nose to that portrait.

My apologies to those who celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas... and to Thomas Kinkade enthusiasts also.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Boba Fett Squares off with a Predator, with Godzillas

Who's ready to take on the Sarlacc?

Boba Fett is suddenly a very popular character at our house.  Of course all things Star Wars are being whipped up into froth in anticipation of the new movie opening next week. I am pretty sure that Mr. Fett, is not going to appear in the film.  Theoretically, he is still in the midst of being digested over a thousand years in the Sarlacc pit that he fell into during "Return of the Jedi."

But Boba Fett is a playable character in the Star Wars Battlefront game, and he has become our younger son's new favorite.  He chose Boba as his lead combatant when the kids staged a large action figure battle over the weekend.

His older brother chose a Predator figure as his lead. When he looked at the image on this napkin, he told me there was no way Boba was going to win the contest, even if he shot the Predator in the knee first.  I suggested that maybe they were just posing, and not actually fighting each other.

At least we know that Godzilla could deal with the Sarlacc just by stepping on it.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Class Napkins

Napkin drawings by my son's third grade class (and a couple of teachers)
These were done after my son brought in a few napkins to show. As he has been eating lunch in the cafeteria lately, there has been no packed lunch, and no lunch napkins.
These napkins from his classmates came back home with him. 

Thanks for the very nice drawings and the kind notes!

Alien and Predator Holiday Selfie

If it bleeds, we can celebrate Christmas with it.

Christmas is a pretty secular holiday at our house. When I was a child, I thought I could be both Jewish and Christian at the same time. But the reality is that despite the lighting of Hanukkah candles and the trimming of Christmas trees, we are not playing for either team.

But we can embrace the general spirit of generosity and togetherness in the season... particularly when it comes to the characters from violent movie and video game franchises.  The Santa/Rudolph theme is popular with the kids even if they don't have the same irrational affection for the old stop motion Rudolph TV show that I do.

I am afraid that they have more affection for the Alien vs Predator franchise in fact.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Darth Menorah

It's hard to stay on the Dark Side when your head is on fire.

Last night was only the first night of Hanukkah, but any drawing of a menorah seems to require a full complement of candles.  While I was considering sticking 8 candles on the top of Vader's shiny helmet, the kids convinced me that Darth Maul was the better choice. Fortuitously, Maul has exactly 8 horns visible from the front view.

I guess he must be holding the shamus in his hand since it doesn't fit on his head.

Ewok and Jawa on Swagways

A lower center of gravity might help when it comes to a Swagway....

This image was definitely not one of my better efforts. I cannot really explain why rudimentary drawing skills, including basic perspective, seemed to elude me here.

Our younger son has been coveting a "hover board" recently.  While we will not be able to provide one of these rather pricey items for the coming holiday, I did my best to draw them on a napkin at least.

Usually, there is nothing that cannot be improved with the addition of a Jawa or an Ewok, but even short aliens who say things like "Ootini" and "Yub yub" was not enough to redeem this image.

My younger son's reaction to this drawing was, "What is wrong with the Jawa?" Obviously, my hilarious concept of the Star Wars characters having trouble balancing on the boards was not convincing.

My old son told me that the Jawa should be taking apart the board instead of riding on it.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Appearance on Good Morning America

I finally got around to uploading our very grainy shot-with-an-iPhone-on-a-computer-screen video of our appearance on the 40th anniversary live stream for Good Morning America from a couple of weeks ago. My younger son wanted to be able to show it to his art teacher at school.

I was supposed to drawing a napkin live on the program, which didn't really work out. This was definitely all for the best, as having the kids talk was much more entertaining than watching me try to draw.

Unfortunately, we do not have a recording of our later appearance during the hour, during which the host Dan Harris told me that my very talkative older son might have a future in TV.  My husband, the holder of the iPhone, had to answer the door, and missed the second segment.

But I hear that this has been broadcast on actual TV since, so perhaps it is out there somewhere.

You can watch this video at this Youtube link  should you so desire.
I can't stand to view it myself unless I turn the sound off so I can't hear what I was saying and I focus exclusively on watching what the kids are doing.

Zombie Santa and Skeleton Rudolph

That's a red flashlight in the reindeer skull's nasal cavity, if that needs to be said.

It's all just holiday build-up from here on out.  We are not especially observant of any particular tradition beyond the giving of presents to our children. I've done a lot of, "So what are YOU planning to GIVE to your grandma?...or aunt?...or father?" Because, of course, it is better to give than to receive.  Or at least it is best to not annoy the adults around you with your greedy requests to the point where they decide to give you nothing.

While it is true that I could use some brains for the holidays...despite my somewhat jaundiced parental perspective on the holidays, the drawing of Undead Santa and Very Dead Rudolph is not for my kids. It is for for "Deck the Halls," a holiday auction  to benefit The New York Academy of Art, where I teach occasionally...

I teach sculpture at the NYAA, and most definitely not the drawing of zombies on napkins, just to be clear.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Darth Santa and Kylo Ren

They find your lack of holiday cheer disturbing:

It seems far too early for Christmas themed napkins, but with "The Force Awakens" breathing down our necks, I felt it might be time for this image.

The kids have been very pleased lately with Jeffrey Brown's book "Darth Vader and Son." But when choosing a kid to put in Lord Vader's lap, the boys agreed that Kylo Ren was the one who would be most comfortable there.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Retribution

Thanksgiving dinner strikes back...with squirt guns.

The napkin recipients' father hasn't eaten red meat or poultry since his childhood, so we usually have a salmon on Thanksgiving. My mom has contributed a turkey for those who are not philosophically opposed to the eating of poultry.

The original concept was thanksgivIng dinner items holding machine guns. Given recent world events, I tried to recast the machine guns as squirt guns. There is such a real world item- a clear plastic machine gun shaped squirt gun called the "Saturator." 

Star Wars Thanksgiving

"Only at the end do you realize the power of the Dark Meat"

Clearly grasping for a Thanksgiving theme this year...
The boys wanted to know why does Kylo Ren Turkey seem more fluffy than Dark Vader Turkey?
And why do they not have their light sabers?

Alas, I did my best. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ezra Bridger and Kylo Ren

Ezra, the adolescent hero from the animated show "Star Wars Rebels" and the big bad guy from the upcoming "The Force Awakens." They might be having fun...or engaged in a mortal struggle...we're not really sure.

This is the napkin that I was supposed to be working on during our appearance on the Good Morning America 40th anniversary live steam Star Wars segment last night. I did not make a whole lot of progress on it at ABC. We managed to shift the emphasis to the kids...well...pretty much just being themselves, rather than me trying to ink a napkin, which was definitely not going to make for exciting viewing.

At first, the boys were grouchy about having to take the train back into Manhattan on a school night. Then they were really annoyed that no one would give them the passcode for the ABC wifi (the nerve of those corporate security types!) and that they had to entertain themselves with offline games while we waiting in the green room with a rather depleted snack table. But they were thoroughly impressed by the other Star Wars content that preceded us: $3000 of Star Wars toys together on one coffee table! A family who built their sons AT-AT bunk beds! Another family who installed an enormous light-up replica of the Death Star on the roof of their home!

The kids managed to pull it together and be pleasant on camera when it was our turn. Our older son was so naturally chatty while offering his opinions on the relative merits of the several movies in the franchise, that the GMA host Dan Harris suggested that he might have a future in television.

By the time we left at 8 pm, the boys had downed a couple of cans of soda each and were revoltingly full of energy. They felt the appropriate post broadcast activity would be a trip to a toy store to buy Star Wars toys. We walked about 10 blocks bickering before I convinced them that their plan was not going to pan out.

I finished the napkin after I finally got them to wind down and go to sleep at 10pm.

My younger son specifically requested the combination of Ezra and Kylo for this napkin. But he and his brother would like to point out that Ezra would be much older by the time he might have encountered this particular character.  I couldn't cope with the task of aging Ezra while trying to keep him recognizable, so I assuming a time portal or some other excuse for the two guys being on the same napkin.

Got to keep these drawings plausible.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Good Morning America 40th Anniversary Star Wars Hour Appearance

The napkins have been asked to appear on a special live stream  of Good Morning America this evening around 6:30-7:30 as part of a segment on Star Wars... and people who do obsessive things relating to Star Wars I am guessing.

To quote from the GMA live stream at :
"Good Morning America” is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a 40-hour, non-stop live stream. The “40 for 40” event features celebrity performances, as well as exclusive, memorable content, special guests and will be hosted by current and previous “GMA” anchors. Watch the “GMA” 40th anniversary live stream from Tuesday, Nov. 17, through Thursday, Nov. 19, to celebrate 40 years of “GMA"

They have already had an appearance by One Direction, the cast of the Hunger Games...and right now as I am typing this with the livestream video window open, an attractive woman is talking about her favorite brand of hairspray.  

I will be talking to host Dan Harris, and, yes, drawing on a napkin...Live On The Internet..

I'm hoping the show will have the kids talk.
They are far more telegenic than I am.
And they know a lot more about Star Wars

For more information on Twitter and other social media, the relevant hashtags are:

Olaf on Hoth with Tauntaun and Wampa

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Ewok, Jawa and BB-8

Diminutive Star Wars people squabble over BB-8...or maybe they are sharing nicely?

Our kids are pretty enthusiastic about the upcoming Star Wars movie... But will there be Endorians and Jawas?

(Probably a better chance of seeing Jawas on Tatooine)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Cast of Characters Who Could be in "Goosebumps" Movie

...take one of those abominable group selfies...

My younger son and I finally saw the "Goosebumps" movie over last weekend. His brother was going to a fun birthday party, so he was feeling terribly under-served and required some compensation. As far as I was concerned the movie was pleasant, but not particularly memorable.  My son thought it was great and immediately wanted me to pledge to take him to the sequel, whenever it might be made and released.

While we own several "Goosebumps" books, and I have tried to convince my horror-loving children to read them on many occasions, the series has just not been very popular in the past at our house.  I must confess that I was unaware what a publishing juggernaut the series has been...350 million copies have sold worldwide, and it is the second most popular children's series of all time, according to Wikipedia.

The movie's specific and rather dopey plot aside, "Goosebumps" the movie's charm is that it is a compendium of funny horror characters and therefore transcends the possible failings of each tale of scary zombies, creepy clowns, malicious lawn gnomes, deadly werewolves, etc., etc.

Being an 8 year old, my son was willing to attribute the original creation of many of these sorts of characters to R.L. Stine and the Goosebumps franchise. I reminded him that certainly the idea of werewolves, zombies, the abominable snowmen and ventriloquist dummies among many others predate Scholastic Publishing, some by tens if not hundreds of years.

And, on a more personal note, several of these characters appeared in my recent sculpture show "Popular Monsters," so perhaps I am particularly not willing to cede all credit to Mr. Stine.

Today's napkin is a reunion of sorts of characters who could appear in a best selling children's book series, in a major motion picture, or in my small, unsaleable sculptures.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Kylo Ren and Darth Revan

Everyone needs a little R & R in their Star Wars universe. 
(Pithy tagline provided by my 12 year old son)

When the first "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" trailer came out a few months ago, there was a lot of conjecture about just who was that guy with the red lightsaber with the cross guards?  Some Star Wars authorities opined that it was a "Knights of the Old Republic" character, Darth Revan. Of course, Darth Revan lived thousands of years before the events of the Star Wars movies.... (You already knew that, right?) Therefore, it was rather unlikely that he would be appearing in the movie.

I guess he was such a cool dude that people were still hoping that the guy in the mask was going to turn out to be him. My older son tells me that Darth Revan could crush a planetoid the size of the Death Star just using his force powers. Take that, Luke Skywalker.

At any rate, while this Revan person is not in the upcoming film, it seemed like he should be paired with the guy who is, Kylo Ren.

They can commiserate about how challenging it is to not be able to see out of one's helmet, and how hard it is to go to the bathroom while wearing a floor length robe.

Perhaps the force comes in handy for that sort of thing.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Powerful Pumpkins

What did one Jack O Lantern say to the other?
"Cut it out."

Maybe not.  Maybe he said, "Watch out, or I am going to zap you with my lightning force powers!"

There's been a weird post-Halloween trend at our house in which the boys pretend to be pumpkins...not inert gourds, but fighting pumpkins with super powers.  

It defies explanation mostly. I think it has something to do with the "pumpkin armor" and "pumpkin costume" available in the Terraria game. 

I was going to draw said costume or armor, but the boys had made some pictures of their characters, and wanted me to work from their sketches. They explained that both pumpkin guys could generate force lightning and that one was wearing a wizards hat, and the other, a red fez.  

My favorite moment of their pumpkin game was an instance during a sword fight where the older brother had just skewered the younger with a Nerf weapon.  The elder pronounced him dead or at least injured, but the younger replied, "No, you just stuck your sword into my cut-out eye hole. You didn't hurt me at all."

They told me that in my drawing the pumpkins were too human and not cute enough.


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Posing with Popular Monsters

Thanks to everyone who took the time to pose and shared the image on social media or with me!
The images below are by no means comprehensive...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spooky Scary Skeletons

A Unicorn, a Velociraptor....and some guy....send shivers down your spine....and are really hard to draw.

As usual, I discovered that the phrase that my older son has been contantly repeating recently was not of his own manufacture, but was actually proliferating on the Internet.  My first tip-off came when one of his friends came over to, yes, play video games, and said the same phrase over and over in the same tone of voice.  (Again, I have been consistently sleep deprived for well over a decade, so it takes a lot for me to catch on.)

At any rate, "Spooky Scary Skeletons" is a 1996 song by Andrew Gold, a video of a classic Disney animation with the song that has over 5.3 million views on Youtube, some Minecraft video spin-offs, etc, etc. I am just going to say that there's a link to the "know your meme" page on the topic because I don't think I can begin to unpack all of it right now.

My son asked for unicorn, Alien and velociraptor skeletons doing a high kicking "Michigan J Frog" style dance.  I was definitely not up to the challenge.  I had a hard enough time just drawing some vaguely anatomically correct skeletons and trying to put one in front of the other.  And what does the Alien skeleton look like anyway? (No doubt the answer is available online somewhere...)

The original Disney short of the dancing skeletons is truly inspired and inspiring... and I should have done better. Maybe I will give it another shot.

My son had something more like this in mind...with skeletons. Easy, right?

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.