Thursday, May 26, 2016

Angry Bird Baby

Of course there was no way I was going to escape taking the kids to see the Angry Birds movie.

It was definitely not a movie I would have seen  if I did not have children. I was bemused by the presence of unreproduced adults in the audience. They might have been in the minority, but there were definitely some at the theater.

My sons were quite pleased  with the movie. And the audience applauded as the credits rolled, which, I think, is unusual. If I were to offer my own opinion, and this is probably a place I should not go, I would say they the movie's creators have done a fine job of transforming a simplistic smartphone game app into a moderately watchable film.

My younger son's assessment, "It was like a 2 hour ad for a video game!" This was said repeatedly, with great enthusiasm and appreciation. He did not mean it as a criticism.

My older son: "I really like how they integrated the gameplay mechanics into the plot of the movie."

I had asked my younger son what should be inside the baby bird's maw, and he had suggested a pig. When I showed him the napkin, He told me that he had meant a "bloody decapitated pig's head.'

So I guess I blew that one.

The kids have been fans of the game since its release.Below is one of our napkins from early in 2012: It gives you an idea of how the napkins have changed over the years. And how my phone's camera has improved.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Biggie Twiggy Miss Piggy

Biggie•Twiggy•Miss Piggy

(PuppyMonkeyBaby series drawing)

My sons had never heard of short-lived 90's rap star Biggie Smalls, nor of the 60's supermodel Twiggy.

According to Wikipedia, the Notorious B.I.G. is "consistently ranked as one of the greatest and most influential rappers of all time."

Twiggy was among the first international supermodels, was named Britain's "Woman of the Year" in 1966, and was arguably emblematic of late 20th century infatuation with unrealistically skinny, youthfully androgynous female models.

Are these people my sons should know something about? I'm not sure I successfully conveyed much beyond "Biggie is dead" and "Twiggy was skinny."

They are already familiar with Miss Piggy, but are pretty much not interested in her or in her Muppet confederates. Beyond some unavoidable enthusiasm for Elmo when they were each around the age of 2, neither has taken much to Jim Henson's progeny...with the exception of course of Yoda, if he counts. I was quite taken with The Muppet Show back during my 70's childhood. The program was on at night and combined slapsticky humor with more sophisticated entertainment. Now that there is a glut of programming specifically aimed at male juveniles available, my sons just don't have to tolerate watching singing puppets who make jokes that adults might appreciate.

And no disrespect intended to any of the three personalities involved. The rhyme was too good to pass up.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Nellie Minnelli Botticelli

Yet again with the PuppyMonkeyBaby drawing project.

In this case, citing three major inspiring influences on my childhood
Nellie, the mean girl on the 70's TV version of "Little House on the Prairie," (1974-82)
Liza Minnelli in her "Cabaret" (1972) outfit, and 
Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" (1480)

Just kidding...or am I? 
I definitely wanted to paint like Bottticelli when I was 12... around the age that I was watching "Little House on the Prairie," and probably was first impressed by Liza'a Sally Bowles.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Rocket Raccon, Captain America and Deadpool

What did you have for lunch today?
I had a Cap' Sandwich!

Our sons certainly enjoyed watching "Captain America: Civil War" last weekend. But they did not seem as outright giddy as they have been after the viewing of various other much promoted and anticipated superhero blockbusters. Perhaps that is partly due to superhero blockbuster fatigue? It hasn't been so long since Batman and Superman squared off, and the next X-men iteration is breathing its hot breath on our necks already.

But I think that the absence of their usual overwhelming enthusiasm had something to do with the somewhat serious tone of the movie and the lack of talking animals or extensive comic relief. Their main gripe afterward was that there hadn't been enough screen time for Spider Man and Ant Man.

In other words, perhaps "Civil War" would have benefited from a little Rocket or Deadpool.

The "Sandwich" joke appears to be a thing in my husband's family. Two people, usually sitting on a couch, sidle up to an unsuspecting person, usually a child. One asks the other, "What did you have for lunch today?"  The second responds, "A insert-name-of-victim-here, SANDWICH!" Hilarious (or extremely annoying) body compression follows. This sort of thing did not go on in my childhood home. (We did not do the "You've got something on your shirt" thing either.)

Perhaps Steve Rodgers would have a jovial disposition about such pranks. But it seems possible that Rocket and Wade might be a bit much for his taste.....
But Marvel/Disney does own all of these characters. So you never know. It could happen.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Dinosaurs Among Us

Dinosaurs are still around today.
But can they use Instagram?

While my kids have never been remarkably obsessed with dinosaurs, they have always been interested in them, and particularly appreciate a Dinosaur astronaut (see the excellent graphic novel "The Midas Flesh," or the kids books starring "Captain Raptor" for instance) or one holding a weapon or a piece of technology.

Last week I went to an after hours Instagram event, #EatDrawGram, at the exhibit "Dinosaurs Among Us" at the American Museum of Natural History.

It seemed odd to be in the museum unaccompanied by a small child, or two, or a whole second grade's worth....But it was certainly a pleasure to see the show as a solo adult. As my evening was still somewhat curtailed by the kids waiting at home, I did not get to #Eat, #Draw or #Gram while there... But, several days later, here is the drawing to be "Grammed" (could that be a word?)

The simplistic takeaway of "Dinosaurs Among Us," if it needs to be said, is that contemporary birds are dinosaurs, and that prehistoric dinosaurs were very feathery.

My sons are definitely enthusiastic about the idea of feathery dinosaurs. Although I think what they like about the two on this napkin is that they look furry. The dinos are covered in prickly protofeathers, however, and are probably not particularly fuzzy or fun to snuggle with....or able to take pictures with a smart phone.

You can see all our dinosaur themed napkins, including the Star Wars Characters Ride Dinosaurs series.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Kirito's Avatars from "Sword Art Online"

Incompetent Anime:

Our younger son has just finished watching the second season of the anime series "Sword Art Online" and asked me to draw all of the avatars of one of his favorite characters.

He made this request despite the fact that my sons agree that I don't do anime well. They are quite enamoured of the anime style, saucer eyed, almost noseless faces, and that decoratively spikey hair! They have both spent time perfecting their own drawings of "anime eyes" with giant double highlights.

The older child often asks me if I think that he physically reassembles an anime character. My usual response is, "compared to what?...or to whom?" Realistic depiction does not seem the primary aim of anime. Yes, my son has relatively large eyes, not a particularly protuberant nose, rather wayward hair, and some might describe him as "pretty," (don't tell him)  Maybe he looks a bit more anime than some other Caucasian 13 year old boys.

I could tell that the 9 year old was definitely not impressed with my efforts here, although he did his best to reassure me that I had done an acceptable job. He has matured a lot over the last year, and while no less a harsh critic of my drawing, he really tries to soften the blow as much as possible.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to Grandma:

This was an attempt at a Mother's Day card for my own mom.
Unfortunately the drawing, as well as Mother's Day in general, was pretty much done in by a virus.
Our older child very suddenly produced a temperature of 103 yesterday, just as we were getting ready to see Grandma and Grandpa. He followed it up this morning with 104, so visiting with non essential personnel was definitely out. My parents are relatively quite young and healthy (so much younger and healthier than I am going to be by the time my kids reach adulthood. But they are perhaps a bit past the point when they are willing to casually expose themselves to something beyond garden variety childhood pestilence.

And with the continuing pestilence in the house, I did not have much time to work on the drawing...and any Mother's Day acknowledgements (if any were planned) were definitely cancelled.

My husband did make me a cup of tea this morning, so it wasn't like nothing special happened

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Robby Bobby Holly Hobbie Visits with Rosie Josie Bela Lugosi

Robot Romance:

Robby the Robot hails from the 1956 film "Forbidden Planet." When I started this drawing, I realized that I had confused "Robby"with the "Robot" in the 1960's TV show "Lost in Space" ("Danger Will Robinson!") Although, as it turns out, the two robots were designed by the same person.... and Robby made an appearance on "Lost in Space" battling the other Robot. (The many things one can discover on Wikipedia when one should be sleeping.) At any rate, perhaps it is not just my addled brain that has conflated the two.

I don't know if police officers in Great Britain are still commonly called "Bobbies." As long as I am wallowing in references from my childhood in the 1970's, I am going to guess that my first "Bobby" references date from my horrified viewing of "The Benny Hill" show, a smarmy vaudevillish sketch comedy show that, Wikipedia tells me, ran from 1955-1991 in 140 countries. I saw bits of a few episodes in the 1970's and, puritanical midwestern girl child that I was, found the Britishness peculiar and the heavy handed "double entendre" jokes totally appalling.

And then there is Holly Hobbie.  I found the Holly Hobbie character back in the 1970's rather appalling also, although for totally different reasons. Again, according to Wikipedia, the human artist and author Holly Hobbie sold the annoyingly cute, rag dress and giant bonnet wearing girl character that became known as Holly Hobbie to the American Greetings company back in the 1960's. The Holly Hobbie franchise was quite popular during my childhood, there were cards and dolls and dresses and a whole sort of style embraced by my peers, or perhaps by their mothers.  At the time, I thought any fashion that entailed the wearing of long patchwork dresses was bad news. Many years later, Holly Hobbie the human went on to author and illustrate the "Toot and Puddle" series of books which are really quite nice, so I have moved past my dislike of her namesake franchise.

As long as I am endlessly harping on my gender political hang-ups regarding 1960's and 70's pop culture... here we also have Rosie the Robot from "The Jetsons" (originally 1962-63) and Josie from "Josie and the Pussycats" (1970-1) These two shows troubled me during my childhood also, but I suspect I've already said enough on this topic for one post.

As far as I know, I did not have any childhood problems with Bela Lugosi's gender politics. His name just happened to rhyme.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Tweety Beatty Nefertiti

I must have seen "Shampoo" on TV in some edited form sometime after its theatrical release in 1975. While my progressive parents did take me to see "Saturday Night Fever" when I was 12, I am pretty certain that we did not see the equally R rated Shampoo when I was 8. I do, however, remember watching the movie while I was a fairly young child. I think it must have been one of the first movies I had seen with such frank sexual content, as a I clearly remember Warren Beatty playing a womanizing hairdresser who manages to have sex with several women.

What could this have to do with Tweety Bird and the Ancient Egyptian Queen of the Nile? Well, clearly, not much. Perhaps Tweety and Beatty's character, George, have a little something in common in that they both exploit a bit of gender stereotyping to their advantage. George manages to seduce women without antagonizing other men because they assume that he must be gay. Tweety, all cutesy-voiced and eyelashed, is actually male (did you know? check Wikipedia if you doubt) and is capable of some really nasty violent physical action. Yes, that comparison is a pathetic reach, and still has nothing to do with Nefertiti...

But why shouldn't a "You're So Vain" era Warren Beatty have a Tweety Bird head and a diaphanous, royal skirt?......

None of this makes any sense to my sons.  They are familiar with Tweety and Nefertiti of course, and find the inclusion of a torso of a guy in a tank top briefly amusing. Oddly enough, I think they are mostly unfamiliar with hair dryers as we don't own one. (When we all had lice a while back and needed to use a hair drier to dry the topical treatment, their father resorted to using a heat gun from his woodworking shop, nearly melting the ears off of one child.)

They did have their hair cut in a salon once a few years ago, thanks to their Grandmother's generosity.  But in that case, they hairstylist was definitely not straight, nor was he Warren Beatty.

For whatever it could possibly be worth, that this is the 22nd PuppyMonkeyBaby drawing, and the 31st character in the series.
And, no, I am unfortunately not running low on rhyming combinations....

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Poky Loki Hokey-Pokey Potato Gnocchi


(PuppyMonkeyBaby and then some)

To review: the parameters of the PuppyMonkeyBaby drawing series are: make three part characters composed of vertically stacked rhyming nouns or names that ended in the long "E" sound.

I could not come up with a really good solution for the lower body on this one, yet would not give up on the enjoyable combination of the Poky Little Puppy and Loki from Marvel's Avengers and Thor movies. Therefore, to overcompensate, I added a double lower third with gnocchi and "The Hokey-Pokey."  You put your right foot in, you take your right foot out..." That probably doesn't need to be said, does it? But not everyone has been forced to attend "Mommy and Me" style music classes during the last decade, so maybe it is not fresh in the mind the way it is for me. (Don't ask me how I feel about "The Wheels on the Bus")

"The Poky Little Puppy" may not be fresh in your mind either. It was a book that, strangely enough, I can remember disliking during my childhood. But this did not stop me from reading it to my own kids. Maybe it was the wall-eyed, dumb way the puppy is drawn that made me dislike it? Maybe it was the obsession with desserts that dogs should not be eating anyway. (Rice pudding, strawberry shortcake? Do mother dogs feed their puppies such things?) Maybe it was the mixed message that being slow might mean that you could get away with misbehavior and maybe even get to eat everyone else's dessert too. At any rate, the book ends with the wayward puppies being thwarted by the sign,  "NO DESSERTS EVER UNLESS PUPPIES NEVER DIG HOLES UNDER THIS FENCE AGAIN!" (they eat cake, and they can read!- if only I had such success managing my children.)

I think it is unclear whether the Poky Puppy or Tom Hiddleston's Loki character will be able to "turn themselves around" and not do evil things like becoming super villains or digging holes under the fence and coming home late for dessert...or for gnocchi.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy's Star Lord with Death Gun from Sword Art Online

Guys wearing masks with glowing red eyes take selfies.
(Is it any coincidence that our younger son likes both Death Gun and Star Lord?)

During our intense Star Lord phase, which reached its peak around Halloween 2014, we were able to purchase an inexpensive costume, complete with a fairly adequate mask.

At present, our son is asserting his deep need for a Death Gun costume. And sadly, Death Gun costumes for children are not so easily purchased online. I usually do what I can to avoid making complicated sci-fi masks for my sons, but I may not be able to entirely dodge this one. At least Death Gun's mask is less complicated than Star Lord's.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Romney Swami Pacific Tsunami

Another PuppyMonkeyBaby series drawing I am afraid...with a particularly unconvincing portrait of Mr. Romney.

This year's Republican candidates have actually made me think back fondly to Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012. And he did try to stand up to Donald Trump recently. So, I am not trying to poke fun at him. His name just happened to rhyme nicely with other things.

Although in hindsight, I am a bit sorry that I did not choose Rudy Giuliani instead.

My sons don't know much about Rudy or Mitt, so it's all the same to them.

Death Gun from Sword Art Online

It's my name. And the name of my gun.

Our younger son has been has been watching the second season of the anime series "Sword Art Online" Or more accurately put, WE have been watching the series.

The first season was conveniently available on Netflix with English dubbing and did not require me to read the subtitles for him. I remained mostly ignorant of the specifics of the story. My son did alert me more than once, and with some barely concealed appreciation, "Mom, this show is not very nice to women." With further prodding, he offered up that what he meant was that there was a lot of gratuitous display of female bodies...Thus, the appreciation.

I've vetoed anime shows more than once based on poor gender politics. He still asks at least one time per week how old he will have to be before I will allow him to watch more of Netflix's "The Seven Deadly Sins"  Six or seven instances of inappropriate groping of a minor female by an older man played for humor perhaps inspired a toxic reaction that made me forbid further episodes.

Sword Art Online seems relatively less offensive. Yes, one of the main female characters wears an outfit that prominently displays her butt crack, and the camera is often ogling said crack, or her crotch. Interestingly, the male protagonist from the first season, Kirito, is forced to play the game with a female avatar. But his female avatar is conservatively dressed. No cleavage, no butt crack, no lingering shots of his/her crotch.

But I digress... While my son does appreciate the anime display of the female form, what he likes most about SAO is the second season villain, Death Gun, with his glowing eyes and his super cool outfit. He is covered from head to toe. No visible cracks.

I am going to assume that Death Gun's redundant catch phrase sounds cooler in Japanese.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pikachu Zaps Deadpool

Maybe it's best if relations are not too warm and fuzzy.

We recently read some of "Deadpool Volume 5: Wedding of Deadpool," during which Wade and his new bride, Shiklah, (who Is literally a man-eating demon) fight some Pokemon-like creatures over a briefcase full of cash. Deadpool says something like, "you follow that guy, and I'll stay here and kill Pikachu." The Pokemon creature in the comic doesn't much resemble Pikachu...but the kids and I agreed, why not Deadpool and Pikachu?

I thought maybe their relationship should look a bit less combative, if not entirely positive. Given Deadpool's behavior with unicorns in the recent movie, it might be wise to keep the relationship slightly unfriendly.

(Pikachu never seems to lose his charm as far as the kids are concerned- See all of the Pikachu napkins here)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Betty Machete Alberto Giacometti

That's Betty White's head , Machete's torso, as played by Danny Trejo in the Robert Rodriguez movies of the same name, and the tweedy pants and legs of Giacometti, the early to mid twentieth century Swiss sculptor and painter.

All three of these people are somewhat obscure as far as my sons are concerned.  Betty White is the funny little old lady who swears in the Deadpool promotional video. I am not going to waste my breath describing "The Golden Girls" to them. And in the spirit of full disclosure, that show was broadcast in the late 80's to early 90's, a period when I did not own a TV set, so I have never seen it myself. I do remember her fondly from "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," but as previously mentioned in my post about the Mary Mary Topiary drawing, I suspect it will also be difficult to explain the appeal of that show to my sons.

I showed them a picture of Machete in his full knife studded ensemble and of course they were immediately interested in watching that movie. Both "Machete" and "Machete Kills" are rated R, and feature such highlights as a woman who fires bullets out of guns that are in the place of nipples on her breastplate. Maybe we will try to hold off until "Machete Kills in Space" comes out. The IMDb website says it is in development.

We watched a recent episode of  "The Simpsons" last night which featured Mr. Burns's likeness inserted in several famous works of art, including Giacometti's "Walking Man."   My sons were astounded by the coincidence when they recognized the same sculpture from this drawing.

I am definitely not doing my job when it comes to exposing them to art history. I am also not doing my job when it comes to exposing them to music, politics, philosophy, etc. But you would think I could at least manage my area of specialty.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Totoro Sits on Deadpool

"Insert snarky comment here"

Our younger son has developed a sudden intense desire to watch the movie "My Neighbor Totoro." I suspect this interest somehow came from a YouTube video, but I cannot identify the exact source. Unfortunately "Totoro" appears to only be available on DVD, and our TV and DVD player stopped communicating with one another about a year ago. The kids are utterly mystified- "HOW can this movie not be available on Netflix or ITunes?  In their universe, all video entertainment is available at all times.

As a stopgap measure to satisfy the Totoro craving, I picked up a used copy of a four volume graphic novel composed of stills from the movie. The direct import of movie stills into the book leads to some oddities. There is not a lot of dialogue in the movie, but there are a lot of sound effects. These are reproduced graphically in Japanese text with an index of english translations in the back- many pages of tiny text translations of "tmp, tmp, tmp,"  "VROOSH" and the like.

And certain images in the book seem a little odd or awkward because they were isolated out of a stream of animation. In the flow of the movie, one would not be able to dwell on them, but in the book, one can.

One such image which particularly drew my sons' attention was the dangling furry testicles of the flying "CatBus" character. In the context of the movie, his endowment might be a brief visual joke, if one noticed at all... but in the book, one can dwell on the image at length, particularly if testicles are of special interest.

Earlier on in the book, I had explained that Japanese culture feels generally a bit more relaxed about the anatomical realities of the human body than we do here in the puritanical United States. There is a scene where the Dad hangs out naked in the bathtub with his two female children which would probably not appear in an episode of "Dora the Explorer" or "Inside/Out."  But the CatBus scrotum seemed a bit extra credit anyway.  As my sons were quick to point out, he did not appear to have a penis.

The CatBus anatomy of course led to conjecture about Totoro's genitals, or lack thereof.
So when it came time to draw Totoro comically sitting on top of Deadpool, I decided that Wade had better be on his stomach and not potentially getting a face full of furry dangly bits.

My sons told me that I should have just drawn Deadpool's head sticking out instead, and that he should have a speech bubble that says "insert snarky comment here."
As usual, they were correct. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

DeadMaul / Darth Pool

Darth Maul and Deadpool in a double headlock.

Or, what is black and red all over?
(Comic books featuring Deadpool or Darth Maul)

Or, what goes black, red, black, red, black red?
(Deadpool and Darth Maul wrestling)

Pathetic, I know. My kids did not even find those amusing.

The morally questionable guys in red and black continue to be compelling at our house. Our younger son has not had the pleasure of viewing the "Phantom Menace" movie to see Darth Maul's first appearance.  But he was still pretty happy to see Maul reappear in the recent "Star Wars Rebels" season 2 finale, trying to entice the adolescent protagonist, Ezra, over to the dark side.

And Maul has that double lightsaber, so how could he not be cool?
And Deadpool is just Deadpool...and somehow the epitome of cool lately.

For some reason, my cell phone camera can't deal with the color red, so all of the subtlety and tonal range in the drawing seems to drop out of the digital image... (That's right, I just used the words "subtlety and tonal range" in regard to a drawing on a napkin.) This technology has improved a lot over the last few years. Previous red napkins looked much worse. But it still has a ways to go.
You will just have to trust me that the napkin looks better in person.

On another uninteresting technical note: I had a lot of trouble sorting this image out- figuring out which arm belonged to whom, and what part should be in shadow or in light.  So I am posting a flipped version of the image below so it might make more sense.

And of course it is a napkin, so perhaps there is no permanent right side up.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Daphne Daffy Muammar Gaddafi with Jeannie Houdini Benito Mussolini

Ladies with the legs of dictators:

Yes, it's another PuppyMonkeyBaby drawing, and probably evidence that the series has been going on too long....

When I was hatching the "Gaddafi" and "Mussolini" rhymes, I was optimistically thinking that there was going to be something really distinctive and recognizable about the legs of these two men.

During his unfortunate and long tenure as "brotherly leader and guide of the revolution," Mr. al-Gaddafi was known for peculiar and often over the top sartorial choices. He was fond of Michael Jackson-like highly decorated uniforms and garish floor length dressy numbers. He wore this  particular wrap to the G-8 Summit in 2009 where he was photographed shaking a much more conservatively suited Barak Obama's hand. The reporter for Time Magazine suggested that he looked like he "dressed for the evening-gown portion...of a beauty contest for sofas."

Il Duce was fond of very full jodhpur pants, and was perhaps distinctive for his height to width ratio. Hitler was only a bit taller, but in photographs his jodhpurs seem much less wide...and less prevalent.

As for the middle, that's Daffy Duck, and Harry Houdini, somehow both strange and hard to recognize in my drawing.

 I am not proud to say that Daphne from "Scooby Doo" and Jeannie from "I Dream of Jeannie" were important characters in my 70's tv watching youth.

Daphne from "Scooby Doo" and Jeannie from "I Dream of Jeannie" were important characters in my 70's tv watching youth, I am not proud to say.