Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mini Conference Room at Instagram's Office


My younger son and I stopped by Instagram/Facebook's headquarters last week to pick up a tote bag from the #EatDrawGram event at the Natural History Museum back in May.

Christine Banawa very kindly showed us around and let us pose in the mini conference room, which I guess is what one does while visiting Instagram.  I am uncertain what the diminutive room might be saying about social media, Instagram, or corporate office culture... Perhaps it is just referencing the fact that there are over 1000 Facebook employees in the office and a mere 30 something people working at Instagram, a difference of scale that might not be immediately apparent to the casual user.

I just spent 45 seconds on Google and have determined that the mini conference room is also ascribed to the larger entity of Facebook... and apparently they have a sideways room in the London office.

So I guess I am trying to read too much into it.
 
Despite exuding a bored attitude at the time, my son was quite impressed with the visit. He got to wear his own name tag (which indicated that he had not signed a non-disclosure agreement) and to have soft serve ice cream from the corporate cafeteria. While I usually avoid posting actual photos of the kids on the napkin blog, I am pretty sure he would feel denied if I did not include this one.

I think there is some probably merit for a kid whose parents work at home to see what a corporate office looks like...even if it is an atypical one with both chocolate and vanilla soft serve ice cream and a bar of ice cream toppings...

Thanks again to Christine Banawa and Kristen Joy Watts from Instagram and The American Museum of Natural History!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Birthday napkin


Sam, one of the kids' two aunts had a birthday last week. 
The kids wanted to be portrayed riding a dinosaur on the napkin/card. 
So here they are, sort of. 

The dinosaur ended up rather non-descript. I considered making it more of the feathery/prickly "Dinosaurs Among Us" bird like dino, but couldn't in good conscience put a kid in shorts on such an uncomfortable creature. It ended up a muddy, undecorative creature.

As usual, my portraits of  the kids were not stellar, but I did manage to accurately capture the sullen expression on my younger son's face. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Fruit Viking is Grateful


No child was made sticky during the drawing of this napkin.

It's that time again....
The end of the school year has arrived and there are people to whom we cannot possibly express enough appreciation....
The solution once again is a clumsy portrait of the kid on a napkin and some pretentious chocolate bars.

Astoundingly, my son was not offended by this drawing. He usually objects to any drawing that I do of him because there is always something wrong with the likeness. But not this time. I am perplexed.

He himself requested the watermelon helmet. His school mascot is supposedly a Viking, although I was unable to find any associated imagery associated online. While aimlessly Googling for Viking pictures, we came across the fruit helmet as a display if not an actual wearable. (But there are plenty of people actually wearing them...)

While we did purchase a large, and rather mediocre, watermelon at Cosco over the weekend, no rind helmets were actually worn during the production of this napkin.

What the kids really wanted to do with the melon was smash it with a sledgehammer, or make it  explode using rubber bands.

Thank you, YouTube.  
 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Mr. Toots from "Red Faction" vs. Happy from "I Hate Fairyland"


Rainbow Battle:

The kids have always been enamored of Mr Toots, who is apparently one of the acquirable weapons in the "Red Faction: Armageddon" game. One holds the unicorn like a gun, and when he is somehow triggered, he farts a deadly rainbow blast.  (They have never played this game- this information came from YouTube of course.)

And of course they loved Skottie Young's first volume of "I Hate Fairyland" a gleefully profane child-inappropriate spin on what happens when a young girl named Gertrude is sent on a quest in a magical kingdom....and then what happens when she is still stuck there two decades later.

Gertrude's competition in the graphic novel is Happy, a girl who initially has much better luck on the fairytale quest....and who can shoot deadly rainbows.

While reading the book, our older son proclaimed, "Happy is my new spirit animal!"

But could she beat Mr. Toots in a fair fight?
Or in an unfair one?


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Artorias and Sif from Dark Souls 3


Hungry Like the Wolf for Dark Souls:

Our older son continues to obsess about playing Dark Souls. And he continues to need to tell the rest of the family chapter and verse about the game. Trying to redirect the conversation to what might have happened IRL (In Real Life) is rarely fruitful. With characteristic massive understatement, he said at dinner last night, "I'm starting to get the impression that the rest of the family is not as fascinated with Dark Souls as I am."

(Our younger son likes the Duran Duran song, but is not all that interested in the game.)

This faceless guy on the napkin is a boss in the game, and apparently one of our son's favorites. And he hangs out with a wolf.  That is all I can report. I do try to listen to my son's monologues on the various bosses of the game, and I did take a brief look at the game's Wiki... but I can't really relate any meaningful information.  For instance, a selection from Artorias's page on the Wiki:

"Sir Artorias the Abysswalker was one of the Four Knights of Lord Gwyn. He only makes an appearance in the past, as he is deceased by the time the Chosen Undead escapes the Undead Asylum."

So there.

I was not able to get a good look at this guy's armor, or his wolf, so this is not particularly accurate. My apologies to all who are invested enough in the game to be able to glean some useful information from the above paragraph.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Yogi Anchovy Member of the Mafiosi with Porky Porgie Welsh Corgi


One Fish, Two Fish....

Just when you thought I might be done with the PuppyMonkeyBaby drawing series....

I suppose it really should have been Yogi Bear's head rather than that of a spiritual leader, but I already used the cartoon bear's head in another drawing in the series, so I had to make do with a human....

And Anchovies are a lot smaller than Porgies, so the relative scale is not very accurate.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Red From Angry Birds with Deadpool


Better Red than Dead?

(Two wisecracking red and black guys who are strangely indestructible)

Our sons were perfectly happy to see the Angry Birds Movie last weekend.
But they still would prefer to see the R rated Deadpool movie.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Pink Fluffy Penguins Dancing on Rainbow Ice


A poorly drawn variation on the "Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows" theme. 
Which, apparently never grows old. 

My younger son, the originator of the fluffy penguin variant idea told me that, first, the Penguins were not fluffy enough to qualify, and second, I should be sure to state that the ice is like a flavored ice or sherbet and that explains the odd presence of the spoon.

We've had some other pink fluffy napkins here and here that attempt to explain the phenomenon.

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


NO DESSERTS EVER UNLESS ASGARDIANS NEVER TAKE OVER EARTH AGAIN!

(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.