Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Cool Skin Art

The Boy With The Dragon Tattoo:
(Or The Ballpoint Pen Doodle)

As a parent, I cannot say that I respond with overwhelming enthusiasm when my son returns home from school, clearly having spent a good chunk of time doodling on some part of his body or clothing during a class.

But I try to fight the tendency to become solely the upholder of rules and the critic of disorder in my son’s life. There is some much petty crap to carp about: the homework that is not done, the teeth that are not brushed, the pumpkin pie that is smeared on the couch, the pen scribbled all over the pants....

So I tried to shift my thinking about the self doodling by redrawing his hand dragon.
He told me that my drawing had made it more cool. This was high praise indeed, but I will try not to be overwhelmed. There is still food smeared on the couch and I am not sure I can do much to shift my thinking on that front.

(Yes, this is yet another holdover from the #inktober series, Hideous Progeny, fantasy portraits of my kids...and it is a watercolor, and sadly, not a napkin)

The original hand art: (His dragon drawing is more interesting than mine, but there is no opportunity for flames)

Fowl Kingdom

Pigeons have been on our minds lately.

We watched “Death Peck,” a recent episode of Disney’s “Star vs the Forces of Evil,” where a misunderstanding between humans and “the Pigeon Kingdom” leads to the pigeons trying to enforce “death by a thousand pecks.” There was also the implied threat of weaponized droppings.

But we were already thinking about pigeons anyway. 

Our daily walk to the subway passes under an elevated portion of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. This area under the roadway has no doubt always a welcoming habitat for pigeons, but I can’t say that I really paid close attention until the last couple of years. 

In that time, a neighbor lady who lives quite close to the BQE has developed a serious pigeon support hobby.  It might be classified as quite a bit more than a hobby, actually. We pass her and her rather significant breakfasting flock as we rush to the subway at 7:10...or more often, ten minutes late at 7:20. 

Depending on our timing, she is either energetically scraping pigeon guano off the sidewalk, or laying out what looks to be several pounds of birdseed on the freshly scraped areas....or if we are really late, she is presiding over a huge feasting flock of fowls.

Recently, one of my kids focused on the health implications of walking through the droppings every day....and depending on our timing, the sartorial implications of placing ourselves under hundreds of potential droppers. 

He now insists that we go out of our way and cross the street to avoid the pigeon convention and its waste.

While I am not a big fan of the idea of being shat upon myself, I have to admit that I do think back a little bit fondly of the time before when we were on better terms with the pigeons and their human benefactor. She seems offended by our obvious avoidance of her flock.

But luckily, the pigeons don’t seem to care.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Movie Popcorn

Holiday Weekend Movie Goers

We did finally make it to the other superhero movie over the fall break. At the beginning of every day over the long weekend, we would start by announcing that we would go see the DC movie that day, and then motivation would somehow prove to be insufficient. 

But today we finally made it to to the theater, and I finally have managed to photograph this napkin. 

Low expectations are often good when it comes to such things, however, so by the time we did see the movie, our younger son pronounced it not so bad after all. My expectations were perhaps not low enough for the movie or the napkin. 

But I heard that the movie theater popcorn was ok.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey Train

Happy Turkey Day:

I can’t really explain this one. We spend a lot of time on the subway, and this one man’s bright orange sweatshirt hood just seemed like it needed a wild turkey head. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Koalas Wait for Their Train

Fluffy and cute, but not necessarily friendly or motivated.

Another very late watercolor completion of an inktober drawing.

Mollusc Oxytocin

Mollusc Oxytocin 
Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 20

My younger son has developed the habit of telling me that he "needs to boost oxytocin" when he wants a hug, like when he is stressed out on the way to school in the morning. 

The closest thing we've had to a pet recently was a slug I brought home on a bunch of radishes from the local farmers market. Much to my husband's dismay, I managed to keep it alive for a week on a steady diet of fresh organic radish leaves. 

I may have been overinvested in the welfare of the slug. 

But eating all the extra radishes was probably not bad for the rest of us.

I neglected to post this one back on October 20th, although if was just a black and white drawing then. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Cabbage Cross Patch Adolescent

Cabbage Cross Patch Adolescent:

Times are still tough...I am still tormenting my older son.
It’s for his own good. Really. 
And it might also be that I can’t help myself.

And, it’s still inktober around here.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Subway with Pets

Still finishing the watercolors for inktober. (This was from October 24th)

My younger son asked me today to please stop drawing his face. I reassured him that this was the same old drawing from a few days back, just with some color added.

Back to napkins soon!

Subway Homework with Not So Bright Fish

Yes, still inktober. 

I liked the fantasy version of the watercolor portion of this one that I had in my head when I didn't have time to finish it back on October 19th.  The fish was really jewel-like and translucent. 

I forget that my cheap student-grade watercolors do not have the same color saturation as my non-archival markers on napkins.

Snarky Adolescents

“I desire the company of a man who could sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine.” 

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 31

This one was based on a moment of brotherly togetherness while waiting to see the dentist last weekend.

If only those all teeth were brushed more conscientiously... Now that it is November 14th, I wish I could say that this last drawing is the end of Inktober, but yet I am still finishing the watercolor portions of a few previous images. 

I would like to remind anyone who might possibly take an interest, that I did make it to day 25 and the theft of my phone before everything fell apart completely. 

I never ever missed a night with the napkins, but now that I don’t stay up so late, things move so very much more slowly. 

And strangely, as my sons mature into adolescence, they are not becoming less time consuming...or less toothsome.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


“A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a transitory desire to disturb his tranquility”

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing #30

There is such a strong need for relaxation, yet too much time spent pressed up against the couch cushions might not be a good thing.

(Yes, it is November 9th and Inktober was supposed to end, well, in October. I have somehow not managed to post the last two drawings. That’s just kind of the way things are going lately)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Cabbage Crosspatch

“I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling”

Is it stress? Or just fear of vegetables?

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 29

I am constantly torn between wanting to shout at my kids to grow up, to be more responsible, to realize that they live an over privileged, over indulged, insulated life...and simultaneously seeing that they are completely overloaded and over stressed and not able to really enjoy their childhood.

(Yes, I remain far behind on this inktober thing...but still trying)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Talk to the Hand

“What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?”

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 28

The day I after started this drawing, one of our kids was trying to deal with his life stress by being, shall we say, inappropriately over assertive. What had seemed like a humorous sketch when I started, seemed a bit less funny.

But a couple of days later, I have mostly regained my sense of humor. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Sibling Carving

“The companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.”

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 27

Yes, it is October 31st today and this is drawing number 27.  

While I was arguing with my younger son about his homework on the subway ride home late last week, an unsympathetic individual relieved me of my cellphone, and due to a terminally uncooperative series of computer and “cloud” backups, most of my data. 

Several days, and over a dozen hours of Apple tech support later, I am pleased to report that I did not lose everything, although I did lose all of some things... but at least I know when most of our dental appointments are scheduled. Mostly.

So, back to finishing Inktober. I still have a few more drawings in the pipeline. And I have yet another appointment with Apple tomorrow. So more delays. It will be a bit of Inkvember, I fear.

This drawing was originally destined for National Pumpkin Day last week, but it seems equally appropriate today.

Happy Halloween! And maybe consider printing out the contents of your phone on paper....

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Arboreal Marsupials in the Subway

"From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition"

(But don't let my parents know)

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 25

Did you know that because of their low nutrient diet, koalas sleep 20 hours a day? That they are "asocial" and "spend just 15 minutes a day on social behaviors." They also have the smallest brain in proportion to body weight of any mammal. Koalas are therefore definitely not innovative thinkers. According to Wikipedia, "when presented with plucked leaves on a flat surface, the animal cannot adapt to the change in its normal feeding routine and will not eat the leaves." 

Perhaps those koalas were busy watching YouTube videos while reclining on the couch and were hoping if they remained motionless long enough their mother would heat the leaves up in the toaster oven and serve them?

But they are cute! 
Are they still cute? I remember hearing that they were adorable, but when I look closely...

Who was I talking about?

Just kidding guys. I really just wanted to draw you with animal heads. Among other creatures, I considered birds and snakes, but nothing seemed more appropriate than Koalas.

You may disagree.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Strangers and Familiars

"I believed myself totally unfitted for the company of strangers."

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 24

What could make the stressful morning commute in subway cars packed full of strange humans better from my son's perspective?

Perhaps if everyone brought pets.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Passive Aggressive Massage

"I will be even mild and docile...if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest me."

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 22

My son is under the impression that being available to provide back and neck massages at any time is in my job description as his mother. 

We disagree on this point, and I have made this clear a good many times. 

Despite my fine application of loving, positive, parental boundary setting, there may have been a few passive aggressive neck rubs delivered over the last year.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sympathy Fish

"Pitiless as you have been towards me, I now see compassion in your eyes"

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 19

Doing reading homework on the train on the way home is pretty damn difficult...even for those who are not a tired, distractible 10 year old boy.  

But I can't afford to be too sympathetic, or else, we will never be finished, and never get home.

It finally happened. I had a good run of 18 days of finished ink and watercolor drawings. this Inktober. But there is no way this one is going to get a color treatment tonight unless I stayed up extra late, and I am no longer allowed to do so.

So here it is as a monochrome. The fish was going to be a really lovely reddish orange to contrast with the florescent light of subway. 

Please use your imagination to conjecture what a nice job I might have done with that.
Sadly, when I finish it later when I don't have a deadline, I will probably fuss over it and kill it. 

But it is safe for now.