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

Cushioning


“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. 
Mostly.

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! 
Maybe...
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.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

No Exit


"Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery?"

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 18

It's been a rough week.
And it's only Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Commute


"We must continue our course with the rest and learn to think ourselves fortunate"

Inktober 2017 / Hiseous Progeny Drawing 17

Hard to be grateful during the morning commute on the NYC subway.

But cold weather and the approach of Halloween does present the opportunity to dust off the skull neck gaiter- and to reveal one's essential undead nature.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Skulls


"There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand"

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny drawing 12

Those electronic rectangles, so soothing to the individual when one is surrounded by others...providing virtual human connection, and shielding one...from other humans in physical proximity.

Yeah...I wanted to draw some skulls. That's a pug and a house cat.

Sorry boys. 

Underground Monsters


"It is true, we shall be monsters...but on that account we shall be more attached to one another"

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 14

It is true, I biked the kids to school for five years at least partially to avoid having to deal with them on the train twice a day. 

We are all much more mature and calm now, but we still have our moments.

Not that these comments explain this drawing. I can't claim that.

Collosal Stature


"My person was hideous and my stature gigantic."

....particularly when standing on the living room furniture.

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 13

A little pretend for Friday the 13th.
Some kids want to imagine being doctors or firefighters or superheroes....

I did not do him justice. But sadly, the health gods have ruled that I am no longer allowed to stay up late to work on silly drawings.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Mutually Assured


"For while I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires."

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing #11

Mutually assured destruction/devotion

Misery with Cords


"Misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous."

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny drawing 10

The abject misery of adolescence. The absurdity of being asked to do homework when there are so many important electronic cords. 

It is hard to be polite to your humorless jailer in these circumstances.

Yeah, it's late and unfinished. Again. I was busy with feeding, nagging and transporting today. Same old.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Wet dog


"There is love in me the likes of which you've never seen"

...And the smell of wet dog.

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 9

The burning, yet unsatisfied desire for a pet meets a particularly unsubtle metaphor for the challenges of self regulation in an unfinished, poorly documented drawing. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Maturity


"I must not be trifled with."

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 8

Our older son has been master of the dismissive look since six months of age. And, as his nursery school teacher observed, he has never been afraid to say no to an adult. 

Now that he is 14, we are not earning his approval any more frequently.

Another late, unfinished and poorly photographed drawing for Inktober. (And it's only the 8th day of the month) I am definitely going to have to get my act together, or fall hopelessly behind.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Many Handed Progeny


"You are my creator, but I am your master"

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 7

Late and unfinished again. 
But there were people who needed to be fed and taken places today, so time to make drawings about neediness was limited.

Friday, October 6, 2017

We Belong Dead


"I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter."

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 6

Unfinished and poorly photographed as I missed the daylight today, but my son tells me I should post it anyway as to not fall behind.

I guess this one is about the intersection of the love of zombies and the hatred of homework. I will try to explain tomorrow when I finish it and take a better picture. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Growing Groins



Many happy and excellent natures would owe their being to me.

Inktober 2017 / Hideous Progeny Drawing 5

We grew some weird carrots. 
I have enlarged their size for effect here. They looked quite impressively large before they were removed from the dirt. They turned out to be quite stumpy, and strangely bifurcated...or trifurcated.


As my husband remarked, "Anyone can grow something, but not everyone can grow stuff with a groin." Apparently, we are good at growing things with groins.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Gratitude?


"No father could claim the gratitude of his child so completely as I should deserve theirs."

Ha ha. Just kidding. 

My younger son likes to rest his head on top of mine, driving his remarkably pointy chin into my skull. My older son is more interested in maintaining his own perspective and is presently less interested in denting the maternal cranium.

Hideous Progeny / Inktober 2017 drawing 4

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Hideous Progeny


Hideous Progeny:
(But free of hydrogenated oils)

Today is the first day of Inktober, a yearly "art challenge" where one is supposed to make a drawing in ink every day. I embraced it last year mostly as an opportunity to make a series of drawings that were NOT on napkins.  Not that the napkins are not executed in ink, but it's not traditional ink. 

The drawing series last year ended up being mostly about my then fairly recent travels in the world of "alternative" health and wellness filtered through my longer term interest in representing fragmentation and discomfort with the body. 

I managed to scare away at least 500 followers a week on the Daily Napkins Instagram account during Inktober 2016. The drawings were definitely not popular with those who were expecting to see images of pugs dressed as batman rendered on napkins

I've been having trouble identifying a theme for the year's drawings. I am afraid they will be no more popular than last year.

I think I will spare everyone (and myself) an explanation this evening.

For the moment, I think I will just offer the information that this is a drawing of my younger son and a Jiffy Pop Popcorn foil. The term "Hideous Progeny" comes from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

I do promise not to entirely neglect the napkin enterprise during the month.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Pennyworth Meets Pennywise


Better Pennyworth than Pennywise? 
The Evil Clown & Alfred share some tea & cookies. 

(Was the Clown Prince not invited?)

Yes, it is true, I was required to escort four 14 year olds to a screening of "IT" over the holiday weekend. 

Since the birth of our first son, I have seen a great many movies that I would not have chosen for myself. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised. Sometimes not. 

My greatest hope for "IT" was that it would freak out our older son enough to keep him from sneaking out to our darkened living room in the middle of the night to check Instagram. 

The attitude at our local theater seemed to indicate that the movie was genuinely disturbing: there were signs posted on all the entrance doors stating that absolutely no one under 12 would be allowed in even with parental escort. And the ticket seller informed me that I couldn't just buy the adolescents' tickets. I had to be sure to sit right next to them. 

Having survived the screening, I can report that it was not much more scary than say something like the preview for "Lights Out," or "Annabelle."  Nor was it effective at curbing the desire for midnight teenage social media updates. 

Sadly, unlike many other movies that I have seen with my kids, I did not find it possible to doze during it. Maybe that is a compliment. But I'm afraid it had more to do with the "jump scares" liberally distributed throughout. 

I suppose, geriatric that I am, I might prefer horror movies where there is more suggestive build-up and less actual gory mayhem. Once you've gnawed a small child's arm off in the opening scene, where can you go from there?

On this napkin, I am imagining a more civilized visit with evil. Because who is more civilized than Alfred? (I was aiming for the Jeremy Irons "Batman V Superman incarnation of Alfred, if that needs to be said, which it unfortunately does)

And there was that dumb thing about them both having "Penny" in their names.

But did Alfred make the frosted red balloon and batarang sugar cookies? Or maybe Pennywise brought them as a thoughtful hostess gift?

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Hairless Pets We Don't Have


My son has been wishing for a munchkin cat lately...


Why not a munchkin sphynx?...

And a hairless rat 
And a crested dog?

Who could be allergic to this crew?

My son was not impressed (to say the least) by the idea of pets without fur.
But I find the idea of a hairless cat perhaps less troubling than a cat with short legs.
Having cohabited with felines for many years before I married an allergic man, my considered opinion is that the average feline is at least as attached to being able to leap on to the kitchen counter as he or she is to being furry.

But who knows. None of these animals will be living in our house anytime soon.
....with or without their fur...or their legs.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Pomeranian Cthulhu


"It seemed to be a sort of monster...of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive"
-H.P. Lovecraft

Our younger son still wants a dog, desperately...and it must be a Pomeranian despite shedding and allergy issues.

But perhaps a mixed breed?
Tentacles don't shed.

Cthulhu waits dreaming......

Monday, September 11, 2017

Eye to Hand Coordination


Eye of Horus Imaginary Tattoo:

Perhaps a well known YouTube personality has a eye tattoo on his hand that our younger son admires. I am not at liberty to comment on the source. 

I can report, based on a few minutes of googling, that there sure are a lot of eye tattoos out there, and that many of them are on hands, and quite a few reference the Egyptian Eye of Horus.

My rendition here is much more portrait than realistic tattoo depiction. And I am certainly not encouraging permanent ink for 10 year olds.... Although at this point in our relationship, if I did not want my kids to get inked, the most strategic thing I could do would be to strongly encourage them to get many prominent tattoos.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Skylanders Skyrim Mash up


Skyrimlanders. Or is it Skylandrim?
The younger set takes on The Elder Scrolls and Spyro the Dragon faces the Dovahkiin

Our sons might be too old for Skylanders, and technically too young for Skyrim. 

But we are all pretty confused at this point about what is age appropriate.  

Our older son claims that he has been playing Skyrim in a mod that turns all the dragons into Thomas the Tank Engine, but I have not personally observed this.

If there is one for Thomas, there should definitely be a Skylanders mod for the Elder Scrolls, but I don't know if such a thing exists. Although purple Spyro would seem to be the Barney of the Skyrim dragon universe. I considered drawing the "Dark Spyro" version of the character, where he looks more serious in black and silver. 

But I decided if I were going to mash up the two games that Spyro should be in his more colorful, child friendly form.