Schoolhouse Rock!

I’m not ashamed to say it … I love Schoolhouse Rock and have since the 80s. And, I’m proud to say that the fever is catching. We took the girls to see Schoolhouse Rock Live! two weeks ago … and they’ve been singing ever since. And, tonight, we drew inspiration from Tom Yohe, the artist whose style was a perfect complement to the music and gave birth to so many memorable characters. Here’s a link to a fantastic article on the creation of “Unpack Your Adjectives.”

Princess Jasmine!

It’s been far too long since we’ve heard from our buddies, Maddie Wahl and Erin Kelly. But, they have pretty good excuses as Erin’s been a writing and acting machine and Maddie is a freshman in college. And, as you can see, she’s studying art. This is beautiful work that calls to mind the elegant simplicity of Mark Buckingham’s style.

Welcome back, ladies!

Muppets! Beaker and Dr. Bunsen

“It’s time to start the music! It’s time to light the lights! It’s time to get things started on the Muppet Show tonight!”

So, we’re full on crazy for the Muppets in the Miner househod right now … and, as a child of the 70s and 80s, I’m thrilled about that. It’s truly sad that Jim Henson’s miraculous Muppets have slumbered for nearly a generation. But, I’m hopeful that the new movie will breathe much deserved life into Kermit and Kompany. The girls’ interest in the Muppets started with our trip to Disney this fall. Instantly, Beaker was a favorite, so picking characters to draw tonight was easy.

 

 

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Doctor Who!

So, I’m more than a little embarrassed that I let the 48th anniversary of the first broadcast of Doctor Who pass without a post on Nov. 23. And, Grace was kind enough to help me rectify that by drawing a Dalek. I was struck with a need to draw Davros, the cantankerous creator of the Daleks  as everyone’s favorite blockhead.

I have two great geek loves – comics and Dr. Who.  I began reading comics and watching the Timelord around the same time. While other shows (Farscape, Galactica, LOST, V (the ORIGINAL)) have captured my fancy from time to time, no passions burn more deeply than my love of comics and classic Who.

Happy Birthday, Doctor! May you pilot that beautiful blue box for many, many years to come!

The Hobgobbler & Scott Pilgrim!

Grace, Cate and I enjoyed the Thanksgiving holiday and hope you did, too. And, while we weren’t postin’ … we were drawin’ the whole time.

Grace wanted to draw a Thanksgiving themed comics character, and a quick search on Google drummed up the Hobgobbler, a character from Marvel’s short-lived series from its Star line – Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider Ham. I’m sure new comics fans have never heard of this fun little book from Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong, but it came out not long after I started reading comics. Grace loved it and convinced my dad to draw, too.

And, I decided to take the occasion to draw my boy Scott Pilgrim as, well, a pilgrim.

Marina (After J Bone)

Waaaaaayyyy back in October, Grace and I received an unexpected honor. J Bone left a comment here and referenced our sketches of his brilliant Marvel High concept on his Facebook page: What? A dad and his daughter found my Marvel High drawing (from 2007) and used it for one of their Five Minute Marvel posts! Cool! 

We were very flattered and have since gone back to his blog — a treasure trove of coolness – regularly. Recently, we were inspired by his fun, playful take on Marina, a character created by John Byrne, who has often been played as a melancholy psycho … and the bride of equally broody and unpleasant Prince Namor, the Sub Mariner. But, why couldn’t she be lighter? I, for one, love the idea.

Dr. Canus

As a lifelong Kirby fan, I’ve been interested in Kamandi – Last Boy on Earth a long time. But, it’s always seemed a bit out of reach. I’d seen little glimpses from an issue found here or there or in Crisis on Infinite Earths and the “Brave & the Bold” TV show, but it’s long been a curiosity for me.

So, when DC recently put out Vol. 1 of the Kamandi omnibus, I bought it and dove head first into Kirby kookiness. And, kooky and fun it is. Among the characters Kirby created for Kamandi is Dr. Canus, the erudite dog doctor. And, when inviting an 8-year-old to draw with you, “Dog Doctor” is a good place to start.

Red Star! (Inspired by Art Balthazar)

Art Balthazar’s Tiny Titans book is a terrific romp for kids through the wonders of the DC Universe. When folks ask, “Are there any comics out there for kids these days?” they need look no further than this little gem.

A side benefit is for us – and for anyone working on learning how to illustrate – is that Art’s work (and that of his team) features a style that’s perfect for teaching kids and adults how to draw with shapes and how to get great expressions and character through minimal design.

Wanna have fun!?! Art’s Web site is here!

Watch Art work here!

Art Baltazar @comicvault from Hans verschooten on Vimeo.

Ready Player One

Tonight was “indulge Dad night,” as Grace and I convinced her to try our hand at drawing characters from the dawn of 80s video games.

We drew Grundle, the green dragon from Atari’s groundbreaking “Adventure” (the first video game with an Easter Egg) and the dragon from “Quest for the Rings,” an Odyssey 2 game I always remember from trips to my cousin’s house.

For good meaure, I decided to throw in my buddy, King Graham, from Sierra’s “King’s Quest” series, which was a personal favorite of mine growing up.

It was all inspired by my unabashed love for “Ready Player One,” a new novel by Ernie Cline, the writer of “Fanboys.” I started Monday night and was done (and very very sad to be done) on Wednesday night.

For anyone who loves the 80s – movies, games, pop culture, Dungeons & Dragons and Schoolhouse Rock – this is the book for you. The story surrounds an Atari “Adventure”-style quest through a virtual world called the OASIS to find a hidden prize prize of unimaginable value. To get there, one must demonstrate skill and vast knowledge of 80s pop culture, which, thankfully, I have. It’s brilliant. Ernie let his freak flag fly high in this book … and the ride is so much fun. I highly recommend it. Check out the Web site here.   And, buy the book! You’ll thank me.

UPDATE! How cool is this? Part of an e-mail from Ernie Cline:

“I love your website! Such a great idea, and a cool way to collaborate with your kids. Thanks for writing, and for sharing the link! “

Thanks, Ernie!

Womanthology Preview!

A few months ago, we toldja’ that Grace had been given the honor of contributing to Womanthology, a massive collection of the work of female comics creators from around the world. This project was the brainchild of Renae de Liz and will soon hit the shelves.

This week, Renae released a preview of the book on the Womanthology, and Grace’s character and poem “Paula Pansy” was among the selected pages. I gotta’ tell you, it was a proud moment for me. Grace, on the other hand, just sees it as part of the regular routine … you know … to be a published author at 8. Thanks, Renae!

She’s Alive … ALIVE!!!!!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 7 weeks since we last posted here. This is the longest hiatus we’ve ever taken … and the girls and I have missed you.

But, sometimes life is telling you to slow down a bit and just listen. With adjustments to first and third grade homework expectations (the girls, not me), ballet and gymnastics (the girls again), worky work (hey, that’s me!) and just trying to maintain Mom’s sanity in relation to the afore mentioned stuff, we decided to take it easy. But, we continued to draw … and here’s some evidence.

We’re back on it again and invite you to start swinging back by for new 5 Minute Marvels!