art + illustration
It’s been quite a year of evolution for our little family. Between trips overseas, moving into a new house, and starting a new school, it’s been an exciting and eventful 12 months. Yet it’s also been daunting — facing down so much that’s new, and less and less that’s known. I’ve heard similar stories of big life changes causing children (and adults) to regress. They search for something comfortable and familiar in a wide, open field of uncertainty.
We’ve definitely felt it, seen it in one another. My newly minted 7-year-old experiences this the most. In addition to officially graduating from “big boy” to “kid” — and on top of a new house, new school, and new classmates — he’s also lost multiple teeth, grown multiple inches, and reads everything in sight.
When overwhelmed or insecure, my son’s default settings range from Silly to Ignore to Meltdown — sometimes all three within the span of a few seconds. This in turn triggers my default settings of anger, frustration, helplessness. Many times it’s damn near impossible to be the bigger person. Many times I fail.
But as seems to be my parenting mantra, I keep on trying. In attempts to empathize with all the transitions my
little boy big boy kid is going through, I try to speak less; try to listen better; try to breathe more. And I try to do what he’s always needed the most from me — be there.
In organizing the new house, I culled several years’ worth of artwork and school projects. Among the mountains of crafts were these three masterpieces:
Created over the last three Thanksgivings, they are a gloriously fun study in artistic interpretation.
But they also serve as a reminder that time continues to continue; that it speeds by, leaving me stunned that I have a child who’s already been in school this long. It also shows that as each year brings new challenges, he/we keep coming out the other side slightly different, hopefully better. And with extra glitter.
This first Thanksgiving in our new surroundings brings new traditions along with it. But in the midst of the new and of change, I plan to soak up the familiar, appreciate the growing pains, and anticipate the next evolution.
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Visit and like Designer Daddy’s Facebook page for (nearly) non-stop fun & conversation. And also goofy pictures.
As both a designer and a daddy, I’m always on the lookout for exceptionally nifty children’s books. When I find one that’s also well written or has a unique concept, I count myself lucky. And if my son happens to really dig it, I know I’ve struck story time gold!
I’ve discovered some top-notch nuggets in KinderGuides — a book series that retells classic literature in kid-friendly* text and gorgeous illustrations. The imprint includes 4 contemporary classics — Breakfast at Tiffany’s, 2001: A Space Odyssey, On The Road and The Old Man and the Sea — with many more planned for future publication.
Kenny Baker • 1934-2016 • Rest In Peace
While the character of R2-D2 will be around for a long, long time, I wanted to pay respect to the actor who played him in the first six Star Wars films. Special effects aside, Kenny Baker was the one who brought everyone’s favorite droid to life.
In October 1977 I was eight years old, and my dad took me and my younger brother to see Star Wars. There were so many moments in that first viewing that have stayed with me ever since. Certainly the adventure and fantasy are incredible, but the characters are what make the films more than just a thrill ride. Luke was the everyman I related to most; Chewbacca, the furry bodyguard I wished I had; and R2-D2 was the loyal friend — filling the screen with mischief and humor, all without a face or uttering a word.
Not long after seeing the movie (maybe the same day?), we got our first Star Wars t-shirts. My brother got the one with Sand People; I chose R2-D2, and I never really stopped…
One of the first things new parents learn is the art of getting baby to sleep. And by “learn,” I mean reading books, scouring the Internet, texting your friends, calling your parents… and then winging it out of panic. Whether it’s naptime, nighttime, or OMG-WHY-IS-HE-AWAKE-time, getting an infant to sleep (or back to sleep) can be a harrowing, tedious, mind-numbing experience.
Then there are new dads like Lukas Costeur, AKA SNAPDAD. Since the birth of his son Felix, Lukas has been using Snapchat (and his creativity) to capture the special moments spent lulling his wee one to sleep. With nothing but the Snapchat drawing tool — and a willing subject — Snapdad has begun a whimsical gallery of pop culture baby pics.
STAR WARS WEEK IS FINALLY HERE!
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will finally debut this Friday in the U.S., and our family is as giddy as a Gungan! And I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to eat lunch! And of course BUY SOME OF MY NEW STAR WARS SUPERLUNCHNOTES….
I polled the awesomest poeple in the galaxy (my readers!) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, then created brand new notes based on the top requests. All characters appear in The Force Awakens, except Yoda. He’s was my son’s special request and that trumps everything. In addition to the Jedi Master, you also voted to see new characters BB-8, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma and Rey, as well as everyone’s favorite sidekick, Chewbacca.
So kick it into hyperdrive and head over to my Etsy shop, where you can buy the whole batch of six, or purchase individual pages of each.
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Hasbro. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
As I’ve said many times before, one of the best parts of being a dad is getting to relive my favorite things from childhood alongside my son. It happens when I’m introducing a superhero, we’re watching a movie or playing a board game. Even an experience like the first day of kindergarten — telling him about mine, hearing about his. I get such a charge out of seeing things through his eyes.
And few things connect the generations like Play-Doh. Next to drawing, sculpting things from Play-Doh was my favorite form of creative expression as a tyke. And that seems to be pretty universal — every kid (and former kid) loves the doughy stuff, whether they end up being an artist or not.
To celebrate this universally awesome toy/craft/pastime/plaything, Hasbro has created something extra special for World Play-Doh Day on September 16. They’ll be hosting a virtual “parade” on their Facebook page, featuring sculpts showing the theme of national pride!
Ever since I started making superhero notes for my son’s lunch, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten — just behind “When do you find the time?” — is “Where can I buy some?”
The answer to the first question is “There’s always time to doodle superheroes!” The answer to the second is “My new Etsy shop!”
Star Wars Day could also be called Pre-Father’s Day. What other holiday says “Dad” more than one centered around the most awesome movie series of all time, gained popularity as an Internet meme, and is all based on a pun?
To celebrate Star Wars Day, (May the 4th be with you, in case you’ve been stranded in the deserts of Tatooine and didn’t get the joke) Jon helped me pick out 10 of our favorite lunch notes to share with you. I’ve done 25 Star Wars-related notes for Jon since starting he started preschool, and I can’t believe by this time next year, I’ll very likely have doodled several NEW characters for him!
Be sure and fire up the hyperdrive and jump over to my SuperLunchNotes Instagram account to check out today’s all-new, never-before-doodled Star Wars character that went into today’s lunch!
It’s not often that my professional work inspires me to be a better parent – if, in fact, it ever has. That changed while working on a recent design project. The assignment was to turn a popular blog post — “100 Ways to be Kind to Your Child” — into a poster.
The article had been made into a poster before, but the author was looking for something more than just a pretty list. The goal was to capture (and keep) the viewer’s attention, not overwhelm them with the onslaught of text, and still give equal attention to all 100 Ways. Not an easy task, but one I was excited to take on.
Who wants to see me on stage as a dancing bear?
You’re in luck, because I sing with the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington DC (GMCW); our next concert is When You Wish, featuring music from animated films and TV shows… and I’ve got FOUR TICKETS to give away!