art + illustration
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!
A new campaign from Tylenol brings an iconic Norman Rockwell painting to life with more diverse depictions of family – including an Asian family, an African American family, and a family with lesbian mothers.
Few would associate the word “modern” with Norman Rockwell. Many of his most recognized paintings are full of sentiment and nostalgia, rendered in an ultra realistic style — none of which earned him the respect of art critics. Yet as a young artist, I was fascinated not only by the detail of Rockwell’s work, but also how he portrayed America in the 40s and 50s. This was the world of my parents and grandparents, so I always felt a connection – as if I was looking through an old family photo album.
“Freedom From Want” is arguably Rockwell’s most well-known work. Part of a series for The Saturday Evening Post originally intended to promote patriotism, it has since become synonymous with the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays; epitomizing The American Family. Yet, like most of Rockwell’s early work, it focuses only on white (and straight) America — something that causes a decided disconnection for many today.
I was coming off a four-day stint of flying solo while Papa was away at a conference, and not feeling too confident about my parenting skills. In fact, I was feeling downright shitty about them. Wallowing in self-doubt, self-pity, and other self-related things that suck, I walked by a drawing Jon had done earlier in the day.
The forecast for Saturday had been for a day full of rain, so we had a couple of preschool classmates and their dad over for the afternoon. Sometime in-between watching videos and the MMA match that signaled the end of the play date, the kids had pulled out the crayons and a Star Wars notepad I’d gotten Jon from the dollar bin at Target, and were cranking out quite a few masterpieces.
As I noticed the drawing again that evening, I added to the mental list of my shortcomings, “kid can’t draw.” I wasn’t upset with him or the quality of his artwork. Instead, I took it as evidence of an inability to transfer my skill set to my son. And I was jealous that the other boy that was here was a better artist, and that this was something Jon and I didn’t have that in common. All this landed atop the pile of misery I’d already put on my tired, beaten-down shoulders.
CONVERSATION COLOR CODE:
Daddy • Jon • Daddy’s Internal Narration
“Hey buddy, come show me your button guy you made at school.”
Jon runs into the kitchen and squats down beside Button “Guy,” who is magnet-ed to the fridge. He starts pointing to buttons, starting with two (a dark red and a blue) clumped in the middle…
Real-life, actually-printed-on-paper, delivered-by-a-human-being correspondence is a rare and wonderful treat, dontchathink? But if you’ve ever had even a hint of an original thought in your head, you dread the idea of darkening the doors of your local convenience store to pick over the post-apocalyptic disarray of syrupy, clichéd, annoyingly musical greeting cards.
So why don’t you take some of these perkily porcine Pig Notecards off my hands?
These blank cards are perfect for party invitations, get wells, birth announcements, thank yous, you’re welcomes and more progressive Bar Mitzvahs. And also meat-themed baby showers. (Seriously, I once sold a set to someone for that very purpose.)
THIS LITTLE PIGGY NOTECARD SET
• 2 each of 5 different styles
• High-quality printing on uncoated, heavy card stock
• Comes with 10 envelopes in 5 matching colors
• Guaranteed to produce a squeal (or make a tummy grumble)
$15.00 + shipping/handling
To pay with Paypal, send your name, mailing address, quantity (number of boxes of 10), and PayPal email address to daddy (at) designerdaddy (dot) com. Or just hit the CONTACT button up there on the right side of this page.
Take a peek at the 5 precociously punny designs… and scroll to the bottom to get in on some free swine swag!
Father’s Day has come and gone, and yet those of us who are dads are still dads, and still have dad stuff to do. One of the most important is instilling self-confidence and a sense of achievement in our children. Stereotypes dictate fathers only appreciate the physical accomplishments of their children — especially for their sons. But the best dads appreciate the artistic as well as the athletic — and man have I found a great bunch of art-loving dads for this year’s (POST) FATHER’S DAY PROUD PAPA GALLERY OF GREATNESS!
Welcome to our virtual fridge, take your time, and please visit the gift shop on your way out.
Please note that many of the images can be enlarged if clicked on. So click and enjoy!
Artwork credits key:
Title of work
Artist name, age
Father of artist (links to their website/blog)
Artist’s (or artist’s dad’s) description
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
tissue paper, construction paper
markers on paper
Based on the Water Lilies series.
A couple of months ago we took JJ to his first live theater experience, and something odd happened. A friend who works at the Atlas Performing Arts Center in DC suggested we check out a kids’ holiday show being produced by Arts on the Horizon, part of Atlas’ Theatre for the Very Young season. While JJ had gotten through his first full movie theater showing, we’d yet to expose him to any live theater. The Washington area has a wealth of options for kid-friendly programming, we just weren’t sure our little ball of energy was ready for them. Or they for him.
But the show was called Drumming With Dishes: Holiday Edition, so it sounded like it would be nice and loud and chaotic. Great to mask the likely din created by a crowd of rowdy preschoolers, but requiring earplugs and Advil for us weary parents.
The day arrived, JJ seemingly excited for this new adventure. Our drive was a good 40 minutes. We parked across the street from the theater and JJ and I went on ahead while Papa paid for parking. Yet as we started to cross, my usually outgoing son started stalling. He said he didn’t want to go, that he in fact wanted to go home. What-the-huh?
We stopped on the sidewalk a block away and I asked why. “I just not want to go!” was his pouty reply. I tried walking with him a few more steps and his fear and resistance only increased. I’m not sure if he was scared of the unknown experience or unfamiliar neighborhood, or if the planets were misaligned just so. Whatever the cause, I was determined to find a way to make this happen.
Papa caught up and I explained the situation. He and JJ stayed outside while I went in to scope things out. I made my way through the lobby, weaving through groups of kids, parents, babies and grandparents. As I picked up our tickets, I overheard an employee say they’d be leading everyone to a play area before the show began. Good thinking — they’d done this before.
I went back out and the three of us forged back in. As we got inside the door, I explained we were going to a playroom. No response. As we walked down the hall, following a herd of other families, we stopped so he could bang on a timpani drum. Meh. As we got near to the playroom, I saw a door open to where our performance would be. I asked the attendant if we could peek inside. We took a quick look into the black box theater, but I could tell my little ‘fraidy tot wasn’t interested.
The playroom was a neighboring black box, with rows of seats against the back wall and a collection of toys and baskets of books in a corner. We sat down in the front row of chairs, I got some books for JJ, then went to the bathroom. When I returned, Papa and JJ were on the back row of chairs, looking through a book, while all of the other kids ran around. This was going to be interesting, I thought.
2013 was a pretty monumental year, both personally and blogally(?). So for all of the awesome, new readers I’ve met recently — as well as longtime loyalists — here’s a recap of my favorite posts from the last 12 months!