Gregory vs. His Birthday

Gregory vs. His Birthday
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
I drove up to G-man's school today to have lunch with him. It's his birthday and I wanted to make sure he felt liked. It's more important to kids that that feel liked or that they are good kids. Love is a weird emotion for them, they love everything and everyone for some reason, but "like" is a sacred emotion.

I arrive on time but they're already in the cafeteria and I can't find him. All these little 5 and 6 year olds look the same and I'm frustrated at myself for not being able to find mine. I check with the office because I don't see the teacher either. Yes, they're at lunch now. I go look again, this time getting some weird looks from the lunch room ladies. Eventually I find him, at the end of the table, wearing a birthday crown.

So I've already lost 10 minutes of lunch time and I feel like a crap dad for not being able to recognize my own son in a crowd. After about five minutes of eating with me at the little picnic tables outside of the cafeteria, he asks if he can go back and sit with his friends.

Ms. A reminds me that it's not what he knows now, it's what he'll remember when he's 30 and telling his kids what their grandpa was like. It's the memories he'll have of these small events like lunches at school that he'll cherish. Plus, we at least had a few minutes together and I'm really glad he has friends he likes enough that he'd leave me for them.

But he's six now and these times are not as often as they were and they'll get fewer and fewer as he gets older. My hope is that he and I stay friends, because I like him.

Happy Birthday Little Man.


Big Time

Originally uploaded by xadrian.
A couple moths ago, I decided to move my art desk into the garage to make room for more Lego storage. I hadn't receive any robot drawing requests in several months. Toward the end of last year I think I did 5 total. No big deal, it was never a huge thing and I knew that my set up was simple and I'd be able to do some for anyone if I needed to later.

I'm fully into Lego building now and what few art requests I have are a bit of an albatross. I don't want to do them, I'm done with drawing. I just lost the love for it as the love of Lego took over. I really only have time for one hobby, or do I?

I see a great photostream on Flickr where a guy makes Doctor Who minifigure vignettes for the countdown to the season premier. I write a post to submit to Neatorama and send it off only catching the typo after I posted it. Not seeing a way to edit the post, I fire off an email asking if it can be fixed. The reply said I can't but they can, oh and by the way they love Robot Portraits and would I be interested in collaborating with their shop?

I said SURE OH MY GOD I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M GOING TO BE LISTED ON NEATORAMA!! In my head. I waited a customary 15 minutes before replying and the site founder and I work out an agreement. He doesn't seem to think I'll get many orders, but we'll see. I find it hilarious that I'd just put all my supplies away and in posting something about my current hobby, I get business pointing back to my old one.

So that's the story. It probably means I'll be doing more of these for the time being.

That hasn't stopped the Lego building though. TL and I are building a replica of the UT Tower right now and it's probably our official entrance into the world of AFOL. Up to this point we've both been just buying sets but now we've each purchased bulk brick from BrickLink in order to complete the nearly 3 foot tall structure. We're doing it for a student group she started at UT, the University Lego Users Group or U-LUG. If it's a good enough build, I also hope to include it with any shows TexLug does as well.

Carry on.


Gallery Night

Ghost Rider Samurai
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
For those that attended Gallery Night at Springhill Elementary and took one of the cards off my table, I hope you learned a little from the answers I gave to your questions. I know it's scary talking to grown ups you don't know, but I appreciate you coming by and looking at my artwork. I hope you enjoyed it.

I'll try to answer the questions again so you can read it and maybe understand a little more without being scared of being at a table talking to someone you don't know.

For those that weren't there, last night I was a guest artist at LMA and G-man's school. The event was to show the artwork the kids had done and was displayed throughout the school. There were vendor's there as well and i believe sales went toward a fund raising venture, but I'm not sure. In one area there were four guest artists and we were all quite different. I was presented as a cartoonist. There was a lady who worked with pottery, another who did sculptures and another who painted. I brought laptops to show a slideshow of my work and the YouTube videos from Robot Portraits. I also had my old comic book, a portfolio folder and a robot sketchbook.

Each child had a piece of paper that had questions on it and they were to ask each artist one question and have us sign the paper. They'd get something from their teacher if they got them all signed.

So here are the questions and the answers I gave. These are a little more in depth as I wanted to make sure I gave short answers in person.

Q) How do you use math when you create your art?
A) When drawing cartoons and comic books, there's a need to sometimes draw buildings and rooms and objects. These need to be drawn in perspective. Especially city streets and buildings must look realistic, so you need to understand how to draw and measure shapes and distance, something you learn in geometry.

Q) How do you use language arts when you create your art?
A) Especially in comic books, I need to be able to write what people are saying. I have to know what they sound like, what language they use and how to put that down on paper correctly. If I spelled the words wrong or put them in the wrong order, you wouldn't understand what they were saying. That would make it hard to read and hard to enjoy.

Q) How do you use science when you create your art.
A) This was a tough one. I have to understand colors when creating art. I have to know what colors make other colors and how they work together to be pleasing or jarring to the eye. This comes from an understanding of how our eyes see light which is a part of spectroscopy. Knowing how colors work together is called Color Theory.

Q) Who influenced your decision to become involved in the field of art.
A) The short answer I gave was that my Grandpa was an artist and the older I got I began to really enjoy his work and wanted to be an artist too. The longer answer is that I never stopped drawing from the time I was a child. All kids draw, they all want to draw, they draw to communicate and express themselves. Artists just never stop doing that and along the way they are influenced by other people. My influences include my Grandpa, but also other comic book artists like Jim Lee, Larry Stroman, Ron Lim and Joe Quesada. I have a few friends and acquaintances like Len Peralta and Adam Koford and Mike Peterson and Jeremy Dale and Olli Hihnala who have also been a big influence to how I draw and what I want to draw.

I got a lot of people telling me they have kids or brothers and sisters who draw and are trying to get into animation or comics or just love drawing manga or super heroes and I really tried to encourage them to stick with it. One lady said she had a graphic design degree but got it right as we went to war and was unable to find any work. I don't see art as a way to make money, but a way to express yourself. Kids don't draw because they want to start a business, they draw because they like to. The longer you can hold on to that, the happier I believe you will be as an artist. If you can monetize that, then you get to let it work for you.

Sadly I gave up on a lot of opportunities to continue being an artist by trade. I tried a few times to do comic books but the returns weren't something I could live with. It's a struggle being an artist when you need to pay bills. I do commissions now but it's a hobby and not a business.

So if you're still in grade school and are reading this, my advice would be to draw as much as possible, but work hard to find a way to make your art work for you. If you really love it, find a way to do it for the rest of your life and you'll be happy. As soon as it becomes a chore, find something else to do.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. Again, if you were there and wanted a comic book, just email me your address and I'll mail you a copy.

ben (dot) lifeinaustin (at) gmail.com

Carry on.


Rockin' Rowan

This is Rockin Rowan with the Austin Derby Brats as jammer during their last scrimmage with the Ann Richards Derby Girls. The little girls for ADB skated against themselves as the ARRG don't have any small girls. Rowan scored a few points this round.


Happy Birthday

same little girl
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Yesterday was LMA's 9th birthday. Yesterday was also Mother's Day. Ms. A probably couldn't ask for a better present.

It was a low key affair as she has a big slumber party planned next weekend. There were presents and cake and some adult friends were there. Her little brother asked me to take him to the store so he could buy her some presents with his own money. He also bought flowers for mom. It was the picture of sweetness.

So Rowan Michelle is now 9 years old. She sings along with the opening music to Wizards of Waverly place. She dresses in fancy clothes and knee high boots. She has a new day bed with pink blankets but likes socks with skulls on them. She gives you attitude like a 16 year old but still cries like a toddler. I guess this is what a "tween" is. Although I despise that word, I can't think of a better description.

Her last scrimmage is this week for Derby Brats. Last Saturday at the TXRD bout, she got a birthday spanking and a couple of the big girls new her from her Derby Brats team. She also claims that at her big scrimmage at the Ann Richard's school, the Hellcats came to see just her.

She said yesterday was the best birthday she's ever had because she was surround by people who loved her. But today she'll talk back after not feeding the dog. It's just who she is and I'm very proud of her.

Happy Birthday, Little One.