Tag Archives: art

The Worst Thing, The Best Thing

The Worst Thing, The Best Thing

Niko’s been sick.

He hasn’t been take-him-to-the-doctor sick, but he has been two-severe-colds-in-a-row, miss-almost-two-weeks-of-school sick. His coughing-till-he-vomits has been way less than previous sicknesses, so either he’s growing out of that or he… just wasn’t that sick. I don’t know, but dang am I glad he only barfed once, although he did it all over a pillow that I made BY HAND and stitched BY HAND out of fabric I selected personally years before he was born. And it’s not the kind of pillow you can wash (too big, wrong kind of fill) and it was VERY soaked in barf, so… I put it in the trash can. GOOD BYE PILLOW.

So that’s the worst thing. Not that I had to throw out a pillow (although I miss that pillow. sniff.), but that my poor sweet baby has been so tediously ill. It’s really not fun being sick and starting to feel better enough to feel antsy and then feeling sick and ill again. He’s been a trooper through the whole experience, though, and hopefully we’re in for healthier times.

The best thing recently is that Niko has kind of leveled up in his art. He’s been bugging me lately to copy the art on some dinosaur flash cards he has, and then after I do so he critiques me heavily. So the other day I was all DUDE, DO IT YOURSELF and he was all I CAAAAAAAN’T and I was all DO ITTTT DOOOOOO ITTTTTTTTTT JUST TRY and he did and it was really cool! He impressed himself. So he’s been copying pictures HIMSELF and it’s super interesting to see what he picks up on as important details, and he’s started adding more details to his dinosaurs… which are essentially really stylized stick figures. But now they are really stylized stick figures with crests and feathers.

He also, and this is even more cool, has started making little still lifes and dioramas with his dinosaurs and plastic trees etc and then… drawing those scenes that he has made. That is absolutely the best and most awesome thing he’s been doing lately.

Well, other than coming up with Princess Dinosaur, but that’s a topic for another post, I think.

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Making An Art with a Four Year Old

Making An Art with a Four Year Old

Have you seen this blog post about collaborating artistically with a four year old? Making art with a kid is super fun. Niko and I do something similar, except usually I’ll draw whatever dinosaur he dictates me to draw, and some background, and then he adds trees and colors everything in and adds “a big glop of poop comin’ outta dat dinosaur’s BUTT” or blood to their teeth or something I DO NOT EVEN KNOW. He’s pretty down with nature red in tooth and claw.

Today, while I sit in my chair and refuse to get up because my knee is filled with angry hornets and hate, I’ve been drawing for him. At his request, I drew a brown line train at the station. It’s only 3 cars long, which he claims is the perfect length (probably because we usually ride when it’s not the rush hour) and although I drew the Kedzie station he requested I add the buffers that are at the end of the line. Sorry train, you’re not going any further. There’s buffers in your way! I doodled it all out, including the cool little stools they have clustered on the platform, and handed it over. he proceeded to draw two other trains (sharing a track! DANGER ZONE!) and a buffer for them. I took a picture with my phone so it’s not the best, but here you go:


Speaking of art he’s doing, he seems to have made a jump forward in his art production lately. Instead of sticking only to dinosaurs, trains, dinosaurs waiting for trains, and the occasional picture of his family, yesterday he drew a cement mixer. This was a very WHAT moment because he’s never been super interested in cement mixers in general or drawing trucks or any vehicles other than trains. And yet, cement mixers. He’s also been drawing himself lately, which is cool, except he has a certain technique for drawing dinosaurs that includes a big mouth full of teeth that is kind of creepy and he adds that giant mouth of teeth to himself. He also adds hair. Lots of hair. Today he drew a picture of himself and an HO model train in a house, complete with a roof and a chimney, but no smoke, because it’s OUR house and we have a decorative fireplace therefore no smoke.


He’s also been drawing whales, carnivorous whales, fish, and “the dead part of the sea that’s got too much water so sharks can’t swim in it. I know because scientists who study dinosaurs said it. I looked it up on my phone!” Uh huh.

I’ve been meaning to pick up a sketchbook for myself for a project I’m working on, but I think I’ll pick up another one for the two of us to fill together. How cool is that? I’m nowhere near as good an artist as busymockingbird, but it’ll still be way fun.

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We’re making a lot of art around here!

We’re making a lot of art around here!

Niko’s gotten really into coloring and painting lately. He pretty much exclusively is interested in dinosaurs ONLY and gets super pissed if a dinosaur that’s supposed to have spikes/plates/a frill/horns/etc isn’t portrayed as such so he will DRAW THEM ON while scolding the original artist. “How could they even DO THAT? They should KNOW that a Kentrosaurus has a big spike on its side! They should KNOW THAT!”

He likes to paint, mostly with tempera paint (finger paints make his fingers feel icky, so mostly he uses a Popsicle stick to scoop paint onto the paper then push it around). He paints stegosaurs and allosaurs and baby sauropods eating ferns, and he adds some trackways (footprints), and then he draws a giant comet coming straight at them. It’s a whole story process.

We used to set him up with an art easel in the kitchen, which has tile floor. Now that he’s marginally less prone to sloping paint EVERYWHERE I set him up on the dining room table, over the hard wood floors.

I pour some paint into these little paper cups I picked up for free somewhere. They’re about the size of a dixie or bathroom cup. A 1/2 cup sized reusable plastic storage container, small glass, or ice cube tray would also work. And then the pain, paper, etc gets set down on the plastic table cloth we saved from his birthday.

When we were ordering birthday decorating supplies, I splurged a tiny bit on a blue plastic table cloth. It’s meant to be disposable. I did not dispose of it. Instead, I wiped off all birthday crumbs, folded it up, and stuck it in our big white cabinet that holds printer paper, art supplies, and computer cords. And when he wants to paint I pull that sucker out and lay it down on the table. It’s water resistant, so if he spills a bit of water on it the water doesn’t soak into the table cloth or (antique) (and ugly, but emotionally priceless for Nesko) dining room table. It protects the table and table cloth from paint spills. And when he’s done, I just fold it up and put it away.

We’ve gotten a lot of use out of it. It’s way cheaper than “oil cloth” (which is not actually oil cloth, may I pedantically point out), and less likely to be impregnated with cancer-causing chemicals. It reduces my anxiety about paint RUINING EVERYTHING. And it lets Niko MAKE A LOT OF ART!!! Which he loves doing.

Speaking of child!art, what do you do with it? I have kept a total of maybe 3 pieces (two of which are drawings of us as a family, and the first drawings he made of humans) and I display the rest for a while before tossing it. Or I send it to family or friends. But really, I toss a lot of his art. I might scan or photograph some of his current stuff before tossing it, but really I consider it ephemera.

What’s your take on this?

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