A Map

Map Atlas Jalapena Book DadsWriting CreativeDads
I’ve always liked maps. They tell you where you’ve been – or better yet, where you might go. Here’s a map for a book that my friend Kevin and I are working on.

I’ve always liked maps. They tell you where you’ve been – or better yet, where you might go.

Before there was MapQuest or Google Maps there was the Thomas Guide, a hefty, seemingly indecipherable, yet indispensable tome of colorful road maps. Mine was gifted to me by my parents on my 16th birthday along with my first car, a 1972 Volkswagen Bug. Weighing in at three pounds and measuring over an inch thick mine only covered San Diego County, but in an era before cell phones it saved my rear more times than I like to admit. My Thomas Guide rode under the driver’s seat of that Bug and several others before it met its ultimate demise. I kept it far longer than it was useful. MapQuest’s printable turn-by-turn instructions knocked the books’ usefulness to its knees, Google Maps and the Apple iPhone severed its head altogether.

Although the Thomas Guide was practical I always preferred those with, well, a little more imagination. As a kid that meant the park maps handed out at Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, or Wild Rivers. I enjoyed plotting my adventures along the colorful pathways and trying to figure out what attractions changed since my last “adventure”.

During our last meeting, Kevin, the author I have been collaborating with, and I decided that our book needed a map. After sketching out a ( very ) rough draft with him I returned home and pondered what such a map should look like. I decided it needed to be practical, like a Thomas Brother’s Guide, but also fun like the park maps handed to me at amusement parks. This is what I came up with. If it makes you smile, I succeeded. If not, well, at least I tried!

Oh! Any my daughter, Ashley, helped me with the design and color for this one. I’ll make an artist out of her yet!

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life …

-Scott

Previous : Spiders!


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Spiders!

My second illustration for a project that my friend Kevin and I are working on. This scene is called “Spiders!”.

I am in awe by how much work goes into the writing of a book. There’s the book itself – and then there’s all of the world building that takes place behind the scenes. World building is the history, characters backstories, creatures, cities – basically everything that goes into creating a believable world, or “atmosphere” in which the story takes place. It’s “frustratingly fun” to conjure up – frustrating in that much of the generated content may be omitted entirely in the actual book, but incredibly fun to dream up. My friend, Kevin, the author, and I are having a great time.

Here’s an excerpt from the book for which the above illustration was created. I hope you like it.


There was a loud crack of thunder and lightning beamed down from the sky brightening everything in the trees around them. Jalapeña and Raven looked at one another with wide eyes, realizing for the first time that they weren’t alone.

“Are those spiders,” asked Jalapeña?

“ Um yeah, Uh I think so? What should we do?”

“Just keep walking and hope we can see better when the lighting strikes again.” Jalapeña couldn’t believe what she had seen and Raven didn’t seem too sure about the spiders either. The sky suddenly lit up brightly and thunder shook through the treetops. They could both see clearly now, hundreds of bright red eyes glowed in the light. The spiders were getting closer and it was clear they were as big as the two girls, maybe bigger.

Jalapeña screamed, first a loud screech and the “RUUUUUNNNN!” Raven was already running ahead of her. Jalapeña started to run but was quickly pulled upward by something and swung forward through the trees.

At the next crack of lightning, she could see that she was swinging above where Raven was running and she continued moving forward as if on a pendulum. “Raven!” she screamed. She didn’t think Raven had heard her, the rain was now coming even harder and in large drops, the size of golf balls, splashing off of everything and causing small rivers and waterfalls to form all around them. The next lightning bolt Jalapeña saw Raven continuing to run along the muddy trail, not too far below her. What she saw ahead of her was even more terrifying than the spiders; a giant wall of water was rushing down the trail, pushing trees down ahead of it. It was headed right for Raven but there was nothing Jalapeña could do but yell futilely as the noise was now far too loud to hear or be heard…

( To be continued )


Take care. Stay healthy. Live life …

-Scott

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Next : A Map


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Jalapeña

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My first illustration for a project that my friend Kevin and I are working on. This scene is called “Jalapeña and Raven meet the Royals”.

A few months ago my friend, Kevin, asked if I would help him illustrate a book he had been working on. The book is based on a collection of stories he had told to his daughter, Clara, at bedtime and over long plane flights to keep her preoccupied. The stories tell the story of “Jalapeña”, an 8-year-old red-headed troll and her human friend, “Raven”, as they go on a series of adventures. Kevin shared his manuscript with me and, although I really enjoyed the story, I was hesitant to illustrate it. His story was epic. It contained a huge cast of characters and creatures and traversed a wide variety of places over different time periods.

“You know”, I told Kevin, “I’ve never done this before!”

“…I’ve just drawn comics…”, I continued, before he could interrupt. “… and, it’s almost a given that my artwork will improve as the book progresses. The illustrations might be inconsistent!”

“That’s okay!”, he replied, calmly.

In that instant I realized that Kevin and I were in the same boat. He wasn’t a professional writer any more than I was a professional artist. It’d be a learning process for both of us.

And then I smiled.

“Okay then.”, I said.

“Let’s do it.”

The experience so far has been nothing short of awesome…

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life …

-Scott

Next : Spiders!


#JalapenaBook #DadsWritingBooks #DadsBookClub #BeCreative #Illustration #KidsBooks #KidsFantasyBooks #MythicalCreatures #BookLover #ILoveBooks #DrawnAndCoded

Happy Birthday

happy birthday hippo purple birthday card comic art
Who likes the color purple and hippos? My friend, Kaliope, does. Due to Coronavirus restrictions, instead of a 9th birthday party Kaliope’s mom elicited all of her friends to draw her pictures and mail them to her. Happy Birthday, Kaliope …

#happybirthday #hippo #purple #birthdaycard #ilovehippos #ilovepurple #sketchbook #drawnandcoded

Goodbye, Radiation …

For the last month and a half I have been driving to UCSD 5 days a week with 30+ ounces of water sloshing around in my bladder and an empty colon to get everything south of my belly button irradiated. Fortunately,  my team at UCSD has been fantastic, and to thank them, I handed out bags of See’s Candy to everyone. As I was rolled into what I have affectionately dubbed the “glory hole” for the last time, I requested that they blast Oingo Boingo’s “Goodbye” during my final treatment. Patients are not not supposed to move while getting treated, but that didn’t keep me from drumming my fingers and humming along anyway.

“You guys have all been great and all, but …. I hope I never have to see any of you ever again.”, I teased my crew as they helped me out of the machine. After some awkward, socially distanced high-fives and elbow bumps I quickly made my way to the lobby.

For radiation therapy, at least at UCSD, there’s a huge brass bell in the lobby that patients are encouraged to ring on completion of their therapy.  I was so excited to be done and to head home that I completely forgot to “ring the bell” and made a beeline for my car.  My crew, busily eating their chocolates, forgot to remind me as well.

As I pulled up onto our street I saw Jodie chasing a blue balloon across our driveway. I stifled a chuckle and pulled into the driveway. Jodie quickly waved me back onto the street where I parked along the curb. After exiting the car and walking up to the driveway I saw why. She had our friends all write encouraging and uplifting phrases, with chalk, all over the driveway. 

prostate cancer last day of radiation family friends
I arrived home from my last treatment to Jodie chasing balloons across the driveway, inspirational quotes from friends scrawled with chalk, and hugs from two of my biggest supporters.

“I had planned to tape balloons to the garage door, too, but they kept popping.”, she smiled.

On the garage door she had hung letters that read “We are so proud of you”. After a couple of quick pictures against the sign Ashley and Kaylee ushered me inside.

“Open your gifts dad!”, they said in unison after plopping our new puppy, Maddie, in my lap.

In the first bag were several things, but it was a handmade stuffed orange tiger which I was immediately drawn to. If you don’t know why, I encourage you to read “Calvin and Hobbes”, a popular comic strip of the 80’s and 90’s which I grew up with. Earlier in the week I had hung a Calvin and Hobbes picture over the couch in my home office / fortress of solitude. My mom, unbeknownst to me, sewed me up my own “Hobbes” to accompany the picture. “Hobbes” primed the tears for my next gift. 

Prostate Cancer Last Day of Radiation Celebration Family and Friends
A handmade orange tiger might be a great gift for a 6-year-old boy, but it’s an awesome one for a 44-year-old man who grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes. Thank you, Mom.

“Can you read what it says?”, Jodie asked me after I unwrapped it.

“….”

It took a box of Kleenex and what seemed like forever before I could get my mouth to cooperate, and what finally came out wasn’t much.

“….I …. I …. really don’t know what to say.”

Jodie and my friends had created a collage. Each picture was a family member or friend holding a word. Together, the words read :

“One step closer to cancer-free! Keep kicking cancer’s butt! We love you and are proud of the strength and humor you have brought to this fight!”

Hours later and I’m still at a loss for words. 

Prostate Cancer Last Day of Radiation Friends Family
Unwrapping this collage choked me up for longer than I’d like to admit. I’m still at a loss for words other than, “Thank you.”

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life…. and surround yourself with people that love you.

-Scott

Previous : One Year Cancerversary

Next : The Road Ahead

Prostate Cancer PSA
My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 10/09/2020

#prostatecancer #cancer #prostatitis #psa #prostate #urology #oncology #radiationtherapy #radiation #ebrt #proton #radicalprostatectomy #chemotherapy #hormonetherapy #surgery #lupron #leuprolide #oingoboingo #goodbye #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis

Homonyms

kitten cat lover snow flake the fluffy white cat pet lover cone of shame spay nuder
My friend, Aymie, asked me to draw her kitten, “Snowflake”, a recent victim of the scalpel. For more Snowflake you can visit her Instagram page at snowflakethefluffywhitecat. Yes, the kitten has a Instagram page, too – and arguably more fans than me!

#kitten #cat #catlover #snowflakethefluffywhitecat #pets #petlover #coneofshame #sockofshame #spay #nuder

Facial Hair

facial hair shaving puberty beard mustache parenting comic
This was inspired by my daughters’ friend, Allan. He’s proud of his single solitary stubble. Maybe I’ll buy him a bottle of aftershave for his upcoming 11th birthday.

#hair #facialhair #shaving #puberty #beard #mustache #parentingfail #parenting #parents #drawnandcoded #sketchbook #comic #funny

Thank You

A lot of people came together to support my family and I during my daughter, Kaylee, and my respective recoveries from surgery. We were humbled by the number of people who brought us food, groceries, and offered their help. Thank you so much for your support, we are incredibly grateful and lucky to have such awesome friends, and family. For more go here.

Previous : Kegels, Pads, and … Radiation?!?

Next : Sometimes you just need to take more walks …

Prostate Cancer PSA
My PSA ( ng/mL ) as of 05/11/2020

#prostatecancer #cancer #radicalprostatectomy #surgery #drawnandcoded #iwillbeatthis #inkscape #illustrator #thankyou #card #recovery #mealtrain #drawnandcoded

Minecraft Easter Egg Hunt

Logo

“Dad! Can we do an Easter Egg Hunt on Minecraft?”, my oldest daughter, Ashley, asked me.

In years past we would go to the Westwood Club, our community center, for an annual Easter Egg Hunt with our friends and neighbors. However this year, due to social distancing restrictions enacted to slow the Coronavirus, the community center would be closed and the Easter Egg Hunt, cancelled.

“That is a great – wait, no, fantastic idea!”, I told her excitedly, “Let’s do it!”

So, during the week leading up to Easter Sunday we created a Minecraft World, populated it with a bunch of colorful “eggs” ( we substituted in-game colored wool blocks ), and scheduled a Zoom teleconference so that the participants could talk.

We kept the rule simple. 

  • Each participant would be provided a “basket” ( an in-game chest ) that would reside in the starting area. 
  • Each basket would contain tools ( a pickaxe and shears ) which would allow the participant to “mine” the eggs.
  • A hunt would last 15 minutes. 
  • During the hunt each participant would have to find and mine as many eggs as they could and return them to their basket before time ran out. Only eggs inside the basket at the end of the hunt would be tallied. 
  • And most importantly, the participant with the most eggs wins.

For each hunt we also hid a special “golden egg” ( an in-game gold block ) which would be worth ten regular eggs.

To get by Minecraft’s 8-player limit we would hold two hunts. The first would be for the older kids who would re-hide the eggs for the second hunt, which would be for the younger kids.

The hunt had it’s hiccups, but everyone seemed to have a good time. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to once again meet up with our friends and neighbors at the community center for a real, in-person Easter Egg Hunt, but desperate times call for desperate measures and this measure, in my humble opinion, wasn’t so much desperate as it was fun.

Take care. Stay healthy. Live life. And stay safe everyone.

-Scott

#Coronavirus #Minecraft #EasterEggHunt #SocialDistancing #MinecraftEasterEggHunt #SocialDistancingEasterEggHunt #Parenting #HowISurvivedCoronoavirusAndThrived #FamilyGames #KidGames #Quarantine #ShelterAtHome #StuckAtHome #Teleconferencing #Zoom

Lego Masters : Coronavirus Lockdown Edition

Coronavirus COVID COVID-19 Lego Masters Social Distancing Parenting How I Survived Coronavirus And Thrived Family Games Kid Games Quarantine Shelter At Home Stuck At Home Teleconferencing Zoom
COVID has dramatically changed everyday life in a very short amount of time. LEGO competitions over Zoom with my daughters’ friends was one way to buck the lockdown and establish some normalcy. It’s fun, too!

My girls and their friends are all big fans of Lego Masters, a new television show where teams compete with one another to create incredible builds based upon a theme.

Leveraging the coronoavirus restrictions as a unique opportunity, five families participated in Episode 1 of the “Rancho Bernardo Lego Masters : Coronavirus Lockdown Edition”. Each family used Zoom running on a mobile device or laptop to teleconference so that they could participate.

The winner of this weeks challenge, “Build the World’s Coolest Treehouse” was the Jock Family. Alexander and Kaliope won the exclusive “Rancho Bernardo Cup” with their amazing build. They will hold onto the cup until next Saturday for Episode 2.

Rules

  • Each family will represent a Team. A Team will be made up of one or more kids. 
  • Each Team will need access to a device capable of running Zoom. 
  • Each family will have two Votes. A family can only Vote for themselves once.
  • A Host (me) will host the Zoom meeting and be responsible for interviewing ( and muting ) the Teams throughout the challenge.

How it works

  1. A Theme will be chosen from a hat by the Host and presented to all of the Teams.
  2. Each Team will take 5 minutes to create a Plan. A Plan is a one page paper describing about how the Team will build a Lego representing the Theme.  The Plan can ( and should ) contain pictures. No building should take place during this time.
  3. Each Team will take 1 hour to Build their Lego.
  4. Each Team will take turns Showcasing their Build. While doing so they must describe how their Build fits the Theme. 
  5. Each family will submit two Votes for the best Build and discretely tell the Host.
  6. The Host will tally the votes and award the winning Team the “Golden Cup”. The Golden Cup will be re-awarded with each competition.

#Coronavirus #COVID #COVID-19 #Lego #LegoMasters #SocialDistancing #Parenting #HowISurvivedCoronoavirusAndThrived #FamilyGames #KidGames #Quarantine #ShelterAtHome #StuckAtHome #Teleconferencing #Zoom