inktober 2017, told in Lego

Yeah, I know. I haven’t called, I haven’t written, to be fair I haven’t sketched that much either, but this is the longest I’ve neglected my regular sketchblog since I started doing it. A mixture of being super busy (which was stressful) and being super in Hawaii (which was nice). And suddenly it is December! And I have drawn my son’s 2017 advent calendar (pictures soon). I’ve also watched and enjoyed Thor Ragnarok and, yes, even Justice League. And it is appropriate then that the first entry in this very long series of sketches you are about to see is of the Flash, who for me was a lot better than I expected him to be. Here he is.
inktober 1 SWIFT sm
Oh right, I should explain. This is a series of drawings I did for “Inktober” 2017. What is that? Inktober is a series of prompts given out at the start of October to encourage people to draw one thing every day based on the prompt, but in ink. For 2017 they were: Swift, Divided, Poison, Underwater, and loads more. You can see the list at http://mrjakeparker.com/inktober/. Or just keep on reading and looking….
inktober 2 DIVIDED sm

Number 2 is “Divided”, and it’s pretty obvious what is going on here. Iron Man has dropped Cap’s shield while he figures out a way to divide his collection of mugs between those suitable for tea and those for coffee.

inktober 3 POISON sm

Number 3 is “Poison”. Now technically Venom isn’t poison, but when you are writhing in agony after a rattlesnake bites you the last thing you want it some eejit coming along correcting your grammar.

inktober 4 UNDERWATER sm

Number 4 is “Underwater”. The Little Mermaid tends to live underwater, except for that time when she was banished for being Unworthy and couldn’t lift her mighty jewel.

inktober 5 LONG sm

Perhaps I should explain all of these. So my theme for my Inktober sketches was Lego minifigures, of which I have quite a few, mostly Marvel and Star Wars, and I love to sketch them, animate them, hide them from felines. Also, I decided that while this was all about ink drawings, I would nevertheless colour them in with some watercolour paint as well because “whatever, I do what I want”. This one is Falcon, who has very long wings.

inktober 6 SWORD sm

Ninjago had to get in here, huh. This is Lloyd, number 6, and yes he actually has two swords. I know the one he is holding behind his back looks a bit odd but that was the pose, get over it. Ninjas gotta ninja.

inktober 3 SHY sm

Seven is ‘Shy’. Now I think Mr Lego Movie man is just a few days shy of his birthday and is freaking out about it. I did include the Palm Tree because of that whole thing with coconuts and shy, but it was, look I don’t know how coconuts work. The barrel seemed important.

inktober 8 POISON sm

I love this minifigure. He’s a dandy highwayman, without the dandy. Crooked as a barrel of snakes. I couldn’t use that because I didn’t want to repeat the barrel theme.

inktober 9 SCREECH sm

The rat is behind him and we are looking down at a slight elevation. He isn’t floating at his waist. The banana is bendy which will please the brexit lot. This is a pirate though who was probably pretending it was a pistol. He is screeching by the way because One Direction are on TV and he is excited as fuck. His vest was made by the same tailor that clothes Dennis the Menace (the British one from the Beano, who had the dog Gnasher, not the American one, who isn’t really a menace, Mr Wilson just needs to chill out a bit) (fun fact! I was in the official Dennis the Menace fan club) (fun fact! Darth Maul, who is also sometimes called Dennis the Phantom Menace, painted his face red and black in honour of Dennis the Menace’s famous jumper. He couldn’t do the hair because of the horns, but he did always refer to Naboo as Gnaboo, a reference only he understood) (he also used to call the Jedi “softies” and his secret nickname for Qui-Gon Jinn was “Walter”)

inktober 10 GIGANTIC sm

Number 10. “Gigantic”. Thanos would win this, wouldn’t he. Wouldn’t he? Well no, according to Deadpool vs Thanos by Tim Seeley, Deadpool definitely outdeaths the big purple chinned one. By the way, that trailer released this week, yes I am a little bit excited. I just hope Thanos finds his hat! He’s probably looking for it, that’s the plot of the film.

inktober 11 RUN sm

Number 11 is “Run” and who better than Batman running to represent “Run”? It just needs Rodney to run alongside him now, like in that really old tv show. Thing is why is he running away from the batlight? Maybe he was just there and is off on his mission now, that is it. “So Batman,” coughs Commissioner Gordon. “Two-Face’s bank robbery is at the other end of the city. How are you going to get there? Batwing? Batmobile? Batcycle? Batportation?” “Ok, first of all,” growls Batman, “it’s ‘The Bat Man’ now, or just ‘Bat of Gotham’, right. Got that? And you are now Co-Missioner Gordon, because you are my co-person on my missions now, not The Rob-In. Secondly, I am going to run, because that is what Bats do.”

inktober 12 SHATTERED sm

I’m so looking forward to the Last Jedi, aren’t you? Not long now. Kylo Ren likes to smash things up. Afterwards he feels totally shattered. I get it. I always feel tired whenever I have to talk to people as well. I’m sure his mask doesn’t help, having to repeat himself all the time.

inktober 13 TEEMING sm

Speaking of evil, here is Ultron. Don’t tell him that his name would be a good name for a washing powder. Danny Baker doing the adverts, “choose Ultron Prime, gets your metals greyer than grey”. This is teeming by the way not because they are teaming up (I can spell you know, occasionally) but because they are teeming, like insects, but in this case they are murder-bots. “This place is teeming with murder-bots, let’s go to Wetherspoons instead.” (By the way, I’d take a city falling from the sky teeming with murderous robots over an evening in a Wetherspoons any day)

inktober 14 FIERCE sm

Not sure about the red and white saltire, I think it was supposed to be X-Men related. This is the Wolverine, also known as the Logan. He is definitely fierce. He is also the best there is at what he does and what he does isn’t very nice. My wife pointed out though that he really isn’t the best there is at what he does, because if he were, he wouldn’t keep getting stabbed and shot. That actually makes him pretty rubbish at what he does. I’m like, fair point, but look at his claws. They are cool, even if they aren’t how claws work.

inktober 15 MYSTERIOUS sm

Fifteen is the Master of the Mystic Arts himself, Doctor Stephen Strange. In this picture is is singing Peter Andre’s hit song Mysterious Girl. That stuff behind him was added in afterwards, he was singing in front of a green screen. Those things on his hands are Magic.

inktober 16 FAT sm

Yeah, Comic Book Guy has a bit of a weight thing going on, I know. Sure, this is a cheap shot, I added the hot dog and soda and donut pieces (all real Lego pieces I do have), for all you know that is a low-calory Linda McCartney sausage, he could be drinking water and that donut could just be a small plate, the comic could be a book of encouragement, and that belly is drawn onto his shirt. So why this for ‘fat’, then? Because you can’t spell ‘fate’ without ‘fat’ and he is saying no, I reject my fate, I am not there yet, so ‘fat’ is just ‘fate’ but incomplete because he rejects it. That makes sense to me, because it is 1:30am after a busy week, and I am eating Pop Tarts.

inktober 17 GRACEFUL sm

Am I going to do this for every one? I’ve started now so I will, as Magnus Magnusson used to say, Finnish (pretty sure he was Icelandic actually). Black Panther is pretty graceful. I can’t wait for his movie, and he was great in Civil War. WAKANDAAAAA!!!! Actually I decided against the Pop Tarts. I am not accepting my fat.

inktober 18 FILTHY sm

One from the Lego Death Star (which by the way I have, and it is awesome). This is when they fall down the garbage chute and into the trash compactor. Hey have you heard of Palette Swap Ninja? It’s this thing on Youtube where someone has taken Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and put it against the original Star Wars film, and it totally works. Different words of course (it’s called “Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans”), and the one from this scene is Lovely Rita Meter Maid, renamed as “Dianoga Sewer Snake”. Love it!

inktober 19 CLOUD sm

Number 19 was Cloud so we had to go to our favourite floating city in the sky, the imaginatively named Cloud City. I laugh at that but other cities have names that are also obvious, in their original (often lost) languages. London for example may have come from an old British term meaning the Hill by the Pool, Canada comes from a word meaning ‘village’, and Venice comes from the words ‘Very Nice’. That London one is disputed by the way, but that’s what I used to tell people in my old bus tour guide days as one possible explanation referring to Tower Hill, by the section of Thames called the Pool of London. I wonder if Boba Fett, when he dropped off the frozen Solo at Jabba’s palace, was all cracking up, saying “and then he goes, “I know“! Hahahaha! I’m totally using that one!” Jabba and Bib and that horrible little monkey thing are all rolling about laughing, they can’t even pick up the carbonite because they are laughing so much.

inktober 20 DEEP sm

20 is another Ninjago one, this is Sensei Wu, who as all masters do, says deep stuff. I can totally relate.

inktober 21 FURIOUS sm

21, this is Nick Angry from the Avengers movies. He has a flying car, like any badass should.

inktober 22 TRAIL sm

22 is “trail”, so here is a man with a map looking a bit lost. Reminds me of 17 year old Pete in the Outward Bound excursion in Cumbria, that was an experience. I was not a great navigator but I quite enjoyed being out in the wilderness. Well, the countryside, it was Cumbria, not the Canadian Rockies. Cumbria can be pretty rugged though, and the midges are about a foot long biting chunks out of your arm when you’re trying to sleep.

inktober 23 JUICY sm

The connection here was juice as in petrol/gas, that’s the best I could do. I love the Formula 1 Lego, and F1 itself too. Glad Hamilton won the title this year, but hope Ferrari give them a juicy old run next year.

inktober 24 BLIND sm

Han Solo again, this time coming out of the carbonite and unable to see, and about to be thrown into the Sarlacc, except wait! That’s Lando in disguise! Mr Cloud City himself. Tatooine just means ‘Sand World’. Luke just means ‘farm boy future jedi’. Lando on the other hand is a nickname because he actually hates the land, it’s ironic, that’s why he liked living in the clouds. It’s 2:10am and I wish I had had those pop tarts now.

inktober 25 SHIP sm

Come on, this is the only ship that matters. But what’s this? Captain Hook has stolen the Millennium Falcon! He stole it from Unkar Plutt, who stole it from the Irving Boys, who stole it from Ducain, who stole it from Han Solo. “Would you get going, you pirate!”

inktober 26 SQUEAK sm

Squeak, well here are two of our favourite mice ever, unfortunately I drew them looking totally spaced out. Why Mickey is shirtless I didn’t ask.

inktober 27 CLIMB sm

Spider-man! Or ‘Spider of Queens’! I LOVED ‘Homecoming’. Here he is climbing Avengers Tower. Little does he know, there is an elevator. Phil Coulson uses it in the first Avengers movie, eagle-eyed viewers will remember.

inktober 28 FALL sm

“With style” yes, yes that’s the reference. That’s what I say, “oh it’s not Winter, it’s just Fall with Style”

inktober 29 UNITED sm

Awww. They are back together. I always imagine them singing like Annie and Daddy Warbucks at the end of that film, I forget what it’s called, Orphan with Dog or something. “Together at last, together for-ev-errr”. Get this man a shield.

inktober 30 FOUND sm

“Found”. “Just lying in the desert”. “Fell of the back of a spaceship”. “Ben Kenobi said I could have it, m’lud”.

Inktober 31 MASK sm

And finally, #31. Mask. Because Luke tries to mask his obvious displeasure at seeing his father is all bald, he is thinking, oh man when I’m his age I’m probably going to be all bald too. Little did he know the opposite would be true, he’s totally hairy, stuck out on that island. Just two weeks until The Last Jedi! But for now it is 2:30am and I hope you have enjoyed this little pictorial story of a month.

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encore legoland

Legoland Ninjago Land

Here are the last few sketches from the vacation in San Diego. The last couple of days were spent at Legoland, with two nights at the Legoland Hotel. It was a lot fun. It was our third time there, but this time they had recently built Ninjago Land, which, if you’ve followed any of my Lego sketches, was always going to be a big hit with us. The Ninjago ride itself was fun, a bit like one of those ones where you have to blast targets, except with this you use your hands rather than blasters. I sketched this on the second day when the tiredness was sinking in, the rest of the family went to the hotel for a rest and I sketched in the park. I added colour later on when I was exhausted, as you can totally tell.

Legoland Robosaur

Above, a big robotic dinosaur, about fifteen or twenty feet high, I don’t know, I’m bad at judging height. Hundred feet maybe. We spent a lot of time in the pool areas, the water park, and no matter the sunscreen my head still got red. I think it left me a bit frazzled. So on the last day there, we spent time at the hotel pool and I for once did not get in, rather I sketched from the sidelines. And then, we flew back home to Davis. I like vacations.

Legoland Hotel

those magnificent lego men and their flying machines

ninjago ronin rex

I hope you like Lego, because you’re just going to keep seeing more of it on this sketchblog. Denmark’s Greatest Invention. Occasional bane of my bare feet on the carpet. I’ve been busy Lego-sketching, especially mini-figures, so many mini-figures. You’ll get to see those once I’ve coloured them in. That won’t take too long. In the past week I have also been to Legoland, where you might imagine I did a lot of sketching. You might imagine it would be the perfect sketch-paradise for someone like me. Well in fact I only managed one sketch because Legoland is so much fun! More on that another time. This was done before the trip, and is one of my son’s newer Lego sets, the Ninjago Season 5 ‘Ronin REX’. You have no idea the anxious wait for the season 5 Ninjago stuff to come out (my son’s anxious wait, not mine, but yes mine too). It was agonizing, and all the more so because when I had been in England in June I had seen all of these and didn’t buy any to bring home, figuring they would probably be out in the US already (same reason I am still new-Tottenham-shirt-less). Two months he waited, saving his money (I say his money, I gave it to him). In the meantime the show came out, and then finally the toys were in the shops. He really wanted this particular set, which has one of those Airjitzu things actually built into it, and he even entered a competition to win it, just in case (I told him that if he does win, we’ll keep the second one in its box and sell it in a few years time for three times the original price). This is the flying vehicle of the Han-Solo-esque scoundrel character Ronin, introduced in season 5, and I must say that the shape of the ship (and the colour scheme of Ronin) really reminds me of Slave 1, Boba Fett’s ship. I drew this in the book of my son’s things, which is becoming ever more Lego-heavy. As it should!

enter the bladecopter

ninjago bladecopter
More Lego, drawn in the book of my son’s stuff. This is the Ninjago Blade-Copter (the what, i hear you ask?), a recent addition from the season before the most recent season of Ninjago. You have to live in this world. So, in season 4 of Ninjago, the ninjas travel to an island to take part in a martial arts tournament organized by the mysterious Chen (who normally runs a noodle shop), where the other participants are all masters of their own various elements (such as the element of ‘sound’). The tournament however turns out to be a cover for a more nefarious scheme (stealing the elemental powers of each ninja). It’s a solid season with lots of characters and makes a lot of fun references. As I drew this last night, ironically, probably the biggest influence of all came on the TV: Bruce Lee’s classic Enter the Dragon. I am a big fan of this movie, and can probably quote all the words if I have to. And do the facial expressions of the hapless guards. If you ever see, I will prove it. Just don’t ask me to do any of the kung fu moves, I’m a tad  out of shape. In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee fights in a tournament on an island organized by the mysterious ‘Han’, but the tournament turns out to be a cover for a more nefarious scheme (recruiting fighters to his drug and crime empire). There are a few more parallels (one of the Lego sets is called ‘Enter the Serpent’; the scene where Chen punishes everyone because certain people have been sneaking around the palace at night; the scene where Chen tries recruiting Jay while showing him his collection of weaponry from the past, just like when Han tries recruiting Mr Roper), and in a previous season the ninjas learn the style of ‘fighting without fighting’, a direct reference to Bruce Lee’s chat with the bully Parsons on the boat. Look, you have to live in this world, ok. Master Chen is a pretty silly and whimsical villain though, but Mr Han is a classic supervillain of the highest order. He has a classic supervillain face; he lives in a palace surrounded by utterly useless guards; he is missing a hand (he keeps the skeletal remains in a glass case) but has a series of dangerous attachments such as the one with four-knives (for added “snikt”). Truly, as Mr Williams says, he comes right out of a comic book.

I drew this using a black Pentel pen, which I swear didn’t used to run much with a wash, but actually runs all over the place. Back to Microns for black lines I think. I use the non-running brown uni-ball signo um-151 pen mostly these days (the black variety runs bad). It’s on the Stillman and Birn Alpha paper.

ninja tech

ninjago thunder raider
“Jump up. Kick Back. Whip Around. And…Spin.” No, these aren’t lines from a popular book-turned-movie that is in cinemas these days (“Shifty Grades of Hay”, or whatever it’s called), but is in fact the theme tune to the rather more interesting and well written kids cartoon, “Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu”, based on the popular Lego toy line. Regular listeners will remember that I have drawn some of these toys before (my son has rather a big collection, and you need acrobatic Ninja skills to just get across the floor without stepping on one). Despite being an elaborate (and effective) toy commercial (hah, not like in my day! My favourite shows were Transformers and He-Man which, er never mind), it is actually remarkably good fun and a lot better than much of the nonsense on kids TV these days. At the end of the season three for example, when (spoiler alert) Zane (who is – spoiler alert if you don’t know this yet – a “nindroid”, ie a ninja who is also an android – hey it makes perfect sense, ok?) sacrifices himself to save his friends from the Overlord (who at the time was known as “The Golden Master” after retrieving the Golden Weapons from their hiding place on a comet and had rebuilt himself into a large robotic spider – look just go with it, alright), I was almost in tears. It was (spoiler alert) Ninjago’s “We are Groot” moment. It’s ok though because (spoiler alert) he’s not really dead because (spoiler alert) well, he is a robot after all, and becomes (spoiler alert) the Titanium Ninja. Look I promise you, this is a really good show. It’s not like that Kung Fu Panda show which was on every single bloody morning, where basically nothing happens at all, and they just talk about their feelings. Or the Amazing World of Gumball, or heaven forbid, Uncle Grandpa. God there is some annoying nonsense on kids TV these days. Not like in my day (my favourite shows were Wackaday and Grotbags which, er never mind). Anyway…these items which I have drawn here are tow of my son’s toys he got for Christmas, it’s actually all from one set, the “Thunder Raider” set. This is the name of the vehicle driven by Jay, the Blue Ninja, and is accompanied by the Earth Mech of Cole, the Black Ninja. A “Mech” is a kind of exoskeletal robotic suit. Come on look at it, you want one too. It can actually hook onto the back of Jay’s Thunder Raider. Of course as soon as I showed this to my son, he pointed out straight away that I have the wrong version of Cole riding on the Mech. A slight variation in the costume. Of course, always the perfectionist.

Drawn in a Stillman & Birn “Alpha” book in which I’m documenting a lot of my son’s stuff.

here be dragons

ninjago four-headed dragon
It had been a while since I drew in my son’s toys-and-other-things book, so I decided to get back to it with more Lego. This is his four-headed Ninjago dragon, part of a big Lego set he got for Christmas. Really big and a little unwieldy to actually play with (all the other Ninjago stuff is semi-permanently all over the floor, it’s a boy’s favourite) but was immense fun to build (I did all the hard work). The wing span is impressive when flying but I needed to fit it all on the page so it is in standing mode. Imagine having four heads. Well I suppose we all have foreheads. Some people (my dad for example) pronounce forehead as “forrid”, whereas I pronounce it like fore-head, which may lead to fork handles style confusion. So, the four-headed dragon from the Ninjago series. I have drawn erroneously with the golden ninja as the rider, but it should in fact be ridden by the green ninja, though they are in fact the same person a.k.a. Lloyd Garmadon, son of Lord Garmadon who used to be the main bad guy (having in his youth been bitten by the Great Devourer, a giant snake creature who lives underground until he was resurrected by snake people and who devoured the ninja’s flying pirate ship, until being defeated by Lord Garmadon himself after a battle with the Ninja and the four-headed dragon) oh and who also had four arms (not fore-arms) so that he could use the four golden weapons, resurrect an ancient being called the Overlord to destroy and rebuild Ninjago City in his image, until that went awry and Lloyd became the Golden Ninja to defeat the Overlord (though he would later return first as a computer virus and then as head of an army of cyborg ninjas before turning himself into a giant spider) and turn his father back to the good side where he became Sensei Garmadon and went back to having two arms and no longer wearing a bone in his hat. Oh and the dragon’s four heads represent the four elements of earth, fire, um, lightning and, er, ice.

Lego is waaaay more complicated than it was in my day.

“jump up, kick back, whip around and spin”

ninjago gold dragon
That confusing sounding title comes from the theme tune of Lego Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitsu, a show that my six-year-old son absolutely loves. Which means of course I have to love as well, and I’m fine with that. Admittedly I couldn’t figure out those lyrics on my own; I had to actually google them, to get it right and not look the inevitable fool. That’s how it is when you’re a dad, you get to be immersed in the culture of being a six-year-old (as opposed to the rest of my time, spent reading comics, watching football and Star Wars and drawing pictures of Iron Man and Magneto). The best bit is all the Lego though, and this Christmas just gone (and his recent birthday) was very Legocentric. I have built a great many highly complicated Lego sets, many of which I have also been drawing pictures of afterwards in the sketchbook devoted to my son’s things; you’ll have seen some already.
ninjago gold mech
The top one is the Golden Dragon, piloted by none other than the Gold Ninja. That was a satisfying one to build, and I built it really quickly on Christmas Day. The gold doesn’t stop there. Next up is the Gold Ninja Mech, which came with the Temple of Light set. I sketched this one because who doesn’t love drawing big robots, and I showed it to my son who, while he did like the robot, basically highlighted my ignorance of the Ninjago genre by having Sensei Wu (the bearded fellow with the stick, a kind of Lego Mr. Miyagi) piloting the thing. Oh no, it should have been the Gold Ninja, he said, Sensei Wu doesn’t have a Mech. But, but the Gold Ninja’s already flying the Golden Dragon, I protested. I’m not drawing it again.
ninjago kai fighter

So for the last one I drew the Red Ninja Kai-Fighter, and I left it pilotless. I do know the Red Ninja (known as Kai) flies this and I have even seen the cartoon, but knowing me I will probably get the version of his uniform wrong or something. Listen, if you think young kids don’t pick up on tiny tiny details you’re wrong. I still remember years ago when my son pointed out a slight difference between the Lightning McQueen on his diaper to the one on his night-light, a detail so small only a highly trained supreme intellect would notice. I was the same. At age four I was counting vertebrae on dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History Museum and pointing out errors to the scientist tour-guides, nowadays I can barely remember the dinosaur’s names. Diplocerataurus Rex, right? Tell you what though, I’m good at this Lego lark now though. More has been built since, and there’s more to draw.