Here are some of the questions I am most frequently asked about the lunchbox doodles and poems project:
How long does it take you to draw a doodle?
It depends on the doodle. The current doodles with color take a little over an hour to complete. The later black and whites took about an hour, but the first doodles I did only took a few minutes (and it shows).
How long does it take you to write a poem?
Poems are tricky animals. You’re never really done writing them. Sometimes a poem will come out in just a couple of minutes. Other times, a poem rattles around in my head for a decade before I’m happy with it. More often than I’d like to admit, poems are abandoned without ever being completed, but trust me when I say that you don’t want to read those anyway.
Do you sell doodles?
No, though I occasionally make doodles and other drawings for classrooms, charity events, or for other people’s blogs. Want one? Just ask me!
Can I watch you draw?
Videos may come someday, but for now, you can check out a doodle I did and how it went from idea to index card to its final product.
When and where do you do your drawings?
I do them in the evenings to have them ready by morning. I like to draw in my living room while binge-watching bad movies and television shows on Netflix.
How do you have time to do this?
I only sleep about four hours a night. And considering that it’s a labor of love I do for my boys, it doesn’t take any time at all.
How many poems have you written?
By my best estimation, about two thousand. I average one new poem a day.
What do the boys do with the doodles?
Most of the doodles make it back home. Then, they either go into photo albums or favorites are taped about their rooms. Only about a half-dozen are unaccounted for or haven’t survived the round trip lunchbox commute.
How do you come up with ideas for doodles and poems?
Some days, I have pen to paper before I even start thinking about what to draw or write and the doodle or poem is just what comes out. Other days, I’ll have a silly thought or strange question in my mind and I’ll make a note of it for a later. When I get stuck, I force myself to think of other things or use a random page from a dictionary until a word inspires a thought or makes me giggle.
What does “Thursdays are dog/dinosaur/kitty days” mean?
This is a joke between me and my friend Becky. We once noted that the most monumentally bad things have often happened to us on a Thursday. Likewise, Thursday is typically the hardest day of our respective work weeks. Andrew, too, has said that Thursdays are his “bad” days. To celebrate/counter this unfortunate coincidence, I started drawing dogs every Thursday, because Andrew stated that the dog doodles are his favorites. When Toph started school, he got dinosaurs on Thursdays for the same reason. Obviously, Xander likes Kitties.
What do you do for a living? Are you an artist/illustrator/author/cartoonist?
I wish! I enjoy drawing and writing and I would love nothing more than to inspire young minds all day. For the time being, I make software.
Do you ever do doodles for people other than your sons?
All of the time! I’ve done several for friends, classmates, classrooms, family members, and other people’s blogs.
What’s with all of the dots?
You may notice that I often use a drawing technique called pointillism to add shades and gradients to backgrounds. When drawing solely with black ink, options for shading and depth are limited.
What kind of pens do you use?
I really like Sakura Pigma Micron “005” black pens. I go through about one every weeks. Feel free to buy me some more!
On the rare occasions that I do digital fully-colored doodles, I manage the coloring with GIMP.
Why did you start doing a single shared doodle every day?
Three doodles and a poem daily proved to be a tremendous effort. I was spending upward of twenty hours a week doing them, leaving me little time for things like maintaining relationships or my health. I talked to the boys before I made this decision, and I had their full support.
Toph is an unusual name. What is that short for?
It’s a truncation of ChrisTOPHer.
Are Andrew, Toph and Xander real?
I was once accused of faking the existence of my sons so that I could get attention for the doodles and poems I put on this website. That’s laughable, really, because without the love I have for them, I certainly wouldn’t choose this particular labor.
I assure you, my sons are quite real: