Groot, Rocket, and why it’s cool that Chris Pratt’s a thief

When previews first started airing for Guardians of the Galaxy, I don’t know that there was anyone more skeptical than I.

Talking raccoons? Fighting trees? Ugh, Marvel, I thought, please just stick to human (or at the very least, humanoid) superheroes.

My husband, then my boyfriend (wow, has it really been that long?), had more hope. And I let him convince me to go see the movie, but mostly just because I was (am) an avid Parks and Rec and Doctor Who fan, and hence I was eaten up with curiosity about Chris Pratt’s and Karen Gillan’s roles. Andy Dwyer as an action hero? Amy Pond as a supervillain? That, I had to admit, was pretty intriguing. But I was still prepared to hate the talking raccoon.

I don’t know that I could have been more wrong about my initial reaction to the previews.

Rocket

Rocket Raccoon

Chris Pratt was a striking yet still hilarious departure from Andy Dwyer; Karen Gillan was masterful in all her bald, blue, black-eyed glory; and miracle of all miracles, I was even won over by the talking raccoon. I did not see that coming.

Groot

I AM GROOT

But my favorite thing about the movie has nothing to do with the movie itself.

My favorite thing about Guardians of the Galaxy is that Chris Pratt stole his costume from the set of the film and kept it so that as Star-Lord, he could visit sick kids in hospitals. As I did a little background reading on Guardians before writing this post, I came across that fact on IMDb. And apparently I’m too skeptical about a lot of things (I’m realizing as I write this), because I definitely did not believe that at first.

So I decided to fact-check it, gearing myself up for it to be a cute but groundless rumor, and I found two things. One, a whole bunch of people were writing about it, and two, it was corroborated by valid sources. Not the least of which was, ya know, an actual interview with Chris Pratt himself.

So now anytime I think of Guardians of the Galaxy, I think of little ones in hospitals getting to see the actual Star-Lord. I think of their eyes lighting up, and their smiles radiating joy. I think of the needles and tubes not hurting quite so bad, just for a moment. And I’m not gonna lie—that gets me a little choked up.

Honestly, knowing all this, I’d probably go see the sequel they’re filming now, just to support Star-Lord. Even if I’d ended up hating the talking raccoon.

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Bear Necessities: drawings from and thoughts on The Jungle Book, old and new

Even as a little girl, I harbored severe doubts about the veracity of Doctor Dolittle. I don’t know, but the idea that some guy’s pet parrot decided she could teach him the languages of all the animals, which conveniently no parrot had ever revealed to a human in the history of humans owning parrots—just seemed a touch fishy to me.

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Bill Murray’s Baloo from the 2016 Jungle Book; a pencil sketch

But The Jungle Book! Now there was a masterpiece. Secretly I wished I’d been found as a baby by a benevolent panther, too, to be turned over to a pack of wolves. Because if you were raised by wolves, nurtured in the heart of the jungle your whole childhood, not only should you certainly be able to speak with animals, but—well—how could you not be able to speak with animals?

The very foolproofness of the story was its beauty. Mowgli was my hero. The wolves were my champions. Bagheera was kind of a killjoy but honestly a hero too, because he was pretty crucial to saving Mowgli’s life and whatnot.

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a pen drawing of Hathi, Jr., the little elephant form the 1967 Jungle Book

And Baloo! Super fun but also startlingly fierce when rubber met proverbial road—he was the whole package. Plus he seemed like he’d be the best to cuddle with, and Mowgli would never have to worry about being chilly in the rain wearing nothing but those red underwear, because he could just curl up with a giant bear, warm and furry and his best friend.

Man, I wished so hard I could live in the jungle and be brave enough to fight Shere Khan.

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a pen sketch of Bagheera from the 1967 Jungle Book

A couple days ago, as I sat in a cinema watching The Jungle Book, I felt myself wishing that again in spite of myself. In spite of adulthood, in spite of the knowledge that, sadly, even growing up with wolves wouldn’t allow a person to actually engage in rational conversation with animals (…right?).

And that’s why I think the new Jungle Book is a masterpiece, too.

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a rough sketch of Shere Khan from over a year ago, when I was still signing my drawings as Randi Bouck

Disney drawings: Flash, Clawhauser, and my big complaint against Zootopia 

“But what if you don’t even like the movie?” my husband asked me recently.

He’d caught me drawing the sloth Flash the day before Zootopia premiered.

It was a legitimate question, but after having seen the movie four times, I can now confirm there was not a problem there.

Flash

Flash, Flash, Hundred-yard Dash

Naturally, I wasn’t the only one pleased with Zootopia. My good friend Mollie requested that I draw the lovable, Gazelle-adoring, donut-obsessed police officer cheetah Benjamin Clawhauser. (Did you know he has a Mickey-shaped spot hiding on his right cheek?)

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“Oh, THERE you went, you lil’ dickens!” -Benjamin Clawhauser

So yeah, Zootopia is pretty great. (A 98% on Rotten Tomatoes says that’s a pretty universal opinion.) I will say it isn’t without its flaws, though.

Well, one flaw in particular.

One of Zootopia’s strongest points is its insistence that anyone truly can be anything. The film is a fanciful, forceful masterpiece on defying limits, shattering stereotypes, and silencing prejudice.

But there’s one flaw in that grand anthem. Among the foxes, rabbits, mice, weasels, sheep, lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), otters, jaguars, cheetahs, and Cape buffalo championing the film’s cause through their various roles, there is

not

one

hedgehog.

Thought to be rodents (they’re not) and commonly considered to just be smaller but equally dangerous porcupines (with whom they share no relation whatsoever)—friendly, bashful hedgehogs are among the most misunderstood creatures in the world.

And a porcupine gets a part in the movie crossing a busy street in front of the male lead, but there’s nary a hedgehog to be found.

Alas, Disney. Alas, Zootopia.

Maybe have a hedgehog or two in the sequel, ok?

Art of the Week: Three Drawings

Happy Sunday, and welcome to the latest Art of the Week!

I started the week off with a bohemian-looking girl, drawn on the back of a business envelope from a paycheck my boss had just given me:

Next up was a quick sketch of a ponytail from the back, also on the back of an envelope:

And finally a couple days later, on a nice normal notepad, one more portrait of a girl:

Still working back up to a drawing per day, but this week’s three was at least an improvement over last week’s one. I’m investigating new techniques with character drawing and portraiture, so I hope you’ll stop by again next Sunday for another week’s worth of drawings!

(If you’d like to catch the beginning of this series, check it out here.)

Have a great week everyone. xx

Throwback Thursday: Scar

So last week we began a sorta throwback series that’s going to feature a Disney villain drawing each week, from a recent series I did on Instagram. (Find the intro post and the backstory of the series here.)

Today’s villain is none other than Scar, that dastardly murderer of Mufasa and fraternizer with evil hyenas:

Now, there are some freaky (and freaky-looking) villains out there, but Scar may be the most actually despicable Disney villain of all time. The guy willingly murders his brother and tries to murder his nephew. Um, yikes.

On Instagram, some friends and I had a conversation about about whether or not there were another villain darker and/or more evil than Scar. And the general consensus seemed to be that Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame is super creepy and might just tie with Scar on level of dark evil-ness, but not a single Disney villain actually beats Scar at the evil game. Like Scar legitimately is at the very limit of Disney darkness.

What do you think? Is there another Disney villain out there whose deeds were more horrific than Scar’s?

Art of the Week: a Styrofoam Cup of Coffee and Other Drawings

I’m writing this sitting on my couch with a baby hedgehog cuddled up asleep on my lap. Totally unrelated to this post, but a neat feeling since I didn’t use to have a baby hedgehog to keep me company while I blogged. It’s nice. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, to get back to the topic at hand, I have this running goal to have a new drawing to post on Instagram every day. (Check out the whole collection here if ya like.) Art helps keep me (mostly) sane when I’m walking through high-pressure situations in life, and plus I figure it’s good practice as an artist to draw every day. Win-win.

That said, I’d like to introduce Art of the Week, which’ll be a recap of the past week’s daily drawings. A weekly episode of drawings, if you will. The thing about Art of the Week that’s different from the Instagram posts or what gets put on my other social media, though, is that it will include behind the scenes stuff as well as failed attempts at times. (Like the one time I decided to sketch the lovely but ridiculously simple-to-draw Blue Fairy from Disney’s Pinocchio and in the process produced not one, not two, not three, but NINE miserable failed drawing attempts before I finally finished a passably adequate sketch of her. A tiny one in the corner of a notebook page. That was a depressing day.)

Cup of Coffee Drawing

Ironically, this week of all weeks was an absolute fail as far as drawing every day. The only sketch I produced was of this little styrofoam cup of coffee I had sitting on the table in front of me during a work meeting. Funny how a little coffee can cheer up mundane things, isn’t it? Anyway, even though it’s not a proper week’s worth of drawings, I thought it was fitting to start off these Art of the Week posts with coffee.

And just for fun, since I don’t have more drawings to share from this past week, here are a few small doodles from weeks gone by. Hope you enjoy, and see you next week!

Hippie Girl

Flower child…

Dachshund Puppy Drawing

…a tiny dachshund puppy…

Girl Drinking Coffee Drawing

…and a girl drinking coffee. Because what better to end this post with than more coffee?

 

Throwback Thursday: a Very Non-Villain Drawing (Princess Aurora)

A couple months ago I thought it would be fun to ask people on Instagram if they had a favorite Disney villain they’d like to see sketched. So I tossed out the question in a caption and waited to see if maybe a few friends had some requests. Much to my surprise, way more responses than I was expecting came flooding in, and thus commenced a Disney Villain Drawing Series that ended up lasting over a month. All the feels! It was a blast to revisit a ton of classic and contemporary bad guys of the Disneyverse, and to connect with fellow Instagrammers on what turned out to be a surprisingly universal love language—Disney villains. And I learned things as an artist from being forced to study such brilliant Disney art for a concentrated period of time, so that’s always a plus.

However, the first response I got was, rather hilariously, a request for Princess Aurora. Who is, in fact, not a villain. And ironically, the request came from my lovely fellow WordPresser Elissa Ryan McConathy. (Check out her brilliant blog here, in fact.) But I mean, who was I to say no to a chance to sketch Aurora?

So the Disney Villain Series started off on not a Disney villain.

Next week I’ll post the next installment in this throwback Disney art series. It’s one of my favorite villains of all time, and I can’t wait to share. Until then, take care, and thanks for stopping by!

Adventure is out there! (a Monday dose of April the hedgehog, plus a drawing and an announcement)

Our first week of being “exotic” pet owners was a hilarious mix of cuddly naps, spilled wood shavings, and hedgehog poop. (And we’re currently thanking God that hedgehogs have the easiest messes ever to clean up.) It’s also slightly less nerve-wracking to hold her now, since even just after one week with us she’s noticeably bigger and stronger, and as she grows less vulnerable it’s easier to see how she’s going to be just fine and have a nice long hedgehog life. (Can you tell we’re first-time pet parents together?)

Adventure is out there!

Adventure is out there!

Having baby April has been so. much. fun. Hedgies are always quickly startled and easily frightened, especially when they’re adjusting to a new home, and to a certain extent that’s true about April too. But we’ve been proud of her, because even after a kind of traumatic almost-car-crash with a dangerous felled tree on the road (thanks a lot to the El Niño this year with all that rain and flooding), she’s very brave and unusually adventurous for a hedgehog. With her curious personality and her funny little nose always wriggling and sniffing, I swear it’s like we stole her out of a Beatrix Potter story. And her little woodsy self is a welcome relief from the swampy jungle that has been the outdoors lately.

And the best part is she’s as cuddly as ever…although she’s (already!) growing out of fitting in the palm of my hand.

Our curious April

Our curious April

Ok, so that’s the hedgehoggy part of this post. Now onto the drawing and announcement. Here’s the drawing (which I did about a week and a half ago in honor of the torrential rain we’ve been getting)…

Girl in Rain Boots

….which brings me to the announcement. Which is, to wit, that more art posts are coming. I can’t reveal fully yet, but there may or may not be weekly posts coming on, say, Thursdays and Saturdays. And there may or may not be featured both current art I’m working on, and Disney art I’ve already done. Plus behind the scenes stuff and failed art attempts. So check back if ya like. : )

That’s about all for now. There’s a new pot of coffee in my kitchen, and I can smell it from the desk where I’m writing this. So I’ve obviously got to get a cup of it stat. So farewell, and thanks for stopping by!

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Rapunzel’s Haircut: a drawing, etc.

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Although I am unapologetically and unashamedly a huge fan of Tangled, and though I was particularly charmed with Disney’s twist of having Flynn Rider cut off Rapunzel’s hair, I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of the classic haircut moment between Rapunzel and the witch. I mean, I cried when a hairstylist took off three inches of my hair without my permission once, so I guess the thought of losing feet and feet of glorious golden locks to an evil enchantress kind of staggers me.

But speaking of the classic tale “Rapunzel” by the Brothers Grimm, have you read it? If not, it’s the perfect macabre, what-even-are-fairytales cure for the Monday blues. Brew a cup of tea, get comfortable, and read about Rapunzel and her weird rampion-laced escapades here. (And if the story freaks you out, watch Tangled to make everything better again.)