The Adventures of Fatherman Featured

Sketch off!

Father and son battle it out with pencils and a sketchbook

My son and I had a sketch off. Over a 10 minute span, we sat across from one another in dueling recliners. With pencils and sketchbooks in hand, we drew each other’s ugly mugs. Correction: my son drew my ugly mug while I drew his unwrinkled face not yet worn down by life’s trials and tribulations.

After 10 minutes, I counted down 3-2-1 and we had our big reveal.

My Jedi senses predict a future for my young padawan as a caricature artist at Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. There you will find him in T-minus 12 years set up to the left of the concession stand as you load up on popcorn and oversized soft drinks.

After he revealed his portrait of me, I walked over to the mirror in our entryway, gave myself a good hard look and said, “Yeah, nailed it.”

We had a big laugh and I take no offense to the portrayal of my ears, which, let the record state, do not poke out like that. It appears the significant beard trim I undertook a week ago is not that significant to other parties not named me.

My cousin Robbie, who I sent the drawings to half a world away in Hong Kong, expressed concern I was wearing a plaid v-neck sweater. I assured him it is not a plaid v-neck sweater or a dashiki, but a flannel.

He stated that Henry was the clear winner of our sketch off. The battle wasn’t even close.

My mom stated it looked just like me. Thanks Mama.

Your turn: I challenge you to a sketch off with your kids

This was a fun activity on a whim. My son and I battled it out while my wife was with our daughter at basketball practice. My son is not the age he appears in my sketch either. I aged him by a couple of years (unintentionally). Drawing kids is hard.

And now I challenge you to sit in dueling chairs across from your genetic continuation and draw for 10 minutes. Once you’re finished, share the drawing on Facebook or Instagram and include the link of this blog post to go with it. Then, challenge your family and friends to continue the sketch off battle. What will decide the battle? Only pencils can tell.

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By Jeffrey Pillow

Jeffrey Pillow is an American short story writer, memoirist, and poet. He is the author of The Lady Next Door. His writing has been published in Urge Magazine, The Nervous Breakdown, 16 Blocks, USA Today, Sports Illustrated,, New York Times, Washington Post, and Richmond Times-Dispatch.

He grew up in the small town of Phenix, Virginia, population: 200, and now lives in Charlottesville with his wife, two kids, and a dog named Mozzarella Cheese. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia where he was a Rainey Scholar. This is his blog.

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