If you've got your kids' artwork on your fridge, you know that what makes it so endearing is the conceptual whimsy of the young mind behind it. But what happens when those visions are executed by a grown-up with polished artistic skills? The work on these three sites answers that question: sometimes hilarious, sometimes disturbing, always compelling.
Axe Cop reports a big spike in traffic with its latest episode, and it's easy to see why: it's the freshest take on the superhero mythos this side of Grant Morrison. Drawn by Eisner-nominated comics artist Ethan Nicolle and plotted by his 5-year-old brother Malachai, Axe Cop really soars with its supporting cast of superfolk, including the Evil Flying Book, the fart-propelled Baby Man, and my favorite, Avocado Soldier, a walking avocado with sunglasses and a magical unicorn horn. I know what I'm going as next Halloween.
Tiny Art Director has been at it for a couple of years now, with artist Bill Zeman drawing his toddler daughter's ideas, then submitting them to her rigorous critique. The following assignment - "an octopus" - was rejected on the grounds that "I don't like the scary green fish because he's bad." But she did make a generous offer to polish it up: "I want to help you. I want to erase him."
The Monster Engine, unlike the other two, starts not just with a child's idea but with a child's drawing. Painter Dave Devries has done loads of work for Marvel Comics and Universal Studios, so he knows his way around mighty men and monsters. His technique of tracing and fleshing out kids' drawings combines childlike compositions and concepts with lifelike detail. You gotta hand it to Dave and Chelsea: that is, indeed, one big mouth.
I'm resisting the urge to scan and post some of my kids' more fanciful artistic flights here, but you shouldn't. Feel free to show us the unique vision your child brings to his or her artistic pursuits. Whatever its other charms, it's almost guaranteed to be something I've never seen before.
(Thanks to joshmonkey for the links!)