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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Fife

Challenges - "Give Me Six Characters to make Fan art of"

So... to start out. I don't really want you to give me 6 characters to make fan art of. Though to do voice characterizations for them would also be an intriguing challenge. More of what I want to do is show off my brilliant eldest daughters work & express my pride in her work, show how diverse a family can be, and talk about personally challenging yourself.

Bizarre challenges come in all shapes & sizes. Ice Buckets. 30 day blog challenges. My oldest took up this one yesterday & I wanted to share the results with you.

My oldest is 17 years old & has been drawing for years, full bore for the last 3 or so at least. You can see more of her stuff on her tumblr account at

All of the pictures in this are something that she was familiar with, but she asked the 6 other members of the family old enough to talk for suggestions. I love what these choices say about our family.

Digit - This was my second oldest daughter's idea. The oldest three spent a lot of their early years watching PBS kids while my wife or I were busy running our music store. The fact that this week they've been binge watching Cyberchase as teenagers absolutely delights me. I still have fond memories of Square One, Where in the World is Carmen San Diego and Reading Rainbow. The fact that Digit is voiced by none other than Gilbert Gottfried is just an extra little bonus. Oh... and the bad guy is voiced by Christopher Lloyd.

Admiral Trench - From Star Wars Clone Wars, but from a later season. Picked by my oldest son, 13. We've all grown up with & loved Star Wars in my family, but the fact that he picked an obscure character from 2 episodes of an animated series shows his (and our) commitment to our geekdoms.

Abraham Lincoln - My 2nd son's pick. My oldest's account of his suggestion: 'I asked him what fictional character he wanted me to draw and immediately he said, “Hmm, how about Abraham Lincoln?”' - Yes, Lincoln is a historical figure, but, hey, he's also part of pop culture. Star Trek. The Lego Movie. Vampire slayer. (Ok, none of us have seen that last one, but, you know.) I love that a 6 year old would chime in with something so quick. He's just like that. You never know just what interesting questions that come out of his mouth.

Screaming Death - Yet another somewhat obscure evidence of our commitment to our fandoms. From my youngest daughter, who's voice Shorty Bean in 2 books with me. The source material - for those of you who don't quite dive in as deep as we do - is How to Train Your Dragon. We have LOVED the film series (my favorite animated trilogy of all time), and the Cartoon Network, and then netflix series that go along with it, while not quite as good as the movies, are still delightful, and, sadly... both the tv show & the movies beat the books they're loosely based on. Anyway - This daughter, like her Mom, Dad, & Oldest sister ADORES all things dragons.

Howl - This was my wife's pick. Howl's Moving castle is a highly intriguing novel and a much different movie than the novel. We love both, which doesn't happen very often when a movie diverges that significantly from the book. As a bibliophile family, that usually really bugs us. Think 'The Dark is Rising,' 'The Count of Monte Cristo', and of course Peter Jackson's 3 film abuse of 'The Hobbit' if you want examples of movies based on books that seem like someone had a four year old explain the plot of the book & then filled in the blanks with their own weak imagination. What they accomplished with the anime movie of Howls Moving Castle was truly a work of art. Bizarre, but artful. And, having read the book out loud to the kids before we watched the show, Billy Crystal really surprised me as the voice of Calcifer. Completely different take on the character then I did, and absolutely lovable. "What a pretty fire."

Longbourn - This was my pick. For anyone who hasn't followed my audiobooks, he's one of the main characters who has been added in to Maria Grace's delightful Jane Austen's Dragons series. In years past, I would have undoubtedly had her draw some Star Trek, Star Gate, Star Wars, or Dr. Who character. I love that I've gotten involved in something that I can be a fan of, along with the rest of my family. It's a blast to be on the creative side.

Which brings me to the challenge thing. I'm trying out this 30 day blog challenge to get me in the habit of writing along with my new narration career. My oldest took this challenge & ran with it & I couldn't be prouder of her for it. She is continually taking challenges from her friends & colleagues on social media & using it as an opportunity to grow her skills & a great launching point.

There are any number of challenges out there. Pick one for yourself. November is the 50,000 word novel challenge, I know off the top of my head. I'm not sure if I'll be up to that one this year, but it just goes to show that there's a challenge, a goal, something to stretch for that on the other side of it, you'll be better than if you just sat binge watching another show (though, as you can tell, sometimes we do that too).

Is there a challenge that you think would be up my alley? I can't guarantee I'll take it, but I might. Let me know. Thanks for reading my blog & thanks to my oldest daughter for setting a great creative example for me. She did all the delightful genre icons you see below too. Now go create something.

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