Art on a Shopping Cart

Any time my family and I take a trip to the grocery store or Target, we absolutely have to grab one of those bulky carts with the dual kid seats. You know the type; usually brightly colored, sometimes with steering wheels for the kids, but always giant-sized monstrosities. They’re probably annoying to other shoppers because of how much space they take up, but they sure are useful when you’re carting around a couple of children. We’re also to a point where both kids love riding on them, and specifically ask to go to the store so they can climb aboard. They’re somewhat difficult to maneuver, but are like finding gold when we see one. In fact, we actually select which stores to visit for major shopping trips based on whether they have these or not.

Two Kid Shopping Carts Amdall Combo3
Kid-friendly shopping cart examples. Credit (from left to right) to The Toy Channel on Flickr,,

A couple days ago, I was pondering what to draw next, and for some reason I thought about the kids and those mega-sized shopping carts. Why not do something related to that? After all, I haven’t drawn anyone in my family in a couple weeks. If you’ve browsed this site, I’m sure you’ve seen my most frequent portrait subjects…I’m not exactly covering new ground with this subject matter. But, I really enjoy drawing them, and maybe they’ll like having all these drawings someday. Actually, they seem to get a kick out of me sketching them already! Variety is good sometimes, but it’s also comforting to draw what you know so well.

Anyway, I set out to do something with shopping carts and the kiddos. I also wanted to incorporate a couple other aspects. The first is a tribute to how much my oldest daughter loves Pokemon right now. Pokemon shirts, Pokemon pajamas, toys, her Pokeball hat…she is all about being a Pokemon trainer and catching Pikachus. She often asks me to doodle little cartoons of her as a Pokemon trainer, or a pikachu, or other such things:

A quick doodle, by her request, of the great Pokemon Trainer and her “fameful Pikachu” (her words). 

So, I wanted to toss in some Pokemon gear. The other aspect for this portrait is related to our youngest. She has officially entered her “terrible two” phase with a vengeance. She has always been a bit more serious-minded at times, but in the last couple weeks she has thrown some absolutely cataclysmic tantrums. I mean, getting so angry that my wife and I just look at each other like, “what in the world is happening here?” But then other times, she’s just as happy and bubbly as can be. I remember this with our oldest a couple years ago…but I think I had allowed myself to forget. Most kids probably go through this – in fact, when our oldest was two, we sometimes called her “bipolar baby” due to her rapidly shifting mood at the time. So this aspect I wanted to reflect is: Is the child about to smile, or is she about to yell? A tricky one, but I’m quite familiar with the look.

Here is the final product:

This one turned out well! I don’t want to sound conceited or anything, but I really think I’ve gotten pretty good at drawing these kids. I mean, I have had a ton of practice now…but I can fairly accurately capture their looks now. Some efforts haven’t always been as accurate for one kid (oldest) or the other (youngest), but this time I think I was on point for both of them. I am pretty happy with how the perspective turned out, and I am excited about what I’ve learned lately about skin pigment blending (incorporating more blush pink and lighter browns when possible, instead of always using warm grays).

There are always some areas for improvement though. I really need to focus on a lighter graphite sketch at the beginning, particularly for mouths. The lines by peoples’ lips shouldn’t be so heavy, and should more seamlessly blend into the rest of the face. Also, I’m still really bad at teeth, particularly where they blend into gums. Maybe I just need to draw a huge mouth for practice. I struggle to know when and how light to use graphite for shape, and what colors to use between the lips and gums.

Also, I really punted the ball on doing any sort of background here; I should have at least finished the shopping cart. Wasn’t the shopping cart the motivator/idea generator for this entire sketch? It ended up as a complete afterthought. I’d done so well lately, at least relative to my usual effort, on a couple of backgrounds (here and here), so it’s a shame I didn’t push forward. But my mind had already put this one aside, so I guess it’s done!

And of course, I did take some progression shots. Here’s the usual .gif:

Amdall Shopping Cart progression

I’ve still got a half-finished Dallas Cowboys sketch sitting around. I’m not sure if that will be next on deck…I’m sort of disillusioned with the team (as usual). The Dallas Mavericks also just made a huge trade for Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., and a couple other guys which I’m pretty excited about, so that could be a sketch. Or should I practice teeth/mouths? Or practice background/scenery? Lots of possibilities, which is always exciting.


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