There’s an artist named Dave DeVries who started painting startlingly well-realized versions of kids’ drawings of monsters. My son Otto just turned 5, and the volume of his artwork has increased. To my delight, there’s been some cars and planes in the mix, so, inspired by DeVries, I thought I may as well try re-drawing some.

I found these two works of Otto-art crammed in his backpack when he returned from pre-school. They’re construction-paper two-dimensional assemblages, one of a car and one of an airplane, two things Otto is very interested in.

When I first saw the car, my first reaction was that it looked like the Hoffmann, the worst car of all time. Then I looked a little closer and saw the much more sensible wheelbase and (presumably) four-wheel configuration, meaning Otto had significantly improved on the Hoffmann’s design.

I interpreted Otto’s car with, admittedly, many of my own biases; for example, I made it rear-engined. The large, red tires seemed to suggest something off-road capable, so my version has large tires as well, and good ground clearance.



I retained the yellow-tinted windows, and the stylistic choice of the square rear-quarter window being placed jauntily at an angle. The front doors are small, top-hinged hatches, and based on the round design I assumed big, round headlights. Since no windshield was visible in profile, it doesn’t wrap around, but I did add some cabin ventilation on the thick A-pillar. For the hell of it, I gave it a tall stinger exhaust, because why not?

I’d happily drive the Ottocar. That thing is right up my alley.

The airplane was a little trickier, since I know even less about airplane design than I do about auto design, but Otto’s original was pretty evocative. Also, I especially like his labored, learning-to-write scrawl at the bottom that reads “AIRI¶LANE” [sic]. As a dad, it’s really exciting to see things like literacy happening right before your eyes.


Anyway, back to the plane design. To me, it felt like some sort of advanced military spy-plane, possibly stealthy, with its dramatic angles and counter-intuitive blunt front and flat wings. In fact, the front end reminds me a lot of the Northrop Tacit Blue stealth prototype of the 1980s.

The plane also appears to have two square windows, which I interpreted as square tandem canopies, one for a pilot, and one to manage all the advanced spy equipment this thing likely has.

The triangular front canards seem like some interesting aerodynamic experiment, and the rear wings seem closer to a delta-shape, suggesting that maybe this is a fairly high-speed aircraft. I bet a lot of computer assistance is required to fly this thing.

This is fun. I’ll try to get him to do some more car and plane artwork so I can do more of these.

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