What’s better than a packed lunch? A packed lunch that comes with napkin art. Nina Levy goes above and beyond with her sons’ lunches. It’s not that she makes fancy sandwiches or desserts (though she might), it’s that she uses waterproof art markers to turn disposable napkins into one of a kind illustrations. The Brooklyn-based sculptor draws creatures, mash-ups, and characters from pop culture – including several from the Star Wars universe. She even did a whole series of Star Wars characters riding dinosaurs. I didn’t know I needed to see Han Solo riding a Stegosaurus until I saw this image:
Levy started creating napkin art for her sons Archer and Ansel in 2006. She said, “I started drawing quick sketches with a black Sharpie on my older son’s napkins back in the fall of 2006 when he started eating lunch at nursery school. I was initially just trying to provide a bit of reassurance from home and garner him a bit of extra attention from his teachers and classmates. The complexity of the napkins escalated over the last nine years.”
Archer has seen all the films, and Ansel has seen the original trilogy. Levy said they tend to focus more on the background characters such as the Ewoks and Jawas. They’re big fans of the Genndy Tartakovsky Clone Wars micro-series and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Levy said they’ve always been very enthusiastic about Captain Rex, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano. They’re also watching and enjoying Star Wars Rebels.
Levy explained a lot of her sons’ interest in Star Wars comes from graphic novels. “We have a good many Star Wars graphic novels, so a lot of their interest comes from the Expanded Universe [now known as Legends] – like the manga versions of the first three movies by [Shin-Ichi] Hiromoto, Dark Horse’s Knights of the Old Republic and Clone Wars series, and more age appropriately, the Clone Wars Adventures by the Fillbach Brothers. We have multiple shelves of Star Wars books, which are often not on the shelves but rather spread all over the apartment.”
Though Levy saw the films when they were first released, her sons have added to her fandom. She teased, “I am an elderly person, so I saw the original movie in a theater back when it was first released.” Levy continued, “I certainly enjoyed the first three movies in the ’70s and early ’80s, but I have come to appreciate the Star Wars universe much more through my kids. My older son is a great researcher and collector of information, so he’s made sure that we are up on the obscure characters and details from many corners of the Expanded Universe.”
Her sons’ interests definitely help determine which characters end up on napkins. The pieces have featured Hera Syndulla, Luke Skywalker, Commander Wolffe, Yoda, Emperor Palpatine, and many more. Levy said she discusses the next day’s napkins with her sons at bedtime. They usually come up with concepts for Levy, but not always. “I do my best to honor requests, but sometimes they don’t ask for anything and I don’t have a good idea, so we end up with a poorly drawn wampa riding a Giganotosaurus.”
I would happily take napkin art of a wampa riding a dinosaur.
See more of Levy’s Star Wars napkin art at her blog.