This Dad Stuck In Jury Duty Missed His Son, So He Began Drawing Their Everyday Adventures Together

The project has been going for a year now, and the artist views it as a form of therapy.

This June, A Plus is celebrating Father's Day and the release of the film "One Last Thing," a one night only Chicken Soup for the Soul event, with a cavalcade of dad stories, videos and — of course — jokes. The film is playing nationwide on June 13.

On the day-to-day, dad Shilo Mulkin expresses his creativity as a professional 3D generalist in the game industry. At home, however, he turns to his art as a way to bond with his family through his Dad Doodles, an illustrated series of his son's adventures. 


Courtesy of Shilo Mulkin

In a Reddit post from April 2018, Mulkin celebrated a year of his Dad Doodles project and revealed that it started when he was called into jury duty. He explained to A Plus via email, "I brought my sketchbook due to hearing how long the days are if you don't get a case assigned. After a couple completely random sketches, I started to think about my son and how I missed him. He was 10 months old at the time."

Mulkin had previously completed a few paintings of his young son, but never any sketches.

Courtesy of Shilo Mulkin

Jury duty lasted about a week so he was able to draw a lot during that time. When he got home, he kept it up. Mulkin explains on his website, "I have a passion for doodling the daily adventures of my son and chronicling how he changes from day to day."

He now has 28 finished "Dad Doodles" and 10 unfinished ones.

The series is inspired by real events, and some of the artworks include Mulkin's son playing in the bath, riding on his dad's shoulders, and cuddling with cats. 

"The more realistic ones are things he actually did. The surreal ones are things he did, but with a little creative twist," Mulkin told A Plus. "He's an endless pit of inspiration."

Courtesy of Shilo Mulkin

The sketches take 20 to 60 minutes at the longest. Mulkin says this is one of the nice things about the project as he has a short amount of time during the week for personal art projects. He explains, "The games industry is a very exciting profession that constantly helps improve my art, yet takes its toll on my personal work. Being a 3D art generalist, I have to learn a lot of computer programs. You have to be in a constant state of learning to just keep up with your work tasks." 

Always learning might take away some free time for Dad Doodles, but it has helped his personal art in other ways. "This ability to learn and learn fast has made its way over to all aspects of my work, including the Dad Doodles," he says. "By being adaptable, it doesn't matter if I'm in front of a computer or in jury duty with a sketchbook and pencil. I can put aside the tool and just tell my son's story."

Courtesy of Shilo Mulkin

Most of his personal work is completed after 9 p.m., as it's important for him to spend as much time possible with his family.

Even though it might be hard to find time to draw, the series has had a positive impact on Mulkin. "For me, the dad doodles have been a sort of therapy. With work and my commute, I only get a few hours a day with my wife and son and doing these have allowed me to reflect on events of the day or week in constructive way."

He adds, "I love doing them and can't wait to share them with him when he's a little older."  

"Each one is extremely meaningful and looking back on them makes me feel the happiness of those moments."

Courtesy of Shilo Mulkin

Mulkin concludes on Reddit, "[I] love being a dad, he really was a life changer and I just want to spend all day with him."


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