After a Saturday morning of making pancakes, watching football, playing superheroes, Cars Monopoly and Play-doh, I went downtown to watch Iron Man 3. I have spent a lot of time lately drawing different Iron Man armours for my son to colour in, so was looking forward to watching the movie itself. So was everyone else in Davis it seems; the show I wanted to go to was already full, so I got a ticket for the next one and went off to do some sketching. It was too hot to sit outside (90s; I know, in a couple of months that will sound chilly) so I popped into the University of Beer, a newer bar in Davis devoted to all types of beer, and drew the bar. I should have drawn the wall on he right as well, which is covered in colourful beer signs, but this is all I had time for. I went off for a curry for dinner, and then off to the movie, which was fun, and long.
I could draw every single house in this neigbourhood, and never get bored. More work from my sketchcrawl day at the Castro, San Francisco. This sloping row of Victorians, had it not been taking quite so long (best part of a couple of hours, and I had to finish the colouring in at home) could have ended up as a very long panorama, all the way down the street, had I not wanted to, you know, sketch some other things and eat something (Thai red curry if you’re interested). But how enjoyable was this to sit and sketch? Immensely! This is right opposite Philz Coffee on 18th St, where the sketchcrawl officially began. A couple of sketchers were sat on the steps behind me, still sketching when I finally got up and stretched my legs. ..
After some sketching away from 18th St (these sketches are not completely posted in chronological order, rather they are in geographical order), I returned, clock ticking, needing a few more sketches before the meet-up at 4pm. It was getting windy. I sat on the corner of 18th and Hartford, leaning against a fire hydrant. I’m not sure if you can lean against a fire hydrant while sketching (and I don’t really need to know) but surely if anyone should, hello like. This is Moby Dick’s, a popular local bar (I assume; it’s in the locale, and there were people there, so presumably, hello like), and there down 18th you can see the iconic belltower of the Mission School. The rusty hydrant below (which was not the one I leaned against, but looked very similar) (I’m sure you are riveted by this) was a bit closer to the Mission High school tower, on the corner of the very crowded and very windy. The final meetup was nice, I met quite a few new sketchers and as always was hugely inspired by what I saw; this is my favourite part of these sketchcrawls, seeing other people’s sketchbooks, real and in the flesh, not just online. Very cool. You can see some other sketchers’ results on the SF sketchcrawl forum, and not just from San Francisco, but also from the rest of the world. Great stuff, world!
Last Thursday, after a four-day-yet-particularly-busy-and-stressful week, I needed to go out and draw something complicated, and have a couple of beers too. I hadn’t really sketched at the G Street Wunderbar since it ceased to be simply the G Street Pub a while ago now, so this place deserved a nice barside panoramic. There it is above (click on the image to see it bigger). There are a LOT of bottles behind that bar. I had to sketch them very quickly. Here is a detail:
It wasn’t that busy when I got there, but more people filed in as the evening wore on. Several bands were on the bill that night, so I had a bit of music to accompany the sketching work. I didn’t draw the barstaff or drinkers though, as they all moved abut too quickly for a sketch like this.
And here is how it looks in the Moleskine, if you’re interested. The pen is dark brown, uni-ball signo um-151. The whole thing took about three hours (or four beers). Next time I’ll do it in colour…
Here are my previous sketches of the bar when it used to be the old G Street Pub, when it had Camden Town-esque toilets which are thankfully no longer there. I’m slowly checking off all the bars in Davis. If you want to see them all, along with others from around the world, see my Flickr set ‘Pubs, Cafes, etc‘.
Little Prague Czech restaurant and bar on G St, Davis. I like this pub. They have nice Czech beer. I’ve drawn the inside of this bar many times over the years (it’s rather sketchworthy). You can see a couple of my Little Prague sketches in An Illustrated Journey (or of course here on my blog). The outside is nice to sketch as well. I spent the morning watching Oz, The Great and Powerful (lots of fun!) and spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a downtown spot to sketch. I have drawn this exterior view before but these lovely pre-Spring trees are too irresistible. I most of it stood out on the street, but had to get home for dinner, so finished off the colour later on.
Cascade Brewing Barrel House in SE Portland. On the Saturday evening in Portland I was cream-crackered after a day of sketching, and stayed in my hotel watching the San Francisco Giants storing their way through Game Three of the World Series. It was relaxing, I wrote a couple of postcards and finished off some sketches. I popped down to the hotel lobby to access something called the internet, and watched an inning or so at the hotel bar over a beer, listening to large-haired ladies talking in sour tones about their colleagues, while a baseball-capped business-man offered idle chat about the political attack ads being the same here as they are ‘back home’, and all of them being lies, lies and more lies. Occasionally, groups of costumed people wafted by and disappeared into the halloween partying night. Well, fun though that was, lying in bed watching the baseball was significantly better.
When the baseball was over, however, I was feeling nice and relaxed, and considered staying in and watching a Thor cartoon on my iPod. However apparently Portland is a really fun and interesting place with exceptionally good beers, and so I popped out to the streetcar stop and headed south. I had a Map full of Things to Do, courtesy of my Portland sketching friend Kalina who had prior to my trip put together an extensive list of things I might like to do on a Google Map, for which I am eternally grateful. One place I thought I’d head to was Cascade, a small independent brewery which has an excellent reputation for craft beer, particularly its sours. I wasn’t sure I fancied a sour, having not really liked the one I’d had from Russian River that time all that much, and opted for a Dunkel Weizen, followed by a Belgian Amber. It wasn’t super busy, but those present were of course all extremely beer-knowledgable and more than happy to impart their wisdom (as was everyone in Portland). When I was done, they recommended another nearby place, the Green Dragon (which was also on my To Go To list) and so I headed on over, and was massively impressed by the selection, though also intimidated, and clearly needed help. Fortunately the excellent staff there showed me the way, and gave me (to use their word) a good “beer-ducation” (cheers Nick et al!). Portland is like the University of Craft Beer, a great place for beer-ducation.
The last time I was in Portland, I made a very short trip to Rogue for a very little amount of sketching, but this time I wanted to come and really take it in a bit more. After spending most of the evening sketching, eating lovely food cart food, mooching around Powell’s and calling home, I plodded along to Rogue, found a spot at the bar, ordered a ‘Good Chit’ blonde ale, and started sketching. I spoke to several friendly people while I was there, all artists, all beer experts. This was a theme I would find pretty common in Portlanders. I like the Rogue beers, I have sketched at the Rogue in San Francisco before. I counted the beertaps individually before sketching them, and measured in my head how it would all squeeze on. Sure it’s a little wonky but I enjoyed drawing this. One guy said to me, on observing me get off my chair and rearrange my jacket and bags all orderly and neatly, “you do everything the same way you draw!” I mention this because people have said this sort of thing before, I must be very neat, very organized. Well, I can’t say I’m completely disorganized, but neat… well, you should see my desk. My mind is usually less a drawer full of folded socks and more a tumble-dryer full of ping-pong balls, ideas and thoughts zipping all over the place. In Portland however I was there to relax, and relax I did. When the sketch was done, I walked down to the MAX light rail and went back to the hotel. Nice and neat.
Yesterday afternoon I took the bus over to Sacramento. I’ve not been there in a good long while, and I wanted to sketch stuff we don’t have in Davis, in this case a big tall cathedral. The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, just off K St, was completed in 1889 and sits about a block or so from the State Capitol. It’s a Roman Catholic church, and on this day there was a big wedding while I sketched. The horse and carriage that wait at the bottom of the steps in this drawing were soon joined by the large wedding party and what sounded like a mariachi band playing Mexican music. I think there were other weddings that day because there seemed to be a decent contingent of brides and bridesmaids dotted about Sacramento; good weekend to get married I suppose. The weather, which was hitting the century last week, was in the mid seventies, much more reasonable for October. It’s always interesting to sketch on K Street, Sacramento. Interesting if you like people shuffling up and asking for a dollar, or like people cycling up and down the sidewalk on those scruffy little bikes people seem to have (not that I judge the scruffiness of a bike, my own being pretty scrufftastic, but at least it’s the right size for an adult). Yesterday was a little less so, as there was also quite a lot of police, many on horseback, likely keeping an eye out for the demonstration that was gathered before the Capitol (no idea what it was about, but it’s all politics these days). I sketched this for about an hour and a half and then had to say enough was enough. I was using an Itoya finepoint, only its second outing, but already the nib was wasting away before me. Those Itoyas have nice enough ink but buckle at the first sight of paper, especially watercolour Moleskine paper. It was only a buck.
After strolling down K and through the rather sad downtown mall (no longer a Westfield), I passed into Old Sacramento, where many people were gathering for some music festival by the river that evening. I was peckish however and popped into the River City Saloon for some garlic fries (and one of those nice shark beers). I did a quick brown pen sketch of part of the bar area, but I really must plan to go back and do a proper drawing of the whole thing, it really does merit a 180 degree curvilinear bar sketch, more than any other.
On Saturday night after the Pence Auction, I popped by Little Prague for a couple of beers and the essential detailed bar sketch. Little Prague is probably my favourite Davis pub. It’s the one I’ve known the longest, and they do nice beer (though the Krusovice I used to enjoy is now no longer available). It’s also the pub I have sketched the most. I don’t go very often, and when I do it’s usually on one of those nights where the music is quite dancey and loud. There is however a lot to draw, especially behind the bar, and the lighting is good bar-light. On this night not only did I sell two pieces at the Pence (hooray!) but the San Francisco Giants won the NL West (as mentioned on the TV screen; the Giants tend to be on the TV in my bar sketches). This is great news in our house. This means the Giants will be in the post-season play-offs. Who knows, maybe even with a shot at the World Series? Baseball is a long season with about seventeen thousand million games, so it surprised me that the NL West division only has six teams in it. Even the Scottish Premier League has more teams than that (well, two really, Celtic and Rang- ah, er…). It doesn’t make it any easier though. They play every single day for hours on end, against teams from all over the country and just have to finish with more wins than their divisional rivals (imagine Celtic and Ra-, er, Aberdeen playing against, say, Ajax, in order to get points to win the Scottish title). You see, it all makes sense, especially after a Czech beer.
Hey if you’re interested in seeing some of my previous Little Prague sketches here are a few… spot the difference!
At the end of a busy and interesting week, a Friday night trip downtown was in order. The hundred degree weather has cooled into low 90s and mid 80s, a sigh of relief from me for one. Davis is too hot in the summertime, you just don’t want to be outside doing anything. Summer makes for nice evenings though, so I biked downtown after dinner and walked about. Popped into Newsbeat, the Avid Reader, Bizarro Comics, and then went to De Vere’s Irish pub to spend the rest of the night drawing the bar and drinking the beer. It was as super-crowded as on previous visits, though it got busier later. I read the comic I bought (one of the new DC ‘Before Watchmen’ prequels, this one based on the Comedian; it really wasn’t all that, to be honest) and got out the sketchbook to draw this bar one more time. I have often thought about organizing a ‘Drink and Draw’ group in Davis, perhaps going to different Davis pubs each time; I think it’d be a good idea, though I have had little time to work on it. So I occasionally get out to draw the bars myself; it’s good practise, all those bottles and shapes and light, and you get to sample the local beers. I intended to do the whole thing in dark brown but I had picked up the purple instead, only realising after drawing the beer pumps. The light wasn’t bad, but it was hard to tell between brown and purple. Once I realised, I decided on a two-colour scheme which I really liked. Purple and brown reminds me of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk too. It took a while to draw this, about 3.5 beers (someone did ask me how long it had taken but I couldn’t remember what time I came in, I had been in Bizarro Comics next door for quite a while). You might be able to spot my reflection in there somewhere. The level of detail tails off a bit towards the end, on the right, because of the larger movement of people, the darker light, and the effects of the Sudwerk Aggie ale (not my favourite Sudwerk beer by quite a long shot, but it’s nice enough and only $4 a pint). I chatted to some people at the bar while I sketched, watched the Giants win at the baseball, and made the long walk home through dark Old North Davis (they don’t like streetlights there; apparently they want you to be able to see the stars. Be quite nice to see the street as well though, I would have thought). Passed the bats that live under the bridge at Covell too, squeaking and flapping about. Summer is nearly done, and Fall is coming in, but the warm weather and balmy nights will be with us for quite a bit of time yet, and it’s nice to get out every so often.
(Click on the image to go to a bigger version)
After a very busy week, I went out on Friday evening to the Art About and did some sketching at the Pence Gallery (haven’t scanned them yet), chatted to some very nice folk, and then strolled around downtown before parking at the City Hall Tavern (in the old City Hall building I tend to draw a lot). I wanted to do a bar sketch so I looked at the massive scene of bottledom and said, yeah ok I’ll give it a go. Those revolving bike wheels on the ceiling were a little challenging but there they are. The Giants were winning, beating the Astros, and there on the right are the black straws again that pop up in all of my bar drawings, everywhere in the world. The beer was nice too, Third Shift Amber Ale, and only $4 a pint. It was pretty quiet when I came in, but got busy by the time I left, with the young Friday night crowd. One guy spoke to me while sketching and recognized me as the guy who drew the bar at De Vere’s. Another guy, a younger Aussie bloke, chatted to me about Iggy Pop. I told him I always liked the song The Passenger because I can’t drive either. He said Iggy Pop was a real rocker, not like Justin Bieber or someone. Perhaps, but in thirty years people might be saying, oh these kids now aint real popstars, not like Bieber, yeh he was a proper rocker. You never know. I saw Iggy Pop supporting the Pistols at Finsbury Park in ’96, and just wanted him to put a shirt on to be honest.
This whole sketch took almost two hours, starting from right to left. It was done with a Micron Pigma 02 pen, with a bit of uniball vision micro for some of the thicker lines and shading.