Earlier this week I was eating lunch at the Silo, and being a busy day there was only one seat available, right opposite a young lad from Hong Kong who was sketching people. Good on you mate, that’s what I like to see! His name was Ka and he was really good. He did a couple of sketches of me (with my new scraggly stubble-beard) so I sketched him. Below is his sketch of me. I’m honoured!
Last weekend I put on a big hat and dressed up as a pirate, as you do. It was in Portland and I was going to the annual Swashbuckler’s Ball, a big party for pirates at the Melody Ballroom. And boy, were there some pirates! I was amazed at the incredible costumes, the level of dedication all the pirates went to was most impressive. My own costume (despite my amazing hat) was of the more subtle variety – but being a pirate is fun!
Of course, I sketched. I first sketched the Portland pirates last year at Dr. Sketchy’s. Also sketching was fellow pirate sketcher Kalina Wilson; her work is incredibly good. I personally was struggling a bit – drawing pirates who keep moving about is pretty tricky. I felt oddly self-conscious of sketching people armed to the teeth with swords and cutlasses (only joking), so I kept it quick, and here are my results. I did enjoy sketching the view from the back of the ballroom (see below), though I did the lettering and shading afterwards. In fact apart from the painted backgrounds, I didn’t get my paints out at all, just stuck to the penwork. The music was great, (Chervona, Abney Park, and another band whose name I have forgotten but who appear in the sketch above) and got a lot of pirates dancing. Even I danced, which may surprise you. Whenever I was struggling to sketch, I would wander off and dance. Below is an attempt at sketching dancing pirates. I did manage a couple of quick individual pirate sketches, to which I added my own observations on the type of pirates I thought they might be. Lots of pirates reminded me of other people – there was one guy who was the spit of Richard Attenborough, a very jolly face, while another reminded me a bit of Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 (I think Mickey Rourke would make a really good dastardly pirate). There were pirates of all ages and styles, and one or two Jack Sparrows. The pirate I drew in the green sketch below (who is probably a lovely gentle pirate) actually reminded me of the sort of villainous pirate you’d get in old BBC kids shows from the 80s. I really wish I had had the courage to ask a pirate to pose for a sketch, just for a couple of minutes, but I am a lily-livered land-lubber, so that didn’t happen. I stayed until all the music was done, and then walked home, dressed as a pirate, back to my hotel. I certainly enjoyed being a pirate for an evening, and will surely do this again (but next time I’ll sketch on an old yellowing rolled-up maritime map, yarrr). I’ll build up my swashbuckling look. And my pirate lingo too, say “be” instead of “am”, learn all the insults, get a parrot etc.
Incidentally…you can order a print (or even a mug) of my Swashbuckler’s Ball sketch from the Society6 website at http://society6.com/PeteScully/Swashbucklers-Ball-Portland-2013_Print.
To find out more about the Swashbuckler’s Ball (and hey, see you there next time!), visit their website at: http://www.swashbucklersball.com/ YARRRR!!!!
I’ve not been sketching much lately, so not posting much…but I realized, I still haven’t quite finished posting from Barcelona! My people sketches, for one thing. The view form my hotel room as well, which is above, sketched in purple. So anyway, here finally are my people sketches, mostly from the evening drink’n’draw sessions at the CCCB and dinners with old sketching friends afterwards. So many great sketchers from around the world, old friends to catch up with such as Gerard, Jason, Liz, Lapin, Omar (and many more!!!), so many that I was meeting for the first time such as Stuart Kerr (who is a great character, love to hang out with him more some day), the french urban sketchers (I’ve been following for a while so was great to meet them all), and the Spanish urban sketchers, many of whom I met in Lisbon but I bumped into many across Barcelona. Plus the sketchers who had travelled from Asia, quite a big Singapore contingent, including Tony Chua and Parka, whose work I recognized as soon as I saw their sketchbooks. I wasn’t part of the Symposium itself, and how well that worked out for me I’m not really sure about (I was a little disorganized), but it was great to catch up with so many old friends, though all at once was quite overwhelming. So here are my sketches!
Below is Sue Pownall, the excellent artist from Britain who travesl the world, currently living in Oman, and I had the great pleasure to meet her again in London. Kumi Matsukawa was there too, from Japan, we met in Portland in 2010, I love her work. Another sketcher I was meeting for the fiorst time was Debo Boddiford, who I know from Flickr, and who has a wonderful southern accent. It’s funny to hear people’s voices having only read their words online. People probably think that about me!
On the Friday evening I went for dinner with the French and Belgian sketchers. I’d only met my friend and sketching hero Gerard Michel and his nephew Fabien Denoel before, and had a great time meeting and chatting with them (though I kept forgetting to speak French, though I can understand it). Gerard is sketched above; below are some of the others there that evening.
On the Saturday there was an end-of-sketchcrawl meeting, at which I caught up with many others. There’s Marc Taro, urban sketcher from Montreal, Eduardo Bajzek from Brazil, Stuart Kerr form Scotland, Rita Sabler who I met in Portland in 2010, Parka from Singapore (wow what a sketchbook he has!!), Simone Rudyard from Manchester, Amber Sausen from Minnesota, and Julie Blaquie and Martine Kervagoret from France.
These final few were form the final gathering at CCCB (into which non-badged sketchers were initially barred from crossing the barrier, unlike previous symposia); Mark Leibovitz from New York, Daniel Green from Minnesota, and Matthew Brehm from Idaho, who I know from previous USk symposia, a great guy and a great teacher.
Below was at a nice meal on the Saturday evening, attended by Paul wang (Singapore), Omar Jaramillo (Germany, orig. Ecuador), Yara (Germany, orig. Brazil), Nina Johansson (Sweden), Liz Steel (Australia), Jason Das (USA), Suhita Shirodkar (USA, orig. India), Virginia Hein (USA) and me (USA, orig. UK). What a worldwide line-up!
And finally, my wife Angela, eating paella on the Sunday afternoon. I love Barcelona!
At the ‘Sketching Jack’s London‘ sketchcrawl last month I gave every participant a small eight-page micro-sketchbook that I had made myself, only 3″x4″ big, to use to sketch London when they need to, with quick micro-sketches. The paper was either just regular Canson or Strathmore drawing paper (I had made it with whatever I had in the cupboard), bound in construction paper, and numbered – I got No. 1, and used it for some super-quick sketches, mostly of other sketchers later at the pub. I did finish the book though, and here are presented all of the very small pages…
Urban Sketcher James Hobbs, who’s a really nice guy, I got see look through his excellent sketchbook. On the right is Joan who I was friends with at school and who went off to become an artist, she also came on last year’s London sketchcrawl whch was only the second time I’d seen her since we left school, so it was great to catch up.
Dave from New Zealand on the left, I had met him in Barcelona so it was nice to chat with him again in London, and I always have to sketch a beard. Also, Denia, an artist friend of Joan’s who is from Greece and New York but lives in London.
Finally Ana from Bilbao in the Basque Country, and on the red page is Roshan, my best friend who came down for the post-sketchcrawl drink. I’ve not sketched him much before so this was not a bad attempt!
And that is it! I do enjoy sketchcrawling in London, there really are so many interesting artists to meet and I really enjoyed this one. I already have another one in mind for next time…”Sketching Wren’s London“, from the Monument to the Old Bell, an exploration of the City of Christopher Wren…see you in 2014!
In case for some reason you don’t know who this is (and apparently there were a lot of young people on the internet who didn’t), this is Margaret Thatcher, aka Maggie Fatcha, former British prime minister who died recently, prompting some long-awaited celebrations across the UK. The most divisive PM in history, large areas of Britain are still reeling from the policies of her government. Even now, bingo callers all along the seaside refer to the number 10 as Maggie’s Den, I presume. But she was also a very popular Spitting Image puppet, lest people forget, and indeed our own dog Lady (aka ‘Soppydog’) had a squeeky toy Maggie which she carried everywhere with her. It was her Baby. “Where’s Maggie?” we’d ask her, and she’d go and get her from behind the sofa, wagging her tail, peeing on the carpet. Maggie would be all chewed up, and the squeak was gone out of her after a while, but Soppydog loved that little Maggie and would cry for hours if she couldn’t find her.
Given the spontaneous outpouring of non-grief, in a kind of reverse-Diana situation, it was quite funny to see the accompanying call of “don’t speak ill of the dead” and “show some respect” and “it’s too soon”. The not speaking ill of the dead thing amused me enormously, because it’s like, oh it’s fine if she’s not dead yet. That sort of thing may be true if you’re at her funeral among her family, or if this was just a neighbour who ran over your flowers once, but I think it’s ok to speak up about a national leader whose policies tore your community apart at a time when that person is being brought into the spotlight again, such as at the time when she dies and everyone is trying to re-evaluate her legacy. I think it’s absolutely essential to speak ill of the dead, lest the ills be overlooked. Do you think Maggie herself would have held back ill words? But after all the dust has settled, one outcome of all this is that I can no longer watch the Wizard of Oz without thinking, ooh those Munchkins, what heartless little bastards. Don’t they know it’s too soon? That Wicked Witch of the East is still there, under the house, and you’re coming up with whole song and dance numbers? Spontaneously? Think of how her poor family must feel! No wonder her green sister was so angry. And then Dorothy comes along and snatches her shoes. “Oh I didn’t mean to,” she says, but come on Dorothy. Too soon, too soon.
There’s one other thing I noticed. It’s well known that Maggie was not popular in the city of Liverpool, and with very good reason. However, Liverpool FC, once the undisputed kings of European football, have not won a single League Title since Thatcher went bawling out of Number 10. While she was in office, Liverpool were English champions a whopping EIGHT times. Manchester United didn’t win any Leagues, weren’t even close. Post-Mrs-Thatch, United have been champions thirteen times, Liverpool zero. Makes you think, doesn’t it. The curse of Maggie Thatcher, league title snatcher.
Last Saturday was the day of the 39th worldwide sketchcrawl, and so I took the train down to San Francisco, because after a very busy week, I needed some Bay air. I was joined on the early morning train by fellow Davis sketchers Alison Kent and Allan Hollander. We all sketched on the train (that is Alison above, though it’s not a great likeness; I have sketched Allan on a previous Amtrak journey a couple of years ago). It is nice to sketch with people you’ve sketched with many times before, because they’re used to the way you go about it, you don’t have to ‘perform’ with your sketches as it were and I still always feel I learn something. Plus I like drawing Allan’s beard. We all talked about sketching, traveling, and the recent death of Thatcher. Alison showed me her hand-made sketchbook from her recent round-America rail trip. I have always wanted to do that, but she produced an amazingly dedicated book of sketches, all in purple pen, an inspiration. Follow that link and check it out.
And so, to the city. Worldwide Sketchcrawl #39 was in the Castro district, the colourful quarter known as San Francisco’s gay capital. I sketched around here a few years ago, and really wanted to come back and draw some of the big old Victorian houses. And maybe do a panorama of Castro Street.
Above, Allan sketching outside Philz Coffee on 18th St, in the Castro, at the start of the worldwide sketchcrawl. Here is Alison’s post about the sketchcrawl on their joint blog The Magpie Nest. I will post my sketchcrawl sketches soon. Stay tuned.
Another football drawing, this one is Michael Laudrup, the Danish manager of Welsh team Swansea City. I love Laudrup. He is forever-young, good-looking-but-man’s-man, right attitude, and in his first year at Swansea he has led them to their first major trophy ever. Swansea City as a club are great too, and it’s great to see a Welsh side gaining so much respect in the Premier League. Laudrup was a great player in his day too, as was younger brother Brian, but Michael was The Man. Total man-crush of course (he’s competing with AVB and Mancini), so he had to get drawn on a Chinese envelope in brown pen. I’m enjoying this series. And I have a lot of these envelopes this year…
Monsieur Arsene Wenger. Long-time manager of Arsenal, my club’s arch-rivals. Since he arrived at Arsenal in 1996 from Japan, that club (who, for those unfamiliar with English football club geography, are a South London team from Woolwich residing in North London temporarily for the past century or so, a few miles south of native North London team Tottenham Hotspur, my team) went into terminal incline, winning big trophy after big trophy as if some day winning trophies would go out of fashion. Meanwhile, Spurs remained fashionably trophy-free, except for a couple of league cups, the ‘thinking man’s trophy’, and beat Arsenal hands down in the ‘number of managers’ league table. Now Tottenham are flying high as the top London club (check the league table, Chelsea, it does not lie), third in the table, while Arsenal are languishing in a lowly fifth, with only the prospect of a second-leg Champions League tie against Bayern Munich to keep them entertained. “Champions League”, haha - you don’t even have to be a Champion to be in it. It’s like a game at a kid’s party where you tell the kid who came last that “they’re a winner too”. With a fashionably hip seven years without a trophy, and an attitude at the club that 4th place is the same as getting a trophy for the cabinet, Arsene is riding high, being talked about more than ever, and his players are so good that other competing clubs are lining up to buy them.
I actually feel sorry for Arsene Wenger. Despite about fifteen years of living in an undeniably massive Arsenal-shaped shadow, until just a few years ago, I cant deny that he is one of the game’s true legends. He changed Arsenal from being boring-boring 1-0 merchants to one of the most exciting teams in the world. When they did that invincible season, nearly a decade ago, and Thierry Henry was in my mind the best player in the world, it was pretty hard to argue with that. With no trophies for the past seven years, even many Arsenal fans are calling for Monsieur Wenger to call it ‘un jour’. His methods were a revolution in their time, but their time has passed. Ferguson, on the other hand, continues to win, win, win. Arsenal are not competing in the age of the Billionaires, the Chelsea-City nouveaux-riches, but despite banking their money on every turn they are increasingly being seen as the Weakest Link (but then, compare them with how Liverpool have fallen). and as Spurs rise and rise, I should be laughing at them as I go, but I’m finding myself feeling sorry for them. They are not the lottery-winners of your Chelseas and your Citys (and your, um, QPRs), and I do believe that in the long run acting sensibly with football money will pay off, but well, selling your best players to your rivals, that’s just silly. When games go badly on the pitch for Arsenal it is amplified; Wenger was accused of not taking the FA Cup seriously when they were knocked out by lowly opposition, and he angrily retorted that he has won that competition four times, arguing “name me one manager who has won it more” (the answer is Alex Ferguson, by the way, if not counting dead managers in which case there are three others). Last Sunday, Spurs beat Arsenal 2-1 in a big derby game, but if it had gone the other way, we’d have only been a point apart. At a similar time last year they beat us 5-2, and we were something like ten points ahead – and Arsenal ended up catching us, beating us to third place. That is the measure of Wenger, he can still pull it off. I’m sure he would prefer to leave on a high, finish his Arsenal career with one last big trophy, but if he doesn’t (and as devoutly Tottenham and anti-Arsenal as I am, the romantic in me kind of hopes that he does), I hope he isn’t forced out by the impatient salmon-sandwich bunch at the Emirates. If he should go, they’ll soon realize that their club will have lost their greatest figure since Herbert Chapman.
Drawn on a Chinese envelope in uni-ball sign um-151 (brown and red) with white gel pen.
We were eating lunch, and watching old Batman episodes on YouTube. My son turns to me and says, “can we go and ride our bikes somewhere and do some sketching?” Er, yeah of course! Don’t need to ask me twice. We didn’t ride far, and he drew batmobiles, and there was a chilly breeze so our hoods stayed on. I think this is what he thinks I do when I go out sketching, and he’s not wrong!
He’s been brilliant lately, hasn’t he? This is Gareth Bale, Tottenham Hotspur’s great young Welsh star, drawn on another Chinese envelope. I have him up between the drawings of Messi and Ronaldo next to my desk, and he is probably in that company. His free kicks lately have been spectacular, Spurs have barely needed a striker with Bale moving about up front. He needs to do something about his barnet though. Young people, eh.