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.
De Vere’s Irish Pub, Davis. Click on the image to see it larger and in more detail. It was the end of the week (the weekend usually is), and an evening out at the comic shop followed by some beer and sketching was in order. This is a nice pub. I like drawing pub panoramas in my Moleskine, and this one took only two and a half beers (it’s always something-and-a-half; I like to spend that last half pint looking at the sketch, pencil case away). I have drawn curvilinearly in here before, but now it is time to pull back and see more of the room. I didn’t speak to anyone, just got on with the sketching. It wasn’t very busy on this particular Saturday evening, and it was warm outside. This is an exceptionally warm Spring. We have had some terrible winds, but warm winds, and the weather has been pushing the 90s (actually this week it’s been pushing the mid-90s, it’s like Britpop).
If you’re interested, this is how it looks in the sketchbook.
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.
Januarys are busy, and this week has been busy, busy, busy. Busy weekend too, what with a super-hero themed kids birthday party to prepare for, but yesterday I stopped and took part in the 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl here in Davis California. We met outside the Pence Gallery on D St at midday, and immediately set about sketching the fabulous Antiques Plus antiques store. I drew using my dark brown uni-ball signo um-151 pen, and had intended to colour this, but you know how it is, there are sketchers to talk to, and I sketch more slowly when I chat! But it is great fun all the same. There were about eighteen of us in all, some new faces and some regular sketchers.
The courtyards and alleys between E and D Streets are very cute and with the trees so leafless, full of interesting shadows.
It was a mild sunny day, warm in the sun but nippy in the shade. At the end of the sketchcrawl, we met up at De Vere’s Irish pub to warm up and chill out, and checked out each others sketchbooks. I have wanted to sketch this bookshelf for a while so took the opportunity to get stuck in, wearing down the brown micron. It was very nice to meet some new sketchers, catch up with sketchers I haven’t seen in a while, and to see the regular faces too, all with great and stylistically varied sketchbooks. I definitely picked up a few tips.
Check out the rest of the world’s results from the 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl on the SKETCHCRAWL FORUM!
After a very busy first few days of 2013 (with busier days to come), I decided to pop downtown to check out some comics at Bizarro World and pop into De Vere’s on E Street for a couple of beers. It was a busy night as usual, but I settled into a comfy couch in the little area with all the books and games and read Frank Miller’s ‘Batman: Year One’, which I had heard was good (and it really is). We’re very Batman in our family right now, my living room floor is a scattered mess of Batman toys. Inspired, I did a bit of pub sketching too – I have previously only sketched the bar area so wanted to catch a bit more of this pub. Going for some depth in this one, tricky angle but I like how it turned out. It was pretty busy – there was a group of about ten young folks sat around a tiny table to my left playing some sort of game with what looked like tarot cards. Other similarly-sized groups were playing Jenga or other pub games. I did try a bit of people sketching, before getting back to my Batman.
On the rainy Sunday in SE Portland, it was necessary to occasionally go inside. One very cool place I visited was Bazi Bierbrasserie, a Belgian beer cafe near Hawthorne. I didn’t realize at the time I was sketching in Belgian colours, but it makes sense. I came with fellow urban sketcher Kalina Wilson, who was showing me around the neighbourhood before that evening’s Dr. Sketchy’s pirate-sketching event, which you’ll hear more about in my next post. Naturally, I had the Kwak, I love the Kwak and its funny glass, it’s one of my top three favourite Belgian beers (the others being Charles Quint and Fruit Defendu, if you’re wondering). I don’t recall the name of the beer Kalina had, Draak I think it was, but thankfully she sketched it wonderfully here. (I’m a fan of her work, and her creativity has certainly influenced my own stuff over the past couple of years in various ways, though our styles are very different – you should check out her website Geminica). The proprietor of the bar complemented us on our sketches and told me about the different beers they occasionally get in there from around Belgium, I mentioned I’d lived in Charleroi for a year. That’s where I got a real beer-ducation, talking to locals at La Cuve a Biere, where I would go most nights and fill books with writing, before I was so into urban sketching. I’ve often thought it might be fun to turn some of the writing from my Belgian diaries into a kind of comic, that rainy, clumsy year.
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.
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)