Tag Archives: sketchcrawl

the good life

RMI 092213
I’ve been busy…and not updating. Mostly not scanning. There has been some sketching. There’s mostly been drawing cartoon cut-out skeletons for Halloween, and a cardboard Iron Man suit. Don’t ask. Anyway, these are in fact my sketches from the last Davis sketchcrawl in September, starting at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine and stuff, in the Good Life Garden. Yes, the Good Life Garden, named (I presume) after the TV show with Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers and Jerry and Margo. This place is pretty amazing, for a good life garden. At UC Davis we have world-class enologists, who presumably are experts in Brian Eno. Seriously, Enology is a real thing, and goes hand to hand here with Viticulture, with I believe is the science behind Jaffa Cakes and Digestives (the correct term is McVitieculture, but over here they drop the “Mc” just like they drop the “O” in Oenology, which as you know is to do with wine and is not to be confused with Onology, the science behind Yoko). Ok now all that has been cleared up, let’s get on with the sketches. At the top, the Good Life Garden, in which I got a little sun but savoured the lovely smells while humming that beloved theme tune. Hey, one thing I never knew is that in America, The Good Life was called “Good Neighbours”. Now I’m sorry but that is too close to another show we all know, and yet another theme tune stuck in my head. Apparently it was renamed due to an earlier unsuccessful show called The Good Life starring JR Ewing, I mean, Larry Hagman. I am trying to imagine Paul Eddington in a ten-gallon Stetson, with his middle-class commuter stiff upper lip, no that doesn’t look right.
RMI beer and wine center

This bit is the Beer Lab. That is, the “RMI Teaching and Research Winery and Busch Brewing and Food Science Lab”. Or just “Drink!” for short. This is the real University of Beer.

worldwide sketchcrawl 41: downtown davis

let's draw davis october 2013
It’s that time again…the 41st Worldwide Sketchcrawl, and so join us here in sunny Davis for an afternoon of walking around, stopping, looking and sketching. Let’s draw Davis!

DATE: Saturday October 19 2013
START: 12:00pm, Central Park, by the Carousel (near C and 4th)
FINISH: 4:00pm, outside City Hall Tavern (Old City Hall), F St *

As always the sketchcrawl is free and open to anyone with an interest in location sketching. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on! There’s no requirement to stay for the whole thing, just come out and flex those sketching muscles. At the end we will get together to look at each others’ sketchbooks (always the most fun bit) and see how we have all interpreted our town. Then why not post them online at www.sketchcrawl.com (here’s the link to the 41st sketchcrawl forum) to show the world! And then see what the rest of the global sketching community have been doing on the same day.

Hope to see you there!

*I just saw that I wrote “E St” on the poster – oops! It’s on F St. After all these years I still confuse the two…

let’s draw uc davis

let's draw davis sept 2013Time for another sketchcrawl in sunny Davis…join us next Sunday September 22 for some sketching on the UC Davis campus!

We will meet at noon at the Good Life Garden, located in the courtyard of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food & Wine Science (http://rmi.ucdavis.edu/). From there we will sketch individually or in a group as you prefer, before reconvening at 4:00pm at the Wyatt Deck in the Arboretum to check out each others’ sketchbooks.

As always this sketchcrawl is free  and open to anyone who likes a bit of location drawing. It’s a great way to really explore our town, and meet (and learn from) other sketchers.

Hope to see you there!

let’s draw davis! a summer evening sketchcrawl

let's draw davis: august 21, 2013

Join us for another Sketchcrawl in Davis! This time in the evening…Wednesday August 21, at Picnic-in-the-Park (the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, Central Park). We’ll meet at 5:00pm by the Farmer’s Market entrance, sketch around the park (there will be a band and lots of other fun sketching opportunities), and then finish up at De Vere’s on E St at 8:30pm. It’s Davis Beer Week and so a bit of Drink’n’Draw in the pub afterwards can be had too (I believe 21st Ammendment will be taking over the taps at De Vere’s that evening). If you’re in Davis, perhaps I will see you there!

WHEN: Wednesday August 21

START: 5:00pm, Farmer’s Market (corner of C & 3rd)

FINISH: 8:30pm, De Vere’s Irish Pub, E St

sketching jack’s london, part 4: micro-sketchbook

sketching jack's london cover sm

sketching jack's london p1 smAt 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…

sketching jack's london p2-3 sm
“Rebel Dry Cleaners” is a great name. I imagine Mon Mothma and Nien Numb and all the rest in there, running out the back when the stormtroopers walk past, etc.

sketching jack's london p4-5 sm
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.

sketching jack's london p6-7 sm

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.

sketching jack's london p8-9 sm

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!

sketching jack’s london, part 3: the end

christ church spitalfields
The last sketch I did in my Moleskine (not counting the little ones done in my micro-sketchbook, whcih I will post next) was of course Christ Church Spitalfields. I couldn’t not sketch it. Built by Nicholas Hawksmoor in the English baroque style it was completed in 1729 (so definitely a big part of Jack’s London). I did have to rush through it a little though; the end was nigh, people were gathering, time to down pens and down pints, as it were. The ending group was rather different to the startning group; some earlier sketchers had to leave before the end, while we were joined by several after-work sketchers. It’s always like that even on a daytime sketchcrawl, and that’s the beauty of it, you can just sketch for as long as you like. This being July, the London evening was still light and still pretty warm, and the company was great. Here are some of the evening sketchers, gathering in Spitalfields…
P1130208
P1130201P1130205P1130204P1130215P1130211
And here is the final group! In total, early group and late group combined we had about thurty-five people, and it was excellent meeting all of you! I asked not to do the ‘sketchbooks on the ground’ thing, preferring the showing each other our books individually, in a more personal manner. That whole thing of laying the books on the pavement means that both sketcher and observer are detached from the book, and the sketchbooks are, you know, on the floor. Much nicer to flick through them, and see them as they are.
Sketching Jack's London

And afterwards, a few of us headed over to the Ten Bells pub. This sketchcrawl was for sure a highlight of my trip and I really enjoyed meeting everybody. Good job folks! I don’t know if we found Jack the Ripper’s London, but it was great to explore the area through the eyes and sketchbooks of others.

Hey the next USk London sketchcrawl will be from the Tate to the Tate (organized by Nate – Nathan Brenville) THIS FRIDAY August 16. It’s also an afternoon-evening’ one, starting at Tate Modern and ending at Tate Britain in Pimlico (they’ve got a lovely gallery). If you’re in London, the information can be found here: http://urbansketchers-london.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/tate-to-tate-sketchcrawl-august-16th.html

Anyway, more a few more “Jack’s London” sketches still to come from me…

sketching jack’s london: part 2, aldgate east – brick lane

Aldgate East
After sketching the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, I walked down to Aldgate East, and stood opposite the magnificent building above the station, and the lovely Whitechapel Art Gallery. I didn’t have time to go inside, but I have been before, like twenty years ago. Traffic was heavy on the street, this being rush hour on the outskirts of the City. I thought I might spot some of the other sketchers on the ‘crawl, but I did not; everyone had already headed towards Spitalfields. I did bump into one other sketcher while sketching this.

Aldgate East
Then, up to Brick Lane. Brick Lane is more commonly thought of these days as the hangout of hipsters, but thankfully much of the street was still devoted to the greatest thing in Britain – curry. This is the heart of “Bangla Town” – there is a large Bengali and Bangladeshi community around here – and many street signs are doubled in Bengali. When I was studying up in Mile End in the late nineties I would come up here fairly regularly for a curry, and often to this very place, the Standard Balti House (as well as the Curry Bazaar, a few doors up, and also still there). I met with another urban sketcher, Isabelle Laliberte, and we sat on the street opposite sketching away at the old brick and colourful signage, while employees from each curry house tried to entice people in, as they’ve always done. And yet, I did not have a curry! Can you believe it? It was a hot day, and I just wasn’t feeling hungry. I come thousands of miles to get to Brick Lane, and I end up not fancying a curry. Something is wrong with me! Maybe next time, when it’s cold outside…

Brick Lane

More Jack’s London sketches and photos to come…

sketching jack’s london…part 1

Whitechapel map with names
And finally time to report on the sketchcrawl in London last month! “Sketching Jack’s London“… I had decided, after reading ‘From Hell’ (the graphic novel by Alan Moore, not the terrible movie upon which it is based) that I wanted to do some sketching around Whitechapel, an area of London I had not been to in more than a decade, but which I used to go frequently in mySketching Jacks London: sketchcrawl, July 17 student days for curry. So I announced a sketchcrawl; while the London of Jack the Ripper is mostly gone, some things remain, so it would be fun to try to look for old Whitechapel in the guise of a sketchcrawl. Now, this sketchcrawl was a bit different, as it was midweek and started at 3:00pm, to go on until the evening. It was a hot and sticky day, perhaps the hottest yet, and my journey on the tube to Whitechapel was squashed and uncomfortable. A good group of us gathered outside Whitechapel tube station, several sketchers I had met before and many I was meeting from the first time. Among the global urban sketchers were Alissa Duke visiting from Sydney and Sue Pownall who lives in Oman, both of whom I met for the first time a few days before in Barcelona. I was also meeting London Urban Sketcher James Hobbs for the first time. My superbly talented cousin Dawn Painter was there too. Too many great sketchers to name! Here’s a photo of the starting group:
Sketching Jack's London July 17, 2013

Everybody got a hand-drawn map and guide made by myself, as well as a small micro-sketchbook that I also made. I introduced the sketchcrawl; I’m not much of a Ripperologist (though I do get the online journal, an one of my sketches appeared in it once) but I love a bit of urban history, especially exploring it with a sketchbook. As I said in the guide, if you don’t want to look for the Ripper’s city, you can always just sketch the hipsters. As the sketchers all dispersed, making a slow exploration towards Christ Church Spitalfields, I stuck around the tube station to greet any latecomers and sketched the entrance to the tube station. I don’t imagine Jack the Ripper coming by tube, but the station dates back to the 1870s so it’s not impossible. I wonder how he would have felt about the extortionate ticket prices. “What a Rip-off” probably.

whitechapel station

I mooched around Whitechapel, which was busy and not massively different from how I remember it, and eventually made it down to the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Established in 1570, this is in fact the oldest registered manufacturing company in Britain – or the world, as the various bike tour guides passing by would say. Still, they have a magnificent history (see their website) – this is where the Liberty Bell was cast (though it broke, of course), as well as the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the bell from the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, and perhaps the most famous bell of all, Big Ben, a bell so famous that most people think it’s a clock. Big Ben is also the biggest bell they ever cast here. I didn’t go in, but sat in the shade of a tree outside while locals stopped and said, oh wow man, and offered to give me cold drinks.

whitechapel bell foundry

I must admit, I love this type of sketch probably more than any other, a bit of old brick and history. This is such a London sketch, a London palette and London lines, quickly made.

P1130190

More Jack’s London sketchery to come!

Sketching Jack’s London: July 17

Sketching Jacks London: sketchcrawl, July 17
London! Here is a sketching event just for you, a midweek, afternoon-evening sketchcrawl around the old neighbourhood of that notorious elusive villain, Jack the Ripper.

Join us as we sketch around Whitechapel, in search of its past. We will begin at 3:00pm meeting outside Whitechapel tube station, and then sketch individually or in groups. This event is FREE and open to anybody with an interest in sketching, all you need to bring is something to draw with and something to draw on (although I have made some very special micro-sketchbooks for all participants… see photo below).

As with last year’s sketchcrawl around Temple and Fleet Street, I will provide hand-drawn maps with some interesting information (and it will include the locations of the Ripper’s ‘canonical five’ murders). We will finish up outside Christ Church Spitalfields at 8:00pm. There we will check out each other’s sketchbooks, and then maybe pop across the road to the Ten Bells for a pint in the Ripper’s very own local.

Whitechapel map with names

Of course, the London of Jack the Ripper is gone. Thankfully, one might add. The slums were cleared, the squalor washed up. The twentieth century happened. The Blitz happened. History happened. Hipsters happened. Yet traces of Jack’s London still remain, some invisible, some ignored, and some pretty hard to miss. In this sketchcrawl, let’s look for the old East End, the smog-chipped bricks, the weather-worn cobbles, the winding streets, the smell of old pubs, the sudden towering steeples, the London that the nineteenth century left behind. Whitechapel, Aldgate, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, the edge of the City. The Elephant Man. The Krays. Jack Sheppard. Ashley Cole. Er, Jack London stayed here for a while. Even Big Ben and the Liberty Bell were born here. Jack the Ripper is gone, a legend for the tourists, but old London is still there, hiding in the modern world, AND WE ARE GOING TO SKETCH IT!!
(or of course, you can just sketch the hipsters…)

sketching jack's london micro sketchbooks

specially made ‘sketching jack’s london’ micro-sketchbooks!!!

Hope to see you there!

Facebook event page

For more info, please leave a comment or contact me privately using the following contact form:

drawing davis, last saturday

sketchers at davis amtrak station
A nice peaceful scene, sketchers sketching in the shade. Last Saturday, several of us Davis sketchers met at the Amtrak station for the latest ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawl, which was going to go along 2nd Street. It was a very nice meet up, with several new faces, some of whom I had met at my recent talk at the bookstore, and some highly proficient kids too – much faster and more detailed than me! One boy’s sketches reminded me of how I would draw when I was a kid, just going for it with confidence and speed, and that is something we urban sketchers all need to remember. I always have to remind myself, thinking takes up most of the time it takes to do a drawing, so better to think less and just trust yourself. Nevertheless, I still struggled a bit to get the sort of sketches of this station that I want, as evidenced by my next efforts, which do the job of saying where we are but don’t quite do what I was hoping:

davis amtrak station
I have always struggled sketching the Amtrak station. It’s those arches, they’re really hard to line up. It really is a lovely building, but I’ve never been able to do it justice. One thing I can sketch however are those metal pipe things that come out of the ground, backflow preventers. I love sketching those. However I chose to sketch this one, lodged in between the Hunt Boyer mansion and Mishka’s, right at the end of the day and so ran out of time. It was too hot out to finish (I went home with a headache and went straight to bed), but I like the unfinished look. I did do another sketch, while eating lunch, but I’ll post that separately, as thematically it looks different from all of these.

backflow next to mishkas

Many thanks to all who came, it was great to meet and sketch with you! One fellow sketcher it was particularly nice to see again was Robin Carlson, who I met at the Portland symposium back in 2010 (she coloured in one of my sketches at the first workshop there), nice to catch up.

Now hopefully we will have a July sketchcrawl in Davis though I’ll not be organizing it, but stay tuned. The worldwide sketchcrawl is on July 13, and there is a large gathering of urban sketchers happening in the San Francisco Bay Area that weekend which you may be interested in also. Me, I will be at an even larger gathering of urban sketchers in Barcelona