Tag Archives: uniball vision micro

jumping the shark

great white beer
Here is a beer for the hot weather (and, while today has finally cooled off a little, we here in Davis have had a very long hot summer). Great White is brewed by Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka (I always read that as ‘Lost Coats’, with images of standing around by those coat places in nightclubs), and is very refreshing and tasty on a hot evening. In the pub, the beer pump is shaped like a shark. This is sketched in my ‘beer’ book, a brown paper sketchbook I’ve had for a while.

santa cruz hydrants

Santa Cruz HydrantSanta Cruz Hydrant
Labor DSanta Cruz Hydrantay weekend, and we spent it in Santa Cruz, in the warm California sun. Well, quite a bit cooler than the usual super hot sun we have in Davis, so that was a nice change. I love being by the sea. Santa Cruz is a cool city, and we stayed near the Boardwalk. The hydrants here are different than in Davis so I managed to sketch a few of them. I am sure I look a right plum sketching these, but I don’t care, it’s more for the catalogue. Most are yellow (one or two were orange) but there was a greater variety in the ‘trim’, and I sketched a couple of orange ones, a red, a blue and a green. I don’t think I have drawn any of these models before either – very similar ones, but not exactly. Well maybe the blue trimmed one is similar to one I drew in Santa Rosa. Oh, I don’t know. I feel like one of those mad 19th century explorers sometimes, searching for and cataloguing new species of flora in the deep urban jungle. I really should make an effort when I find these new specimens to write down the manafacturer name, maybe the year if its legible, but it’s too late now. I’m not so methodical, I just draw the things.

Incidentally these were all drawn in my watercolour moleskine (moley #10) in uniball vision micro pen with watercolour. All were done on location, sat crouching in the street hoping I don’t get run over or weed on by a dog. If you want to see a whole load of fire hydrants (and other metal pipes that come out of the ground), then here is my Flickr set, “Hydrants and Pipes“. Or perhaps you thinks it’s a bit barmy. But hey, as they say – “Keep Santa Cruz Weird”, right?

Santa Cruz HydrantSanta Cruz Hydrant

turn back time

hattie weber musuem of davis

I hadn’t drawn for two weeks!!! I’m not joking. It’s very unlike me. Oh, I’d scribbled endless scribbles on whatever piece of paper was in front of me, but no actual drawings, actual sketches, until I finally broke the hiatus on Sunday and cycled about looking for something to draw. Eventually chose the Hattie Weber Museuem of Davis, which I drew before on a sketchcrawl but didn’t like much. It was closed, so no big schoolbell outside (my son loves to ring it).

Drawn on 10×8 Strathmore hot-press with uni-ball vision micro and watercolour. The clocks had gone back the night before. Our clocks go back later than yours back in England. This year I was actually caught out – I didn’t know that my fancy alarm clock was one of ‘them’, that changes the time for me, meaning when I wake up and see that it says 7:55, I think, oh it’s really 6:55, when in fact it’s actually five minutes to Spurs v Fulham! Still that was worth getting up early for, and I still technically had a lie in. Confused? I was. Spurs got run ragged by Fulham, yet still managed to win 3-1. Seven wins in Eight now, with the other being a draw. Come on you Spurs!

fat tire

fat tire

Illustration Friday this week is ‘bicycle’. Living in Davis, this one’s obvious. We’re the bicycling capital of the US. We have the bicycling Hall of Fame. I just bought a new bike seat. So I decided instead to draw a beer instead – Fat Tire, from the New Belgium Brewing Company, whose symbol is a bike. Sketched in the brown sketchbook, which has a few different bottles and glasses in them now.

Hope you had a good Easter! We did, it was nice. I ate rather a lot.

towering over our heads

nanodrawmo 50

Finally! I reached my goal of fifty drawings in November for NaNoDrawMo 2010, and here are the last four. Actually I drew more than fifty drawings this month, but I’m not counting those not in this set. I filled a whole watercolour sketchbook front to back with drawings of fire hydrants and other metal pipes that come out of the ground. The final sketch is the biggest metal pipe, the larger of UC Davis’s iconic water towers. This was a fun project, and the majority of the drawings were done on site (except for those few from photos taken in LA), as I had really wanted to use this project to explore and take a closer look at the missable stuff around us. I can now spot even subtle differences between the hydrants I see around town, so the observation exercise was successful. Everything is interesting if you take an interest in it.

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And now, no more fire hydrants for a long, long time! Here’s the book they all fit in, and the pen that made it through to the end (others were chewed up like, er, I dunno, chewits).

nanodrawmo sketchbook

See the other great artists who made it to 50 here.

on a steel horse i ride

nanodrawmo 10

Continuing the hydrants, gauges and pipes theme – I will fill an entire sketchbook with these, by the way – for NaNoDrawMo, some of those big big pipes you see all over the place in Davis. They remind me of animals, some elephants, others, horses, others rhinos. Or metal camels. nanodrawmo 9

I feel like a zoologist, but for metal pipes. All of them go into the ground and lead somewhere else. A map of the world by its pipes only would be an interesting map, rather like a drawing of a person only by their veins and arteries.

 nanodrawmo 11

we must not look at goblin men

nanodrawmo 1nanodrawmo 2

Expect to see a lot more fire hydrants, sprinkler gauges, gas pipes and other important functional metal poles that stick out of the ground on this site for the next month. I’ve decided to take up the challenge of “NaNoDrawMo“, which like its more famous father NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an offshoot for drawing only. The task is 50 drawings in one month, November. I decided that it might be nice to theme my drawings for this project, and sketch only things in my hydrants/gas pipes/etc category. Here are the first eight, all from UC Davis.

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I particularly like #3, an unusual one, rather like the White Worm poking its way out of the ground. Do you remember that film, Lair of the White Worm? Hugh Grant swashing some buckle, Peter Capaldi before he learnt to swear, Catherine Oxenburg being all Countryfile, plus of course Amanda Donohoe slinking about; naturally my teenage self loved it. Now I draw fire hydrants.

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As I’ve remarked before, they remind me of little gnomes, or dwarves, or goblins, with their funny coloured hats. Or droids. The hydrants on campus tend to be white with blue trim. It’s likely that I’ll draw many which look identical, but I think they all have character. Well, most of them. Well, some of them. Maybe.

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And then there are these two fellows, in red. Up Periscope on the left looks like a character from Button Moon, while on the right that is I think a Sprinkler Gauge. Actually, I have no idea whatsoever. Sprinkler Gauge? They may not even exist. I just guessed at the name. Either way, it’s behind the library. Many more to draw yet – and I’m planning on filling a whole book, a small Cachet watercolour book, which rips my nibs up but loves paint. NaNoDrawMo? November is already looking that much shorter.

giant steps

Fear the Beard

There’s a funny old game over here that people quite like, called ‘baseball’. The thing about baseball that I like, apart from the fact that its name doesn’t get confused with that of another more globally popular sport, is the uniforms they wear. They are so classic looking, untroubled by sponsors or the need to change designs every few months. Usually, teams will play in white with their opponents in grey, although soemtimes they will use their other colours – the San Francisco Giants for example sometimes play in black, and even orange, being their colours. Usually (but not always) the home team will wear their nickname (“Giants”, “Yankees”, etc) across their jersey, while the away team would have the name of their city. This classic look reinforces the classic feel of the game – that iconic ballpark design, the apparently simple yet completely complicated (or vice-versa, depending on where you’re from) rule system, the fact that its not about being macho or aggressive, but hitting a ball and running, or catching a ball (with a really big glove). Simple really.

I was never a bat and ball kid. Cricket confused me (it still does) – while they may have light, bright, colourful playing kits now, I never understood growing up why they would play this sport in the middle of summer wearing thick woolly jumpers and long trousers. Rounders? Oh I hated rounders. I couldn’t throw the ball (pitch? bowl?) and was terrible at catching it, and if you missed an easy catch in the playground it was worse than, I don’t know, being Wayne Rooney at the World Cup. And you could get easily bored, with nothing to do but stand there and hope the ball doesn’t get hit in your direction. And then there was ‘softball’, which was just like rounders but with a ball that definitely wasn’t soft. I always wanted them to call it baseball so that we’d sound American and exotic, but I think you had to wear baseball caps if you wanted to call it baseball, and we couldn’t afford them at our school.

Now I live in America, and while I have always liked baseball, I’ve been a little slow in following it. My brother-in-law is a huge Giants fan, and my wife and son too, so naturally I am as well, and have been learning a lot more lately since the Giants won their division, then fought through the play-offs to win the National League, and are now two games into the World Series against the Texas Rangers – two games which they won quite emphatically (11-7 and 9-0 are veritable cricket scores even in baseball). We’ve been glued to the set (cynics can make a sentence out of the following words: “bandwagon, on, jumping, the”), it is pretty exciting. So I had to honour the Giants before they threw it all away (now who’s cynical? hey, that’s my long years as a Tottenham fan, plus a few years as a Giants fan) with a sketch of one of their players, Brian Wilson, “Fear the Beard”. He has this odd and fake-looking black beard, and Giants fans all wear their real-looking fake beards when he comes out to close (he is a ‘closer’, which means he’s a pitcher that pitches at the end of the match – look at me learning all new words!). I was going to draw Tim Lincecum (he looks like a young Severus Snape) but The Beard was too tempting (plus it reminds me a bit of Ricky Villa). 

Go Giants! Fear the Beard! Get me some Garlic Fries!

here’s to the end of the world

la fin du monde

More brown paper bottle sketches. This is a nice beer I found recently, La Fin du Monde. It’s Canadian – Québecois in fact – and is a ‘triple’ beer. Triples are pretty potent, very tasty, but you gotta watch out. I used to drink Triple type beers when I lived in Belgium (Westmalle Triple to be precise) and ooh, you have fun nights with those. I really like the label on this bottle as well.


on the buses

double decker bus

Here in Davis we have a little bit of London. Unitrans has several old vintage London double-deckers which still ride around town, letting passengers hop off the rear deck into the middle of the road, keeping the ‘charming’ London place-names, exotic faraway locales such as Golders Green, Shepherds Bush and Finchley Road. UC Davis brought the buses over in the late 1960s to start a bus service, and these buses are not in fact Routemasters, but the models which came before. Presumably if Boris gets his new modern (ugly, unnecessary, expensive) Routemasters on the streets, Davis will be able to buy some of the bendy-buses.

There are four such buses left in Davis, dating from the late 40s and early 50s. One, the 1950 model, will retire at the end of the year. Maybe they’ll put it out to stud.

Altogether now… “I ‘ate you, Butler!”