she may not look like much, but she’s got it where it counts, kid

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And this project is not even half way over… More fire hydrants, one from UC Davis, the other pair from Fifth Street. I don’t think there are any more designs in Davis, but I’ll keep looking. Of course, different designs will be drawn more than once, in different locations, and of course there are still a great deal of water and gas pipes still to sketch in this town. 23 down, 27 to go. I’m particluarly proud of that top one.

And I will, of course, get around to drawing some other subjects at some point too… 

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and they were all yellow

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Six yellow dwarves, in six yellow caps. Please forgive my use of a Coldplay line in the title. Actually, no that’s not forgivable. It’s just that the line was obvious – they are all yellow, so very yellow after the white and blue hydrants of campus. These are all found in the City of Davis, and are all ‘dry’ hydrants apparently. Oh, they work, but, actually I’m not going to try to explain it. Davis Wiki can do a better job than I. I’ll tell you something though – I found an interesting website all about fire hydrants which at first amazed me in the range of interesting and unusual designs, and then made me jealous that I couldn’t see and sketch them all.
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And then I felt a little like Arnold Rimmer and his collection of 20th century telegraph poles. Oh well, I’m getting to that age where I don’t care about geekery (like I ever really cared) and now fill sketchbooks with fire hydrants and water pipes. To me, though, this is urban sketching at its essence – sketching the urban furniture, the bits that make up the everyday in our towns and cities. Plus look at that one below left. that looks well cool, doesn’t it! And someone has drawn a heart on it, because they must love it so much, huh.

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Anyway, back to them being dwarves. There are six of them, so one is missing obviously. I will call them Stumpy, Grubby, Captain, Constable, Eraser and Beretta. There, they are now christened, and maybe all fire hydrants should have names. Or maybe not. 

So that is 20 of 50 for NaNoDrawMo… more to come!

is it a bird? is it a plane? no, it’s…a pipe

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More pipeage. This colourless specimen above is rather like an industrial era Oliphaunt. This could become a story book for children, ‘the Pipes of Davis’, rather like that book ‘the Toads of Davis’. Although, perhaps the more hippy side of our town might take a different meaning of the word ‘pipe’ and be disappointed to find it’s just all fire hydrants and gas pipes. I wouldn’t market it to the hippies, then. I’m not sure what the story would be about, though. Maybe they could all be super heroes that put out fires, perhaps the gas pipes are the wicked industrial villains who start them, and the super-mutant-ninja-hydrants all save the day.  

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Like these ones for example, they are outside the Center for Neuroscience. Well there’s a super-hero origin story just waiting to happen. All you need is a cape and a wicked laugh. I liked the look of these though, they were like a futuristic space-station or deep-ocean lair.

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This bottom one, though, is small, rather like a simple droid or a techno-hobbit, found on the corner of 3rd and E Streets. I like this one. I sketched it late on Saturday afternoon, when shadows were getting long.

on a steel horse i ride

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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.

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let’s draw davis again

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Time for another sketchcrawl, I think. If you’re local and fancy coming out for a day of sketching downtown Davis, meet us at 11:00am outside the Davis Amtrak Station (2nd and H Streets). We’ll sketch from there down 2nd Street, with its historic buildings and interesting shops, then turn down E Street, before crossing 1st Street and finishing at Davis Commons, outside Borders (or inside their cafe area if you’re cold). All are welcome! Just bring something to draw with and something to draw on!

If you need any more information, please comment below or send me a message. And if you’re on Flcikr, please join the Flickr group “Let’s Draw Davis!”. And if you’re on Facebook (as so many are), I’ve even set up an event page you can RSVP to.

So come and sketch with us on the 21st! We’ll even sketch if it rains…

we must not look at goblin men

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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.

alright at the back

mailiing list presentation

I went to a presentation at work about mailing lists, and I just had to do a quick sketch while sat at the back. I had my blue Cachet watercolour sketchbook with me (which I’ve never really used, but am now using to draw fire hydrants in). Now I know some new things. One is that this rougher watercolour paper is a bugger on your pens.