i’m your venus

delta of venus

It has been so sunny and so warm that sketching outside has become extremely necessary. I cycled downtown again at lunchtime today, and sketched the very Davis cafe, the Delta of Venus. It’s not a place I go myself (not really my cup of herbal tea). As I sketched though, a man cycling by said to me, pointing at a fire hydrant, “there’s the hydrant over there, draw that!” Or words to that effect. Either way, I was officially recognized, ‘that bloke who draws fire hydrants’. But I haven’t drawn a fire hydrant in months!!

do something pretty while you can

cross cultural center

Wow, it’s warm! For what had been a very wet month, March is ending up with weather in the 80s. This is the Cross Cultural Center at UC Davis; I don’t know why it’s cross though. It is one of many buildings on campus that look a bit like this. I cycled past it the other day and thought, better sketch that some day, so at lunchtime today I did. I drew most of it there, sat beneath the shade of a tree, but the lunch bell rang and so I finished off the rest of the detailing, and the colour, later at home.

So Spring is here, and that means Picnic Day is upon us. Being on a worldwide sketchcrawl day, April 16, I might not bother with Picnic Day this year. It’s always too crowded, and rowdy, and I always struggle to draw there. I don’t like crowds all that much. So I’ll probably go to sketchcrawl in San Francisco. They will be sketchcrawling in the Mission, I love it down there. For more details, go to the 31st Sketchcrawl Forum.

Don’t forget though, this Saturday April 2nd, sketchcrawl in the Arboretum! For more details, go to the Flickr group. See you Saturday!

circo shoe blue

15, circo shoe blue

After a longer than expected hiatus, it’s back to Luke’s Shoes, a series detailing all of my son’s shoes in order of appearance. It doesn’t include rainboots, or snowboots, or slippers, just shoes, and sandals. This is Number 15 in the series, the blue Circo shoe. These haven’t been worn in a long time. I am slowly catching up with the shoes. Step by step.

normal service resumes

2nd & C. Davis

The Sun is back (“Spring was taking a break for a little while”, as my toddler son said), so I got out at lunchtime yesterday and sketched downtown. I am going to end up drawing every corner of downtown Davis. I think this is an estate agent’s, or ‘realtor’ as they say here. I wonder if there is such a thing as a ‘surrealtor’? That would be fun. I would watch those shows on HGTV. This by the way is the Middle of the Book, the midway point in Moleskine #7. I had thought I’d be further along by now, but I’ve been a bit lazy/scared of rain/busy, pick an excuse. Oh, and drawing toys and dictators in different sketchbooks. Well I need to get back on track, and sketch some of these lovely leafless trees before the leaves come back (which will be any minute now).

This weather comes at just the right time. This Saturday is the Let’s Draw Davis! Arboretum Sketchcrawl; meet at 11:00am outside Borders, and go down to the Arboretum to sketch ducks and bridges and trees and flowers and Putah Creek. I can’t wait!

you’re a racecar in the red?

toy red racecar

Formula One starts this weekend, belatedly, and I can’t wait! Nor can my three-year-old son, who was busy playing with his playmobil racecar in anticpation today. I love watching it, even though it means either getting up really early or staying up really late (one of which i do anyway). Now I have the Speed channel, I can watch it properly; in the pre-extended-cable past, I used to watch the channel in a fuzzy black and white form with no sound but static, while watching updates on the BBC website; the real entertainment came from the closed caption subtitles, obviosuly written very quickly by someone completely unfamiliar with formula one driver’s names (eg, names like  ‘kimmy right gone on’, ‘world champion jason bunton’ and my favourite, ‘knack jim’). Sometimes I put the captions on for old times’ sake. It’s a fun game, convert your name to a closed caption gaffe; mine’s ‘peat’s gully’. 

Anyway, here’s to another season of safety cars and dodgy new circuits, alonso sulking, hamilton rueing some silly mistake, webber and vettel trying to convince us they’re teammates, and the great legend michael schumacher making a big deal out of coming ninth rather than tenth.

Illustration Friday this week is themed ‘toy‘, so this is my entry (thanks Shiho Nakaza for pointing it out, I hadn’t seen IF for a while!). I have a feeling I’ll draw more toys this week, since I have been lately. In fact I have put together a Flickr set of my toy sketches: “toys“. 

By the way, the line that follows the title of this entry is one of the greatest in movie history…

step out

adidas trainer

Been out of the shoe drawing game for a little while, so I needed to get back into it (baby steps). I’m behind by a few shoes on my project of drawing all of my son’s shoes (in order of appearance), so I grabbed a moment today (while son slept) to sketch one of my own shoes, a black adidas trainer (pronounced as Herr Dassler intended). This is a small sketch (but a giant leap…er, no wait), in my WH Smith sketchbook.

they run and hide their heads

tercero south

It has been windy and rainy, to say the least. Oh we’ve had a day or so here where the Sun has been out with his hat on, but no sooner have we said hip-hip-hip-hooray than the storms are back. On Saturday night the wind was so loud I half expected to wake up and find munchkins dancing around outside the house. It was stormy again last night, and I expected today to be a lunchtime inside listening to the news, but I saw that the rain had stopped, and I thought, I’ll have some of that. Out I went, to sketch a cool looking building I’ve had my eye on since it was finished: Tercero South Phase II, as the complex is known (at least on the UC Davis housing website). It’s a brand new set of residence halls. It was still cold, and it was awkward sketching in that wind, and after a while the rain decided to come back and mix it up a bit, but I finished it up, and ran away.

i hear that train a comin’

toy railroad crossing

Train sets are important in every boy’s life. Right now, it’s the wooden train set. Truly, one of the best things about being a parent is that you can play with all these cool toys completely unabashedly, and you get to remember how cool you thought they were when you were a kid. I tell you though, some of these wooden trains you get now are pretty great. Below for example, trains from the New York Subway, given by my sister-in-law in New York. They are brilliant! I’d love to have Paris Metro ones, or London Underground ones (and I’d make them break down and wait for ages on the track for no reason). I say ‘I’ but I mean my son, of course…

S train

those magnificent men with their flying machines

toy plane

So, after deliberation and destruction, a UN resolution and no-fly zone was finally ordered for Libya, but despite an apparent declaration of ceasefire, Gaddafi’s forces still pressed on with brutal attacks on the Libyan people, and now we have airstrikes by the West and who knows what next. I just hope it doesn’t mean more suffering, but sadly, it usually does.

I’ve been sketching some of my son’s toys lately in my small WH Smith’s sketchbook, and I started on the ‘air force’ the other day with the small yellow ‘spitfire’ Playmobil plane above. While the rains crashed down outside today (cancelling the Davis sketchcrawl) I sketched some more of the flying machines.

toy helicopter

Here’s the toy Duplo fire helicopter. It goes with the previously sketched fire truck. Below, the Playmobil police helicopter – it is a favourite one this. And finally, a yellow toy F-16 jet.

toy police helicopter

toy F-16

Next: trains…

it’s raining; let’s not draw davis…

let's draw davis: rescheduled for two weeks

The rain is coming down heavy, and so tomorrow’s sketchcrawl at the arboretum is postponed…

…and rescheduled for Saturday April 2nd, when I am told we will have lovely sunny weather (we can hope!). So if you’re in Davis, join us on April 2nd! Everyone is welcome to sketchcrawl with us, even if you’ve never sketched before and justa want to give it a go. What better time than with others who love to draw? And at the Arboretum in the springtime, there is much to draw. 

Of course, I’ll still sketch tomorrow, just at home, in the dry…