right up your street

jean's house

This is a drawing of the house of a colleague, Jean, which I did last month. Back then, the leaves were not on the trees and long wintery shadows crept across Davis; now the leaves are back, the pollen is in the air and my nose is practising for marathons.

almost there

Anyway, I thought it a good time to tell you again that if you fancy a drawing of your house, or apartment, or shop, etc, let me know! I generally draw at about 5″x7″, ink and watercolour (but I prefer not to draw people). Let’s talk!

I still have some original drawings on my Etsy store, and will be adding more in the coming weeks. I am raising money to go to the 2nd Worldwide Urban Sketching Symposium in Lisbon this summer by selling drawings, and every bit helps! I can even draw trees with leaves on…

smiling beguiling

william and kate

The Big Day is Here. Actually it’s not Here, it’s Over There, where you all get to Wave Flags (if you so desire) and get a Day Off (which I’m sure you won’t say no to). I however will need to be up at some unroyal hour to watch it all on telly, and then go to work wondering how many street parties will end in flashing blue sirens. Hopefully not too many. As I can’t get out onto the British streets to draw all the Union Jack bunting (that sounds like a boxer, doesn’t it), I decided to draw Will and Kate in my Moleskine diary. Will has rather a long face in this, but that’s ok. One day he’ll be literally on the money, and money has to stretch (seriously, that’s the best ‘long face’ joke I could come up with?). Kate Middleclass will be joining the Royals and a life of tabloid front pages, and I wish her all the best. I wish both of them all the best, actually; I’m quite sentimental about this royal wedding lark.

I still remember that big one thirty years ago (who was that for again?). We had a street party in my small Burnt Oak street, and I still recall the little plastic union jacks we waved furiously all day, sat on long tables in the street with my neighbours the Glennons, the Smiths, the Daniels, the Jamesons. There were lots of kids in my street back then. I was only a scruffy-haired five-year-old, eating cake and drinking cherryade. I remember that the grown-ups played games in the street, such as the race that my dad won against the other dads, with me on piggyback. It was fun, simple non-cynical fun, and I hope that everyone having street parties today keeps those same memories thirty years from now. Or of course you can drink yourself silly, and that’s fun too.

boo to the business world

In case you didn’t know, I occasionally sell some drawings on my Etsy store: http://www.etsy.com/shop/petescully. I’ve actually had the store for a while but not really added much to it, but lately I’ve been adding some more and plan to add more original drawings (and prints) in the coming weeks. If you’re interested, please visit my Etsy shopvarsity theatre, 2nd st

Above: the Varsity theatre on 2nd St, Davis; see the Etsy listing here. It’s a nice view of the old theatre before they put the new Mishka’s cafe next door. That would look nice in a frame on your wall; something to remember Davis by.

So anyway… I would really like to go to the Lisbon Urban Sketching Symposium this year, and so I’m planning to raise the money by selling some drawings. I’m also open to commissions; I don’t really draw people, but if you’d like a nice drawing of your house or shop, or of somewhere particular in Davis or London or anywhere else, let me know! Etsy even has a ‘request custom item’ feature.


in the belly of the beast

inside the death star

The Death Star, or ‘Social Sciences and Humanities Building’ as some pedantic people call it, is one of UC Davis’s most loved/hated/bloody annoying buildings.  I’m not a fan myself, having been lost and confused in there on too many occasions, making me late for meetings. It’s like being lost in an Escher painting. I am glad it’s there though, it’s such an oddity. It’s so complicated you would need two R2-D2s to hold its schematics. Even the maddest 1960s British council estate designers wouldn’t come up with something so utterly mental. I sketched it last week while braving the pollen and the dark side (notice how doorways are big here, so stormtroopers can’t bang their heads), and you can sort of see how I hold my pen as well.

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.

the urban sketcher’s fear of the pollen count

newspaper boxes E street

Lunchtime sketch from this week. I did manage somesketching this week, though not too much – the hay fever is particularly bad right now, it’s totally knocking me out. Me and half of Davis – allergies are pretty bad in this area. Going outside is becoming quite unfun, sneezing so much, I’m the holiest man in Davis, everyone’s blessing me. Still, after all those San Francisco sketches here is one from Davis. The newspaper boxes on E Street. 

Happy Easter everyone!

let’s draw davis: farmers market

let's draw davis: may 14 2011

Time to announce the next ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawl! If you’re interested in drawing and sketching, why not join us in capturing our little city on paper in pen, pencil, paint or whatever you choose! The event is free and open to everyone, regardless of drawing ability – from the humblest beginner to the humblest master. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. We’ve had good tur-outs at our previous sketchcrawls, and they are a nice way to meet (and learn from) other people who also like going about drawing stuff all day.

We’ll start off at 10:30 am sketching at the Farmer’s Market, and then sketch in the park and surrounding area all day until about 3:30 pm.

DATE: Saturday, May 14, 2011

START: 10:30 am, entrance to Farmer’s Market (3rd/C St)

FINISH: 3:30 pm, Central Park (by the Carousel)

The Davis ‘Tour de Cluck’ is also that day, so there may be some interesting folk about to sketch. See you on the 14th!

‘Let’s Draw Davis’ Facebook event  –  ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ Flickr group

life is never dull, in your dreams

sc31 bay bridge

I left the Mission district with ages to spare (BART being a lot quicker than I thought, for some reason) and hung out by the Embarcadero for a while, watching the sunlight fade, and sipping an Anchor Steam beer on the outside terrace of the Americana hotel. Proper San Francisco beer for the end of the day. I sketched the Fery Building, glowing in the evening sun, and as the lights went on on the Bay Bridge I sat by the water’s edge and used the white gel pen to capture it.

sc31 ferry building at sunsetsc31 anchor steam

On the Amtrak train coming home, I read the comics I’d bought and flicked through the day’s sketches. there was time for one more; so I looked at my reflection in the window and sketched that.

sc31 self portrait

all the people, so many people

sc31 end meetup

The meet-up at the end of the sketchcrawl is always a lot of fun, a great chance to see and ‘wow’ at new work, and the San Francisco group being so big and varied it’s always a pleasure. We met at 4:30 back at the very crowded slopes of Dolores Park, as the Mission sun shone, and fog drifted around Sutro Tower above us. After seeing a few incredible sketchbooks, I decided to catch up on my people sketching. There were some familiar faces (see Jason above with the beard, I have sketched him a couple of times before) and lots of new faces. You can catch up with everybody’s great work on the Sketchcrawl website.

I realised that apart from a little orange and a brownie, I hadn’t actually eaten. So I ran off to a taqueria, El Toro on Valencia, and got myself a grilled salmon burrito (which was great, though next time I’ll not get so much refried beans). Gotta have a burrito in the Mission, eh. I do like a burrito. 

sc31 grilled salmon burrito

I left the Mission by BART, passing down the piss-stenched escalators at 16th & Mission,  and heading back to the Embarcadero. I kept sketching on the way home…more to come…

a thousand things i wanna say to you

sc31 valencia postsc31 valencia musicians

Valencia Street is full of art and artists, drink and drinkers, food and eaters, and interesting folk. Strolling down on the way to Mission Comics and Art I was striuck by these great message posts up and down the street, places where people can post their flyers without getting all over the telegraph poles. Each was decorated with a different colourful headpiece. A little further down, some Mexican musicians were taking a break to tune up their instruments, so they got sketched as well.

Mission Comics and Art on 20th is a great store, one I had not been to before but whom I follow on Facebook. I had a good nose around there, and loved the gallery of Mission comic images at the back. I wanted to get one of Joey Alison Sayers’s zines; I love her stuff, it is hilarious (see her site here) but have had bad luck finding her zines (and I gave the first one I bought years ago to my nephew). When I met her at her stall at SF ZineFest last September, I had already spent most of my money on other (less interesting) zines so only bought one then. I was pleased then to find another one at Mission Comics, “Just So You Know”, which was a lot of fun to read on the train home.

sc31 mission theatresc31 mission corner shop

And then into Mission Street itself. It’s a little bit rougher here, but it’s funny, because it reminds me of London a bit, Kilburn High Road or somewhere. Not the Latin-American feel – you can’t get good proper Mission burritos in London, for sure – more the rough edges. Definitely not the palm trees. I sketched the old Mission theatre, and then a corner shop. I wasn’t finished sketching for the day, but it was time to go and meet up with the other sketchcrawlers at Dolores Park… (to be continued)