realm of the giants

AT&T Park

Another drawing on Moleskine sketchbook paper with my lovely uni-ball signo um-151 pen. This is AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, current World Series champions. I didn’t go to a game, my wife did (and they won!), but she took photos for me to do some drawing from.

window dressing

wardrobe dresspreeti girl dress

The last few sketches from Saturday’s sketchcrawl: things seen in shop windows. I like drawing the colourful dresses, it’s very rewarding drawing all that fabric. The pink one was in the window of ‘the Wardrobe’ on E Street, and the blue dress was in ‘Preeti Girl’, on the corner of E and 2nd.

Meanwhile, I also sketched this lovely cuddly cow that was in the window of the Mother and Baby Source on 2nd Street. Cows are popular in Davis, some even call us ‘cow-town’. Cows are funny creatures. What is a Cow’s favourite TV show? Graze Anatomy. Ok I’ll restrain myself from any more of the the many bovine-related puns out there. Anyway, the next sketchcrawl in Davis will likely be on July 23, the day of the Worldwide Sketchcrawl (though I won’t be there, as I’ll be in Lisbon…)toy cow

waiting on the corner staring through you in your different world

2nd st sketching salvador

More from Saturday’s Davis sketchcrawl… we moved from the station and went down Second Street, and I stopped outside Subway to sketch the little row  where the Village Bakery is found. The restaurant there is Our House, which is, er, in the middle of, yes you get the idea. there used to be a nice Tapas place there, we went to a couple of times. For this sketch I decided to try out the Uni-ball Signo UM-151 most awesome pen ever, to see how it worked on the rougher watercolour moleskine paper, and how it really takes a wash. As expected, it did dull the wash a little, and being a thin nib it meant harder work on a larger drawing such as this (I have other pens that can do the job but it was a try-out) but on the whole it worked pretty well. I was sketching with Stockton artist Salvador Castío and Rio Vista artist Janice L-h. There is Salvador there in the drawing; I have followed his work for a while, and it was great to see it in real life, larger than expected, very strong lines and precise hatchwork (see his blog here). Janice’s sketching work was great, she had wonderful books of drawings from all over northern California, but her Davis sketches were amazing, an excellent style (check out Brightflyer, her Flickr site). I sketched her too, below, using purple micron pen with a background of the scribbles of paint from the previous drawing.

2nd st sketching janice2nd st motorcycle

Also above, a motorcycle sketched on 2nd Street. I would have sketched the whole thing but I ran out of page. A few more sketches to come…

drawing davis on a hot june day

lets draw davis june 2011

Saturday was another ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawl, and after a very hot week several sketchers braved the sun and came out to sketch Davis. It was nice to see new faces, as well as some familiar ones too. One of the things I like about these sketchcrawls is the opportunity to not only sketch with other artists but also to talk about sketching, pens, paper, technique, sketching bags, etc. It’s always nice to know you’re not the only one who thinks about these things. It’s nice sketching down by the station. Apart from the odd train rolling in and rolling away again, it’s very quiet, and peaceful, with lots of places to sit and lots of shade. Anyway, for this sketchcrawl I was working in two sketchbooks – the main watercolour moleskine, and the small ‘red moley’, which I started last weekend (and am already halfway through). These few colourful pages are in the small red moley, quick sketches, people sketches, on pre-washed paper. Above, Rio Vista sketcher Janice sketches the station in the sun, flanked by Jana from Sacramento and Nathan from Davis (both also sketched below). Trying out something new! I like the effect of the purple sketch.
lets draw davis: nathanlets draw davis: jana

I have to draw the station of course. It’s a lovely old building, but dare I say it’s a bit of a bugger to draw. I have attempted it a few times, but always have trouble with the precision and location of the arches for some reason. Still as a reasonably quick sketch you get the idea and that is the point after all. 

davis amtrak

More to come!

Let’s Draw Davis Flickr group

the gods of old are silent on their shore

standing stones near the silo

Page 2 of Moleskine 8, another hot day but not scorching like earlier this week, and it was windy so everything felt dry. These standing stones are an art installation on the UC Davis campus, near the Silo (there is the oft-drawn Bike Barn behind it, sketched today at lunchtime (whole sketch took about 40 minutes).

Another “Let’s Draw Davis” sketchcrawl tomorrow! Meet at 11:00am by the Amtrak Station on 2nd Street. Everyone welcome!! Davis doesn’t just draw itself you know…

hi-tec test pilot

testing pilot hi-tec-c

I received my batch of amazing pens today from Jetpens, and am now the salivating owner of many new and different-coloured uni-ball signo um-151 wonder-pens. I cannot wait to use them, and draw lots of detailed drawings like that one I did of Crouch End last week. I also got another pen I had heard many good things about, the hard-to-find (in-non-Japanese-stores) Pilot Hi-Tec-C, which someone had shown me on a sketchcrawl three years ago and I had searched for ever since. I don’t usually buy new pens online as I like to try them first, and that explains why I bought (for some bizarre reason) a size 0.25, which believe me is ridiculously small. It’s a bit like drawing with a needle. It’s nice but probably more geared for those tiny tiny line drawings (so I know I will get use out of it!!). I tested it out with a sketch while sat on the couch in the small red moleskine cahier. Hi-Tec… nothing to do with the trainers. We used to laugh at them back in junior school. Hi-Tec were just one step up from Asda-Boppers.

It is REALLY hot in Davis. It hit a hundred again today. I read that a lot of people in south Davis lost power last night because of a transformer (yes I thought it was a big robot) blowing up in the heat, our lights were flickering all evening. It’s summertime…

praising the way it all works, gazing upon the rest

mrak & king halls

Side one, track one of Moleskine #8. The eighth of my watercolour moleskines, that is (the ‘difficult eighth album’? Do I get a Greatest Hits, or just a ‘Best Of’? They’re all ‘Live’ albums; maybe this should be the ‘White Moleskine’, but such a thing doesn’t exist, yet; better get on that, moleskine). Either way, this is the fifth annual drawing from this very spot of an ever-changing view, Mrak Hall at UC Davis sketched from Putah Creek, with the now finally complete King Hall extension blocking the view.

Today is the longest day of the year, and certainly the hottest so far – we measured 106 degrees at one point driving home. Scorching weather and Davis go hand in hand. While sketching, I listened to the new Art Brut album, ‘Brilliant! Tragic!’. I didn’t find it quite as brilliant as their previous albums, but I loved the song ‘Sealand’.

Anyhow, because this is an evolving view, here are the previous years, for comparison:

mrak & king halls

mrak hall... with the law school ruining the view

mrak hall

mrak, seen from the creek


six flags: shouka

We went to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom at the weekend. It is a large theme park in Vallejo, formerly known as Marine world, and alongside the enormous scary rollercoasters and thrill rides there are plenty of zoo animals, such as tigers and elephants and alligators. However, their main attractions are of course the marine life. I have never seen a walrus in my life, but wow those things are huge! They moved about too fast in their pretty small tank for me to sketch, but I did take the opportunity to sketch some of the shows we saw. Above, in a packed amphitheatre, Shouka to Killer Whale danced about for the audience. I’ve never seen a killer whale show to my memory either, and it is quite amazing how high those massive beasts can jump. It reminded me of that stupid Shark v Octopus film, which we caught on TV the other week (and watched for its utter ridiculousness). Shouka was a far better entertainer, though she didn’t take bites out of any jumbo jets. I was amazed to learn that killer whales are found everywhere in the world, equalling human beings in their dispersal. Funny how you never hear see them at the supermarket or on the subway though.

We also saw the dolphin show, acrobatic and charismatic, they even sang songs (probably “goodbye, and thanks for all the fish”). My son in particular loved the dolphins. I sketched while he watched, trying to capture them as they dove in and out, and I managed not to get my sketchbook splashed on. I started a new small cahier moleskine, I’m calling it the ‘red moley’, for small quick in-your-pocket sketches. I am about to start my next watercolour moley (number 8) but these ones are fun to have too.

six flags: dolphinsanimals at six flags

We saw sharks, and sea-lions, and I got to sketch a very sleepy lioness (opposite the enclosure of a sleepy and very cuddly looking tiger), while we sat for a rest, feeling very sleepy ourselves. I enjoyed the butterfly habitat, with all its colourful butterflies flying around us, and sketched one beautiful (and patient) one. We got milkshakes – by the way, if you go here and buy milkshakes, they won’t give you a straw to drink it with, ‘for animal safety’. The plastic forks and spoons and other junk food paraphernalia is allowed for some reason but straws are all out. I didn’t go on any rollercoasters, though I did start to queue up for one (until I got to a sign saying it was 60 minutes until the ride – no thanks). Eventually I did go on one ‘thrill’ ride, called Voodoo, which just straps you in and spins you around and around before letting you feel gravity and fear for a second or two, before it’s over. I had my eyes closed for most of the time. It was a tiring but fun family day.

shades of earth

arboretum visitor center

Had about fifteen minutes or so yesterday lunchtime to to a quick sketch, so popped by the Arboretum to use my wonderful new pen. I scribbled some paint on the paper first, the typical Davis colours, and it was a fun exercise. This is a quiet time on campus, when the students are all gone and the sun is out and strong.

all around the clocktower

crouch end, london

A bigger, more complicated drawing for the previously mentioned amazing pen. This is Crouch End, an area of London we lived in for three years. This is the clocktower at the junction of Crouch End Broadway. This took a while. The Old Crown pub one I drew before took just under an hour, while this took several hours, spread over a couple of evenings and a lunchtime, but it’s bigger and more ridiculously detailed. I haven’t drawn a mega-tiny-detailed street scene in a while, and of course I’m playing with (and draining all the ink from) this incredible pen. It’s like the elder wand of pens, it just feels so nice to draw with that i want to keep drawing.

Drawn with uniball signo UM-151 on Canson classic cream drawing paper (first time i’ve used it since getting it at last year’s portland symposium), size is a bit shy of  8″x8″. I think I’ll do some more of these.