toad you so

froggy lunchpack

This is my son’s Froggy lunchbag. He got it from his Nanny in London, and he really likes it. Me too – fun to draw! He doesn’t drink Croaka-Cola though, or Diet Croak, or 7-Hop or any other frog-related-joke-drink. I presume it’s a Frog, it may be a Toad. Here’s on, what happens if a Frog breaks down? He gets Toad. Hey, it aint easy being green.

not the nine o’clock brews

sudwerk, davis CA

I hadn’t been to Sudwerk in a long time, so last Friday night, after spending the very warm evening sketching downtown and eating a curry, I popped by for some beer, baseball and more sketching. The Giants actually won; they’ve been doing rather less than stellar lately. Sudwerk is a local brewery-restaurant, with really nice German style beers (I particularly like the Marzen), and these great big boiler things behind the bar. One day I’ll draw in colour, but I liked the black and white pen drawing effect, so kept the watercolours in my bag. It’s funny, Sudwerk was the place we came to for dinner the first time we ever visited Davis, when we drove over once back in 2005. I liked their beer then too, and we decided to stay. I don’t think I expected to be still here in Davis in 2011, but here we are!

After this, I wandered home and watched Porco Rosso (Miyazaki, never seen it, it was ok).

of the people, by the people, for the people

davis sketchers

Saturday was another hot day, but another day of sketching in Davis. We held the latest “Let’s Draw Davis” skecthcrawl, this time in old North Davis, outside the Co-Op on G Street. I don’t go to the Co-Op very often (I just don’t get over there, though I used to be a member) but I really like the place, and they have great seating outside for a group of sketchers to converge and start drawing Davis. I took as always the opportunity to draw some of the sketchers before moving on to the more architectural items. There were about twelve of us total, a pretty good showing for what was going to be a hot day (about half braved it all the way to the end, where we met for a cold drink and ice cream outside Dairy Queen, a block away). It was fun chatting to other sketchers about sketching, materials, techniques, and I was excited to report all about Lisbon.
Davis Co-Op

co-op clockThe Davis Food Co-Op is one of those beloved local institutions, fully owned by its shoppers, having grown out of a living room in 1972. Being completely owned by its members, it is another example of the way the Davis community works together, promoting sustainability, healthy living and education. It started out of a living room in the early 1970s, and is now a full-service grocery store. To find out more about the Davis Food co-Op, check out the FAQs on their website.

On the right is the clock that sits outside. There’s fellow Davis sketcher Allan (Numenius) sitting in front, I caught him in the above sketch as well.

Below, the Davis Food Co-op Teaching Kitchen. They offer classes in cooking here to people of all ages (including young kids). It’s right across from the Co-Op on G Street. This in fact is the last page of my eighth watercolour moleskine (though I still have several sketches from that book yet to post). This moley took only two months to complete!! Sketching old north Davis is nice as the leaves start to change colour. It’s still the height of summer, but as we get into autumn it becomes gorgeous around here. Fall is the best season in Davis, with clear sunny days and crisper mornings, but on Saturday it was getting into the big nineties so after spending about an hour sketching below, we went to the Dairy Queen to cool off and check out each other’s sketchbooks. Another great sketching day!

 G St, Davis

The next Let’s Draw Davis day will be Saturday September 17, on the UC Davis campus. The next after that will be on October 15; I am starting to plan ahead, and I have started a new website for information about the sketchcrawls (it’s still pretty bare, and will be an information site, rather than overloaded with blog posts): Check it out, and I’ll see you at the next one!

Flickr group:

back over old ground

davis lock and safe

This is a building I’ve drawn before (that’s a sentence I’ve said before), Davis Lock and Safe on 4th Street. I just had to draw it again. from a slightly different angle. I like this building. It’s small and simple, but has so much character.

deli vision

zia's deli, downtown davis

There is a great little Italian deli in downtown Davis that I can’t believe I’ve never sketched in before. It’s called Zia’s, on 3rd Street (, and I occasionally pop in here for a can of that lovely orange San Pellegrino. (now I’ve drawn them before!) It was a hot Saturday afternoon, I had been dropping off fliers for the sketchcrawl at various spots downtown, I was thirsty, and I sat in here and started sketching. They do great sandwiches (they’ve won the ‘best sandwich’ award in Davis), and have a nice selection of Italian biscuits and sweets. They were almost closing up, so when I was done I popped outside to do a quick sketch of the front. The owner of the deli pulled up in his car and commended me on my drawing, which was nice. I commended him on his deli, which is nice too.

underneath the arches

admiralty arch

One from London I forgot to post: Admiralty Arch, at the entrance to the Mall. It had been a sunny morning, I had drawn Buckingham Palace and had a nice look at an exhibition of amazing airplane paintings and drawings at the Mall Galleries, speaking to a nice artist who encouraged me to join the British Aviation Artists Guild (I forget the correct name), only problem being I don’t live in Britain any more, and I haven’t drawn that many planes (except my son’s toy planes, of course). Still I really want to draw some, I was inspired by what I saw. I grew up near RAF Musuem at Hendon so I will for sure sketch there on my next trip back  (I did attempt to last December, but got caught in that huge blizzard).

I went and sketched Admiralty Arch, standing underneath a huge heavy tree canopy, and a good job too, for it started to bucket down. I kept on drawing all those windows, but was sad that the sunny day had turned so rainy again. Now I remember British summers, I said to myself. I spent the rest of the day getting wet, and bustled about in crowds, and through shops looking for things to bring back home. Next day, I went to Lisbon, and everything was sunny again…


ciocolat, davis

Such a popular Davis place, Ciocolat on the corner of B and 3rd. And yet, I have never actually been there, never so much as walked through the door. One day I will. I do like chocolate after all. I’m juts not much of a cafe person. I was walking back to work one lunchtime last week when I decided I needed to do a very quick sketch.

I do love chocolate though. Give me some Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, or big bar of Milka, I’m well happy mate. Chocolate over here isn’t as good as back home, the commercial stuff anyway (I’m looking at Hershey’s here), but there are some amazing chocolatiers such as See’s Candy and Scharffenbergen, as well as lots of small local ones I don’t even know. But I’ll have a Milky Way too, dunk it in my cuppa tea, I love a bit of chocolate. Funny enough, I don’t drink hot chocolate. I can’t stand the stuff. Nor dark chocolate. Give me a nice big chocolate covered pastry though, pain-au-chocolat, oh yes.

the more i see, the more i know

bikebarn, uc davis

I wonder how many times I have sketched this building over the past few years? I don’t think I ever sketched it as directly head on as this. The UC Davis Bike Barn, drawn on Strathmore watercolour paper. I actually omitted one element from this drawing, a rather weedy looking mini-tree in the foreground that I didn’t want to draw, as it would take away from the detail of the building. I don’t like the tree anyway. I still miss the bigger tree that used to stand to the left of this drawing, which was a nice place to sit beneath and eat lunch or sketch, until it blew over in a big windstorm back in October 2006 (wow, I’ve been here a while). I remember that day; the smell of grassfires was everywhere, as the wind blew across the tinder-dry landscape (it has been a hellish hot summer), and trees were down, and fire tucks were busy. It’s always a shame when a big tree just goes. So it wasn’t really a shame for me to eliminate the small little tree from the drawing. It’s still there in real life.

It’s another hot Davis summer. Well, when I say hot I mean it’s been in the 90s, so therefore not a hot Davis summer. We’ve hit the hundreds a few times this year but not as often as in the past, thankfully. It’s still pretty toasty when you’re cycling home in it though. I’m not a fan of the heat, though it’s better than the bad weather I’ve had on my last two London trips. I’m Californian now, but still British enough to moan about the weather, hot or cold.


red hydrant, unplanted

Ever wondered what a fire hydrant looks like befre it’s plugged in? No? Well in case you were, here is one I spotted the other day, along with some others, ready to be inserted into the ground of whatever this new development is. I have cycled past this open space for years, watching the hares bound by and the snakes slither off, while kids on BMX bikes race over the bumpy dirt. however, the buildings have been slowly rising in this neck of Davis, and this land looks soon to be lost. And unusually for Davis it will have red fire hydrants (most of them are yellow, or white/blue on campus, except for a couple of red ones I spotted once). One was already plugged into the ground, like the flag of a conquering civilization (we should have put one on the Moon, that would confuse later generations).
Seen through the fence like this it looks a bit like a prison yard, with the hydrant doing press-ups or something. No, the anthropomorphizing of hydrants is silly (but might make a great comic).

double dutch colonial

1st st house, davis

I have sketched this building before; I like the shape of the roof. Dutch Colonial Revival Gambrel, I seem to recall someone telling me. It’s on 1st Street, and on thursday lunchtime I got out and sketched it, adding the colour later at home. Drawn on Strathmore hot press watercolour paper, micron pen and watercolours.

Here’s the one I did about a year and a half ago (it was winter time then), from a different angle.

1st street house