Here is another familiar scene, but drawn in a different way, at lunchtime today. My recycling bin is always bursting at the seams at this time of year, so I like to recycle the nicer brown envelopes for some sketching. I used a different pen, a black Y&C Calligraphy pen from Japan (well, from the University Art store in Sacramento), which was really fun to draw with. I have drawn this same view, of the south Silo from the steps of Bainer Hall, every six months since mid-2007, once in Winter, once in Summer, once with leaves and once without. One way to capture the changing Davis seasons. Here are the others…
I’ve not been feeling well the past few days (I’m home doing nothing but watching telly, drinking tea and listening to the dishwasher right now), but yesterday I managed to get out for some fresh air on my bike, and cycled around Davis in that laborious way you do when your legs are saying, you should be at home on the sofa. The sunshine was good for me though. I stopped on 8th street to do some sketching, after I saw a row of bicycles, each painted tip to toe in a different bright colour, nailed to stakes alongside someone’s garden fence. That’s peculiar, I thought, so I drew the lime green one. It’s so green it reminded me of Fungus the Bogeyman. Interesting public art in a bike-mad town.
Very exciting news!! They’ve only been and gawn and done it. Check out your bookstore this week, and see if they have a copy of The Art of Urban Sketching, the first book by the global non-profit, Urban Sketchers! As you may know I am the Urban Sketchers (USk) correspondent for Davis, ever since the site was first founded back in November 2008, so have been eagerly anticipating this book since the USk founder, Gabi Campanario, first announced he was putting it together. He has done a tremendous job, as have the hundred or so other contributors (all correspondents on either the main blog or the regional USk blogs). Check out the cover, illustrated by Ch’ng Kiah Kiean and Paul Heaston.
The book has three main sections: “Becoming an Urban Sketcher”, explaining what we mean by ‘urban sketching’ and how to take it up yourself, with peeks inside the featured artists’ sketching kits. The second section, “See the World, One Drawing at a Time”, which takes up the larger part of the book, is a voyage across the world, city by city, through the location drawings of local urban sketchers. Yep, Davis is in there too! See below; there’s a photo of me sketching with Luke, and of course, some fire hydrants. It looks great!
The third section is called “Drawing Inspiration”, and is divided into several themes such as ‘skylines, cityscapes and perspectives’ (a beautiful panorama by Gerard Michel is in there, plus one of my absolute favourite sketches, Toledo by Luis Ruiz), ‘monuments, cars and urban furniture’ (check out the great Bay Area lamp-posts by Jana Bouc), and ‘cafes, restaurants and bars’ (my favourite bar-sketcher, Stephen Gardner, is featured in there). Believe me, there is a lot in this book, and it is all excellent and inspirational.
There is part of Gerard’s panorama above, with cityscapes by Stephen Gardner and Shiho Nakaza, using that brown-black uniball signo pen that I love so much (I ‘discovered’ its delights myself last year, but it was Shiho who actually first showed me the pen, at the Portland Symposium).
What I think I really like about this book is that I feel so familiar with most of the work, through following all these urban sketchers over the years. Some of them I was less familiar with and can now discover or rediscover without having to click here or scroll down there. The biggest pleasure though is that this is all work by a community of sketching friends, many of whom I have had the honour of sketching alongside and learning from in person. Every time I pick it up, I want to go and draw something. And I’m sure you will too! The thing about urban sketching is that it’s accessible to all, all you need is soemthing to draw with and something to draw on. Oh, and something to look at, of course, and what better thing to look at than the town or city where you live?
The Art of Urban Sketching is published globally on February 1st, so check out your local bookstore and see if they have it or can order it for you, or of course get it on Amazon (it’s currently #1 in their section on ‘painting’!). I’m on pages 30, 46-47, and 381.
I’ve been drawing fire hydrants this week, ones I have not drawn before. The taller yellow one below was drawn at the end of last week’s sketchcrawl; the stumpy yellow one above is on the corner of 2nd and University. The other two are drawn on brown envelopes – I work with graduate applications, and recieve mail, transcripts, from all over the world (well, mostly China). I like to recycle the envelopes from time to time for some drawing, and well it’s that time of year. The one above was drawn on an envelope from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in China, and is a hydrant from the UC Davis campus (they are white and blue). The one below is drawn on an envelope from Sri Lanka, and is found in the parking lot of Davis Commons. There are still one or two styles of hydrant in Davis that I’ve not yet drawn, I’m sure!
You know the old City Hall building in Davis that I have sketched about a million times? This one here? Well I noticed the last time I sketched it that there was a sign outside saying ‘City Hall Tavern’, which was news to me. Apparently, this building (a wing of the restaurant Bistro 33, and the former police station among other things) has now been converted into a bar, so after the fun of last weekend’s sketchcrawl I popped by for a pint of Weihenstephaner. It’s very modern inside, dark walls and cycle-themed (there are rotating bike sheels all over the ceiling), and some sort of games room which was blocked by a curtain. It would be an interesting bar-room to sketch, though I only had time to do a quick one of the bar area itself. I’ll go back some time for a bigger sketch. It’s certainly an interesting use of this historic space.
Here are some previous outside drawings of the old City Hall building. It’s on F Street, near 3rd, Davis:
Also from last Saturday’s sketchcrawl…after lunch at Crepeville I found that big yellow ex-schoolbus (if ever it was a schoolbus? I’m not so sure) that I have seen around Davis for ages. It was on C Street, and so I crouched nearby and put it in my Moleskine. As I was sketching, a lady walking by with her dog stopped and asked me if I was that guy who drew the picture of the Dairy Queen. Yep, I did!
This is a slightly peculiar bus. Obviously it’s privately owned, you’re not going to see it out picking up fares, and there is a Viking helmet in the front window. But look at the spikes on that wheel! They really are that big, like something out of Ben Hur or something.
Funnily enough, I think I have drawn this bus before. If it’s the one that used to be parked out near the PG&E plant just east of downtown Davis, then I have; here it is.
On Friday there was a massive rainstorm in northern California, with flood warnings and downpours so loud I could barely sleep. “But Saturday is the sketchcrawl!” I sighed. Not to worry – it all magically stopped, and the sun came out and the world warmed up and what a lovely day for sketching. It wasn’t a massive group, but it was a fun day sketching by the farmer’s market. I always sketch more slowly on these events, because I spend a lot more time talking while sketching, but that’s one of the fun things about sketchcrawls, meeting and sharing experiences with other like-minded folk. I started by sketching the other sketchers:
Above left is Leah Jin, who I know from UC Davis, and above right is Morning Waters, an artist from Fair Oaks, California on her first Davis sketchcrawl. Nice to meet you!
This was the day of the 34th Worldwide Sketchcrawl, and people in cities the world over were out braving the cold to sketch their cities, and be part of a global sketching community. Check out their results on the sketchcrawl forum...
More Davis sketches to come!