an illustrated illustrated journey

An Illustrated Journey
As mentioned in a previous post, I have recently had the immense honour of being included as a featured artist in Danny Gregory’s latest book, “An Illustrated Journey“. And here it is! I got my copy recently, and have been poring over each beautiful page, inspired by not only the pictures but the words of the great keepers of sketchbooks inside. So much to read, but every time I do, I just want to get up and draw stuff. So I drew the book itself, on the last regular page of my watercolour Moleskine…
AIJ
Here is a sneak preview of some of my pages. To see the rest, you’ll need to get the book!
An Illustrated Journey
An Illustrated Journey
Many thanks once more to Danny Gregory for including me in this book. You can get it from your local bookstore (which I recommend), or you can order it from Amazon here.

I hope you enjoy it!

march madness

davis downtown calendar

I am Mr March! I was downtown the other day picking up some Davis brochures for an event at work, and was given by the lovely people of Davis Downtown the 2013 calendar, featuring the works of twelve local artists. I hadn’t seen it before, so I was pleased to discover that my Orange Court drawing was used for this month! Nice long old month too (good job it wasn’t January or February, or I’d have missed it). Pretty nice, huh!

let’s draw springtime in davis

let's draw davis march 2013
Join us for another sketchcrawl in Davis, California! It’s Spring, the blossom is out, and it’s time to head back to the UC Davis Arboretum (http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu/). We’ll meet at 11:00am at the Arboretum Terrace, which is a little garden area next to Whole Foods, at Davis Commons (the corner of 1st st and Richards). From there we will go to the Arboretum proper, either in a group or individually as you prefer, and sketch all afternoon, meeting up again at 3:00pm at the Wyatt Deck, on the south side of Lake Spafford.

This sketchcrawl is free and open to anyone with an interest in sketching. Feel free to spread the word! All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on.

Facebook Event page

Hope to see you there!

roses are red

roses

Roses! More flower drawing. These were for my wife’s birthday, over a week ago (they are lasting pretty well), and I drew them with brown uniball signo pen in the Stillman and Birn ‘Beta’ book. I have been saving that book for a while but finally cracked it open, and it’s very nice, lovely thick paper. I watched the movie ‘Brave’ with my son while drawing these, that’s a good film.

the great dane

michael laudrup

Another football drawing, this one is Michael Laudrup, the Danish manager of Welsh team Swansea City. I love Laudrup. He is forever-young, good-looking-but-man’s-man, right attitude, and in his first year at Swansea he has led them to their first major trophy ever. Swansea City as a club are great too, and it’s great to see a Welsh side gaining so much respect in the Premier League. Laudrup was a great player in his day too, as was younger brother Brian, but Michael was The Man. Total man-crush of course (he’s competing with AVB and Mancini), so he had to get drawn on a Chinese envelope in brown pen. I’m enjoying this series. And I have a lot of these envelopes this year…

and if the flowers are in bloom, i’ll lose myself to you

flowers for my wife

Some pretty flowers, which were for my wife’s birthday last weekend. It’s fun drawing flowers because they are so completely different to the sort of thing I normally draw. I sat down and watched Lost In Translation while drawing these. I haven’t seen that film in years; it reminded me of watching it with my wife at the Phoenix independent cinema in North Finchley back in 2003, I think it was. Kind of made me want to go to Tokyo, actually (and North Finchley, funnily enough). Drawn in dark green uni-ball signo um-151 pen (nice effect, huh) and coloured with watercolour. Almost to the end of this watercolour Moleskine now, you can see the rest of the skecthbook on my Flickr site

all gone quiet over there

arsene wenger
Monsieur Arsene Wenger. Long-time manager of Arsenal, my club’s arch-rivals. Since he arrived at Arsenal in 1996 from Japan, that club (who, for those unfamiliar with English football club geography, are a South London team from Woolwich residing in North London temporarily for the past century or so, a few miles south of native North London team Tottenham Hotspur, my team) went into terminal incline, winning big trophy after big trophy as if some day winning trophies would go out of fashion. Meanwhile, Spurs remained fashionably trophy-free, except for a couple of league cups, the ‘thinking man’s trophy’, and beat Arsenal hands down in the ‘number of managers’ league table. Now Tottenham are flying high as the top London club (check the league table, Chelsea, it does not lie), third in the table, while Arsenal are languishing in a lowly fifth, with only the prospect of a second-leg Champions League tie against Bayern Munich to keep them entertained. “Champions League”, haha – you don’t even have to be a Champion to be in it. It’s like a game at a kid’s party where you tell the kid who came last that “they’re a winner too”. With a fashionably hip seven years without a trophy, and an attitude at the club that 4th place is the same as getting a trophy for the cabinet, Arsene is riding high, being talked about more than ever, and his players are so good that other competing clubs are lining up to buy them.

I actually feel sorry for Arsene Wenger. Despite about fifteen years of living in an undeniably massive Arsenal-shaped shadow, until just a few years ago, I cant deny that he is one of the game’s true legends. He changed Arsenal from being boring-boring 1-0 merchants to one of the most exciting teams in the world. When they did that invincible season, nearly a decade ago, and Thierry Henry was in my mind the best player in the world, it was pretty hard to argue with that. With no trophies for the past seven years, even many Arsenal fans are calling for Monsieur Wenger to call it ‘un jour’. His methods were a revolution in their time, but their time has passed. Ferguson, on the other hand, continues to win, win, win. Arsenal are not competing in the age of the Billionaires, the Chelsea-City nouveaux-riches, but despite banking their money on every turn they are increasingly being seen as the Weakest Link (but then, compare them with how Liverpool have fallen). and as Spurs rise and rise, I should be laughing at them as I go, but I’m finding myself feeling sorry for them. They are not the lottery-winners of your Chelseas and your Citys (and your, um, QPRs), and I do believe that in the long run acting sensibly with football money will pay off, but well, selling your best players to your rivals, that’s just silly. When games go badly on the pitch for Arsenal it is amplified; Wenger was accused of not taking the FA Cup seriously when they were knocked out by lowly opposition, and he angrily retorted that he has won that competition four times, arguing “name me one manager who has won it more” (the answer is Alex Ferguson, by the way, if not counting dead managers in which case there are three others). Last Sunday, Spurs beat Arsenal 2-1 in a big derby game, but if it had gone the other way, we’d have only been a point apart. At a similar time last year they beat us 5-2, and we were something like ten points ahead – and Arsenal ended up catching us, beating us to third place. That is the measure of Wenger, he can still pull it off. I’m sure he would prefer to leave on a high, finish his Arsenal career with one last big trophy, but if he doesn’t (and as devoutly Tottenham and anti-Arsenal as I am, the romantic in me kind of hopes that he does), I hope he isn’t forced out by the impatient salmon-sandwich bunch at the Emirates. If he should go, they’ll soon realize that their club will have lost their greatest figure since Herbert Chapman.

Drawn on a Chinese envelope in uni-ball sign um-151 (brown and red) with white gel pen.

le monde entier est un théâtre

mondavi center
This is the Mondavi Center at UC Davis. It is a large performance space and venue, an impressive building on campus that often hosts superb world-class artists and musicians. While I have never been to a performance there, I have been to sketch a rehearsal there, for last year’s Dance Dance Davis event.I’ve sketched the outside before, from a similar angle to this, but this one was drawn last week after a meeting at the Buehler Alumni Center next door. I had my large Canson pad with me, so this was going to be a larger one, at about 7″x9″. I drew most of it on site and finished the colour at home. I was for the most part surrounded by a huge crowd of schoolkids who were on some sort of trip to the Mondavi and were waiting around for their school bus to bring them lunch. I like the Mondavi.

desert agave

arboretum desert agave
Tottenham Hotspur beat Arsenal today, 2-1. To those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry, this isn’t a post about the footy/soccer, but I just wanted to say that. AVB very much In. Anyway… this is a desert agave, sketched at the UC Davis Arboretum last week when, in my busy days of program reviews and mountainous inboxes, I really needed to go and draw something organic at lunchtime. The Arboretum has such an abundance of interesting foliage that I really am blessed it is mere steps from my office. In fact, the next Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl (I wasn’t able to organize one in February) will be at the Arboretum, I think. Saturday March 16th, from 11-3, starting at the Arboretum Terrace and ending at the Wyatt Deck. Details to be posted soon. In the meantime, I’m off to celebrate our victory in the North London Derby.

wrapped up in books

dog eared books SF

“I was a man on a mission.” No, no I wasn’t, I really had no plan to my day, just aimlessly following my nose. I always end up on Valencia Street though, wherever I happen to be. Despite running parallel just a block or so over, it’s quite enormously different from Mission Street. I’m not sure of the history, but I believe that when the hipsters first arrived in America as refugees from the terrible Third Fashion War they set up a safe enclave here, where they could wear ironic hats and ‘shave’ and live free to worship organic coffee without fear of percolation. I do love Valencia though, it is full of little stores packed with kitsch nonsense nobody in their right mind would ever need to buy (but then I feel that way about Target). It certainly has cool bookstores, and as a devout bookstore lover I feel right at home there. This is one place I always stop at, Dog-Eared Books, on the corner of Valencia and 20th. There is so much to find in here, and they are well aware of the importance of a bookstore – scrolling through lists of ebook suggestions on your Kindle or iPad is nowhere near as good for your soul as being physically surrounded in real, tangible books, books to surprise you, to pique your interest, to capture you forever. I completely lost myself in libraries and bookshops for years of my life. Dog-Eared is decorated on the outside with painitings of books, and in the window they have an eye-catching display of hand-drawn obituaries of well-known people who have died recently. I’ve meant to draw this bookstore for a while. I stood outside for an amazingly brief 35 minutes, doing all the linework in explosive speed while stood by a parking meter, and added the colour later on (it was starting to get cold).

the obituaries window at dog-eared books

the obituaries window at dog-eared books

Dog-Eared Books was the last sketch I did on my sketching day in the City. I hadn’t intended it to be, I had wanted to close out the last pages of Moleskine 11, but when you’re done you’re done, and I left it on a high. I popped by the excellent Mission Comics for a while for a mooch, picking up a Thanos comic to read on the train home. They had in their rear gallery an exhibit of art called “Batman on Robin”, and yes it was exactly what you are imagining, and a lot more than that too. ‘Graphic’ is putting it mildy. I finished up in the Mission with, of course, a burrito – but this one was different. It was a chicken tikka masala burrito. I will say that again in case you didn’t quite catch the importance of that statement. It was a Chicken Tikka Masala Burrito. Je ne vous merde pas, as they say. What a combination; for me, that’s like going to the San Francisco Giants stadium and watching Tottenham beat Arsenal. It was at a place on Valencia (where else) called “Curry Up Now”, and oh yeah, baby.  And so that was it. I considered going to North Beach for a beer and a sketch at Vesuvio’s or Spec’s, but forgot that this was the day of the big Chinese New Year parade; we had gotten caught trying to get up that stretch of Columbus on the same day last year and it was rather difficult to say the least. So I just went home. My feet were weary enough.

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