watching the clips roll in

New Belgium Clips Beer & Film Tour 2013
…But before I start posting my London/Barcelona sketches, it’s straight back to Davis California. It’s always strange coming back – while never looking forward to the heat, it was nice to get back to the office (and that magical thing called air-conditioning, which London doesn’t know about yet). I was also looking forward to attending New Belgium’s 2013 “Clips” Beer and Film Tour – we had stumbled across it last year as “Clips of Faith” and enjoyed it a lot – at the Davis Central Park. New Belgium is a micro-brewing company (who aren’t very micro) from Fort Collins in Colorado, a company with a very progressive reputation and some incredibly good beers. I’ve always loved Fat Tire, and like their other seasonal beers too. Anyway, at this event (which is travelling through 21 cities in the U.S., Davis included) you can sample up to 18 different brews made by New Belgium, some of them very unusual sounding and unique tasting (they were out of the ‘Coconut Curry Hefeweizen’ sadly, but I would love to try that one). It was pretty busy there, In addition, they have a great big blow-up movie screen, on which are played several selected short films of under five minutes, from film-makers across America. Because I was sketching most of the time I only caught one at the end, and I’m glad I did, it was called ‘Shot From The Hip’, by William LaBarge, and was a kind of Sergio Leone style showdown between two Davis hipsters, set in front of the Varsity Theatre on 2nd St (you know the one). Very popular cheers from the local crowd as you can imagine, and it was great fun to watch, well executed.
Steve Tracey

This fellow, Steve Tracey, was selling raffle tickets, but he looked so distinctive that as he passed I made him stop for a minute and a half while I sketched him. I added the colour afterwards. The red flag was on his bike. Both New Belgium and Davis are all about the bikes, and this was a cyclist-friendly event.

I tried four beers:

  1. Cascara Quad (“dark and surprisingly delicate”) which was 10%, pretty nice but probably couldn’t drink too much of
  2. Rolle Bolle (“pale shade of sunshine yellow”) which sounded nice but I didn’t really like much
  3. Biere de Garde (“starts warm and boozy, finishes bone dry”) another stronger one at 9%, but again probably wouldn’t choose this one
  4. Pluot (“aroma: stone fruit, pineapple, Belgian esters and the funk of Bretta” whatever all that means), a fairly fruity one, and I enjoyed it a lot. After tasting this I chose a 12oz size too, and at 10% ABV it explains why I was in quite a good mood when I went to see The Wolverine afterwards (which by the way is an amazing movie).

A funny moment: when I went to get my beers, the lady serving the beer samples recognized me saying, “hey you’re that sketching guy!” Yep, that’s me. This was a fun event and I’m glad I was able to attend and sketch. Here is the page on their site showing where all the next stops on the Clips tour are going to be. Next up is Portland on August 1st.

back from london / barcelona


Sorry for the lack of postage lately, it’s been that time of year when I go somewhere far away for a couple of weeks or so of disruption to my usual daily routine. Airports…I cannot stand them. When will we develop teleportation technology?  But I love London, and I love Barcelona! I am not overly fond of the mountain of scanning that appears when I return from such sketch-filled journeys, so I’ll post gradually. As you can see above, I fulfilled a lifelong dream to sketch the Sagrada Familia, and I also fulfilled another Barcelona-related lifelong dream too, to visit (and sketch) the Camp Nou. More of that later. First though I am scanning my London sketches, which include this one below of Trafalgar Square in the early morning hours.

Sketching London in the early morning

Stay tuned!

Tomorrow: Sketching Jack’s London!

Sketching Jacks London: sketchcrawl, July 17

It will be a nice hot day in London tomorrow, so why not join us for a late afternoon to evening sketchcrawl around Whitechapel and Spitalfields in the old East End? We will be starting at 3:00pm outside Whitechapel station, and will sketch until 8:30pm when we will get back together outside Christ Church Spitalfields on Commecial St, a stones-throw from the Ten Bells pub. See the original post on Urban Sketchers London for full details.

Below is a map and guide for the sketchcrawl; I will be giving these out to each participant, along with a hand-made (by me) micro-sketchbook (limited edition! just eight pages long!)

Sketching Jacks London map & guide

Latecomers: if you can’t make the start don’t worry, you can join in at any time – just look for the sketchers, or meet up with us at the end! However to get your map and micro-sketchbook you may need to find me – let me know before tomorrow morning if you will need my UK mobile number.

See you tomorrow!

Facebook event page

i’ll meet you on the stairs

Amid my many recent adventures I have not had time to post about my current mini-show on the stairwell of the Pence Gallery in Davis! I have several framed urban sketches on display, ranging in sizes, including the panorama of 18th Street San Francisco seen below. I’m very excited to be displaying my work there again. 18th st SF
The sketches will be on the stairwell for all of July so please come by and take a look! Most are of locations in Davis, places you may know well. If you have any questions about any of the pieces or of my work, please let me know!

The Pence Gallery is on D Street Davis, and their opening hours can be found on their website at:

Here are some of the originals on display. Come by the gallery to see the rest!

cooper house, may 2013davis city offices
little prague, davismondavi centerthe beat, sacramentoantiques plus

all-stars on the fourth of july

2013 little league t-ball all-star game

I just got back from my son’s little league t-ball All-Star Game. It’s the second time he has taken part, and it was a very hot July 4th Independence Day morning. Very humid too, unusual for Davis. We are in the middle of a really strong heatwave out here in the Western US, and we’ve had temperatures of between 100-111 (or more, some reported) for the past week. That scuppered some of the afternoon practice sessions, but the all-star game itself, made up of kids from various different teams, was early enough not to be in the scorching heat. I felt sorry for some of the older kids. Afterwards we went over for the pancake breakfast.

Happy 4th of July!

sketching at the little league

Sketching Jack’s London: July 17

Sketching Jacks London: sketchcrawl, July 17
London! Here is a sketching event just for you, a midweek, afternoon-evening sketchcrawl around the old neighbourhood of that notorious elusive villain, Jack the Ripper.

Join us as we sketch around Whitechapel, in search of its past. We will begin at 3:00pm meeting outside Whitechapel tube station, and then sketch individually or in groups. This event is FREE and open to anybody with an interest in sketching, all you need to bring is something to draw with and something to draw on (although I have made some very special micro-sketchbooks for all participants… see photo below).

As with last year’s sketchcrawl around Temple and Fleet Street, I will provide hand-drawn maps with some interesting information (and it will include the locations of the Ripper’s ‘canonical five’ murders). We will finish up outside Christ Church Spitalfields at 8:00pm. There we will check out each other’s sketchbooks, and then maybe pop across the road to the Ten Bells for a pint in the Ripper’s very own local.

Whitechapel map with names

Of course, the London of Jack the Ripper is gone. Thankfully, one might add. The slums were cleared, the squalor washed up. The twentieth century happened. The Blitz happened. History happened. Hipsters happened. Yet traces of Jack’s London still remain, some invisible, some ignored, and some pretty hard to miss. In this sketchcrawl, let’s look for the old East End, the smog-chipped bricks, the weather-worn cobbles, the winding streets, the smell of old pubs, the sudden towering steeples, the London that the nineteenth century left behind. Whitechapel, Aldgate, Brick Lane, Spitalfields, the edge of the City. The Elephant Man. The Krays. Jack Sheppard. Ashley Cole. Er, Jack London stayed here for a while. Even Big Ben and the Liberty Bell were born here. Jack the Ripper is gone, a legend for the tourists, but old London is still there, hiding in the modern world, AND WE ARE GOING TO SKETCH IT!!
(or of course, you can just sketch the hipsters…)

sketching jack's london micro sketchbooks

specially made ‘sketching jack’s london’ micro-sketchbooks!!!

Hope to see you there!

Facebook event page

For more info, please leave a comment or contact me privately using the following contact form:

man of iron

iron man toy
Another one from the book of my son’s ‘things’, this is his Iron Man toy, or more specifically Mark 42. This is a favourite. Of course, I have been attempting to make Iron Man costumes (to fit a five-year old, not for me, not yet) out of cardboard, with varying levels of success. A project I will be working more on. I have cardboard, duck tape, little LED lights, fasteners, paint and velcro. So far, Mark 42, Iron Patriot, and I have plans for the Mark 7 (when I make my own, it will be Silver Centurion, oh yeah). This one however can talk. It is very cool.

Drawn in the Stillman & Birn Alpha book with copic multiliner, pigma sensei pen and W&N artist’s watercolour.