autumn calling

3rd and F Streets, Davis
Saturday afternoon meant sketching. I spent the morning coaching my son’s soccer team (did I mention I am coaching my son’s soccer team? We are called the Blue Torpedoes this Fall, and AYSO is a lot of fun) (I designed the badge again) (by the way when I say ‘soccer’ you know I really mean ‘football’ right, I’m only saying that because that’s what they say) (ten years in America won’t break me) (although I did in my weekly handout point out to the team that ‘soccer’ is in fact an English term derived from ‘Association Football’, it’s also a sport from England so you know, listen up, I know what I’m talking about), and then in the afternoon I opted against going to the UC Davis ‘Brewfest’ because ‘tired’ and ‘expensive’. The Aggie’s homecoming football game was on Saturday (obviously you know when I say ‘football’ I mean ‘American football’) (actually so people understand me, over here I always call it ‘American football’, or ‘gridiron’, or ‘helmet-ball’ or ‘space-rugby’), anyway my family all went to see it but I opted out because ‘sketching’. It was lovely weather. I cycled downtown with the intent of drawing something beautiful. I have a book out you know, so I’d better get sketching. I didn’t sketch enough in September (because ‘busy’ and ‘lazy’), and I didn’t want anyone buying the book and then looking up my site and it all being Lego that I drew two months ago. So I have been busy sketching the past week or so, and will be posting those soon. Well, I couldn’t decide upon ‘beautiful’ but this corner downtown of 3rd and F Streets had the sunlight hitting it in just the right way, with those two trees looking a lot barer and autumnal than other ones. Leaves were tumbling gently; fall is in the air (you know when I say ‘fall’ I mean ‘autumn’). This is the University of Beer, which I have sketched before on the inside a few times, and it was busy on a Saturday afternoon. I even saw someone wearing a USA 94 football shirt (alright, soccer jersey), the one with the wavy red stripes (think “Alexei Lalas’s beard”), which made my football-shirt-geek self jump up and down with excitement. Though I do have the USA 94 Ireland shirt (the one Ray Houghton wore when he scored the winner against Italy), I was actually wearing the 1995 Ireland Umbro shirt  (the one Father Dougal used to wear to bed on ‘Father Ted’). The mid-90s, ladies and gentlemen, a high point for me. I should have sketched him, or rather his shirt. I did pop in for a pint post-sketch though, and decided to give my pencil a quick run-out with a five minute sketch of the afternoon drinkers cooling off from the heat. Yes, Autumn is coming, but it’s still in the 90s.
UoB people

my new book…creative sketching workshop

creative sketching workshop books

I have a BOOK coming out!

It is called “Creative Sketching Workshop“, and I am very excited!

The book is due to be published in the next week by North Light Books in North America, Apple Press in the U.K. and Tan Yang International in Asia. My sketch above features the British and American covers. The book consists of 21 chapters – workshops – written by twelve different artists, myself included from all around the world. The workshops are themed along the sort of lines an urban sketcher might encounter, such as ‘tall structures’, ‘deserted spaces’, ‘drawing a crowd’, and of course ‘bar sketching’ (quite a few of my bar sketches in there!). I’m absolutely thrilled and honoured to be in their company! You will love their work. I plan to do some blog posts focusing on them (and how they have inspired me) in the coming weeks, but if you would like to get to know them better, check out their websites in the links below!

My eleven brilliant co-contributors are…

Yeah…that’s five continents right there. And along with me, twelve very individual approaches to sketching. Some of my long-time sketching heroes are on this list.

Where to buy the book: obviously at your local independent bookstore, that’s my recommendation! In Davis, the Avid Reader on 2nd St will be stocking it. But for the rest of the world buying online…

  • North Light Shop – direct from the publisher in the US, and they have free shipping on orders over $25, so get another great book too (such as James Hobbs, ‘Sketch Your World‘!)
  • Amazon (US) – says it will come out Nov 2 (also has the wrong cover posted…)
  • Amazon (UK) – lists publication date as Oct 15, but people have been getting it already!

And some reviews already…

So…if you’re thinking of delving into sketching it will I hope this book will be help you get out there and get sketching! Hope you like it!

And yes, it does have FIRE HYDRANTS

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october or not-tober, that is the question

orange court
Orange you glad it’s the weekend? Actually it’s Monday now so very much not the weekend, very much Monday. But it was still the weekend when I drew this, and what a nice time to have a weekend, at the end of a ridiculously busy week. Those are the best. On Sunday I had actually nothing to do, nothing that couldn’t wait, so I spent the afternoon downtown with my sketchbook. The night before there had been a tremendous thunderstorm over Davis, one which had knocked our power out for a couple of hours. There was so much lightning that we didn’t really need candles. The rain was much needed though, and gave everything a fresh autumnal feel the next day. It was bright and breezy, still warm but not hot like it has been, and I decided to return to Orange Court, a good spot for practicing perspective. That by the way was the reason behind the ‘Orange’ joke. Straight ahead of me is Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, let’s face it one of my favourite spots in Davis. Their food is amazing. I was sat on the decking in the shade beneath a tree, and there were loads of little green bugs and ants crawling and flitting all around me. I did most of the colour there on site, but those bugs got the better of me so I retreated to a comfy seat in De Vere’s Irish pub, a block away, to finish off the rest. I have been doing precious little proper urban sketching lately, but this month I will start ramping it up again. “Inktober”? I’m not going for faddy fads, though I might do one of the lesser known ones, this month is full of them. “Thinktober” I could do though, where you spend all month thinking about doing stuff but don’t actually do them. “Octobler”, where you just eat Toblerone. “Mocktober” where you make fun of everything. “Etctober”, and so on.

beer we go

univ of beer, davis
I am back! I have been busy. I have more busy to be busy about but that is coming. In the meantime here is a sketch I did a couple of weeks ago at the University of Beer on 3rd Street in Davis. I had just sold a couple of sketches at the Pence Gallery’s annual Art Auction (hooray! Thanks for buying them!) and was in the middle of a very busy period of history, so an evening at the pub trying a few new different beers was in order. Not my greatest bar sketch but I enjoyed drawing it. It was a strange night in downtown Davis though. The evening before a man was tragically killed in an altercation at another bar about a block away, which has since prompted the City Council to impose a 45-day moratorium on all new bar and restaurant development / expansion. The downtown Davis area has been becoming a lot busier at night in recent years, but Davis as a city is growing, and becoming more of a destination. Being before the UC Davis school year officially began, it wasn’t particularly busy on this Saturday night so was quite a pleasant evening, which I followed by the long walk home. I’m not a fan of the walk through the too-dark streets of Old North Davis, which are poorly lit because ‘residential’ but I always think a better lit street is a lot safer than one where you can’t see the person about to jump you. They say, “well we want to be able to see the stars” but forgive me if I’m wrong, the streets between fifth and eighth aren’t full of budding astronomers every night. Oak Street is the worst, the road I cycle up after work, in the winter months when it’s dark early it is complete pitch darkness. Ah well, at least on this night as I strolled back to my bed I had the internal glow of four and a half craft beers to light my way. This was the first spread of a new sketchbook, another Seawhite of Brighton one, which I’m hoping to fill quickly…