Kwak! A beer I very much enjoyed when I lived in Belgium all those years ago (can I go back there again please, just for a few days, please? I miss Belgium, and have several good sketching friends there). It’s the beer in the funny glass. I still have all the Belgian beer glasses I was given by my amis Belges back in the year 2000, though I actually got this one in England a couple of years later. The big bottle of Kwak was given to me at Christmas, but took me a while to open – that’s a lot of Kwak for one sitting. Kwak will always be associated with a funny story about my friend Tel who visited me in Charleroi one weekend, which I recounted in this blog post from 2008, “The night Tel drank the Kwak“. That was funny. We were at my local, La Cuve a Biere, where we ordered a couple of Kwaks, but he drank his too quickly, and then the room started spinning, and everything went foggy (for him, not me, I was alright) and then he spent the best part of an hour in the small toilet of the pub, and it was not pretty. The “Kwak Incident” we called it. I miss Tel, he lives in Japan now. I miss a lot of things, places, people. Memories. That’s life I suppose. I miss recent things such as watching the Thor Ragnarok trailer a few minutes ago, that was so much fun, I miss it already. Difference is I can watch it again in a minute. And lets face it, I’m gonna. That’s gonna be a film I will need to watch with a much bigger glass of beer, Thor style. “Ragnakwak!” One glass I was given in Belgium was one such massive glass, with the words “Tres Grand Soif” on it, and a bell on it for when you need a refill. Santé!
Ok then! Right…so that was about a month without posting a blog, was it? As near as. Is it really mid-April? My wall calendar still says March! Well, I’ve been busy, it’s a busy time. Yeah I know, the whole world is busy (and isn’t it just!) but I have been too tired of an evening to collect my thoughts and write them in some sort of meaningful way to accompany my latest sketch-du-jour. Yeah I know, what I write looks like nonsense with next to no thought whatsoever given to structure, tone or consistency but that is all actually carefully crafted and tested and edited to make it look like I gave it next to thought whatsoever. You see, even there, I carefully constructed that sentence to give it a call-back to a line in the previous sentence. And there too, when I explained what I did, I did that to give the semblance of backing up my claim. Anyway, I’ve been busy working, but I’ve also been busy sketching. In fact one of the things about being busy but still sketching incessantly is that, alas, I have no time to scan (yet I still have time to say stupid words like ‘alas’). Let me take you behind the scenes, into what happens after I sketch – the mysterious art of ‘scanning’. Scanning doesn’t exactly take forever, it just feels slow because the scanner itself makes that slow-movement sound (you know the one, that ‘vvvvmmmmmm’ sound) while I am pressing the sketchbook against the glass. I have a printer-scanner from HP (the computer company NOT the sauce!) (the sauce may have been quicker) (my slow scanner needs to ‘ketchup’) (see THIS is why it takes ages!) and I scan it into my computer, and then I edit in Photoshop, make sure the colours are as they should be, crop out the edges of the page, re-size it for uploading to the web at 72 dpi (that means ‘donuts per inch’), type my name on it so people trying to copy it can feel a small pang of guilt when they try to crop it out and put it on instagram and pretend it’s theirs (yeah, someone did that), and then finally I post it on Flickr, and then on my website. It’s a long, arduous process that takes many minutes.
When I do finally get around to posting it on my blog, I then spend the aforementioned appropriate amount of time writing a lot of unrelated stuff, followed by a brief bit where I remember I should talk about the actual drawing I ahve posted. Speaking of which, that comes in at around now. This sketch was done at the UC Davis campus and features a part of the Art Annex, in the background, along with part of a free-standing sculpture that is on campus, which is called “Shamash” by Guy Dill, which I’ve always believed to be a gateway to another dimension, and have therefore never ever walked through it. (Or maybe I did, in 2016; maybe we all did?) I do like multiversal theory though, it’s quite mind-bending stuff. Well, it would be if literally everything I have ever watched on TV or film or read in books and comics didn’t have a similar take on it. “Parallel Universes”, yeah I know, I have watched a lot of Red Dwarf you know. That of course taught me that the “fifth dimension” refers to the existence of parallel universes (or probably the group that possibly got to number 6 with “baby I want your love thing”) which makes me wonder whether we will ever get movies in 5D? 3D is not enough these days, and they now have those “4D” movies after all (though they get that wrong, spraying you with water and moving the seats a bit – the fourth dimension is “time” surely, and I don’t know if movies actually send you literally through time, at least not at anything other than the usual speed). Maybe an example of a 5D movie is one which you watched and absolutely hated, but someone else watched and absolutely loved, therefore two parallel universes were experienced, one in which the movie was good, and one in which it was shite. In which case most movies are like that. I remember seeing the movie From Hell years and years ago with some people, and some of them really loved it. Yeah we couldn’t be friends after that, that didn’t really work out. (The graphic novel from which it was very loosely derived on the other hand is an absolute masterpiece and well worth reading). Aha, we are at the part where I have digressed so completely from the topic of the sketch that I have to make a cup of tea and then wrap this up.
I have so many sketches to show you, if you’re still here! Not right now obviously, I have to get some kip. But I have the results from the centenary sketchcrawl, plus many other sketches of century-old buildings from around Davis, oh and some sketches done while sneezing terribly, and some more sketches of my son’s things, oh yes and a whole bunch from around San Francisco. I spent the night down there recently while escaping to massive to-do list. Normal services will now, I hope, resume…