Let’s Draw Davis – Centenary Sketchcrawl

LDD March 2017 b2

Now the sun is back out, it’s time for another sketchcrawl in Davis!

Join us on Saturday March 25th, 2017 for a special ‘themed’ sketchcrawl in downtown Davis. The them will be “100 Years of the City of Davis”, and we will explore the buildings and objects (and people??) that have been in Davis for a century or more. This month, March 2017, marks 100 years since Davis was granted a charter to become a City formally called Davis (having previously been known as Davisville, until the Post Office started shortening it to just ‘Davis’ a few years before). (Hey perhaps I should organize an even older themed one called “Let’s Draw Davisville”?)

Let’s meet at 10:30am outside the Dresbach Hunt Boyer Mansion on the corner of E and 2nd Streets. There’s a little area with some seats which is nice. I will be creating maps showing where many of the 100-year-or-older spots are in Davis, and then you’re on your own to draw and explore. If you have a bike you can go even further afield, such as the old 1908 buildings on the UCD campus, but many old sites are within a short walk of each other in the old downtown area.We will then reconvene at 3:30pm back outside the Dresbach Hunt Boyer Mansion to show each other what we have done, and see how much of old Davis we have caught on paper.

Ads always this sketchcrawl is FREE and open to ANYONE who likes to sketch. You may be a beginner wanting to learn from sketching with others, or an old hand who just needs to get out and draw stuff, you can sketch alone or in groups, you can stay from start to finish or just come along and do one sketch and that’s that, it’s totally up to you. this is an excuse to draw, and excuse to look around our town (I mean, our City), and learn a bit of history through your sketchbook.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Facebook Event Page


if ever a wiz there was

hogwarts castle universal studio
Recently we went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is part of the Universal Studios theme park in Hollywood (well, Universal City). It was a surprise trip for our son who loves Harry Potter (so do we!). It was pretty great, and the butterbeer was lovely. Wands at Ollivander’s were expensive, but really cool – you can cast spells around all the windows and make things move about. This is the second Wizarding World built after the first one at Universal Florida, and has a cool Hogsmeade area. The castle itself is pretty cool, and I sketched it while sipping butterbeer as a chorus of toads sang to my right. Overall though, I think the Harry Potter tour of the original sets at Warner Bros outside London was better, but this was still fun. The ride inside the castle though was utterly mental, a total thrill ride. By the way, I got ‘sorted’ on Pottermore into Gryffindor, which makes sense. My son got Gryffindor as well. My wife however got sorted into Slytherin! So I got her a Slytherin scarf. We had lunch at the Three Broomsticks, and later I had a pint at the Hog’s Head. Oh, I didn’t sketch with a Quill, but I totally would have done.

hogwarts sign universal studio

Oh, this was page 1 of my second Stillman and Birn “Beta” landscape sketchbook (blue softcover). Those are nice. I also enjoyed the whole Simpsons-themed area as well, having a pint of Duff in Moe’s Tavern, getting a massive pink Lard Lad donut, eating chikcen and waffles from Cleetus’s Chicken Shack, popping into the Kwik-E-Mart, great fun. Oh, and here is a sketch I did on the plane down to Burbank in my Miquelrius “Lapin” covered sketch/notebook. .

Flight to Burbank March 2017

the bees are buzzin’ in the trees

black bear diner 2017 sm
Here is another one from just along the street to the Turtle House and the Barovetto House. Click on the image for a closer view.  I’m slowly making my way along 2nd Street. Here is the Black Bear Diner, where you may occasionally find me on a Sunday morning, getting fat. My son loves it here, and when he was a toddler we would come here for breakfast at just about the time that the local firemen would come in; he was a big fan. Black Bear Diner is a thing in the western U.S. They don’t actually get to dine on anything with real black bear in it, it’s just the general theme. Nor is it, as people often think, a restaurant themed about a pirate who is in the Emergency Room, that’s a common misconception I’m sure the waiting staff are tired of having to point out. I first went to one up in southern Oregon, where I had “cinnamon roll French toast”, and I basically haven’t lost weight since. Nah I’m kidding, it’s the Cadbury’s Creme Eggs wot did it, guv. To be fair I come here like once every couple of months at most. That is often enough though. It’s like when I draw a pub, you might get the impression, oh he’s a regular. Well I may be, but those two sketches were the two times I went there that year. Similarly I don’t draw everywhere I have been or everything I have seen. I’ve not drawn a fire hydrant in ages, but I still look at them and say, “Oh, cool hydrant. Hi. I’m Pete. Sorry, no I’m not talking to a fire hydrant, I’m er, on the phone.” No, If I drew what I did the most this blog would be full of Lego drawings, hah! Oh right, it is. By the way, spoiler alert, there are WAY more Lego drawings yet to post. You ain’t seen nuffink yet. Speaking of volume of sketches, you know I do those things every year where I show all the drawings from that year in one post, well this year I’m already in the same row I was in last year by May. 2017 for me is strangely prolific, like I’m sketching to avoid the daily news or something.  Last year if you recall I was drawing loads of people, for my book  “Five-Minute-Sketching People”. That’s Five-Minute as in period of time, not a quintet of sketching-people who happen to be really, really small. Or maybe not… Here is an idea, at the next event I do I will talk about that book and I will pronounce it as “Five Minute…” with minute being pronounced like the word meaning really really small, and people will be confused and I’ll say, no honestly, that’s how I meant it to be pronounced, and they will think about it for a while, then get the joke and they’ll laugh and say, haha you’re so funny. Or maybe not… Yeah, maybe not. I’ll still do it. This time last year I was writing that book, it was a really fun experience, I really enjoy the process of writing. Though, it did include many late nights. I discovered that a lot of writing involves just staring out of the window for hours, and then at 2am writing 500 words. I thought to myself that if someone ever asked me to sign a copy, I would promise to sign it in the manner of how I wrote it, that is staring at it for hours and hours and then finally at 2:30 in the morning signing my name and saying, phew I’m beat, I need a cup of tea. Of course, I wouldn’t really do that. Or maybe not?

I don’t mean to ramble, but I always do. I’m actually a really quiet person, I don’t usually say anything. So anyway… the sketch. This was done in a Stillman and Birn Beta softcover landscape book, one of the last ones in that book. I have since started a second such sketchbook, and I can heartily and artily recommend them. The soft cover means I can bend the page around making it easy to hold, but it also produces great panoramic sketches, like this one. This took me a couple of lunchtimes to draw, and I had to finish off the colour back home.

turtle recall

Turtle House
Here’s another old house from 2nd Street near campus, one house down from the Barovetto House. I don’t know if this has a name but I’ve heard it referred to as the “turtle house”. It has a big turtle thing hanging from the gables. It always looks very festive and colourful. Oh by the way, sorry for the lack of updates of late, been super busy lately. I’ve been sketching though. So, back to this one. I’m getting conscious of the whole ‘drawing the whole of Davis’ thing, and when I start thinking about it on a building-by-building basis I think, yeah I’m getting there but wow, actually I’m nowhere near. I suppose I need to make a list of all the spots and scenes in Davis I am yet to sketch, all those ones I cycle past and say, oh I gotta sketch that some day, and then draw them this year. And next year and the year after… There is always more to sketch. And then things look different depending on the time of day – so many times I pass something at 7:45 am or 5:30pm, or in January or July, and make a mental note to come back and sketch  it, but at lunchtime in March it looks totally different, changing light, changing seasons, and sometimes it makes it less interesting to look at for an hour. In a place like Davis where the bright sun casts dark shadows that can be tricky; in a more regularly overcast place light diffuses more evenly, but you don’t get the pretty shadows. I love going out drawing stuff. Sometimes it is better to just get on a bike, bring a sketchbook, and go around looking for a sketchable scene, but in these times when every minute is precious, a bit of forward planning is a good idea.

Update 3/15/17: check out this interesting article about the Turtle House in the California Aggie…

the tree of everything

School of Education Tree
This tree is in the courtyard of the School of Education at UC Davis. Trees are very useful as symbols for education, epitomising how we learn, with branches and bark and roots, and how they have leaves, then they don’t, and then they do again, and also birds and insects. Trees are also very useful for how we think about life in general, not knowing where the branches will come out, how many extra branches they will sprout, how they sometimes grow more on one side because of wind, plus the leaves fall and provide nutrients for the soil so that the tree can grow bigger, plus birds’ nests, that whole life metaphor. I like to think about trees when writing stories, how you can write and write, taking you off into branches unthought of, which don’t have to intertwine and reconnect, instead you step back and see the whole tree and realise that is the story, right there, with all the leaves falling and growing and the birds’s nests and the insects, and how the little creatures that live on the tree play the part of characters moving around from plot line to plot line. I also think trees make a good analogy for language, the way it evolves and branches off, yet each branch has a symbiotic relationship with nearby branches, especially with birds that make nests in there eating certain insects but leaving the insects on other branches alone, so they grow into different types of insects which in turn affect the branches themselves, and then you add squirrels into the mix and you have a perfect metaphor for both prescriptive and historical linguistics right there. Trees are awesome, we need them, not only for breathing (something about carbon dioxide) and furniture, but also as symbols of whatever it is we are trying to say. And the great thing is, there are so many types of trees – Oak, Palm, Acorn, there are loads of tree types – you can fit whatever it is you are trying to describe into any type of tree. Try it out, next time you are in a meeting, “So, can you explain to me how this new marketing plan will strengthen our growth in emerging markets?” “Well sir, I like to think of it as being like a Beech tree. Here are the roots, then you have the bark, and you don’t know exactly where each branch will come out of the trunk but they will come, and the tree will still end up as a tree shape, and birds will build nests, and squirrels will move about symbolising our customer base. Leaves will grow and fall and grow, and if it all starts getting out of hand we can chop it down and build a nice beach hut or a deck-chair.”

I sketched this tree because I liked the bark. It reminded me of something a dog said once.

history on fourth street

This is the stretch of 4th Street, Davis, between E and F. These grids seem like a game of Battleship sometimes. You could probably play Battleship on a US city map. “A-2nd!” “Aw, you sunk my SUV.” Actually a Davis version of Battleship would have bikes and double-decker buses. And skateboards too, we have lots of those. It’s like Hill Valley. I saw someone on one of those motorized skateboards the other day. No, not those rubbish hoverboards with the glow beneath it, I mean an actual skateboard, but with the wheels moving by motor. Now, the white house on the far right (dammit, I hope this won’t come up in internet searches of ‘far right’ and ‘white house’, I’m sure there are many) is Cooper House, I have drawn it a few times before. The large yellow building on the left, hiding behind the tree, I don’t know if that is anything special but it houses an electronics company now, I think, I don’t know. I promise I’m not fake news, and I’m certainly not fake sketches.Anyway the small house in the middle, now that one is the historic building known as the “First Presbyterian Manse”, at 619 4th St, and this was built in 1884. 1884! That is a pretty old building for Davis. It is in the ‘Classical Revival’ style, and looks goshdarn good for its age. The first person to live there was Rev. J.E. Anderson. Remember I mentioned Hill Valley from Back to the Future, well when Marty and Doc were sent into the Old West, that was 1885. If Davis were Hill Valley, and Hill Valley is meant to be in the general part of California, then this house would have been there. This is from cowboy times. “Cowboy Times”, haha, that sounds like the sort of newspaper that would be allowed into WH press briefings. Well, this is the latest in my two-page panorama sketches. You can click on it to see it embiggened. If you’d like to see more such sketches, go to my Flickr album ‘panoramas’: https://www.flickr.com/photos/petescully/albums/72157647926718773

maybe i don’t really wanna know

south silo construction (cont...)

Construction continues at the UC Davis South Silo area. Here’s what it looked like the last time I sketched it in November (aka “OHGODNOOOO!!!-vember”). That roof is really coming along now. Here is what it looked like last August, almost the same view as this one.Those triangular roofs look like a mountain range, or the crests of a cliff face. This sketch is a bit like one of those “puzzles” people post on Facebook, “how many triangles can you see in this image?” Don’t answer it, there are just loads. Honestly. You like all those puzzles and posts though don’t you, those “Can you see the Math problem? Only one in ten can!” and it’s like 10-5 or something, then you realize the problem is the word “Math” but it’s only a problem if you’re British and a stickler (let me just say, I work in the same building as the Math department whereas I work for “Stats”, amusing observation on usage of plurals in the abbreviated form. Look I’m not going to go on about this, you know I would, but it’s late on a Friday night and I’m tired and a bit hungry.) My favourite ones are the posts that state, I’m honestly not making this up, things like “Try to name a Song which has a colour in the title. It’s harder than you think!!” Um, no, it’s really really fecking easy, there are literally millions of songs. Yet you see the comments afterwards, everyone’s coming up with the same “She Wore A Yellow Ribbon” shite as if they have discovered something unique and obscure, well done you, well done, pat on the back, good job remembering the most basic things. Ok, here I go, they’re too easy a target, stupid Facebook posts, I apologize, it’s late on a Friday. Oh but those other ones I hate, “Do you remember [insert name of chocolate bar here]?” And everyone’s like, “yeah I remember those! God that brings me back. Gawd, eating a [insert chocolate bar here] after school, covered in mud, no such things as video games back then, we had hula hoops if we were lucky, eating a [insert chocolate bar here] after saving up my pennies, gawd didn’t have video games and iPods in those days, made our own entertainment, didn’t have immigrants either, etc etc ad infinitum.” You’ll notice that is less realistic than the real thing, on the real Facebook they reach the inevitable immigrant conclusion of their random journey down fake memory lane much more quickly, at least on the FB memory-sharing groups I have seen and subsequently unfollowed. And the funny thing is, that [insert chocolate bar here] is still bloody available! Still in the shops. Those ones are in the category of “do you remember…” posted by people who are actually goldfish with zero memory of anything. “Do you remember Twix?” “Do you remember the sky?” “Do you remember the concept of time and space?” Sorry, sorry, Facebook is too easy a target. Actually I haven’t posted on my Facebook page (petescullysketcher) in ages. It’s probably FB fatigue, we’re all getting that. Undoubtedly it’s also laziness. It’s also because nobody remembers anything when I post “Do you remember…” posts, nobody remembers any of it, like it’s too obscure. “Do you remember … where I put my gloves?” “Does anyone remember … next Thursday?” I don’t really connect with Facebook any more, I don’t really get it. The Next Big Fad hasn’t arrived yet. Wow, where did this stream of nonsense begin? (Skims backwards through the post) Oh right,”Triangles”. How many triangles in this image? I don’t know, it’s late on a Friday night, I really want a chocolate bar, and I can’t remember where I put it, and I’m not asking Facebook, because they can’t remember anything.

I hope you like the sketch!