Sorry for the paucity of updates…there are sketches to scan, but mostly I’ve been otherwise occupied (plus I lost my voice for a bit; I found it again, in a jacket pocket). Anyway, thought I would let you know, what with Chrimbo coming up, that I’ve been selling some of my sketches as prints on that website Society6, and now some are available as mugs if you’re interested. For tea, or coffee if you must.

Find them at:


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!

i get a funny feeling inside of me…

Returning to London is always fun, but busy! I’ve done a little sketching in my small quick book, but no big meaty drawings as yet – Moleskine #10 is open and raring to go! Although today, Paris is on the horizon, for a couple of days. However if you are the sketching type, and want to draw some London with me, then join us this Saturday, May 26 at 10:30am for a day of drawing around the Temple and Fleet Street areas. Anyone can join in, it’s free and all you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. We’ll sketch all day, before meeting up at 4:00pm at Gough Square to look at each other’s sketchbooks. And then perhaps a pint and some sketching talk at the Old Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street. And they say it will be warm! A mini-heatwave! I left my cabana hat in California…

Lets Draw London!

(PS there is no Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl this month – back in June)

that was twenty eleven

toy planeAnd so 2011 draws to a close.

I was afraid that the world would be ending tonight, because my calendar has no more days in it after December 31st, but I guess I’ll just get a new calendar tomorrow (see, Mayans?). This has been a very busy year, and it still seems so weird to be talking about twenty-eleven, which used to be just a year so far into the future, and now it’s over. I’m fully expecting hoverboards sometime in the next few years.

Anyway as some sort of retrospective, here’s a run-down of what I did art-wise this year:

January: ArtAbout at Armadillo. I exhibited some sketchbooks and prints at Armadillo Music in downtown Davisas part of the 2nd Friday Art About. This was a great evening, with music by the popular country musician Rita Hosking (who lives in Davis). I also got written about in Davis Life magazine by Walking Bob Schultz.

artabout jan 14Rita Hosking and her bandAndy the fiddler

April: Artery show ‘8×8 Small Is Great’. I contributed one piece for this group exhibition at local art co-op The Artery, ‘Miscellaneous Details’, and it sold! I went by to do some sketching and met more great Davis art folks.

May: ‘The Revengers’, background art. I drew some pictures for my actor/director friend Simon Nader in London who was staging a play called The Revengers. The ‘Avengers’ themed drawings were part of the background of the set.

hat"miscellaneous details" at arteryumbrella hilt

July: Urban Sketching Symposium: in July I flew to Lisbon to meet up with nearly 200 other urban sketchers from across the globe (all continents represented!) to take part in the 2nd International Urban Sketching Symposium. Lisbon’s an incredible city, and I learnt so much from being around all the other urban sketchers whose work I have admired over the years. And there were lots of fire hydrants!

contrastes rua bicaLisbon perspectives sketchcbookshydrant rua santa justa

August: Pence Gallery Art Auction. I contributed a drawing of the UC Davis Arboretum for the 2011 Art Auction (and it sold!).

August: Dr. Johnson’s House cards were produced (on sale at Dr. Johnson’s House museum in London). The kind folk at the Johnson house sent me a pack of the cards, they look great!

arboretum bridge at pence gallery auctionjohnson house and hodge the cat

November: Davis Library display. I exhibited sketchbooks and drawings in the display cabinet at the Davis Public Library for the month of November. That was fun!

November: ArtAbout at the Avid Reader. I displayed some sketchbooks and prints at the Avid Reader bookstore in downtown Davis for the 2nd Friday Art About, on 11/11/11.

Sketchbook display at Davis Public Library11-11-11 art about event!ArtAbout 11-11-11, Avid Reader

December: Grace Cathedral Christmas brochure. I illustrated the cover for Grace Cathedral (San Francisco)’s Christmas Concert brochure and program, and was invited to come and see one of the shows.

December: Pete Scully, Urban Sketches upstairs at the Pence Gallery. Saved the best one for last, my first solo exhibition at a proper gallery, and it went really well! The artist reception on Dec 9th was especially fun. Many thanks to everybody who came to see my work, and especially to those who bought my drawings.

grace cathedral xmas brochurespreparing for my show at the PencePence Gallery Show, Dec 2011

Sketchcrawls / Let’s Draw Davis:  We held ten ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawls this year, in every month except March (rained off) and December (too tired!). January’s was the most popular, with thirty people coming out to sketch. We were also featured on Aggie TV. In October our downtown sketchcrawl was featured on the front of the California Aggie. We’ll be continuing them monthly in 2012, starting with the next worldwide sketchcrawl on January 21st – details to come soon! I also went to San Francisco in April for the Worldwide Sketchcrawl, sketching the Mission District, and of course took part in the Worldwide Sketchcrawl in Lisbon in July.

let's draw davis october 15, 2011davis sketchcrawlers!let's draw davis: may 14 2011

Sketchbooks finished in 2011: These are the sketchbooks I completed this year. I still have several more on the go…

Moleskine 7

Moleskine 8

Davis Moleskine

London/Lisbon Moley

Small WH Smith Sketchbook

Little Red Moley

heathrow airportTravels: I went to a few places in 2011. Las Vegas in February, Oregon in July, London in July, Lisbon in July, Monterey in August, and San Francisco several times.

What did I learn in 2011? That I can find time to do anything, but that I can’t do everything. I have lots of plans and ideas! This has been a very busy year.

Art goals for 2012? That would be telling. What is expected for 2012? First of all the new Urban Sketchers book, ‘The Art of Urban Sketching’ will be published on February 1st so be sure to get your copy (I’m on pages 30, 46 and 281). As for the rest, well let’s see what the year brings!

Happy New Year 2012, may it be prosperous and happy for all.

I’m sketching all over the world

Sorry for the lack of posting… I’ve been in London sketching in the rain, and am now in Lisbon for the 2nd Urban Sketching Symposium! Sketches will be (and already are) coming thick and fast so stay tuned! Many thanks to those of you who helped me get here by buying dome of my drawings. Now I shall get some sleep, lots to learn in the morning!

whatever i choose, and i’ll sing the blues if i want

The thing about urban sketching is that for the most part people are friendly, and if you are courteous and respectful most people are respectful to you as well. Every so often however you get someone that confronts you, rightly or wrongly, and this can sometimes leave the urban sketcher feeling like they don’t want to be out there drawing any more, or it makes them determined to draw even more. Either way, it is good to remember that the urban sketcher does have rights while doing what they do in a public place. I had an argument about those rights yesterday, when I sat down on the sidewalk nearby a boutique in downtown Davis (which I won’t name; just imagine Bianca Butcher’s famous catchphrase) to continue sketching my series on clothing dsiplayed in downtown store windows (see my previous post).

No sooner had I sat down and opened my pencil case, the owner of the store came charging out demanding to know what I was doing. I told her, I was planning to do some sketching, that I’m an urban sketcher. She told me quite pointedly that I cannot do that and it is not appropriate to draw products in store windows, and started shooing me away. I must point out that I hadn’t actually drawn anything at this point, and I was sat by the kerb on a public sidewalk; it wasn’t like I was in the doorway or had my nose pressed against the window. I introduced myself as a local artist and told her who I am and what I do, and flicked through the pages of my sketchbook to show her what sort of things I draw, inviting her to check out my online work. She however was not in the slightest bit interested, and told me I had no right to draw there. She said that I could be copying the designs of her dresses so that Chinese manufacturers could reproduce them (her words). That took me back a little; fair enough, perhaps, you’re worried about your work being ripped off, but your products are on public display. I told her that actually I have every right to draw sketches of that which is in public view from a public place; it’s not like I was in the store. She argued against that, telling me that she was a manufacturer and reiterating that I don’t have any such rights. “What if someone stood here and took a photo?” I asked; that would be much easier for any passing industrial spy, Chinese or otherwise. She told me that was still not allowed, and that she’d actually had that happen to her before and had dealt with it (though she didn’t say exactly how).

The thing is, in the United States photographers (and urban sketchers by extension) absolutely do have rights to make images of whatever they like in a public place (such as a sidewalk or park), be it a person, a building or a shop window display. Many people don’t actually realise this, which is why sometimes artists are unlawfully harassed by security guards outside public buildings or by people not wishing to be photographed, or by shopkeepers who have some notion that by drawing those products which they have put on public display in their window (and which remain on public display after the store has closed) is somehow off-limits for anyone passing by with a sketchbook or a camera, even if they are very pretty dresses which they made themselves. For a nice downloadable flyer explaining your rights in these cases visit this site here (written by attorney Bert Krages); it’s not a bad idea to print it out and carry it in your sketchbook or camera case.

By this point,  I didn’t particularly want to draw her window display any more. Her abrasive attitude had put me off (plus the clothes were not even that interesting to draw). Though I thought I’d made it clear I wasn’t a Chinese spy, she still persisted in shooing me away like a dog. I pointed out that I am more aware of my rights than she is and that I can draw whatever I like; I could even draw her. I turned slightly and chose to draw a San Franciso Giants shirt in the shop next door (that sketch will be in my next post), and she seemed to feel like it scored her a victory because she smirked and said I can go off and draw what I wanted. I told her she was very rude.

As an urban sketcher I am always very conscientious of who or what I am drawing. I rarely draw random people (and when I do they’re usually just part of a larger scene), because I’m nervous about personal space, unless I let them know. I tend to prefer drawing other sketchers, or performers. I also don’t draw inside shops without asking. Even out on the streets I don’t like to be in the way, prefering to be invisible, and didn’t much like interaction, things I started to overcome only last year at the Portland Symposium. Now I am happy to talk about my sketchbooks and am very open about what I do, and I encourage others to get out with their sketchbooks and draw their world. I understand my rights, but try to be respectful whenever I sketch. I didn’t deserve to be confronted and told explicitly that I don’t have rights which in fact I do have.

So here’s a suggestion for that store owner – put a little sign in your window, politely asking that people do not photograph or draw your window display. You cannot legally forbid it, but you most people might respect your wishes. If you don’t want people to see your products, display them away from public view. And for urban sketchers across America, whatever people may tell you – know that you have rights!

this is gonna be messi

champions league final 2011

That was a very good final. No honestly, it was – sure, the second half saw the far and away best team in the world close their grip on – oh my – the very mighty Manchester United like a crocodile and a kitten. But these were two great teams capable of greatness, but with one being really really good at keeping the ball. Almost like a chess player who doesn’t allow the opponent to start any sort of move by closing off every alleyway and keeping all knights on the rim (or at least those knights not all over the tabloid papers). When Rooney hit that magnificent equalizer, I thought it was game on, and the second half would be a titanic battle. The moral of the Titanic however is that the iceberg always wins, no matter how great the ship. Barcelona are the best team in the world and one of the best in history, and deservedly so – they haven’t been cobbled together last minute with a massive chequebook like a Man City or Chelsea, and you really get a sense that any of the players can do something unbelievable. That midfield team of Xavi and Iniesta will go down in the history books, we will tell our children about them, and then to top them off with the ever-brilliant Messi? In a season when Cristiano Ronaldo scored over fifty goals in a season, something not ever done before in Spain, Messi then did the same. Manchester United are the deserving champions of England and Ferguson rightly in place as perhaps the greatest British manager of all time, and it was nice to see him give a smile and congratulations to what is obviously a legendary team in Barcelona. I’ve never ever seen Manchester United have only 30% possession in any game.  I remember the great final of 92 (I loved Barcelona back then but Sampdoria were my favourite Italian team too) when Koeman scored at the old Wembley, for their first ever European Cup (and a year after Man United beat them in the Cup Winners Cup final), the ‘Dream Team’, in that great orange away kit. In that team was Pep Guardiola, manager of the current Dream Team. With this final being at the new Wembley stadium, with fate involved there was only going to be one winner. I’m glad I watched it.

Now I’m in footy withdrawal – what will I do all summer? Watch the MLS??

reporting the sketchcrawl

I told you that the local UC Davis student media production studio, Aggie TV, were at our last Let’s Draw Davis / Worldwide Sketchcrawl in January, reporting on our day of sketching… well here it is! The report is by Kate Calderazzo, filmed and edited by Todd Kaiser. It’s a really nice piece, two and a half minutes long, that really captured the relaxing feel of the event. Click on the image below to see it (this links to the report on Aggie TV’s facebook page)!

screenshot from Aggie TV

I did my best not to appear like Father Dougal