sketching sofia and hennessy

DES001 UC Davis 100615

Last week I was invited to attend an undergraduate Design class at UC Davis, DES001, by Professor James Housefield. I was there to sketch the special presentation by two guest speakers, Sofia Lacin and Hennessy Christophel, who form a design team called LC Studio Tutto. It was in a large lecture hall (Kleiber; I’ve sketched the outside before), quite a lot of people in there. I sat on the side at the front, it was a struggle to get a good view of the speakers so I moved on to the floor! They were very interesting, and talked about their local projects, including “Same Sun”, the colourful one on the massive water-tank that you may have seen as you enter Davis westbound from Sacramento. This one. Pretty cool! Very interesting to hear about their design process. Of course I had to sketch quickly and try to add a few nuggets of what they said. A lot of it resonated with me, from what I learned and experienced back in the days of Interactive Theatre at uni.  Here’s a tip when doing this sort of sketch, it is always important when doing that to get the relevant information, if you write down the wrong things it can affect the context and undermine what public speakers really said. That said, the line that stood out most for me was “Whenever possible, make a cake of your artwork”. Now, this was accompanied by a very beautiful picture of a cake of their artwork, but, well, I couldn’t agree more. All I could think of afterwards was fire-hydrant cakes. It made me very hungry!  DES001 UC Davis 100615

I kept thinking about cake as I sketched the students listening to the talk. Many of them asked questions, and it was very engaging. I sketched these people in my newer pink pen, which made me think of frosting, which made me think of cake. I was thinking of Battenberg, that’s a nice cake.
DES001 UC Davis 100615

Sometimes when you are going to sketch people, it’s fun to pre-prepare a block of colour so that you can draw over it. I’ve done it before, it is fun. Unfortunately this time I chose red, and although one of the speakers Sofia was wearing red, the overall effect didn’t really work quite as well as I’d hoped, and the likenesses weren’t all that close. That’s ok. Perhaps I needed more words all around the figures like I did when pirate-sketching that one time. I didn’t have much time on me though, because it was wrapping up, and was my turn to speak. I got a few minutes to say some things about sketching in general, and show my sketchbook to the audience projected onto a big screen. DES001 UC Davis 100615

One interesting thing in this class, Prof. Housefield has his students all stand and sketch for five minutes at the start of class, while music plays over the PA. They all sketched an image of Magritte’s pipe, but I sketched them. Just five minutes though! Overall it was a lot of fun, and I had some very nice conversations afterwards. I didn’t mention, but a couple of weekends ago my sketches were featured on the UC Davis Instagram account all weekend as an “artist’s takeover”.  Which meant that I myself had to start an Instagram account. I’m @pwscully, if you are interested. (@petescully, which is my Twitter and everything else handle, was already taken, so I went with my “novelist name” – thanks, kid Pete of the 80s – and now in 2015 of course I don’t use for the book I have actually authored). I haven’t got the hang of the old Instagram yet either, and approach it grumpily as another thing which doesn’t quite make sense. But I’m veering off topic.

So many thanks to James Housefield (I’ve sketched him too) for inviting me and many thanks to Sofia and Hennessy for their inspiring talk. I hope you can check out their work.

soccer, lifestyle and everything

Soccer and Lifestyle June2014 smSoccer and Lifestyle, 2nd Street Davis. Click on the image for a larger view. You’ll want a larger view, to get a look at all those lovely football kits – or soccer jerseys, uniforms, shirts or whatever your preferred vocabulary choice is. This is one of my favourite shops in Davis (actually it is my favourite shop), and was the first shop I ever came into when I first visited Davis. I remember chatting that day to the owner, Rami, about Spurs and also Charlton Athletic for some reason. I was just so impressed there was a shop here devoted to my favourite things – football shirts – that I told my wife “we have to move here!” and since I’ve been here ever since that is fairly big. Anyhow, I’ve sketched the window before (in 2010) but never sketched the store itself, so with it being the height of the 2014 Brazil World Cup I figured that now was the right time. I went down there one lunchtime, wearing my recently purchased dark blue France shirt (it is in my opinion the best kit at the tournament) and sketched while watching the first half of France vs Switzerland, a demolition of a match for France out tore the usually pretty strong Swiss up. The owner, Rami, is a friendly guy who knows his stuff (actually they all are, those who work there, always welcoming for some footy chat). I love standing among all the colours of the World Cup shirts; I bought my son the new green Mexico shirt, which he loves because of the little lightning flashes on it. With all the crazy colourful boots (cleats) and all the footballs (soccer-balls) from various World Cups, as a kit-nerd and a footy-fanatic, this is very much my kind of store.

And what a World Cup it has been! The most entertaining yet probably. Certainly the most random-statistic-filled yet. All of which means the knockout stages will be dull tired affairs, but then I said the whole tournament would be so, and I was wrong. England were poor, predictably so, but my adopted team USA has been heroic and will face Belgium in the Round of 16. Then you have the Suarez biting story, which is such a bizarre pantomime villain tale it is almost as if it was all pre-fabricated to give this amazing World Cup a proper bad-guy, to add drama to the plot as we enter the middle act. Who knows. Anyway, of the flags hung up on the wall, the following sixteen are left…


So it’s “Get on the Plane, Spain”, “Get your Coats, Croats”, “You’re a Gonner, Ghana” (works better with an American accent that one), “Cote D’Au-Revoir” (come on, that’s pretty good), “Here’s the Door, Ecuador”, “Herze Today, Govina Tomorrow Bosnia” (I think I heard that one on the Guardian podcast so don’t blame me for that one, my original pun were “Everybody Herz” or “Who’s the Bos” but I wasn’t sure about either), “Iran Away”, “Export-ugal” (yes I know), and “Russian Home to Beat the Traffic”. Phew. (I actually couldn’t think of a good one for England) That is a very small sampling of what it is like living in the Scully household during the World Cup, or any cup for that, and I can’t apologize for that. There are so many punning opportunities I can’t help it. If you like hearing the very worst scrape-the-barrel World Cup punning perhaps you would be interested in following me on twitter, @petescully. Converseley if you absolutely cannot stand it and it makes your head want to explode, maybe unfollow me until after July 13 when my tweets will be all about sketches of little houses I promise you.

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And football shirts…I have been meaning to do a run-down of the kits at the world cup, and wanted to give illustrations while talking about (complaining about) each one. But that was too time-consuming, so you have to wait a bit longer. In short, I hate them all except France, Mexico and the USA (only kidding, there are some others I quite like). I think I will do that in a separate post. Tomorrow is Brazil vs Chile, and you’d better get your kit on, it’s going to be a great game. It’ll be followed by Colombia v Uruguay, and Colombia are the better team, but I reckon Uruguay will clinch it by the skin of their teeth*.

(*I actually don’t, I think Colombia will hammer them but the time period for using that admittedly feeble joke is running out and I don’t like wasting opportunities like that)