the answer’s in the looking glass

De Veres Davis

Continuing in nonlinear fashion (until I pluck up the courage to write properly about my summer trip to the Low Countries), let’s stop in at De Vere’s for a pint or two. De Vere’s is my go-to pub for sketching – lots of places to sit, lots of perspective, nice atmosphere, friendly staff. I also really like Sophia’s but it’s smaller, and a bit less light to draw by (but it’s my favourite place for food in Davis). Little Prague used to be my sketchpub years ago when it was there (it closed six years ago), it had a long bar perfect for panoramas, lots of stuff all over the walls, and awesome tall Czech beers. De Vere’s however has Pub Chips, and that is a big win for me.  Their Pub Chips have some thick gravy on them, and some melted cheese. Not quite as nice as proper northern Chips in Gravy, and possibly more similar to Canadian Poutine, either way they taste pretty nice. On this one Saturday night in September I found my favourite spot in the corner at the end of the bar and sketched away. I got into a nice conversation with a bloke from Ireland and his American partner. I lay the paint on very thick, and scribbled away with the pen very hard; I had fun with this sketch. This was one to attack the paper. I’ve drawn this place before, and I’ll draw it again, no need to be precious. I was celebrating; that evening I had sold another drawing at the Pence Gallery in the annual Art Auction, which is always a nice feeling. I really like drawing. Sometimes I get down on myself, start questioning if I’m good at anything, and then I remember I can draw fire hydrants pretty well, and while it’s not a useful skill, it’s a starting place. I can draw a bar too, in my own way, and it’s often fun as well.

De Vere's Davis on iPad

Anyway, I drew De Vere’s again a couple of months later, when I wanted to try out sketching with the iPad. It was a quicker sketch (one beer, late afternoon, on the Nov 11 Veterans Day holiday), while I played with the new Apple Pencil. A good learning experience, also enjoyed alongside those lovely Pub Chips. Now one of the nice things about Procreate is that you can create nice videos showing every stroke you made, very helpful in showing how you put the sketch together. Here it is…

Sketching De Veres

Previously, I had to show this by just taking photos of my sketchbook when I remember to. For that first sketch, I actually did, and even tweeted out the progress. Here are the photos, which helpfully show the beers too, which I’m sure you will agree is helpful to know. No sign of the Pub Chips though. Everything stops for those. Prost!

de veres sept 2019 in progress

procreating

UCD Bike Barn
Ok, let’s start this thing again. It’s been a long time since I posted my sketches properly, and it’s about time I caught up. I historically post sketches chronologically, never alphabetically, often autobiographically. However since my last posted sketches were from our trip to Disneyland in JUNE – over six months ago! – we’ve actually been to another Disneyland since then! – in fact my wife has been to Disneyland itself at least once since then – then perhaps I should just post the second half of my 2019 sketches in a nonlinear fashion. Like Pulp Fiction, or the middle episodes of every Netflix series. So let’s start off with something familiar. This is the Bike Barn at UC Davis, I have drawn it a million times, and this time it has those standing stones in the foreground. I drew it on a bright November lunchtime, with the sun in my eyes, glaring off of the screen. The screen? Yes, this was not drawn in the Seawhite of Brighton, or the Stillman and Birn, but on my new iPad, using Procreate. I have joined the Procreate drawing club, and I love it. I finally got a new iPad Air after years of using a 2014 iPad Mini. I was going to get the Pro, but the new Air is just as good and was half the weight. I made up for that by getting an expensive Moleskine cover for the iPad, so it looks like a sketchbook at least. Anyway I got the Apple Pencil and I love it, wow, it’s totally fun. I really like the other sketchers who use Procreate and digital devices (such as Rob Sketcherman, Paul Heaston and the brilliant Uma Kelkar who actually has a book about sketching with a tablet coming out next month, part of the Urban Sketchers Handbook, I’m looking forward to reading that). I especially like that you can watch back a video of how the sketch came together. Very useful for demonstrations. Still, I’m trying to get the hang of it, see what I like. I like using layers, that is very handy. The colouring part of it is very different to what I’m used to with real paint, so that’s something I am experimenting with. This sketch and the one below, the Crocker Nuclear Lab drawn quickly from my office window, were two of my first attempts at Procreate. I’ve got a lot I am figuring out and I am already getting used to some of the different brushes, but I can already see I am going to use it a lot more. In fact I drew this year’s advent calendar with it, mostly while sat on a plane back from England (I went to England in November).

UCD Crocker Lab

It’s been a while since I posted, so you’re probably wondering how UC Davis is doing. UC Davis is doing fine, it’s been getting some new buildings, and renovations, and I’ve been drawing those. Walker Hall is still being refurbished, it’s nearly done. I’ve been drawing that too. I even sketched it on the iPad last week. One of the best things about the iPad, one of the absolute greatest things, I don;t have to scan the drawing afterwards. It’s right there digitized already. I do have a new scanner, faster and quieter, but I’m still getting the hang of the lighting settings on it, there are always shadows near the crease of the book that I have to edit out afterwards, as best as I can. None of that with iPad sketching. Having just scanned half a year’s worth of sketches this past week, that is a big bonus.

And that was 2019.

It’s been a long time! Happy New Year 2020. Nearly three weeks into 2020 it’s still a new year. A new decade (all those people who smugly say, the new decade doesn’t start until the “1”, I say to you, you are soooo clever, you’re well clever you are, cor, I wish I was clever like you, meanwhile I am going to enjoy the 20s while you are still in the whatever-the-last-decade-was-called). It has been ages since I posted a sketch, wrote a ‘well-clever-you-are’ story about that sketch, but in my defense I have been avoiding scanning the sketchbooks. 2019 as it turned out was my most productive year for sketching, and I will start the posting soon. This weekend in fact. I have to remember what I did last summer. There’s been a lot going on. Without any further ado, here is the annual ‘list of all the sketches’ for 2019. You can zoom in or click on the image to see them bigger, or move your face closer to the screen, or simply ask an ant to describe them to you.

2019 sketches sm

I hope I haven’t missed anything out. As I wrote that sentence, Ir ealized that in fact I missed out scanning an entire sketchbook of quick drawings from a special sketchcrawl in Sacramento back in March I think it was, with the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture. That added one extra line to this. But FINALLY I am caught up.

2019 really was the sketchingest year in ever. As a comparison to recent years, it beat them all, even 2017. 2108 saw a drop (very busy coaching soccer that year) but 2019 came right back at ya. Here is the chart from 2013-2019…

2013-2019 sketches

I’ll also be announcing the next Let’s Draw Davis dates soon. Now I have my soccer schedule kinda-sorta settled (I am coaching AYSO Select again this year…our first game ended 7-6 so it’s going to be Keeganesque!) I can start planning. 2019 was very busy, I think 2020 will be too. I went to England three times in 2019 though. We also went to Hawaii over Christmas / New Year, and the summer was a trip through Belgium/Holland/France. I had better start writing about it all, before I forget.

And we need to talk about Star Wars…

 

Let’s Draw Davis: December 2019

Let's Draw Davis Dec 2019

Seasons greetings! Join us for the last Let’s Draw Davis of 2019, an afternoon sketching around downtown Davis, looking at all the nice festive windows, maybe stopping in places for a nice hot chocolate.

DATE: SATURDAY DECEMBER 14

START: 1:00pm, E St Plaza

FINISH: 3:30pm, E St Plaza

We will meet at the E Street Plaza at 1pm, by the clock near Baskin Robbins, then sketch about the downtown shopping area we all know so well, before meeting up again at 3:30pm at E Street Plaza to look at each other’s sketchbooks.

As always this event is free and open to all who like urban sketching. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on! And maybe a scarf if it is chilly. Or a hot chocolate.

Hope to see you there! Pete

PS If it rains we will start or finish in Mishka’s or Peet’s, I’ll keep an eye on the weather and update the Facebook event page accordingly!

Facebook Event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/2552373148131298/

Let’s Draw Davis! November 23, 2019

LDD Nov 2019

If you are in the Davis area on Saturday November 23, why not join us for a sketchcrawl around the Fifth Street? This month’s Let’s Draw Davis we will sketch along this big road, meeting up at the corner of B and 5th (northwest corner of Central Park) at 1:00pm, meeting up there again at 3:30pm to look at each others’ sketchbooks.

As always this sketchcrawl is free and open to everyone who likes to draw. Fall is a lovely time of year with all the colourful crispy leaves falling, and this is one of the most autumnally pretty spots in town. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on! And maybe a scarf.

If it rains…I’ll still be out there sketching, but maybe using the famous umbrella-in-the-jacket technique.

Earlier that day, the annual Turkey Trot will be held nearby, for those who want to come along much earlier and sketch people running. If you do, you’ll see me also running. And I will be easier to sketch, because I will be running very slowly.

Details about this month’s Let’s Draw Davis can be found on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/515991652317375/

Happy sketching! Hope to see you there.

PS…if you are wondering where all my regular sketching is, well I have so many sketches built up and summer stories stored up I need to get down and start writing. Soon! I promise, I’m still sketching loads, and I even started iPad sketching recently, using Procreate. That has been fun. I’ll probably be using that on the sketchcrawl…

Let’s Draw Old East Davis! Oct 12 2019

Let's Draw Davis, Oct 12 2019

I’ve been on a break from posting for a while (writing in general), but in the meantime I have finally finished scanning all of my summer break sketches. Now I have to write the stories that go with them. It shouldn’t be hard, I’m just saying things that happened, that’s easy enough. Just like I’m drawing the things in front of my face, easy. Anyway, I’ve also not been organizing any sketchcrawls during the summer, but now as the Boo Radleys sang, summer’s gone. Fall is here, a new academic year, and so Let’s draw Davis comes back on Saturday October 12, this time exploring the interesting Old East Davis area. This is an interesting little neighbourhood with some historic houses (like the Schmeiser House), the Trackside area which is likely to be under much-debated redevelopment soon, and of course the historic Davis Amtrak Station. In fact we will start and end at the Amtrak.

START: 1:00pm

FINISH: 3:30pm

As always, the sketchcrawl is FREE and OPEN to anyone who likes sketching, any age. It’s good to get out and draw and see how other people do it. Sketchers can sketch individually or in groups, and sketch for as long as you like. We will meet up at the end to look at our sketchbooks, and of course, I’ll have stickers.

Information: https://www.facebook.com/events/542367752972885/ 

Hope to see you there!

Now to start writing up my vacation posts…

galaxy’s edge

Galaxys Edge at Disneyland!
In June, we went to Galaxy’s Edge, the brand new Star Wars land at Disneyland California. It was fun – expensive – but they have a huge life-size Millennium Falcon, and since it’s the fastest hunk o’ junk in the galaxy well, you have to sketch it. It was busy, for sure, though at that time Galaxy’s Edge were still only letting in limited numbers, I think it’s more open now. It’s very hard to get a reservation for a drink in the Cantina, that took some queuing up, but that was fun as well. Could have used more people dressed as aliens. The Millennium Falcon ride was good, flying in the cockpit, people saying “punch it” like that phrase is the new “may the force be with you”. Oh, the whole place is called Baku, and is named after the the city far, far away where they held this year’s Europa League final, forcing two teams and a few fans all the way from London, through asteroid fields and pursued by bounty hunters. Sorry not Baku, it’s called ‘Batuu’, which sounds very similar. As I sketched this I stood on a box that I had been sitting on, and a space-uniformed Batuu lady came up and said that climbing is not permitted in Batuu. They really sell this place as a real place (and people really buy it, with real non-Batuu currency). It’s pretty big too, and they are going to expand. The level of detail is epic even for Disney, and I tried a quick sketch in the restaurant (below) but there was so much to draw.
Galaxys Edge at Disneyland!

All in all, it was fun. My bubbling drink at the Cantina was crazy. I know Star Wars has been part of Disneyland for a long, long time (Star Tours is still one of my favourite things) but now Disney owns it and decides on its direction, well I do miss George Lucas, and when I asked my young nephew recently who his favourite Disney character was and he said “Darth Vader” well, a little part of me sank. But they did a pretty good job on this park. It’ll be expanded with a new ride soon, so I’m sure we’ll be back.


Up next…sketches from the summer trip…