Have you seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet? Spoiler alert – it’s great. I’ve seen it twice. I’m quite a fan of Cap. I like my heroes to be heroic, and you can’t get more heroic than Steve Rogers. After the movie, I popped into De Vere’s for a couple of pints and to do some more bar sketching. I had spent the previous few days sketching manically at the UC Academic Advising Conference (sketches to be posted next) and well, I can’t really stop sketching. I wanted to sketch a different angle than usual and include a lot more people, but they all kept moving about, so in the end I turned and asked the group next to me if I could sketch them. Most of them had beards which is always a nice thing when sketching.
My spare time is spent sketching the streets of Davis, over and over again. Last Saturday it was actually a little bit cloudy (that is basically our winter, right there) and so in the afternoon I biked down to E Street to continue the Panoramarathon. Yes, the panoramarathon that’s my word, I try to say it a lot, with different stresses every time, I keep wanting to say Panathinaikos or Parasaurolophus, but I’m getting the hang of it. I stood opposite De Vere’s Irish Pub (you’ve seen the inside of that on my sketchblog before) and Bizarro World comics. There are two places I am glad are right next to each other. I love to go to the comic shop, maybe pick something up and pop into De Vere’s for a pint to read it. This time I just picked up a 2014 Marvel Comics calendar. This year I have decided to read a lot more comics, in both paper form and digitally; I have downloaded a couple of good graphic novels on sale on Comixology, and I am considering a subscription to Marvel Unlimited to catch up on years of old comics in digital form. I have been buying more paper comics too, they are works of art and it’s nice to buy stuff at comic shops, I’m grateful they exist. A comics education to come for me this year.
Here are a couple of closer views from each side of the panorama:
I sketched with my headphones on, listening to a history podcast (“In Our Time” with Melvyn Bragg – if you want to hear Mr. Bragg rushing historians through their subjects and getting annoyed with them because they’re not saying exactly how many Vikings fought at Stamford Bridge and then chiding them for taking too long, this is your podcast). As I sketched, a young man with a guitar on his back came up to me, and gestured as if to say something. I took off my headphones and he said, “Are you pretending to be an artist?”
You what? “Are you pretending to be funny?” I replied straight away, and he walked off. What the hell? Strange thing to come up and say to someone. Anyway next day I was in Newsbeat, buying a Snickers bar, when someone behind me said, “Oh wow Snickers, that is good shit that, I survived up the top of a mountain eating only Snickers.” I examined the chocolate bar and said, “yeah, I’ve never heard of Snickers before, thanks.” Then I realised, I think it was the same guy, perhaps he goes around downtown Davis saying stupid things? Like I go round drawing stuff, maybe that’s his thing, a ‘say-stupid-things-crawl’? Or maybe it was two different people, or I imagined it and just need to get more sleep. All things are possible.
So this right here is in the very heart of downtown Davis, E St between 2nd and 3rd. The next panorama I will post is on the other side of this block and mirrors it in some ways. Panoramarathon (or ‘Panoramasnickers’ as it will soon be known) continues…
This month’s Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl was a bit different, in that it was on a Wednesday evening, a hot summer evening. We met at Central Park for the Wednesday Farmer’s Market, “Picnic-in-the-Park”. There were a LOT of people out, and downtown Davis was bustling. I spent a good time sketching the panorama aboveThere weren’t many of us sketching, met some new faces, one who joined us was Terry Banderas (below in the red shirt), a local northern CA artist whose ink and watercolour sketches inspired me a lot when I was first doing these types of sketches and posting them online (and continues to do so), so it was great to finally meet him and chat with him. My son sketched with me for a while too, sketching hot-lava-breathing dragons (as you do) before hitting the bouncy houses with all the other local five-year-olds.
I was sketching in the Seawhite sketchbook, which I’m still getting used to. It’s not really the one for the paint that I’m used to laying on, but it’s nice to draw on. The sketchcrawl ended at De Vere’s Irish Pub; it was Davis Beer Week so it seemed appropriate. Here is yet another sketch of De Vere’s (and not my best). I tried a couple of beers, from 21st Amendment in San Francisco (and they weren’t cheap), “Amber Waves” and “Hell or High Watermelon”. Not bad!
De Vere’s Irish Pub, Davis. Click on the image to see it larger and in more detail. It was the end of the week (the weekend usually is), and an evening out at the comic shop followed by some beer and sketching was in order. This is a nice pub. I like drawing pub panoramas in my Moleskine, and this one took only two and a half beers (it’s always something-and-a-half; I like to spend that last half pint looking at the sketch, pencil case away). I have drawn curvilinearly in here before, but now it is time to pull back and see more of the room. I didn’t speak to anyone, just got on with the sketching. It wasn’t very busy on this particular Saturday evening, and it was warm outside. This is an exceptionally warm Spring. We have had some terrible winds, but warm winds, and the weather has been pushing the 90s (actually this week it’s been pushing the mid-90s, it’s like Britpop).
If you’re interested, this is how it looks in the sketchbook.
Januarys are busy, and this week has been busy, busy, busy. Busy weekend too, what with a super-hero themed kids birthday party to prepare for, but yesterday I stopped and took part in the 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl here in Davis California. We met outside the Pence Gallery on D St at midday, and immediately set about sketching the fabulous Antiques Plus antiques store. I drew using my dark brown uni-ball signo um-151 pen, and had intended to colour this, but you know how it is, there are sketchers to talk to, and I sketch more slowly when I chat! But it is great fun all the same. There were about eighteen of us in all, some new faces and some regular sketchers.
The courtyards and alleys between E and D Streets are very cute and with the trees so leafless, full of interesting shadows.
It was a mild sunny day, warm in the sun but nippy in the shade. At the end of the sketchcrawl, we met up at De Vere’s Irish pub to warm up and chill out, and checked out each others sketchbooks. I have wanted to sketch this bookshelf for a while so took the opportunity to get stuck in, wearing down the brown micron. It was very nice to meet some new sketchers, catch up with sketchers I haven’t seen in a while, and to see the regular faces too, all with great and stylistically varied sketchbooks. I definitely picked up a few tips.
Check out the rest of the world’s results from the 38th Worldwide Sketchcrawl on the SKETCHCRAWL FORUM!
After a very busy first few days of 2013 (with busier days to come), I decided to pop downtown to check out some comics at Bizarro World and pop into De Vere’s on E Street for a couple of beers. It was a busy night as usual, but I settled into a comfy couch in the little area with all the books and games and read Frank Miller’s ‘Batman: Year One’, which I had heard was good (and it really is). We’re very Batman in our family right now, my living room floor is a scattered mess of Batman toys. Inspired, I did a bit of pub sketching too – I have previously only sketched the bar area so wanted to catch a bit more of this pub. Going for some depth in this one, tricky angle but I like how it turned out. It was pretty busy – there was a group of about ten young folks sat around a tiny table to my left playing some sort of game with what looked like tarot cards. Other similarly-sized groups were playing Jenga or other pub games. I did try a bit of people sketching, before getting back to my Batman.
At the end of a busy and interesting week, a Friday night trip downtown was in order. The hundred degree weather has cooled into low 90s and mid 80s, a sigh of relief from me for one. Davis is too hot in the summertime, you just don’t want to be outside doing anything. Summer makes for nice evenings though, so I biked downtown after dinner and walked about. Popped into Newsbeat, the Avid Reader, Bizarro Comics, and then went to De Vere’s Irish pub to spend the rest of the night drawing the bar and drinking the beer. It was as super-crowded as on previous visits, though it got busier later. I read the comic I bought (one of the new DC ‘Before Watchmen’ prequels, this one based on the Comedian; it really wasn’t all that, to be honest) and got out the sketchbook to draw this bar one more time. I have often thought about organizing a ‘Drink and Draw’ group in Davis, perhaps going to different Davis pubs each time; I think it’d be a good idea, though I have had little time to work on it. So I occasionally get out to draw the bars myself; it’s good practise, all those bottles and shapes and light, and you get to sample the local beers. I intended to do the whole thing in dark brown but I had picked up the purple instead, only realising after drawing the beer pumps. The light wasn’t bad, but it was hard to tell between brown and purple. Once I realised, I decided on a two-colour scheme which I really liked. Purple and brown reminds me of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk too. It took a while to draw this, about 3.5 beers (someone did ask me how long it had taken but I couldn’t remember what time I came in, I had been in Bizarro Comics next door for quite a while). You might be able to spot my reflection in there somewhere. The level of detail tails off a bit towards the end, on the right, because of the larger movement of people, the darker light, and the effects of the Sudwerk Aggie ale (not my favourite Sudwerk beer by quite a long shot, but it’s nice enough and only $4 a pint). I chatted to some people at the bar while I sketched, watched the Giants win at the baseball, and made the long walk home through dark Old North Davis (they don’t like streetlights there; apparently they want you to be able to see the stars. Be quite nice to see the street as well though, I would have thought). Passed the bats that live under the bridge at Covell too, squeaking and flapping about. Summer is nearly done, and Fall is coming in, but the warm weather and balmy nights will be with us for quite a bit of time yet, and it’s nice to get out every so often.
(Click on the image to go to a bigger version)
Last night’s talk at the Avid Reader went very well, a lot of people came (many thanks to all who came!). I spoke for, I’m not sure, an hour and a half, maybe two hours? It was nigh on half past nine when I left anyway. I introduced the new Urban Sketchers book, ‘The Art of Urban Sketching’, spoke about Urban sketchers as a group, as a philosophy, how it all started, and I think I may have made some sense occasionally, stringing my planned talk together like I string my sketchcrawls together, if you know what I mean. I talked a bit about my own sketching, how and why I do it, and passed around some images of Davis that I’ve drawn. Quite a few familiar faces were there, for which I was very thankful! I even signed some books; nice to see so many people with the Urban Sketchers book, I hope they’ll be as inspired by all the other sketchers as I am! I read from the book, the manifesto, the profiles of certain artists, showed some of my favourite images in the book (several of them were by Luis Ruiz, including his one of Malaga’s now-closed oldest bookstore, Libreria Cervantes, which was very relevant being talked about in an independent bookstore, although the Avid Reader is doing pretty well these days and is in fact expanding into the former space of the recently closed toystore, Alphabet Moon, three doors down the street). I tried to talk a lot about urban sketching to Davis and cities like it, how we as urban sketchers are recording a place’s history in personal ways; I was pleased to meet another artist who had also painted the Davis Lock and Safe building, for example. My throat was getting pretty dry by the end of it.
So after the talk, I popped over to De Vere’s for a cold beer. All of this talk about drawing meant I was just itching to pick up a pen again, so I went straight to the bar and started sketching, and sketching, and sketching. I lay down a wash of browny-yellowy-orange first, to represent the bar’s light, then draw over that in my black uni-ball signo pen. I couldn’t represent the bar’s noise though – where last week’s Little Prague outing was defined by very loud music, this was deifned by very loud talking. It got packed quickly, and you couldn’t hear any music, but quite often people were yelling over each other at the bar. I however kept inside my bubble, and didn’t really mind; I had done all the talking I could that night, and now was my quiet time, in a barful of noise (that’s livin’ alright).
I went downtown at lunchtime today, intending to do some drawing in the bright weather. However I suddenly decided that chips in mushroom gravy sounded really good, so I popped into De Vere’s on E Street. Good place to sketch! I drew the bar previously from the middle; this one, which took under an hour, was drawn from the end. The chips in gravy were really good.
A couple of weeks ago a new pub opened in downtown Davis, De Vere’s. I had to go by and check it out – and do some sketching. It was very busy! But I saw as soon as I walked in, a chair at the bar all by itself, right in the middle, so I parked, ordered a Sudwerk Aggie lager (quite nice) and got sketching. I was doing a long panorama of the bar, an unusual one for me, so I started right in the middle (the pint glass was the first thing I drew), and worked outwards, a little bit left, a little bit right, all the while squeezed in the throng about me. I didn’t draw the barstaff – they moved too quickly, and were kept busy by the punters. It’s an interesting pub, very big, brand new but with a proper ‘pub’ feel, not just a bar – it felt like something back home, and I missed my old London mates. I finished up my drawing (it took two and a half beers, if you’re interested, and mine’s a pint, if you’re buying), decided against adding colour, and went home.
I went back last week with my wife, and we tried their chips with gravy and cheese and I must say it was bloody amazing. With chips and gravy as an incentive, I think I may go and sketch there again from time to time.