back yard game of goosebumps

lois's garden

We took a drive over to see family in Santa Rosa, not something we;ve done much of lately since the pandemic started. We sat in the backyard of my wife’s mother, all socially distanced and wearing masks. My nephew had grown taller since I last saw him, so much time has passed. They all played a game of Goosebumps around the table while I sketched from a different table. The weather was cooler than in Davis. My mother in law’s back yard looks lovely now, it has all been done up nice. I have a feeling if this pandemic keeps up like this we’ll be having Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner out there too! I want this whole thing to be over, back to normal. I want to fly to England to see my family there, but this is where we are right now so we do what we can. It was nice to at least go and do this. Now this summer is flying past, working from home, the world outside is literally burning as I write with clouds of ash and smoke from nearby wildfires, mass evacuations going on, firefighters working around the clock to keep us safe, the air outside thick and choking, the sky a dull orange, all the while a global pandemic is going on, and then there’s the bloody election season upon us. At least the Champions League football has been fun.

Dinosaurs at Knebworth

knebworth house
While in England, I went with my Mum, my sister Lauren and my nephew Sonny to the grounds of Knebworth House, in Hertfordshire. I had never been before. It’s very nice. There is a maze, and some incredible wooden goblins and fairies and things carved into tree stumps. You would like it. We never went into the house itself though.
knebworth sonny
Whcorythosaurusat I liked most though were the dinosaurs. The Dinosaur Trail winds through some of the woodland area, and those dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts are in some cases enormous. There are 70 of them in total, and so my nephew and I started to draw them. Here he is below, sketching a Scolosaurus. He did a lot more drawings than me – the speed of youth, eh! – but I sketched a few of my old favourites. On the left there is a Corythosaurus, which I didn’t colour in. I used to have a model of a Corythosaurus when I was a kid, I remember gluing it all together, and I loved it. I really loved dinosaurs. My son for example thinks they’re ok, but whenever we go to the Natural History Museum he is usually more interested in rocks and geology, that is his passion. When I was little, it was all about those dinos, man. I still have some of my old dinosaur books, with their out-of-date depictions and dramatic paintings. One of them was an Elasmosaurus, which they did have a model of at Knebworth, but I sadly did not draw. Those things were terrifying. Below though, probably my favourite dinosaur, the Styracosaurus. Any animal that can have that many spikes on its head is a friend to me. It looks like Keith from the Prodigy. It’s a total fantasy creature.


Below, the old lovable Triceratops. The original king of the Ceratopsians. My horns face forward, laughing boy, so don’t get cocky or you’ll find yourself turned into a Tyrannosaurus Kebab! They both have those big parrot-like beaks. Hey I tell you who does know a lot (and I mean a lot) about dinosaurs is the fellow who made an appearance in my last post, Paul Heaston. He once even made an amazing model of a feathered Deinonychus (another of my favourite dinosaurs). Here is an interview with him from 2012 on the fantastically-named website “Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs“. Up in Manchester, another dinosaur-loving artist Lapin mentioned to his “Cars in the City” workshop (images posted soon) that all sketchbooks should contain a car…and at least one dinosaur. I agree. DINOSAURS RULE!

Incidentally, today happens to be 20 years to the day that Oasis played their massive enormous gig at Knebworth. I never went to that myself (I never did see Oasis live, though a massive fan – I saw the Sex Pistols at Finsbury Park in ’96 and it was great but totally did me in for big music crowds). Lots of old rock bands played Knebworth over the years, the Rolling Stones, Led Zep, Genesis, and above are some drawings of some other old dinosaurs.

the boy and his grandad

Baby Luke just took his first trip back to London (where it rained every day, unlike in California), where he met the rest of his family, who naturally all absolutely adored him.
luke and his grandad

Here he is with his very proud grandad, who was celebrating his 60th birthday.

This is my illustration friday entry for this week (theme: baby), drawn in Luke’s journal. I might finish it with colours but kind of liked the simple version here.