…and his spirit truck

aggie firetruck
Campus is extremely an busy place these days. At lunchtime today I cycled over to the Memorial Union, where all the fraternities, activity groups, leaflet hander-outers, placard-holders (like the bloke holding up a sign saying ‘stop the left lean of campus’; I was going to suggest he gets one shoe slightly bigger than the other, that should fix it for him). There was music, of course, and there was the blue Aggie Pack Firetruck. Oh, all this Charing-Cross of life, what to draw? Silly question!

I’ve wanted to sketch this for ages. It’s a 1973 Crown Pumper Truck which was serving in the UC Davis fire service for three decades before it was retired, and bought by the UCD Athletics Dept, painted blue and reborn as the Aggie Pack Spirit Engine. You can read more about it on the Aggie Pack website. I sat on the ground with my sketchbook. The DJs playing the music were nearby and quite loud so I put my headphones on and listened to my iPod.

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“i’m leavin’, on a jet ski…”

toy robber

This is the Robber, which came with the jet-ski as part of my son’t Playmobil Police Helicopter set. It’s great fun in the bath; that little metal thing at the bottom helps it stay upright and afloat. It’s funny how we know he’s supposed to be a robber because he is unshaven and wearing sunglasses (footballers and movie stars beware); I’m surprised Playmobil don’t make a little Hoodie, with a little toy Staff. Maybe for their ‘run-down estate street corner’ set. Maybe the title for this post should be ‘Thievin’ on a Jet-Ski’. This was drawn in Copic 0.05 multiliner in the small WH Smith sketchbook (one page until that one is finished!).

The  fire-truck below however was sketched in my large ‘Urban Sketchers’ Canson sketchbook, from last year’s Portland Symposium. I realised that I’d not sketched this in a couple of years, since my son first got it at his great-grandma’s up in Oregon, and though it’s pretty beat up it’s his favourite of the fire trucks. I sketched it while watching some ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ cartoons on tv, and wasn’t really paying attention when drawing the wheels – oops – but the rest is all where it should be.

toy fire truck

Finally, I drew this a week ago or so, but another of the toy cars (and amazingly a toy that isn’t red). It’s the ‘muddy’ Techron car. These ones are fun to play with, and were given by his cousins. Plus every time we watch the San Francisco Giants play, they show up on a billboard at the edge of the field.

toy muddy car

To see more toy drawings, go to my Flickr set “Toys“. Drawing toys is a really great way to remember a fun age!

things that go

toy taxi

I like sketching my son’s toys, as it is a good way to capture them for posterity. Here are some of his many vehicles. Above, a taxi cab – very American. I sketched it in my samll WH Smith sketchbook – I rarely use that book these days but it’s really nice, especially for sketches like this.

duplo police motorcycle

Here’s a Duplo policeman with his police motorcycle (or ‘motorskykle’ as my son calls it; when he first learned to talk, it was one of the first words he learned and it was always ‘kykle!’) I’ve been trying to find the police car too but no shops seem to carry it. It’s online of course but quite expensive. I’m quite into Duplo and Lego. One of the great things about becoming a father is you get to play with all these cool toys…

duplo firetruck

And here is one of his Duplo firetrucks. Firetrucks are the big thing. I coloured this one with Staedtler watercolour pencils, I don’t use them often but really like them. They especially have a cool effect when drawing toys.

Next: a fleet of helicopters…

call the engines, call the engines

toy fire truck

Above: a toy fire truck, drawn in my brown paper book. This was actually in the course of being played with while I was on the floor sketching it. At one point, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi – volunteer firefighters, didn’t you know – jumped on board and went to rescue a kitty. I find I’m drawing things I think my kid will like. Below is UC Davis fire station, drawn during a lunchtime this week. Did you know the firefighters here actually have collectable baseball-type cards that kids can collect? It’s true, and they’re pretty cool, they tell you about the fireman or firewoman, and they have a safety message on there and everything.

UCD fire station

call the engines, call the engines

luke's fire truck

My wife got me a new small Moleskine diary, and it’s awesome; it’s 18 month so started in July, and fits right in my pocket. I christened it with a drawing of my son’s fire truck, given to him at the weekend by his great-grandma. I might draw in this fairly often, something small to commemorate or represent each week. Maybe.