like the color when the spring is born

LDD mar18 3rd St construction sm
Still a backlog of sketches being scanned, and these are from March. We had a Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl on a very Irish-weathered (sunny! No wait, rainy, hang on no, sunny, wait here comes the rain; it was great) St. Patrick’s Day. The theme was very appropraite – draw in green. I used only green pen. Well I used other colour paints, but all the pens I used were green. Light green marker, dark and normal green fineliners, and two tones of green brush pen (double ended). The building above was the dark green pen, sketched from the shelter of the US Bicycling Hall of Fame (yep, that is here in Davis) while the rain came down. As I said I used watercolour. Oh actually there is a bit of orange pen in there too, which is ok because that is in the Irish flag. (Before you St Patricks enthusiasts say anything about green only, I should remind you that St Patrick’s favourite colour was actually blue, you’re doing it wrong) (while we are on that, my annual reminder that the four leaf clover is nothing to do with St Patrick, but the three-leaf shamrock totally is).
LDD mar18 green people sm
You can see the raindrops on this one. Quick single-line contour sketches of people passing by. Below is the corner of 3rd and A, at the entrance to UC Davis. These are all sketched in a Seawhite of Brighton sketchbook, which is a bugger to scan, as evidenced by the shadowy edge where I just cannot press it hard enough against the screen. Can be hard to photoshop out. Can we photoshop out the shadows on the edges of existence? Ouch that got philosophical, or maybe photoshopical.
LDD mar18 A St view sm
Here is that brush pen. It’s double-ended, and is called ‘Zig Brushables’ by Kuretake. I dunno, I bought it in a shop and I’ve not really used it since. I do this with pens sometimes, I think oooh I will draw some great and very different sketches with this one, I will be all out of my box and shit. Then I use it once and it takes up space in my pencil case like an extravangant unknown foreign footballer. I think I will send it out on loan to Galatasaray, I’m sure its morale is low from lack of sketches. I did enjoy doing this one though, it was quick, far quicker than my usual stuff. Maybe if I sketched like this all the time I would fill hundreds more sketchbooks than usual, but they would give you a massive headache.
LDD mar18 3rd St green pen sm
And here is fellow Davis skletcher Allan, who I ahve probably sketched more than any other person, over the years. This was at the end of the ‘crawl, when we all met to look at each others’ sketchbooks.
LDD mar18 allan sm


green is the colour

watching ireland v poland
Did you see it? Did you see Ireland beating Germany? I missed it! But it did happen. I’m talking about the football now. I’ve been proudly parading my various Ireland shirts from the past twenty-one years, but it’s not just the Republic. Northern Ireland may not have beaten the world champions, but they did win their group and will be going to Euro 2016 in France! I’ve not seen them play in a tournament since Mexico 86, the first World Cup that really did mean the world to me (not for Northern Ireland, but for Panini stickers, Gary Lineker and Diego Maradona. I can still hum the “Aztec Gold” TV theme tune used by ITV, at least I think it was ITV). I was ten. I don’t have a Northern Ireland shirt, despite my family connections (my grandad was from Belfast, my other grandparents all came from the Republic) but I might get one now. Wales also made it to the Euros, and I’m super happy about that, though I’ve never been to Wales and have no Welsh family, I do like Gareth Bale, and their manager. England made it too by winning all their games, whatever. But the Republic of Ireland, despite beating Germany and going a point behind them in the qualifying table, were not quite there yet. They had to go to Poland, and either win or get (specifically) a 2-2 draw. Not easy against Poland and their striker Lewandowski, who has scored about four hundred goals in the past couple of weeks alone. (American readers: I am joking, it was more like two hundred). It was on TV. It was Sunday. I wasn’t going anywhere. While my son played on the floor, I watched the game and sketched, naturally in green. Remember, we needed a 2-2 draw. Unfortunately, Ireland lost 2-1. So near, and yet so far. And so Ireland go into the play-offs to see who will get the final few spots at Euro 2016. There is still hope yet! However, poor old Scotland didn’t make it this time, so the almost-there prospect of a tournament with England, both Irelands, Wales and Scotland all in it was just a distant dream (what, there already is one? Oh right, in Rugby…)

lá fhéile pádraig sona daoibh

blarney castle

Well, it is Saint Patrick’s Day, so a drawing of an Irish landmark in green pen on green card seems appropriate. Of course St. Patrick’s colour was in fact blue (which might be easier on the eye than this particularly lime-verdant shade) but who are we to quibble. But speaking of quibbling, I wish people would stop using the four-leafed clover on St. Patrick’s Day, the symbol of Ireland is the Shamrock, which typically only has three leaves. But then again Celtic football club, whose shirt I’m wearing today, uses four leaves in its badge and you can’t argue with them. Ah, we’re Irish, we can argue with whoever.  

So this is Blarney Castle, in Co. Cork. I was there when I was twelve, when I kissed the Blarney Stone (at first I kissed the wrong one), and got a little certificate that said I was henceforth given the gift of the Blarney, that is to talk a lot of nonsense from time to time – they got that right. I kept that certificate for years. I love when you kiss the Blarney Stone, they hang you upside down by your ankles at the very top of the castle, so you can see the long drop below (where kids are gathered to collect the coins that inevitably fall from your pockets).  All of my family originates from Ireland, all over the place. I grew up with the Irish heritage, all the music, the Irish festivals in Southport and Willesden, the red hair and sun-shy freckly skin, and lots of cups of tea, but I don’t like Guinness. I’ve not been back over there in about thirteen years; different place now, so I hear. Ah well, it’s not going anywhere. I’ll be back one day.

My favourite chocolate bar by the way is Cadbury’s Tiffin, you can’t get it in England, but it’s common in Ireland. Tiffin and a cup of tea, my idea of heaven so it is. Just sayin’.

to the manor born

madrona manor

I turned 33 at the weekend. We left the baby with his nana, and went to Healdsburg to stay overnight at the most excellent Madrona Manor, an madrona manor near healdsburgamazing building from the 1880s overlooking the magnificent valleys of Sonoma County. The heart of the wine country. Easily the best hotel room I’ve ever stayed in (and the door had a key, not one of those bloody card-swipe things; it was great!). The furniture was old, ornate and well-kept. It was pretty foggy and cold, but I was able to do a few drawings; I’ll have to come back up in sunnier months to draw the grounds.  We wandered about the vegetable gardens, and were encouraged to pick an orange or two from the pretty orchards by the friendly owner (and I don’t remember the last hotel I stayed at where I chatted with the owner; no soul-destroying corporation this).  And speaking of fresh oranges, the freshly squeezed orange juice was te perfect way to start the day. There is very little better than freshly squeezed orange juice, but particularly if you can see the trees where they were grown from the breakfast table. 
madrona manor, bedroom

A sketch of the bed. Very, very comfortable. The rooms are sans-TV, a big plus for me. And below, a drawing of the main mansion. I’m glad we were lucky enough to stay there.

madrona manor en vert

fish big

help! i'm a fish

for the second day in a row i didn’t leave the office during lunch, because it’s too hot, and i brought something homemade to eat (this time tomato soup; yesterday was jamaican jerk chicken). Both times I got out the superthin copic pens and drew something in the office. Yesterday was the view behind me, today was a detail of the same view, but with the fish that got left out. Why do I have a fish? Well, why not?

I have drawn little cartoon fish around the place. It was something I used to do in England.

The Danish tomte seen yesterday is to the fish’s left. That’s from the fish’s perspective. From your, it’s behind the fish.



Drew this at lunchtime yesterday. Watched the Opening Ceremony lats night. Wasn’t it spectacular? Amazing choreography and visuals. I was very impressed. And the parade of nations was interesting in that there was no alphabetical order, the countries were introduced by how many strokes it takes to write their character name in Chinese. A nice touch, that. After all the politics and protests (and rightly so) I was very impressed with everything, including that amazing stadium. Bush was there, I loved it when they zoomed in on him looking a bit bored and checking his watch. Most of the time he was looking through his binoculars (which he probably pronounces ‘binoclears’). He gave the Iraqi team a big round of applause, and then sat back and gave his Bush smirk. I had to laugh. They didn’t show him applauding the Iranians. But just a few seats away was Putin, giving his glum anti-smirk. Georgia was on his mind.

Because on the day the Olympics begins in China, and the world is looking elsewhere, Russia invades South Ossetia, the troubled breakaway region of Georgia, and now all hell is breaking loose. This is a serious and difficult situation, and a very worrying development. Georgia wants US help in this crisis. Georgia sent troops to Iraq to help Bush’s cause. They will expect something in  return – and will we honestly be able to deliver? And face off against Russia? 

“Interesting Times”.

two from the top and four small ones please

there's only one keano

You might think the title should be “little green bag”, but since the bag is blue in real life, I’ve gone for a vorderman reference.

This is my my trusty blue shoulder bag, in which i carry my sketchbook and pencil case, along with something else to write in or perhaps read, everywhere i go. It’s from eddie bauer and has a million pockets; it’s the perfect size. I keep my little waterbottle in one of the side pockets, several other useful items like clips and tissue and business cards and bus schedules to sacramento litter the other pockets. I’ve had such bags before (all bought from one store in Aix-en-Provence), all sketchbook sized and convenient, but never with this many pockets. Drawn in olive green copic 0.1.

And Americans may not know what I’m talking about in this one, so let me explain. Robbie Keane, my favourite footballer (that’s soccerer to you), has left my club Spurs and joined Liverpool, who he supported as a boy. I am gutted, gutted, but I don’t blame Keane, I’m pleased for him; if I played for Liverpool and Spurs came in for me, I’d go yesterday. It’s just, we Spurs fans, all we really wanted was a team of Robbie Keanes. We sold Defoe, the ‘too many strikers’ excuse. Berbatov will go anyway. We’re left with Darren Bent.  

And Vorderman leaving Countdown!!! (I wonder how many google searches of ‘vorderman’ and ‘countdown’ will end up here now? I had bloody ‘ars*nal sketchbook’ direct here last week, i’m not happy about that) It’s a world gone mental. I don’t know how to correctly write those last few beats of the countdown music, but imagine them in your head now for vorderman:

dun-uh, dun-uh, dun-uh-nuh-nuh.