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


let’s draw the davis world cup!

LDD May 2018s

It is time for another ‘Let’s Draw Davis!’ sketchcrawl, and where better than to sketch at the Davis World Cup. The youth soccer tournament will feature 104 teams from across northern California, each assigned a different country, and so will be a colourful sporting spectacle. Also a great opportunity to practice some quick people sketching!

The sketchcrawl will begin this Saturday (May 26) at 10:00am outside the Davis Arts Center (the corner of F St and Covell; we will meet by the entrance) where I will give a quick demo of fast people sketching. I won’t however get much sketching done after that, as I myself have to go and coach one of the teams playing (Serbia), one of the co-organizers Ann will be available. The group will meet up at 1:30pm at the Davis Library to look at each others’ sketchbooks, and of course you can keep on sketching after that! (Check out the ‘Keeper Wars’ in the evening, it’s really fun!).

As always, this sketchcrawl is free and open to anyone who likes to draw. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on. Oh and maybe bring snacks and a drink. And cheer on the Davis teams! (We all wear white or blue).

Let’s Draw Davis is a monthly sketchcrawl in Davis California, organized by myself, Alison Kent and Ann Filmer. It was started in 2010 as a way to encourage local sketchers to get outside and draw our city, and meet other people who like to do the same. We hold sketchcrawls each month in different locations with a different focus each time, they are open to all ages and levels and a great opportunity to learn from each other. Check out the Facebook page at:

show me the way to armadillo

LDD Dec17 Armadillo

One from just before Christmas, this was sketched downtown during the December ‘Le’s draw Davis’ sketchcrawl. I already posted the main sketch I did that day, of the Christmas Tree. This is Armadillo Music on F Street. It used to e further down F Street until a few years ago. The last times I sketched it was in the old location (2013 and 2011). I also had an exhibition of my artwork there in early 2011, which was actually the first exhibition I ever had here in Davis, so I’m always thankful for that. It was a fun evening, with renowned local singer Rita Hosking providing an in-store musical performance on the same evening. So finally I drew the new store location, a bigger store. I didn’t have time to add the colour because the sketchcrawl was over and I was feeling stiff from standing there in the cold. I just coloured in the Santa, which was for some reason lying on his side. Taking a rest before his trip around the world, no doubt. Ok, I am due to sketch Armadillo, which is one of those real proper Davis community shops, another time, with colour. Maybe on a warmer day!

Let’s Draw Davis! October 21, 2017

Let's draw Davis! Oct 21, 2017
Join us for a Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl on the UC Davis campus! Free and open to everyone of all ages/skill levels, it’s just an afternoon of sketching on location around campus with other people who like to draw.

DATE: Saturday October 21,
START: 12:30pm, Memorial Union North Courtyard
FINISH: 4:30pm, Memorial Union North Courtyard

We’ll start outside the M.U., where the I will do a quick demo of how I sketch my favourite subject – fire hydrants – and then we will sketch about campus in groups or alone, as you prefer, before meeting up again at 4:30pm to have a look at each other’s sketchbooks.

This will also be a SCAVENGER HUNT – I will give out a list of things to look for and sketch. You don’t have to follow it, but if you do, you’ll get a sticker…

As always, this sketchcrawl is FREE and OPEN TO ALL. All you need is something to draw with and something to draw on! (And if you run out of those, the campus bookstore has great art supplies!)

I’ve been organizing ‘Let’s Draw Davis’ sketchcrawls here since October 2010, originally monthly, then less frequently, but now they are back to being monthly again, and co-organizes by a couple of other local sketchers; October is back to my turn, and what a great month to be sketching in, when the leaves are turning and the weather is cooling.

I hope to meet you there!

Facebook event page
“Let’s Draw Davis!” Facebook Group

sketches from “let’s draw davis!” july 2017

Let's Draw Davis people july 2017
Just interrupting my Italy posts to bring you some sketches from our recent Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl, held on a very hot July morning a week or so ago. Let’s Draw Davis is now monthly again, and now the organization is shared between myself and two fellow local sketchers, Alison Kent and Ann Filmer. This month it was my turn, so I organized a crawl that would explore the courtyards and alleys of downtown, starting in Orange Court and ending up on the patio behind the Pence Gallery. We had around seventeen sketchers in total joining us, and despite the heat a lot of nice sketching was done! I started off by drawing people in pencil and paint.
Let's Draw Davis people july 2017
I then moved up to the walkway overlooking Orange Court, trying to squeeze into whatever shade I could find, and drew the aerial perspective. It was a bit tricky with the sun burning down but I was determined. After this, I had a chicken hotdog at the Hotdogger.
Orange Court, Davis CA
Then I walked through the little side-streets between D and E Streets, which have a few colourful shops and cafes, and I drew two more of my fellow sketchers (there is Marlene Lee on the right, she had a few drawings featured in my last book), sat outside a new art gallery/shop called Couleurs Vives, which deserves a bigger more colourful sketch some time. After that, the remaining sketchers met up and did a show-and-tell with each other’s sketchbooks, which is always my favourite part, seeing how others interpret the same scenes.
Sketchers in Davis
The next Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl meeting will be on Wednesday August 16th at the Davis Farmer’s Market “Picnic in the Park”; check out the event posting on the Let’s Draw Davis Facebook page!

Let’s Draw Davis! July 2017

Let's Draw Davis! July 15, 2017
It’s July, so it’s time to sketch. Mind you, it is time to sketch in all the other months too. But “Let’s Draw Davis” is back – and definitely monthly again. It used to be monthly until I got very busy and wasn’t able to organize it so often, but now there are three of us organizing these sketchcrawls, taking turns each month – many thanks to Alison Kent and Ann Filmer. July is my turn, so if you’re in Davis, join us on Saturday July 15!

A new aspect of the sketchcrawls that we are trying is that there will be a short sketching tutorial at the start by the organizer (me in this case), before heading out to sketch. So at 10am I will give a brief urban sketching tutorial, a few basic tips and techniques to try. We will start at Orange Court, the little courtyard off of E Street (between 1st and 2nd), and the theme this time will be to explore the hidden spots of Davis – the alleys and courtyards of downtown. We will finish up at the space behind the Pence Gallery, off of D Street, to look at each other’s sketchbooks.

As always this sketchcrawl is FREE and open to the public. All you need is something to draw on and something to draw with. Oh and maybe a cold drink, because it’s always hot in Davis in July. There are plenty of places nearby to cool off!

For more information and to see the other upcoming dates of the Let’s Draw Davis sketchcrawl series, please visit the new Facebook page:

davis before the city of davis

Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion, Davis

And finally, here are the sketches from last month’s “Let’s Draw Davis!” sketchcrawl, the centenary tour of old Davis. A group of us met up on a Saturday morning outside the Dresbach-Hunt-Boyer Mansion at the corner of E and 2nd Streets, and set off exploring and sketching the bits of Davis that were a hundred years old or more. Because Davis, you see, celebrated 100 years of being The City of Davis in that very week – but it’s been around a lot longer than that. In fact I might have called this sketchcrawl “Let’s Draw Davisville!” because that was the name of the place up until around 1907 or so. Davisville was named after Jerome C. Davis and his wife Mary, who owned a lot of the land which eventually became the city, and the man who coined that name was the early postmaster Mr. Dresbach, and this was his house.


I gave everyone a special map that I created, which you can see below. On the reverse side it includes a little bit of local history, but on the map side are listed most (but maybe not all?) of the buildings and spots that are 100 years old or more. I have drawn many of them already (see the pictures around the edge) but this was a nice way to start checking off those extra-centurions from my to-draw list. By the way, I think “F” may be in the wrong place, I couldn’t find it and it’s not signposted. There are also a couple of places at least outside this map which may be a bit older, but if I start going beyond the realms of cartography, well, where does that leave us. Hey if you live in Davis and want to try sketching them all, download the pdf map and let me know how you go!

LDD map March 2017 map page

LDD map March 2017 info page v-ucd

So, after I sketched the Dresbach Hunt Boyer Mansion I went over to G Street, and sketched the Masonic Lodge. Yeah, you didn’t notice that either huh! I never knew this building was a century-old Masonic Lodge, only paying attention to the ground floor shop level. Trees usually block it, but you can see the masonic symbol up there if you look closely. I sketched this from outside the G Street Wunderbar. Those odd shapes in the front are cars, or the ghosts of cars maybe; I decided I couldn’t be bothered doing any details on them. You have to imagine 1917 vehicles.

masonic lodge, G St Davis

This building, which is across the 5th Street border in Old North Davis (the Bowers Addition, which is over a century old; I will write an Old North-centric post soon…), is called the Bentley House. In fact I did not know about it until a few days before, while still putting the map together. Iw as coming baxck from downtown and passed by it, and they actually ahve a big informative plaque outside with its history on it. It celebrated a centenary in 2010, so by that I deduce (my dear Watson) that it must date back to 1910. It’s pretty, in a pretty neighbourhood. Below the sketch is a photo of the plaque, with a century of history.

bentley house, old north davis


My final sketch of the day is another structure from 1917, not a house, but a tunnel. The Richards Underpass (or rather, the Davis Subway as it is properly know) links downtown to the other side of the railroad tracks, toward south Davis, and the I-80 freeway. It was part of the old Lincoln Highway, that connected San Francisco with New York. Yeah, that New York. This tunnel leads to the whole world, baby. Well, it is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. She doesn’t look like much but she got it where it counts. It’s a popular place to sit bottlenecked in traffic too, coming into Davis off of the freeway, and I like to imagine Dr Doom sitting in a metallic grey and green car fuming away beneath his metal mask at “that FOOL Richards” and how “I, Victor Von Doom, would have created a far superior underpass!” Oh you’ve gotta love Dr. Doom.

richards underpass (1917)

And then we met up, those that remained, and looked at each other’s sketches. I have yet to find time to set the next sketchcrawl here in Davis, but I am working on it. This one was fun, but you know, you can sketch old Davis in your own time, just grab that map, grab a pen or pencil, and get sketching!


Well done the Davis sketchers!

Oh and Happy Birthday City of Davis!