shine until tomorrow, let it be

2nd & G

Some quick lunchtime sketches from downtown Davis recently. Above, by the way, is Froggie’s, on the corner of 2nd and G. My sketching was pretty sparse lately, with these being typical efforts. Felt uninspired, disinterested even. Sometimes we earthlings let the weight of the world get to us. Feel a bit better now and expect to sketch a bit more furiously from now! The summer is cooling down a bit, and drawing closer to its end. But there is still a bit more summer to come.

quick sketches

the forgotten pump house

grain silo south davis

Down by the Putah Creek bike path in south Davis sits an old pump house (or perhaps it is a barn for really tall horses), which in six and a half years of living here (wow! that long?) I have never drawn. Until now. It reminds me a little bit of the Shrieking Shack. I needed some fresh air after spending all day in with a sore throat, and the weather outside was warm and spring-like. This is nearby where I live. It is a peaceful spot, a nice place for a Sunday stroll. Next to here is the Woodbridge nature area, home to all sorts of birds and bats and bugs. There are a lot of bugs out right now, biting away. This was drawn in my gamma Stillman & Birn book, with the brown-black uniball signo pen.

it always leads me here, leads me to your door

Spread 12, E St sm

Finally, after an almost seven month wait, spread 12 of the Davis Moleskine is complete! 12 of 12 – this is the last page. Why I waited so long I’m not exactly sure, but here it is. This is Bizarro Comics, next to Chipotle on E Street. It is where Bogey’s Books used to be (so named, probably, because of the excessive abundance Davis has in allergy season). This is a three-page-spread, and I decided to just tail it off at the end because it gives the promise of more to come, but I assure you this is the last page. I’ll do another thing now, with colour. Soon maybe.

I’ll post the whole spread all in one continuous shot at some point, when I can figure out how to have it on screen within my blog, but scrollable side to side.

In the meantime, you can see all the other Davis Moleskine spreads here

are you murray in disguise?

spurs losing 4-0

Not a brilliant Sunday morning, sports fans. I was tired, after staying up far too late (and falling asleep on the couch) watching Andy Murray turn up and get humiliated in the Australian Open final (I’m not a tennis watcher, but as a Brit it’s my duty to tune in and get my hopes up before having them cruelly dashed by someone from the old Yugoslavia, and there’s still six months until Wimbledon!). Then I woke up to watch my beloved Tottenham  (almost an anagram of Tim Henman…) get roundly turned over by Fulham, all over by half-time at four-nil. This hurt; it’s the FA Cup, the oldest football competition in the world, and this year ends in a ‘1’ – Spurs are supposed to win it this year! Perhaps this was a ruse, to make AC Milan think we’ll be a pushover in the Champion’s League in a few weeks. If so it was a bloody convincing ruse, I must say. Anyway, enough disappointment, I got out my moleskine diary and started sketching the living room as I watched (I would have been hanging my head anyway). Soon my son and then my wife joined in, all drawing pictures together with my little paint set, which was fun. You can see the streamers are till up from my son’s birthday party, all around the room; our apartment currently resembles an airmail envelope. Back in the match, Spurs didn’t even score a consolation goal.  

it’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out

little prague again

I went down to Little Prague again, to carry on the spread I’d started before, with a dark Krusovice, nice beer to sketch with. Again I splattered the page with lots of little spots of paint, and then after drawing everything with the pigma sensei pen, I did a sepia wash. I was glad to get some people in this one. It’s such a sketchable place.

little prague spread

It was the ‘2nd Friday Art About’ earlier in the evening, though I missed many of the exhibits this time. And now it’s the weekend! The weather is cold and bright, which means scarves and sunglasses, a great time of year. Christmas shopping and afternoon sketching in store.

sc27: epilogue

sc27: rickenbackers
After the Sketchcrawl, I popped down to 2nd and Minna to a place I like to visit each time I go to the city: Eddie Rickenbacker’s, a cool pub which has many antique motorbikes hanging from the wall. They also have an enormous cat called Mr. Higgins. Last time I was there, I played  several games of chess against my friend Simon,while he discovered that shots of whiskey in California are much bigger than in England! Coming in to warm up and relax, I just had to get one more sketch in, and drew one of the bikes on the ceiling above the bar. It was a 1919 Triumph.

I like the Sketchcrawls. The next one will be at the end of July, when I will be at the Urban Sketching Symposium in Portland. Anyway, here is a map of where I drew last Saturday.
sketchcrawl 27 route map

And to see everyone else’s results from San Francisco, visit the Sketchcrawl Forum! There are some really cool sketches there. It was a great creative mixer.

going for gold

goldbeaters school

This is Goldbeaters School in Burnt Oak, where I went to school from the nursery until the age of 11. When I left the Berlin Wall was still up, Thatcher still had some years to go as PM, and Glenn Hoddle had just left Spurs for Monaco. This was drawn from a photo I took on a previous trip back home; I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I was up early yesterday morning and needed to do a drawing. I decided to make it sepia; in a way this is how I remember it. Apart from the grass and a bit of graffiti I left out, everything else is actually the right colour, pretty much.

I was inspired to finally draw my old junior school when an old, good friend from Goldbeaters got in touch with me via Facebook, Lee Glenn. I’ve not seen him since back then, so it was a real pleasure to hear from him. Reminded me of all the fun old times we had when we were kids, playing A-Team and, er, Hammer House of Horror in the playground. I will need to dig out my old school photos on my next trip back home. He blogs too – at, and he made a very nice mention of me over there – and also runs a forum about film, music, books etc called ‘the popcorn patch’. Check it out!

I have good memories of Goldbeaters. I always remember most fondly my friends from the juniors, in the days when swapping Panini football stickers was pretty much the most important thing in the world. That was like a little microcosm economy of its own, the football sticker swapping market. Couldn’t have too many Spurs badges or Maradona stickers on the market otherwise the whole thing would collapse, and every so often there’d be a bust when some silly sod would knock someone’s wad of Football 86 into the air and shout “SCRAMBLE!”, showering the playground with doubles and triples of Ian Rush and rare Hamilton Academical team stickers alike. I have always imagined that that, essentially, was what the real Stock Market is really like.

keeping an eye on things

'eye on mrak' egghead

Eye on Mrak“, one the Egghead sculptures made by the late Robert Arneson, former UC Davis art professor. This one is outside Mrak Hall, and has a large eye that looks up at proceedings within (perhaps it has eggs-ray vision, I don’t know). Oh come on, this is, you must have known a silly egg-based pun would come along at some point. Anyway I sketched this dude at lunchtime today.

To learn more about the UC Davis Eggheads (if you absolutely have to), please see:

sketchcrawl 23, SF: part 2, the mission

sc23, valencia and 16th

After sketching City Hall, I BARTed it down to the Mission District. I love the Mission. It is actually illegal not to have a big burrito when you come here so I had one (it was ok, I’ve had better), and sketched this from the bus stop, at the corner of Valencia and 16th. The lack of sketching stool meant being creative with my seating choices, so the bus-stop was perfect. I always have to figure, when out urban sketching, that the odd street mental might come and start talking to me. As it happened, the random guy who started chatting to me this time (despite my headphones being clearly on) was actually very interesting, and an artist himself, and we had a chat about how drawing was really just a series of lines and choices. He also told me that Paul McCartney owned the rights to the song Happy Birthday to You. I didn’t know that. He probably made it up. I told him that when McCartney plays Beatles songs on tour he changes the lyrics of “When I’m Sixty-Four” to “When I Was Sixty-Four”. Of course, I made that up, but it could be true.

I strolled up 16th looking for another comfy spot to draw, and chose a really uncomfy spot on a narrow corner with negligible shade, in order to draw the Mission Dolores. Well, dolores means pain, and I suffer for my art.
sc23, mission dolores
I love drawing those powerlines, it’s one of the best reasons to sketch in the Mission. I don’t know if the One Way sign was put up by the Missionaries but it could be so (I will tell people it was, anyhow). Might make more sense outside a cemetary. Anyway, it was sunny, but windy, and so I held up the sketchbook for the obligatory handheld shot, and moved on towards the Castro. That’s the thing about Sketchcrawl, you just gotta keep moving. Well, I do.
sketchcrawl 23 pages 1 and 2
More to come…

down by the levee

the edge of davis

I fancied cycling tonight, before the Sun went down, so I went down to the very edge of town, to the levee, a spot I’d never actually been to before, though it’s right near where I live. You can see all the way to Sacramento, across the flat Yolo landscape. Not in this drawing, but it is there. The moon (also unseen) hung low and pink, in the east. Some interesting birds hopped about nearby. All very peaceful. The sun started to vanish so I cycled home.

Sepia micron 05.