don’t start me talking, i could talk all night

de vere's, davis

Last night’s talk at the Avid Reader went very well, a lot of people came (many thanks to all who came!). I spoke for, I’m not sure, an hour and a half, maybe two hours? It was nigh on half past nine when I left anyway. I introduced the new Urban Sketchers book, ‘The Art of Urban Sketching’, spoke about Urban sketchers as a group, as a philosophy, how it all started, and I think I may have made some sense occasionally, stringing my planned talk together like I string my sketchcrawls together, if you know what I mean. I talked a bit about my own sketching, how and why I do it, and passed around some images of Davis that I’ve drawn. Quite a few familiar faces were there, for which I was very thankful! I even signed some books; nice to see  so many people with the Urban Sketchers book, I hope they’ll be as inspired by all the other sketchers as I am! I read from the book, the manifesto, the profiles of certain artists, showed some of my favourite images in the book (several of them were by Luis Ruiz, including his one of Malaga’s now-closed oldest bookstore, Libreria Cervantes, which was very relevant being talked about in an independent bookstore, although the Avid Reader is doing pretty well these days and is in fact expanding into the former space of the recently closed toystore, Alphabet Moon, three doors down the street). I tried to talk a lot about urban sketching to Davis and cities like it, how we as urban sketchers are recording  a place’s history in personal ways; I was pleased to meet another artist who had also painted the Davis Lock and Safe building, for example. My throat was getting pretty dry by the end of it.

So after the talk, I popped over to De Vere’s for a cold beer. All of this talk about drawing meant I was just itching to pick up a pen again, so I went straight to the bar and started sketching, and sketching, and sketching. I lay down a wash of browny-yellowy-orange first, to represent the bar’s light, then draw over that in my black uni-ball signo pen. I couldn’t represent the bar’s noise though – where last week’s Little Prague outing was defined by very loud music, this was deifned by very loud talking. It got packed quickly, and you couldn’t hear any music, but quite often people were yelling over each other at the bar. I however kept inside my bubble, and didn’t really mind; I had done all the talking I could that night, and now was my quiet time, in a barful of noise (that’s livin’ alright).

a look at the book of the art of urban sketching

The Art of Urban Sketching

I am really enjoying The Art of Urban Sketching. It’s also fun seeing people from all around the world enjoying it as much as I am, and hopefully being inspired to get out and draw by every page. I like it so much, that I will be at the Avid Reader bookstore on 2nd St, Davis this Friday, Feb 24th at 7:30pm, talking about the book, about Urban Sketchers, and about urban sketching in general. If you fancy coming along to hear me yap on and on and maybe pick up a copy of the book (and support one of your local independent stores), pop by the Avid Reader at half seven this Friday evening!

PS: here is an excellent video of Gabi Campanario, the book’s author and founder of Urban Sketchers, talking about the book on local Seattle TV this week along with Gail Wong of the Seattle Urban Sketchers group. Enjoy!

The Avid Reader, Davis

The Art of Urban Sketching (Facebook page)

Urban Sketchers

the art of urban sketching!!

Very exciting news!! They’ve only been and gawn and done it. Check out your bookstore this week, and see if they have a copy of The Art of Urban Sketching, the first book by the global non-profit, Urban Sketchers! As you may know I am the Urban Sketchers (USk) correspondent for Davis, ever since the site was first founded back in November 2008, so have been eagerly anticipating this book since the USk founder, Gabi Campanario, first announced he was putting it together. He has done a tremendous job, as have the hundred or so other contributors (all correspondents on either the main blog or the regional USk blogs). Check out the cover, illustrated by Ch’ng Kiah Kiean and Paul Heaston.

The book has three main sections: “Becoming an Urban Sketcher”, explaining what we mean by ‘urban sketching’ and how to take it up yourself, with peeks inside the featured artists’ sketching kits. The second section, “See the World, One Drawing at a Time”, which takes up the larger part of the book, is a voyage across the world, city by city, through the location drawings of local urban sketchers. Yep, Davis is in there too! See below; there’s a photo of me sketching with Luke, and of course, some fire hydrants. It looks great!

The third section is called “Drawing Inspiration”, and is divided into several themes such as ‘skylines, cityscapes and perspectives’ (a beautiful panorama by Gerard Michel is in there, plus one of my absolute favourite sketches, Toledo by Luis Ruiz), ‘monuments, cars and urban furniture’ (check out the great Bay Area lamp-posts by Jana Bouc), and ‘cafes, restaurants and bars’ (my favourite bar-sketcher, Stephen Gardner, is featured in there). Believe me, there is a lot in this book, and it is all excellent and inspirational.

There is part of Gerard’s panorama above, with cityscapes by Stephen Gardner and Shiho Nakaza, using that brown-black uniball signo pen that I love so much (I ‘discovered’ its delights myself last year, but it was Shiho who actually first showed me the pen, at the Portland Symposium).

What I think I really like about this book is that I feel so familiar with most of the work, through following all these urban sketchers over the years. Some of them I was less familiar with and can now discover or rediscover without having to click here or scroll down there. The biggest pleasure though is that this is all work by a community of sketching friends, many of whom I have had the honour of sketching alongside and learning from in person. Every time I pick it up, I want to go and draw something. And I’m sure you will too! The thing about urban sketching is that it’s accessible to all, all you need is soemthing to draw with and something to draw on. Oh, and something to look at, of course, and what better thing to look at than the town or city where you live?

The Art of Urban Sketching is published globally on February 1st, so check out your local bookstore and see if they have it or can order it for you, or of course get it on Amazon (it’s currently #1 in their section on ‘painting’!). I’m on pages 30, 46-47, and 381.

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