Thursday, May 21, 2015

Abandoned House

This house, two blocks away, caught my eye soon after we moved to our new place near Greenlake, but I waited for a sunny day to draw it. It's clearly abandoned and overgrown, yet it's on a prime corner overlooking Green Lake. Curious as to how such potential just goes fallow.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bothell Country Village Mall

Met with the Seattle Urban Sketchers at Bothell Country Village Mall this morning. An overcast day so the lighting wasn't optimal, but a great turn-out with many new faces, including students from both my classes at Gage, and from my on-line class (

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Main Street Gyros

I've had my eye on this former Taco Bell (you can see the old bell logo design in the stucco) for a while, and meeting the sketchers in Pioneer Square was the perfect opportunity to knock this out. Somehow this little eatery has survived many incarnations and is now a Mediterranean/Greek place. It reminds me of Edith Macefield's place in Ballard, dwarfed by modern towers and busy traffic. It was a bright sunny day and over the hour and a half I sat near the curb I sunburned the backs of both my hands.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Three demos from my Weekend Workshop at Gage.

The first demo to show ink wash toning:
Then color glazing:
And finally, with about forty minutes left in class, I challenged myself to finish a drawing before class ended:

Friday, April 24, 2015

Vera's Diner, Ballard, and Elliott Bay Bookstore, Seattle

Donna and I had breakfast at Vera's in Ballard and lingered long enough to each do a sketch. Here's mine:

And here I sat trying not to get caught drawing these browsers at Elliott Bay Bookstore:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Burke Museum Masks

I'd planned to draw dinosaur bones but the clutter of artifacts downstairs was more my thing. A work order was called in to fix the lights in the display case that went out every few minutes, making the glass reflect only me and Donna and the room behind us, providing an extra challenge not unlike trying to draw the other side of a street through busy traffic. I'll be going back on free Thursdays to draw often. There's a lot of tempting busy-ness to capture.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fremont Coffee Redux

For my first bike ride of spring I went to Fremont Coffee and drew from the front porch. I drew from this same spot five years ago. Here's today's drawing followed by the 2015 version:

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Behind the Scenes

Hey, Everybody!
I just finished an entertaining and inspiring book about the writing process (though it applies to other long-form art projects as well) by Peter Turchi. He explores writing as a form of puzzle-creation, which accurately describes my feelings as I put together this memoir in drawings.
Now that I've completed 50 of the approximately 75 sections of the graphic narrative parts of the book, I can start to arrange them visually on a bulletin board, reading left-to-right, balancing chronology with narrative logic. I can also test for continuity and see where I need to insert sequences for exposition or to develop themes. Spaces on the board indicate where I've yet to draw.
I chose to draw the sections out of sequence for several reasons. When Robert Crumb illustrated the Book of Genesis, it took him four years. By the time he finished, his drawing style had changed to the point where he had to go back and redraw the beginning of the book so the styles would match.
I assumed my drawing would change over the course of the year it's taking to draw all these pages, so by drawing scatter-shot, building up the entire book at once (similar to working all over a painting) there would not be a slow transition from one style to another. I also had in mind Daniel Clowes' WILSON (composite sample made from different chapters, above), where each section of the book is drawn in a completely different style, yet the narrative holds. With that example in mind, I felt free to experiment without worrying about losing the story. 

The graphic section of the book (there are also text-based passages, Urban Sketches, a How-To chapter and little essays planned) has three main narrative threads. Originally there was a fourth, but in assembling the sections I saw that two really went better together as one, and the thread about my brother became more and more important as I drew. You can see a higher resolution of the following one in my comics section:
I spent this morning roughing out another six-page story:

It'll go through many rewrites and drafts before it's finished in a week or so. These "comics" take a lot longer to complete than an Urban Sketch, so it's nice to take a break occasionally and go whip something out quickly, as I did on Friday with the Seattle Urban Sketchers. We met at the Museum of Flight where I drew the Lunar Rover, below.

Thanks for reading. If, like me, you find these behind-the-scenes peeks at the creative process interesting, I hope you'll tell a friend.
Now, back to work,

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Lunar Rover

Sat in the darkened room with the landing simulator games and drew the lines of this Rover while listening to the audio loop: "We got some guys turning blue, thanks for restoring the oxygen. We got some guys turning blue, thanks for restoring the oxygen. We got-" and so on.

The guard watched me and said, "I draw, but I never show anybody." I convinced him to show me his drawings on his phone, and they were beautiful detailed urban sketches in pen and ink! I hope he follows through on his promise to look us up.

I finished the ink wash afterwards from the trophy photo at left.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Reminder: This blog is NOT my main blog. To see more current work and complete blog postings, go to


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Latest blog post from my new site:

If you haven't yet, I hope you'll visit and leave your email for future posts.

Because it's really cold here in Seattle, I drew a series of coffee shop interiors that are walking distance from my home (all images can be seen larger in the "Works" section of my website.):

Donna and I spent some time on Thanksgiving and Christmas at our family cabin on Green River where I drew these interiors:


I'm most engaged with the graphic memoir I'm drawing, illustrating my journals of the last 40 years. It was interesting to read Mimi Pond's just published graphic memoir "Over Easy." Like me, she attended the California College of Art in the late 70s/early 80s, and even worked in the same restaurant I did. While her book is entirely about the café, it plays a small role in my memoir. Here are our two takes on our similar experiences (her drawings are the green tinted ones):

Near the end of her book, she drew the exterior of my old apartment. You can see that my memory of the ART'S sign was a little off, but I'm drawing from memory without references, as I want to stay true to what I recall.
Okay, back to work. Talk to you next month (or so).
(Oh, if you know someone you think might be interested in this sort of thing, I hope you'll spread the word. Thanks!)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Reminder: My new website is

Lincoln Elementary students in the computer lab, drawn on location.

If you're still looking here for my latest, please note that I have consolidated my posts, blog, workshop announcements, book release info, etc. to I hope you will visit and enter your email address to receive posts (only two or three per month). Thanks!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Duo Eamon

Commission for folk duo in Massachusetts. For more info visit

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Caffe Appassionatto Roaster

A former student from my first year of teaching in 1998 invited me to draw the roaster at Caffe Appassionatto Magnolia. A bit of a challenge to draw through the highly reflective glass, and I'm sure I've misconnected some piping to the wrong ducts, but it was a nice relaxing hour with an equally nice latte, on the house. Thanks, Maitland!