Friday, December 6, 2013

Virginity a Fond Memory at Cloud City (and Last Chance for the Hero)

12/6/13 Diamine Chocolate Brown ink, Sailor pen, Canson XL 140 lb. paper
Ever since I discovered Zoka Coffee near Green Lake, I haven’t frequented Cloud City Coffee as often. Zoka’s spacious interior and high windows make it more appealing for sketching. But I have a soft spot in my heart for Cloud City, and not just because it’s right in my own Maple Leaf neighborhood: Cloud City Coffee was the first place I ever sketched in public.

12/6/13 Private Reserve Ebony Brown ink, Hero pen, Sketchbook Project sketchbook
That day I had brought with me a nearly new, handbound, leather-covered sketchbook that I paid $160 for shortly after I had made the commitment to draw regularly. I had filled the first several pages with a few still lifes at home. But even back then, I knew in my heart that I wanted to be an urban sketcher. So on the morning of Oct. 14, 2011, I walked the few blocks to Cloud City, bought some coffee, sat down at a table and took the sketchbook out. I was certain every person in the room was staring at me. Before I could lose my nerve, I hastily picked out my first victim (the man on the left in the sketch at the bottom of the post) and started to draw. And thus began one of my now-favorite cold-weather activities: sketching in coffee shops. (When I look at that two-year-old sketch now, I still recall the rush of anxiety and paranoia!)

Today I was on my way home from running errands when I stopped at Cloud City on a whim. After a quick one in my Sketchbook Project sketchbook (only one more page to go!), I got tired of being blasted by frigid air (we’ve had temperatures in the mid-20s all week) every time the door opened, so I moved to the other side of the room. Men in Seattle – at least those who frequent coffee shops in the middle of the day – tend to wear sweaters and crewnecks, so I rarely have opportunities to practice sketching a dress shirt (that pleat in back is challenging). Today I did (top of post). And as I sketched, I felt nostalgic fondness for this place where I lost my sketching-in-public virginity.

(Technical note: After generally rejecting it back in September, I thought I’d give the Hero pen another try. I do like the nib on it, which is similar to those on my beloved Sailors. But I can’t seem to get over the Hero’s significantly heavier weight. And it’s not just the weight; it feels unbalanced in my hand, like the weight is in the back half. OK, Hero – you had your second chance. You’re coming out of my bag for good.)

10/14/11 Pencil

1 comment:

  1. Not only have your sketches improved but you are sketching directly in ink and shading too. Quite a change in 2 years!!! I can't believe you were sketching in a $160 sketchbook!


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