One thing Seattle is well known for is plentiful coffee. One
statistic says that we have 35 coffee shops per 100,000 residents, putting the
total at more than 200 in a city of 84 square miles. (Actually, I was surprised
to read that the number was that low – it feels like we have one on every
block.) With that many choices, you’d think I would have no problem finding dozens
of coffee shops I could sketch in on a cold, rainy day (the second thing we are
well known for).
The problem is that I’m picky. For the best sketching, the
ideal coffee shop is relatively large (plenty of “victims”); has good interior
lighting (preferably natural); has tables arranged at various angles so that I
can see profiles as well as fronts and backs; has tables that are sufficiently
close together so that I can see people well but not so close that they can see
what I’m doing; interesting interior decoration or architecture would be a
bonus. And of course, they all have great coffee – but do they have fresh
scones? I’ve walked by many of those 200 coffee shops and rejected them outright
for not qualifying in one way or another. Up until now, only Zoka Coffee fit the bill perfectly.
Cloud City Coffee,
within walking distance of home, is probably my closest coffee shop, but I’ve
sketched it more often from the outside – either standing on the street or from one of its outdoor tables when it’s warm – than I have from the inside.
Although it was the first place I ever dared to sketch in public four years ago, I’ve
only been inside for the purpose of sketching a couple of times. The
tables aren’t arranged ideally as they are at Zoka, which is also much larger. Architecturally, Cloud
City’s interior isn’t as interesting, either. But the last time I sketched at
Zoka, the lighting was different, and the interior was much darker than
before. I decided it was time to look for a new regular haunt.
This morning I gave Cloud City another try. People waiting
in line had to stand right next to me and my sketchbook, and I couldn’t hide in
the corner as I usually try to. But maybe that’s just a habit and not really a preference,
because I found that I didn’t care if I was seen sketching. The interior
lighting is bright, and I also like the natural light coming in from the front
windows. Bonus: I could smell scones baking. Maybe it’s a keeper.
You seem to be able to find views with people facing in all directions. Nice sketches.ReplyDelete
Your coffee shop sketches are great but they're surpassed today by your discussion of 'suitable' coffee shops. You really had me smiling. We have a lot of variety in our coffee shops, with lots of very modern ones (seems a new one opens every week, probably because we're underpopulated by Starbucks) and a lot of small cafes with lots of ambiance and few tables. In spite of this, the situation is exactly as you describe. So few of them fit my sketching needs.ReplyDelete