Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bell Harbor Pier (Plus Two Bucket List Items Checked)

5/15/18 Space Needle from Bell Harbor

Located on the north end of the waterfront, Bell Harbor Pier might be one of Seattle’s last remaining secrets. Connected to the Bell Harbor Conference Center by a pedestrian bridge, it probably attracts event attendees between seminars and buffet lunches, but it’s also always open to the public. On a gorgeous Tuesday afternoon, the waterfront was crowded with tourists and other pedestrians on the street level, yet just a few flights of stairs up, I had the pier nearly to myself.

I almost sketched the city skyline (see photo at bottom of page), and the moored boats were also tempting. But when I swiveled around to look to the north, I spotted the Space Needle peek-a-booing from behind a stack of buildings. The Needle is still wearing its ugly hat while renovation continues on new features intended to lure more tourists and their money (yawn).

Now that I know how beautiful and undiscovered the Bell Harbor Pier is, I’ll probably be going there more often just to sketch. On that day, however, I had another motive:

The name Aaron Draplin became familiar to me after I started using Field Notes and discovered that he is the designer of the little notebooks that I have grown fond of using as pocket sketchbooks. But it wasn’t until I had viewed several video recordings of the motivational talks he gives to designers that I became a fan – not specifically of his design work but more of his philosophy toward design and freelance business. I’m not a designer nor an entrepreneur (anymore), yet he was inspiring even to me. I imagine that he is very motivating to young people just getting started in their design careers.

Aaron, Aaron and me!
I’d heard that Aaron was coming to town to give a seminar at a Drbbble design conference, which was to be followed by a party that was open to the public. I decided I would go meet him there. After sketching the Space Needle, I waited in a long line of other people for the party to begin. In the distance, I could see Aaron in the middle of a crowd, and he seemed to be waving to me! Although he knew that I followed him on Instagram and hung out in the Field Nuts Facebook group, we’d never met before. . . was he really waving to me? In fact, he was, and came right over to talk to me! Here’s how he described it on Facebook the next day:

A-ha – so my shirt turned out to be a very good investment! 😉 (That’s the same shirt I wore when I made my pilgrimage to Field Notes headquarters in Chicago last year.) He’s a very cool guy, and I was thrilled to meet him.

Even more thrilling than meeting him? Sketching him! So that’s two things I checked off on my life list that day.

Skyline and Elliott Bay from Bell Harbor Pier

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