Avalon sketches

 Posted by on May 27, 2018  Lefties, Location Sketching, Travel
May 272018

Earlier this month, Julia and I spent a pleasant week on the island of Santa Catalina, where we both did a lot of sketching. I wasn’t able to finish all my sketches on site but finished a few at our hotel on the island (and the rest at home). I finally scanned them all:

Though the weather was always sunny it was quite a bit cooler than nearby Long Beach, only an hour away by ferry. We stayed in a hotel on the waterfront in Avalon, one of only two towns on the island, with great views of the iconic Green Pleasure Pier. 

In the 1920s/30s heyday of Catalina there were two such piers, delivering vacationers from the mainland, but these days half the sightseers are deposited by cruise ships anchoring offshore. The island was bought in 1919 by William Wrigley (the Chicago chewing gum guy) and he developed the island as a vacation resort, and place for his Chicago Cubs to do spring training.  

A playground of Hollywood stars long ago, Catalina’s biggest town Avalon is mostly for the Jimmy Buffet hoi poloi these days. The bay is dominated by the Catalina Casino, and the word ‘casino’ is not used here in its Vegas usage but in an older meaning, as a meeting place for people to have fun, which in this case was to dance and watch movies (not gamble). We learned all this during a tour of this great old building. 

The beautiful old cinema on the ground floor was apparently the first cinema ever built specifically for ‘talkies’, which were the latest thing when the casino was built in 1929. Above the theatre is a massive dance floor where all the big bands of the 20s-40s came to play live for as many as 1200 dancing couples. The cinema is still in use, and while the ballroom isn’t used for nightly dances anymore, it is often used for private events. 

Getting around the island is expensive; it cost $45 an hour just to rent a little golf cart. A few day trips to sketch & picnic would get very expensive very quickly at those prices (and put a lot of pressure on the sketcher!) so we abandoned early plans of driving to sketch further afield, and confined our attentions to anything walkable within Avalon.

Thankfully, there were plenty of scenic things to draw right close by nice places to eat & drink, and fantastic views from the balcony at our hotel. 

Our trip back home to San Francisco was delayed, allowing me time to doodle a view from within the very pleasant Long Beach airport.

Sonoma sketches

 Posted by on April 29, 2018  Lefties, Location Sketching
Apr 292018
Sonoma sketches

I just tidied up and scanned some sketches drawn a few months ago while staying in Sonoma. My Brother Jo and his wife Priscilla were visiting Northern California wine tasting with a group of their friends, and invited Julia and I to meet them on the Sonoma leg of their trip. Julia found us a posh AirbnB near [..READ MORE..]

‘in darkest PERU..’

 Posted by on February 3, 2018  AutoBio, Photos, Travel
Feb 032018
'in darkest PERU..'

The joy of writing and receiving multipage handwritten letters is a lost pleasure. My letter output now is no better than the average 21st century yahoo, but I was a prodigious letter writer in the 1980s, while working in Asian animation studios to finance extensive travel. In the pre-internet & iPhone era, travel abroad might mean weeks with [..READ MORE..]


 Posted by on January 10, 2018  Lefties, Location Sketching
Jan 102018

Here is a watercolour sketch of German Christmas ornaments seen at Julia’s parents house. Her parents live on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, where we spent Julia’s birthday on a rainy New Year’s Eve, just last week. Each time we’ve visited beautiful Bainbridge I’ve always wanted to sketch, but the weather is often too cold and/or rainy rainy to [..READ MORE..]

KOed on Boxing Day

 Posted by on December 26, 2017  My stroke
Dec 262017
KOed on Boxing Day

The day after Christmas, Julia had planned to work at home but discovered she didn’t have the password to remotely access her company computer and left to work a full day down the peninsula. I planned to get coffee with my pal Tony, before assembling with Gale & Julia for dinner. After a lazy morning reading in bed [..READ MORE..]

Sep 302017
SPACE FLiK: The Corrector's Cut

Although I’ve worked in animation since 1982 and loved the medium my whole life, there was only one time that I made an animated project on my own (apart from flip-books). At the age of 15/16, my obsessions were WARNER Bros CARTOONS, STAR WARS and MAD Magazine, influences clearly seen in the crudely made parody finished over a year later. [..READ MORE..]


 Posted by on August 29, 2017  Comics, Drawings, Projects
Aug 292017

One of the first colour images I ever drew of Rocket Rabbit was of being chased by a big blue robot, who came to be called THE BLUDGEONATOR. Although that image became the cover for my first ever Rocket Rabbit comic book, I never drew any continuity for this robotic showdown back then, but I’m roughing out the [..READ MORE..]

Highland Scout

 Posted by on July 25, 2017  AutoBio, Family, Lefties, Travel
Jul 252017
Highland Scout

“Sell ticker rain jurrs, wee chwonn?!” Said he. “Huh? Oi dahnd unnerstehnn wotcha saiyin!” Said I. It was my first day at primary school in Glasgow and a mutually unintelligible clash of regional English accents was under way; Glasgow Scots vs Rural Aussie. Like me, the other kid was a knock kneed 9 year old Celt, but wearing a [..READ MORE..]

Jun 202017
Nippon By Rail

The Japan Rail Pass was grossly expensive to someone used to meagre 1980s Australian animation wages but I forked over my hard earned cash anyway, for a chance to explore the length and breadth of a country I’d long wanted to see. Only available for purchase outside Japan, The JR Pass is valid on ferries and trains (even snazzy Shinkansen ‘bullet [..READ MORE..]