[By Pete Scully in Santa Barbara, CA]
Recently I was in Santa Barbara, on the southern California coast. It's a city full of red tiled rooftops and palm trees, the ocean air, people with tattoos, and a lot of wine-tasting rooms. I didn't taste any wine, but I did taste some beer. I sought out a couple of different bars that I had heard of, the above one being called Elsie's. I really liked that place, because I think it was designed specifically with me sketching it in mind. There are license plates everywhere, artifacts dotted around, a bike hanging from the ceiling wrapped in christmas lights above a pool table; yeah, I didn't draw that, actually. I focused on the bar, listened to the cool music, had some interesting beers, and took a cab back to the hotel. This place was very chilled out. They even serve breakfast cereal behind the bar.
On a different night I visited a popular pub on State Street called the James Joyce. This was different entirely from Elsie's, being in the mould of an Irish pub In America, which of course is also fun to draw. Sketching bars is a great way to practice interior perspective. It's not just an excuse to go to the pub, it's, you know, artistic research. I perched on the edge of the bar for the best view, despite the draught from the door, and tapped my foot to the warblers and crooners who took to the microphone for the popular karaoke night. There were a lot of regulars out singing, and it was a friendly convivial atmosphere. I even took a break from sketching to sing myself, yes, I did sing. I also sketched a whole bunch of karaokeistas, like the people below. The one on the left was very serious about his craft, and belted out a song about a rooster who "aint gonna die", an immortal rooster, like a Deadpool rooster I imagine. Fair play to him. After sketching like everyone who sang, I walked home past the ocean and the palm trees, sketched a fire hydrant with a shoe on it (honestly) and went to bed.