Fool’s Day Parade

Occidental Fools Parade

Tomorrow is Fool’s Day of course. But you’ll have to wait til next Saturday to celebrate Occidental-style with the annual Fools Parade. This is some of the best sketching of the year with many of the townspeople dressing up as the fools (I am sure they are not) and parading down the main street of town, accompanied by the Hubbub Club marching band and lots more foolery.


Whether or not you want to dress up as some kind of fool and march in the parade, or just come and gawk and sketch, you are invited to join me and others for a sketch meet up. Here’s the details:


Join in the fun of this whimsical tradition where families in this picturesque town in the redwoods dress up as “fools” and parade their silly way down the main street in town, ending at Occidental Center for the Arts.  Experience extreme frivolity, bands, music, crowning of the King and Queen of Fools, Lunapillar rides and more!

Meet at noon in the parking lot of the Occidental Community Center to sketch people getting ready for the parade, which starts at 1pm. Walk in the parade while sketching, or sit on the street and watch. To sketch people in costume, there’s no better setting. (Some sketchers will be in costume too.)

The Hubbub Club band will provide live music, and there will be food of course. It’s all totally foolish and fun. What better excuse do you need to get out of the city and go exploring in Sonoma county?

There are people to direct traffic and help with parking nearby.

I will be there in my tutu at noon and later walking in the parade. We can meet back in the same parking lot of the Community Center after the parade to see presentations by Zero the Clown and others on the Podium of Impossibility and share sketches after that, around 2:30 or 3 behind the Community Center where the bleachers are.

See sketches from an earlier year’s parade here 

Meet you there?! Contact me if you have questions.

TV and Photo Sketch Practice

The more I draw, the hungrier my eyes become for images to sketch. For instance, my favorite TV programing, Masterpiece Theatre! the costuming! the dramatic expressions of the characters! Sometimes while I’m watching I’m also doing imaginary sketches. So after I watched The Bronte Sisters on PBS I went back and found my favorite poses and indulged myself.


I grabbed a couple fountain pens, my credit card sized mini w/c palette and water brush, which I carry in my purse, and sketched furiously to simulate real life (and because it was late and I was tired)


Next day I did the other Brontes, with a bit more care, but trying not to overwork.


You may have seen the figure on the left from my “live” Fool’s Day sketches. The fool on the right came from pictures I took in the parade. I know I couldn’t have sketched those hands as more than crude mittens if it were live. I think the practice of studying pictures of frozen action helps prepare one for the next real time event.


I was so impressed with fellow Urban Sketcher Liz’ hat, as well as her sketches, so I had to get her down in my sketchbook.


And one more post parade fool, texting on the steps.

ARCH Art Supply Poster

Arch Art Supply store in San Francisco made blk/white posters of the sketches done by all ten of the Urban Sketch teachers who will be offering workshops in the Bay Area this spring! For more information about the workshops, check out the 10 X 10 workshop schedule. My workshop is June 10, “Sketch Vignettes to Share the Story That Interests YOU!”

Here’s the Arch poster with my sketches from the Occidental Fool’s Day Parade, which will be coming up again this year.Yes, on April first. Maybe I’ll see you there?


Fool’s Day Parade


Fountain pen and w/c in 6 X 8″Stillman and Birn sketchbook (alpha series)

This was the second year in a row Carole and I headed over to Occidental, the lovely little town nestled in the redwoods, for the Fools parade. (You can see last year’s sketches here.) It seems like the whole town turns out for this delightfully goofy event, and it appears that they all know each other. The optional attire is anything fool-ish, which leaves infinite room for invention. And you definitely don’t have to worry about standing out!  Most people walk/dance/whatever in the parade, which has no obvious organization, but plenty of pizzazz, and the rest watch.

Since we knew what to expect this year, we were better prepared. For instance there would be no sitting and sketching. So the sketchbook was open in hand and the pens and water brush in a pocket vest.

In fact, mostly we were walking and sketching. Carole even did some painting while walking! I made color notes as I sketched and added the paint later, when we could sit a moment and rest.

Some of these subjects had an official role to play, like Zero the clown, who later mounted the Podium of Impossibility to crown new royalty, and other foolishness.  Others were folks standing in front of me when I looked up and needed another subject.

Enjoy the parade!


In the first sketch I tried my Pentel brush pen, but it must have been a very dry day, because I couldn’t get much of a line, or maybe I was too rushed?


Following this guy, trying to get the hang of making lines while walking. Yes, that’s a boxing glove hanging from his waist, I think?


Here I was starting to get major costume envy.  Next year. . .


The Hub Bub Club is a marching band with more than one tuba, fabulous costumes and a super cool attitude that makes me want to follow them anywhere!


I’m happy to report that I had no time to take pictures.  Often it’s like, you can either take photos or sketch, but not both.


There was a band setting up to play after the parade. Picture a big guy, maybe the bassist? dressed in a bunny suit.  Now you’ve got the idea of Fool’s Day in Occidental.


You sketch what you have time for and leave out the rest. So the tuba grew out of a head.


A good place to end. . .with a benediction by a Cardinal.