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Sunday, November 26, 2017


Hollywood was originally dubbed Hollywoodland, by a real estate mogul's wife who just "liked the sound of it." Later the "land" was dropped, a sign was built and the moniker "Tinseltown" emerged as movie industry took over the neighborhood in early part of the twentieth century.  It's really the kind of place I would hate if I wasn't a sketcher. As a sketcher, it's a bonanza.

Last year around this time I sketched the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.  It left me hungry to go back, so I was delighted when the Los Angeles Urban Sketchers chose Hollywood and Highland Complex as the location for the 24-hour global sketch crawl.

My first stop was Babylon Courtyard with it's majestic elephants, and hieroglyphic wall amid an outdoor shopping mall.  These elephants are so awesome I drew them several times. They were first used on the set of the film Intolerance in 1916.

Wandering out to the street I found a mass of tourists, surging on the Avenue of the Stars amidst street sellers, performers and costumed characters.

I saw signs of the movie industry everywhere I looked- theaters surrounded me, human-sized Oscar mannequins offered photo ops; glitz and glamour flashed incessantly.

I quickly sketched another landmark, the Roosevelt Hotel, the oldest continually operating hotel in Los Angeles. In its heyday it was the favorite for many celebrities. Marilyn Monroe had a poolside room. Some have reported seeing her ghost in the mirror of that room. The Roosevelt has also appeared in many movies -- Wall Street and Maid in Manhattan being two. New York? LA? Whatever.

We met for group photos and lunch to cap off our sketching for the day. 

I had started a sketch of the street but didn't finish it on the spot, so when I had another opportunity, I returned to Hollywood. This time at night. Again the elephants were a strong pull first in black and white then watercolor.


And so were the gawkers.

And the showmen.

It's a mirage of lights and flashy glamour and the main challenge is to tune out all the distractions and focus on the essentials. I think I'm still being distracted. Guess I'll have to go back. 


  1. Those are some really nice images and its nice to see how you delivered the story. Maybe your better than me as I can only do haha. Good luck for your work.