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Commuters, Geese & Working Conditions

People on Bart

Today’s morning and evening commuters sketched on BART. I’m starting to work on simplifying my lines, trying to identify the essence of the person or thing I’m drawing and exaggerating those characteristics a bit. I was able to do that on some of the people–especially the two standing at top right.

Geese in Snow Park

During my lunch break today I sketched for a few minutes in Oakland’s Snow Park, land of the wall-to-wall goose-poop lawn. The homeless guy in the background was taking turns eating bread and throwing it to the geese. Then he took all of his belongings out of his giant bin, which looked like the sort of thing they use in commercial laundries to move tons of linens around.

I know about commercial laundries because I worked in one for a day as a high school girl in San Diego, moving diapers in and out of the washer and dryer. After about 3 hours in the over 100 degree heat, I fainted. The kind, very pregnant Mexican lady I was working with somehow carried me to the bosses office where I woke up was promptly fired for not being strong enough.

My next attempt at a summer job was working in a pharmacy. My duties were to wipe the words “SAMPLE, NOT for sale” off of pills using a Q-tip dipped in acetone and then put them back into bottles, and to dust shelves. I quit after a couple of weeks–the work was horrible but even worse was the 100% white synthetic uniform I had to wear that felt like a sauna suit in the non-air-conditioned store in a hot San Diego summer.

Now I have a quiet, roomy office on the 27th floor (hope there’s no earthquakes) with a view of Lake Merritt and Fairland Park, building engineers to call if it’s too warm or cool, a fully equipped kitchen, great equipment, and a group of the most ethical, brilliant, funny, kind, dedicated women to work with. And I only go there 3 days a week, telecomuting another half day from home, with the rest of the time for art and other stuff. I am so grateful!

Brown Micron Pigma pen in little Moleskine sketchbook

6 replies on “Commuters, Geese & Working Conditions”

Life’s twists and turns are interesting! I am envious of your work hours, one of these days…

Great job hitting the mark on the two women at to top of the first sketch! I can definitely see where you are trying to go, it is always interesting to see others learning, especially such a talented artist like you! It reminds me that that even the best aren’t “there” with everything and we are all on different parts of the path, as it were…

The geese are cool too!


lol Jana, your goose sketch (wonderful!) and description (of the lawn!) really resonants with me! I live on the edge of a park, across the street a lake and home to ’bout a hundred ducks and geese, getting around said lake like traversing a poop minefield, I know of what you speak!

fun sketches!


I love reading your blog. It is so funny how a day on the train and in a park of ducks and geese led to stories about your past jobs! Oh, how the artist’s mind works!!!
I especially like the drawing of the person in the upper left hand corner on the bus. This is how I draw myself in caricature…. round head, all cheeks.


hey there! i have started a new blog to showcase portraits that people draw on the train or subway. i was wondering if i could feature your work with a link to your website / flickr stream / twitter or whatever you want?


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