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The Danger of Sketching While Tired

El Cerrito Natural Grocery, sepia ink & watercolor
El Cerrito Natural Grocery, sepia ink & watercolor, 8×5″

I was so tired I almost didn’t go to our Tuesday sketch night but our destination, El Cerrito Natural Grocery, was near home so I pushed myself out the door. I only managed the sketch above, made standing using a shopping cart as my table. Even the colors looked tired. Cathy focused on the meat department and entertained the butchers with her drawings of them. Her chicken sketch is a hoot.

We left at 8:00 when the store closed and then I sat in my car for a few minutes, checking my email on my phone while trying to talk myself out of a trip to the ice cream shop. My phone rang: “Hello, this is El Cerrito Natural and you left your little notebook in your shopping cart.”

Thank goodness I always put a note on the first page of every journal: “IF LOST PLEASE CALL…” with my phone number. I said I was still in the parking lot and ran back to the front door and gratefully took it home.

Outside Peets Coffee, Ink & watercolor
Outside Peet’s Coffee, Ink & watercolor

This was another drawing while tired. I tried taking a walk to Peet’s coffee to wake myself up. Since caffeine is no longer an option, the walking and an iced decaf had to do the trick. It didn’t. I was just more tired when I got home but at least I got to sketch a bit (and didn’t lose my sketchbook this time).

I watched the blind woman at the next table (in the sketch above) make a phone call by listening carefully to the tone as she pushed each number. Her friend arrived shortly afterwards, also blind, walking a large black poodle.

Two things I wondered:

  1. If you’re meeting someone and you can’t see them, how do you know they’re there or arriving without calling out “Susie are you here…” or phoning?
  2. Why don’t you ever see standard poodles as guide dogs? I live near a center for the blind and also often see people training guide dogs on our subway system. They’re never poodles. Though they do always wear very cute booties–I wonder why?

8 replies on “The Danger of Sketching While Tired”

I am going to write my phone number in my books now! Why did it never occur to me before?
Love your thoughts about blind people. Just don’t understand either. I have a friend, a woman of about 50, blind from birth who just KNOWS you are there. It should be creepy but it isn’t.. One last thought. do all US guide dogs wear cute little bootees? Never seen it here in UK.


Yay! Glad to know your sketchbooks will be found if lost now. I’ve only seen the booties on guide dogs in training. My guesses are that they might need them for traction on escalators or that they could be given to blind people living in areas with very hot pavement, like the American Southwest, though I’m sure dogs have lived there forever without needing boots. I know my son brought booties for his dog when they did a two week wilderness hike in the Sierra mountains and even with the boots, her feet got really sore (as did his, I’m sure!) Jana


Good point. I tried to find info online but didn’t really see anything but thought it had to do with getting them used to them in case they’re needed if they go to hot places, or that it makes going up and down the subway escalators less slippery. Next time I’ll ask one of the trainers. Jana


Oh, I love your “sketches while tired”! I would never know that the colors were not vibrant enough and I find this scene very charming. Is your tiredness temporary, I hope?


Thanks so much. Yeah, tiredness varies…and is mostly temporary…having too much fun in the studio or working too hard or too late and then too wound up to sleep, or annoying cats waking me during the night, a bit of insomnia for no reason at all… .just the usual stuff. Jana


I always get very frustrated with myself and my results when tired. Your tiredness doesn’t show in neither of your sketches.
I’ve never seen booties on guide dogs for the blind – but I’m also from Uk, definitely not hot pavements there.


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