Drawing People Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings

A is for Age, Avoiding, Annoying, Anxious…

In April my sketch group decided to sketch things starting with “A” but I kept going with it. I had a lot of fun finding things about the people I sketched that started with A. Click on any of the pictures to see them larger with my notes in slide show format. As you’ll see from the times in the notes, I was working some long hours the past couple months which is why I’m so behind on posting. When time is limited I always choose painting over posting.

Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings

(Mostly) Subway Sketches

Subway is TOO LOUD
Subway is TOO LOUD

I’ve gotten so used to sketching people in public that sometimes I forget to be subtle. Then I get glares or confused looks from people who can’t figure out why I keep looking at them. One day a guy down the train was holding up a camera and continuously filming everyone which I found annoying. Filming seems more intrusive since my drawings rarely capture a close-enough likeness for anyone to worry about.

Here are some random people sketches, mostly from my 13 minute subway ride to work. They are displayed first in a slide show (with arrows to click through) and at the bottom in “gallery” format. In gallery format you can click to enlarge a picture.

Please take the poll in between the two so I can learn which type of display for multiple pictures you prefer. THANKS!

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Drawing Life in general People Subway drawings

Subway Sketches and Exploding Head Decisions

Subway heads 1, ink in Small Moleskine sketchbook
Subway heads on way to work, ink in Small Moleskine sketchbook

It’s appropriate to be posting sketches of heads since mine feels like it might explode if I have to make one more decision! There is so much going on in my little life right now, and so many important and non-important choices to make that my brain wants to go on strike.

Some of the decisions have to do with traveling with oil paints for the first time to the Rose Frantzen 5-day workshop in Arizona in early February (ship supplies by UPS or USPS? risk checking paints in my suitcase? how to get wet paintings home? live-in or drop-by cat sitter while I’m gone? plus all the travel worries a homebody like me can drum up).

Subway heads 2, ink in small Moleskine sketchbook
Subway heads on way to San Francisco, ink in small Moleskine sketchbook

The guy on the left above was actually standing right above me on the subway and interested in what I had been drawing, posed for me. He was nice enough to say he liked it. I wanted to tell him I’d fallen in love with his chin, but figured that would be stupid.

Subway 3, Waiting
Subway people waiting, drawing slowly

Other decisions I’m dealing with have to do with some remodeling of my duplex to prepare the back unit (currently my studio) as a rental unit, replacing both kitchen/pantry/laundry room floors, moving my studio out to the new former-garage studio (easier now thanks to space planning help from my sister the amazing interior designer), and lots of sorting and getting rid of stuff to prepare for the moves.

And all the above lead to leaving my half-time day job and getting to paint full-time. But of course there are decisions related to that too, like when to take the leap, currently planned for about a year from now.

I’m grateful these decisions are all about happy, exciting, positive changes. But even happy things can be stressful. There’s even a word for that: eustress.

eustress: noun.  Stress that is deemed healthful or giving one the feeling of fulfillment. From Greek: eu ‘well, good’ + stress, modeled on distress

The trick for me is to just make each decision once and not rethink it. Decide. Done. Next. I’m getting there.

Bookbinding Drawing People Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings

Quick Sketches in Stonehenge Kraft Brown Potato Chip Journal

Last Page Spread, Chip Journal, 6x7.5"
Last Page Spread, Chip Journal, 6x7.5"

I breezed through this little pamphlet-bound potato chip box journal in a few weeks. Since Roz Stendahl just posted about her problems binding this paper, I thought I’d share my results with binding and sketching on this paper.

Since my sketchbook was small, pamphlet-bound (stitched down the middle only) with just 3 holes, I didn’t have trouble with the pages cracking like she did in her case-bound journal. I found the paper too rough for drawing with a fine point or fountain pen and settled on a Faber-Castell Pitt Medium pen. I also experimented unsuccessfully on one sketch with a white gel pen.

I do like the paper for quick sketching and I’m going to continue experimenting with it. Roz says it’s good for gouache. I’d like to try it using black line and wash with white gouache for highlights. I used it for oil pastel and wasn’t happy with the results.

Oil Painting Painting Still Life Subway drawings

Apples, Delicious #1 (post fixed)

Big Red Delicious Apple, oil on panel, 6x6"
Big Red Delicious Apple, oil on panel, 6×6″

It’s funny how a small apple on a small panel can look so big! In the lunch room at the office where I work, people bring in boxed lunches from a nearby cafe. The boxes always include a petite Delicious apple but nobody eats them, preferring the sandwich on homemade bread, chips, and giant cookie.

So the apples are abandoned on the lunchroom table and I take them home to use as still-life objects. I have about a dozen of them now (they seem to last forever) and like setting them up to interact with each other like actors on a stage.

This painting is available on my DailyPaintworks gallery.

Drawing Faces Life in general People Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings Urban Sketchers

Mohawk Fashion Victim: Subway Drawings

Mohawk Fashion Victim, Ink & sticker, 8x5"
Mohawk Fashion Victim, Ink & sticker, 8x5"

You can imagine my glee when this gentleman in full Mohawk sat down across from me on BART. Entranced by his cell phone, he never noticed me sketching and held perfectly still. It must have taken him a long time to get his hair to stand up so perfectly–and why? Especially first thing in the morning? I awarded him a sticker (on his page) from National Geographic.

UPDATE: Larry Hatfield sent me this link to a great Mohawk at a crazy website: People of Walmart where photos of actual shoppers and products at Walmart make you laugh, cringe and/or swear never to go to a Walmart.

Sedate Subway Reader
Sedate Subway Reader

And above, bonus BART rider sketches, people reading actual books, not a cellphone/Kindle, etc.  And below some subway feet sketches.

BART rider feet
BART rider feet

I was amused by the variety of guys shoes, from super point to square toes to waffle soles.

Drawing People Sketchbook Pages Subway drawings Urban Sketchers

Wintery Rider on Way to Work

Wintery Rider on BART
Wintery Rider on BART

There’s something about this sketch that really says winter in Northern California to me: bundled up, boots on, bare trees out the window, and a sense of quiet.

Now that I only work in the office two days a week I have fewer opportunities for sketching on my 13 minute subway ride but always enjoy the adventure of trying to sketch someone, not knowing if they’ll get off in a minute at the next stop.