Where do I begin? I’ve gone from posting weekly here on Sketchbook Warrior, to barely posting anything over the past few months. The year started off busier than expected, shifting priority away from blogging, and towards client work. As much as I enjoy client projects, I also enjoy blogging, and though Sketchbook Warrior has slowed down, it’s not done, and there’s more to come. I’ve had a few moments to peer over at my WordPress Reader, and realize that there is long queue of awesomeness to look at and comment on. I also want to welcome and thank the new followers, whom are bringing even more awesomeness into this WordPress network and community.
In the meantime, I’ve been hammering away at my sketchbooks, working on more buildings, more people, more doodles, and exploring freehand creative work. I have a backlog of work to post, including drawings like the one seen below.
As always, thanks for visiting Sketchbook Warrior, and I look forward to bringing you more sketchbook pages to enjoy.
I spent the past year sketching buildings and street details all over the West End neighborhood of Washington, DC, during my lunchtime strolls. While this skill – “urban sketching” – eventually became relatively well-practiced over time, I still had some days where I was still very much in the experimental stages. Such is the case below, where I did a quick 20-minute sketch with ink and markers of a scene based on a construction crane. Not as well-developed as the sketches that I did after this one, but the goal was simple; sketch enough of a capture of the scene that whenever I look at it, my memories of the moment fill in the missing details.
When sketching on the Washington, DC Metro, I sometimes come away with a nice capture of a full person, their detailing and personality, or even a rich color study. Other days, though, I come away with bits and pieces of people, half-drawn poses, or a mangled-mess of heads, hands, and faces. I have a name for pages like these; I call them “practice”, and between every page containing a Behance-worty sketch, there are tons of pages that look like the ones below, with the former not being possible without the latter.
When I want to draw simply for the sake of drawing, I work from a few go-to subject matters that I always keep in mind. One of them is bicycles, which I’ll draw from my mind, completely freehand, and without the aid of rulers or protractors. I’ll start at a particular feature, like a brake lever or a crankset, and branch out from there. I’m not sure when I drew this bicycle, probably back in 2009. If you know (read: obsess over) bicycles, then you can probably tell that this is some townie singlespeed, and can pick out the Chris King headset.
Will there be people to sketch on any given day on the Washington, DC Metro? Will they all fit nicely onto one page? Sometimes a page of random people reflects the random and dynamic nature of urban sketching on, of all places, a busy commuter train.
The name of this blog is Sketchbook Warrior, and while no heavy weaponry, explosives, or hand-to-hand combat is actually used in the service of this blog, the reality of making time to work in my sketchbooks is a real battle. In particular, it’s a battle for time and logistics. Between family, work, cycling, laundry, laundry, and laundry, I often find myself trying to create a 25th hour in the day just to work in my sketchbooks. Three years ago, I launched the opening salvos in this battle when, on my daily train commutes, I swapped reading the newspaper for picking up my sketchbook and sketching the people around me. Last year, I swapped surfing the web during lunch for going outside to sketch for a few minutes. While the train sketches became the “Metro Sketch” posts – daily exercises in life and figure drawing – the lunchtime sketches, a.k.a. “Lunchlines”, became multi-day studies of the local architecture here in Washington, DC as well as an intensive practices in location and urban sketching.
I’ll be posting a series of posts over the coming weeks showing the process of these sketches. The first is from a sketch of this house. I selected it for various features; the corner rotunda, the intricate door and balcony detailing, and what has turned out to be my favorite detail in local architecture: the roof tiles. The main goal of these sketches is not so much as to get everything right as it is simply to just get everything (and likewise, I really very limited time to do these each day). This particular sketch was done with a cheap gel pen; no pre-sketching with a pencil, and was finished with a collection of aging markers into my small 4″ x 6″ hardcover sketchbook.