Here is the final scan of a drawing I just completed in a 5″ x 8″ sketchbook. After spending a year sketching buildings in the West End neighborhood of Washington, DC, I found myself increasingly doodling small buildings while on the phone or waiting for large files to save. These little doodles led to small compositions of little buildings, and soon I was increasingly drawing little imaginary cityscapes. Eventually, I decided to produce a larger, polished version of one of these cityscapes. The initial layout was penciled at home, then refined and inked at various Meetup drawing groups in the city, as well as during occasional coffee breaks at cafés all over the DC area.
This drawing was done around 2009. I was scrawling away in a cafe, and decided to draw a bicycle, which is one of my “when there’s nothing else to draw…” themes. Being that it was the summer, also known as “Tour de France time”, I decided to have some fun and draw one of the $10,000+ carbon fiber stealth time trial bikes as used by the pro peleton, though you’ll also see a dentist on the Sunday morning shop ride with a bike like this. And yes; my fellow hardcore cyclists will probably know from which actual bikes and gear I styled this bike after.
BTW, speaking of “Le Tour”, I’ve been busy watching the race (damn good thing I didn’t put down money on this year’s edition). The race concludes this Sunday in Paris, so I’ll be back to posting more sketches and drawings afterwards.
There’s a Trader Joe’s supermarket near our office, and I often see this Gitane fixie locked to the bike rack outside. Far from Gitane’s heyday as one of the premier French brands, which included providing the bikes to French cycling legends Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon (the 1988 Systeme U team bikes are one of my all time favorites!), this old, battered, and very characteristic Gitane still always caught my eye. One day, out to pick up my supply of frozen lunches, ground coffee, and craft beer, I spotted the Gitane, and finally decided to sketch it.
I don’t remember exactly which year I did this drawing, though it was definitely before a wise man at the art supply store told me that I should always date the pages in my sketchbooks. This drawing was most likely during the recession of 2008, when jobs became scarce, money became tight, and I was trying to deal with all of the frustrations at a cafe where the air conditioning was cranked up to freezing!
More pages from my cheap, anything-goes 3″ x 5″ pocket sketchpad, which I’ve dubbed “Ugly Sketchbook”: These little doodles were actually the first time I had decided to draw buildings out of my head after spending a year intensively sketching buildings and architecture in Washington, DC. The first page is significant; in the lower left corner, I quickly scrawled a building, then realized I did it so fast that the result was of no redeeming visual value. Over to the right of it, I slowed my pen down, gave a little more thought, and came up with a doodled building with a much better perspective and whimsical style.
When sketching people on a busy commuter train, some days you just get lucky; this gentleman, with perfectly-coiffed hair, simple demeanor, and conservative wardrobe (including those cool wrap-arond earmuffs), slept still and poised for the duration of my commute. Best of all, my line of sight to him was at no time blocked as the train took on additional passengers.