Recently, leading up to my birthday, a few friends and I hit 40 bars over the span of 40 evenings, sampling 40 great beers. As we couldn’t go out every single night, we condensed a few evenings, sometimes hitting up to six bars in one night and forcing us to take the slow, unreliable, yet always entertaining last Metro trains out of Washington, DC. This provided me a chance to do some late-night sketching, where the results of some fine Belgian ales allowed me to spill ink, scrape paper, and sketch with a little more abandon. The first drawing, on the left page, shows my morning sketch on Metro, and the following were done trying to catch the midnight train from Gallery Place.
Sketching on public transportation is a gamble: somebody may sit still long enough to do a good drawing, or they may move only moments or halfway into the drawing. Here’s a few drawings of people who stayed still long enough for some quick full-figured drawing (and the good thing about a 4×6 sketchbook is that it can be opened up, flipped vertically, and spread out to an 8×6 sketchbook.)
…OK, so not so new; I actually bought this a few months ago. However, being overly immersed in a digital production design job at the time, I’ve only had scant moments to work in it up to now. This is the same brand of sketchbook I used in my days as an Illustration student at FIT. I liked the paper for its slightly rough texture, and the color was one step down from pure white. And of course, it’s also cheap! It’s a flimsy paper, though, so it’s really just good for smashing through with pencil and some ink. Of course, smashing through is what this sketchbook is all about; running through page after page with no real rules, planting seeds instead of oak trees, and letting the good, the bad, and the ugly make its way onto the paper rather than merely being trapped in the mind, where all good ideas left too long perfect themselves, but then disappear into nothingness.
We’re in the midst of a serious pub crawl. We have 40 nights to hit 40 bars before my birthday. As we can’t actually be at a different bar every night for 40 nights, we’ve been consolidating; some nights we hit four bars, some nights five, and some nights – “epics” – we hit six. We did that just the other evening as we explored the great bars of Washington DC’s lovely Eastern Market neighborhood. The first drawing is from before the bars, and the others from afterwards while on the train home. Now while I don’t advise hitting six bars in one short evening, if you are looking for a way to draw without inhibition (and sample lots of great beers), then consider this as a rather unique artistic technique.
So if you read the date on this post, you’ll see that it’s been six months since my last post. For those past six months, I was temping as production artist for a PR agency. I commuted to the job on the Washington, DC Metro, where I spent most days drawing my fellow passengers. Over time, my life/figure drawings skills – once my weakest and most avoided subject – grow as I discarded the academic constraints of life drawing classes for the fun of real world impulse drawing. Armed with a 4×6 sketchbook and a fountain pen, I let ink spill, splay, splatter, and bleed as I attempted to visually map the people around me.
I’ll post a few of the drawings each day to catch up on the past six months. Here’s the first five. Enjoy!