After drawing people on the Metro long enough, I’ve become attuned to their day-to-day generalities: where they sit, what they do, and even what they wear. In picking out markers to match the palette of the Metro rider in this very government-oriented town, I’ve found that beige and light blue are very apt and useful colors to always have on hand.
In art school, we had life drawing classes where we had three full hours to render a model in a controlled and predictable environment. If you were the type, then you enjoyed the three hours of trying to render the model with conté crayons, india ink washes, or various degrees of graphite. I was not this type, finding the classes too long, too boring, and the techniques requiring not enough life or excitement. This is why I love drawing on the Metro: you don’t know who will be your model, how they will pose, or how much time you’ll have to sketch it all with just one pen. Such was the case here: this gentleman appeared once a few passengers left the train, and I had only a few minutes to draw him. It’s not to the exacting academic standards of those life drawing classes, but rather real world, real life, and a lot of fun to do.
Sketching on a commuter train is never a guarantee of anything; you’re never guaranteed a good seat, you’re never guaranteed good subjects or poses, and you’re never guaranteed enough time to capture a subject. Either way, if you’ve chosen to sketch the people around you instead of reading a paper or doing whatever you do on a smartphone (or even merely sleep), then you grab whatever faces you can and scrawl away. The faces may not be much, but they are good practice and they do keep the hand moving, the ink flowing, and the mind going.