Sparse Trains vs. Blank Pages…

It’s bound to happen to a sketch artist; you get on your train and it’s empty. Or it’s packed. Or there may be a few people and they’re moving around. Or all you see are arms and hands and feet and legs. So what do you do if you’re sitting there with a sketchbook, a blank page, and a fountain pen? You draw the empty train, or the packed train, or the fidgety people, or the arms and hands and legs and feet. Either way, whatever you end up with is better than getting off the train with the same blank page you got onto the train with in the first place.

Oktoberfest Visual Tasting Notes

I attended an Oktoberfest celebration at the National Harbor in Maryland today. While the goal was to sample some great beers and have a good time, I also wanted to visually record some of the ales and lagers we enjoyed. Unlike slower samplings of craft beers, where I sketch and record everything, for Oktoberfest, I needed to move fast. I had only one glass to work with – a plastic stein, actually – so I drew an icon of it over and over again. Then, as I tried each beer, I represented each with a swatch of color, followed by some quick notes. While there were many great beers, the winner for me was the unassuming Fordham Wisteria Wheat, which presented an almost apple-like nose and a surprisingly bold, yet well-balanced body, and stood out uniquely in a swirling sea of smoky marzens, powerful bocks, and tantalizing pilsners.

Downpour Sketch

Summertime thunderstorms come in hard and fast in Washington DC, so you better get ready to run for cover when the daytime skies turn ominously dark. Such was the situation here, when I took cover in a café waiting out yet another afternoon cloudburst. Luckily, I had my sketchbook, a Sakura Pigma pen, and a grey marker to pass the time along with a cup of coffee as I sketched the scene outside of the rain-drenched windows.

Brooklyn Letter Sketching

Over the past few months, I’ve been participating in Alphachimp Studio’sRockstar Scribe”, an introductory course to graphic recording. One module of the course emphasizes typography and letterforms in sketch-noting and graphic recording. Not too long ago, I found a unique opportunity to practice this particular discipline: I was in Brooklyn, NY, strolling along the ever-eclectic and visual vibrant Kings Highway. Barraged by a cacophony of old-world schlocky signage, I broke out my sketchbook and pen, and went to work sketching interesting letters and words. As I was doing this, raindrops began to fall, and I eventually retreated into one of the many unique eateries and pastry cafés to be found in this rather kitschy, yet storied and very visual, stretch of Brooklyn.