Sketching on a Monday morning is just as challenging as office work on a Monday morning. With the exhaustion of the weekend still in me, it takes a bit of an effort during my commute to break out the pen and sketchbook, and throw down a few ink lines before the pixel pushing begins. It’s easy for me to just sit on the train during these times and relax, but forcing myself to throw down a few lines gives me a great way to start the week.
These sketches were done in 2004, when the renown landscape artist Christo turned New York City’s Central Park into an otherworldly and ethereal experience known as The Gates, draping the vast walkways of the park with randomly – yet smartly placed – orange overhanging frames from which orange fabric was hung. It’s one thing to see the work of a master hanging on a museum wall; it’s quite another to walk through the vision of a master whom has draped landscapes and structures worldwide. These sketches here might not do the experience justice, but they are my memory points of having been a part of something truly amazing, to witness and be immersed in art history as it was happening live.
When I step out for lunch and try to grab a quick sketch in the process, I’m usually in a rush. One day, I decided to do a quick sketch of a food truck. Unfortunately, it seems the food truck was in a rush as well; it drove off shortly after I started the sketch. Not wanting to waste a page, I used the drawing to test out some new markers at the art supply store later that day.
Whenever I board a train and open my sketchbook to a blank page, I never know what will fill it by the end of a ride. Sometimes, I’ll end up with an entire drawing of a person, or just the head, or just a few facial details, or perhaps something like an arm. And in the visual jumble that is an on-the-go, beat-it-up sketchbook like the one I use for daily sketching, ink bleeding through the page from the previous day’s sketching adds a nice little surprise to whatever ends up eventually filling the page.
This is from a 2004 sketchbook. I’m a huge cycling fan, hardcore cyclist, and lover of all things cycling, and as an artist, I even draw them as well. Of course, bicycles are very technical subjects to draw, though the beauty of drawing is that you don’t have to draw things right to draw them good. When drawing bicycles, I put the rulers, compasses, protractors, and MACs away, and just draw from detail to detail, line to line, and shape to shape, simply focusing on the visuals and aesthetics that I love about bicycles. Here’s a drawing of a fixed-gear track bike, the workhorse of New York City bike messengers, and quite ubiquitous on the streets, in the traffic, and locked-up all over the city.
These were sketched on corner in the Foggy Bottom/West End neighborhood of Washington, DC. The beauty of urban settings is that if you’re ever looking to sketch something, all you have to do is step outside and look around, as I did when I stepped out for lunch and a quick sketch on a mild early winter afternoon.
These are from a sketchbook back in 2003, done during a day trip to Jones Beach on south shore of Long Island, NY. I started with a few pencil sketches to figure out the mechanics and actions of how the waves broke, along with the lights and darks they created on the water. Next, I threw down two watercolor studies to capture the color of the water and sky.
Not only did I enjoy the sketching that afternoon, but also the lovely summer day spent with my girlfriend. I think she liked the sketches, too; nine months later, she married me!
Stepping out for a few minutes on a frigid January afternoon lunch break, I quickly sketched these newspaper boxes, which are a ubiquitous feature in the urban landscape of Washington, DC. I sketched for about five minutes before my numbing fingers threw in the white flag, and I finished up the colors indoors at my warm desk.
My blog is about sketching and drawing, but if you’ve been following it closely enough (and if you have been, then thank you!), then you know that I have a passion for art supplies, including fountain pens and small sketchbooks. The post that I am reblogging here popped up on the Freshly Pressed reader here on WordPress; the author captured beautifully why we love notebooks and pens – and to a deeper degree – the timeless analog “technology” that plays perfect landing pad to the human and organic thoughts that originate in our heads and seek to get out into the world and thrive.
This is a great post and a great read; enjoy!
“Despite being a denizen of the digital world, or maybe because he knew too well its isolating potential, Jobs was a strong believer in face-to-face meetings.” That’s from Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. It’s a strange way to begin a post about notebooks, but Jobs’ views on the power of a potentially anachronistic practice applies to other seemingly anachronistic practices. I’m a believer in notebooks, though I’m hardly a luddite and use a computer too much.
The notebook has an immediate tactile advantage over phones: they aren’t connected to the Internet. It’s intimate in a way computers aren’t. A notebook has never interrupted me with a screen that says, “Wuz up?” Notebooks are easy to use without thinking. I know where I have everything I’ve written on-the-go over the last eight years: in the same stack. It’s easy to draw on paper. I don’t have to manage files…
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