I picked up a new sketchbook today. It was the smallest, cheapest, simplest sketchbook I could find in the whole art supply store. I laid out a grand total of $2.54 for it.
Because I wanted a sketchbook for doing crappy, dirty, messy, ugly drawings, the kind that a penny-pinching perfectionist like myself would never do in some $15 Moleskine. We’re talking real no-holds barred, what the hell is that crap, you suck-kinda drawings.
So if you see an Ugly Sketchbook post here on Sketchbook Warrior, it’s really just me trying to punch my perfectionism in the proverbial nads. With a pen. While I’m waiting for a big Photoshop file to save. As I’m drinking a beer(s). And not caring all that much other to obliterate, vandalize, disgrace, and otherwise smash the blank surface of a paper in violation of probably every artistic and creative rule I’ve ever conjured up for myself.
The sketch below is a street of ornate row homes in the DuPont Circle neighborhood. As somebody whom used to be adverse to complex sketching, especially of street scenes, this sketch was a nice break out of a “comfort zone”, which was really just a case of artistic laziness-meets-fear of not doing a “good sketch”. I simply started on the left side of the page, and drew everything in my path until I hit the right side of the page. By the time I was done, any preconceived notion of “good” seemed to fade away into irrelevance, and I simply came up with a sketch that made me happy.
This blog is called Sketchbook Warrior, and though it’s all about sketching, none of it would happen without a sketchbook itself. Over the past two years, pretty much all of my sketching has been done in the small 4″ x 6″ hardcover sketchbooks by Art Alternatives. These great little sketchbooks, which are low on price and high on quality, have been my constant and reliable companions. They’re durable, the paper takes many media and doesn’t let too much bleed through to the subsequent pages, folds flat to allow 8″ x 6″ sketching and easy scanning, and with the money saved versus laying out almost three times as much for a Moleskine, you don’t mind screwing up a page or two (you have 120 pages to work with in these books!)
And since this is the 200th post on Sketchbook Warrior, I wanted to use the occasion to mention these sketchbooks, and to thank the fine and friendly people at Art Alternatives for sending me the gift of a new sketchbook. I also I want to extend a thank you to all of you whom have clicked onto and clicked around on this blog, came back and clicked some more, became followers, commented on posts, and in general participated and interacted with me in this realm of art and sketching and drawing and whatever else we do in these books that begin as blank pages and end up with incredible expressions of ourselves, each other, and the world around us all.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I never know what’s going to end up on the pages of my sketchbooks when I sketch on the Washington, DC Metro. On this particular day, what I assumed would be a lackluster afternoon of sketching on the ride home (right page) quickly became an important afternoon of sketching when I noticed some crossed arms on a napping gentleman (left page). I’ve always found crossed-arms rather challenging to draw, so this was a great opportunity to focus less on sketching in general, and practicing a crucial life-drawing pose in particular.
This is from a sketchbook back in 2000. I have absolutely no idea what it means; sometimes you just pick up the pen and go (and sometimes, the pen is a Mont Blanc Noblisse fountain pen with an extra-fine 14k white gold nib. Got it for cheap from a pen store I worked at.)
Food trucks are increasingly the rage here in Washington, DC. Some of them are rather imaginative and innovative, and are painted to match as such. Others, however, are rather simple and simply focus on the food. Such was the case with the truck seen here; I wanted to sketch a food truck, but didn’t have too much time during my lunchtime stroll, so I choose this rather simple-styled truck (which I’m sure dishes out some wonderful food!)
Two faces from a commute on the Metro.
Before the Washington, DC Metro became a big part of my life, I was a hardened New York City Subway rider. The sketchbook page below, done in 2000, includes a drawing I did showing a typical ride on the NYC Subway. I put myself into the drawing as well; can you figure out which one is me?
I like to quickly sketch bikes I see locked up outside of the surrounding office buildings during my lunchtime strolls. One bike I see often is this black Bottecchia, which has been retrofitted into a rather ungainly urban fixie commuter. Whomever rides it is either very ungainly themselves, or just content with riding a too-tall frame with a too-long stem (a nice mid-90s Cinelli) and very low seat (Brooks). This once classic Italian race bike is also defiled with white Velocity Deep-V rims and blue tires. This is a rather sloppy sketch, but then again, it’s a sketch of a rather sloppy bike.
In an attempt to sketch as much as possible, I sketch both on my way too and from work when I take the train. These two pages show a day of doing as such, and if you’ve been following my Metro sketches, which are sometimes denoted with “AM Commute” or “PM Commute”, then you can judge for yourself if the people I sketch in the mornings seem a little more lively than those sketched in the evenings.