I’ll be on a blogging break this week; between too much art involving pixels and electronics last week and too much cycling this week, I’m throwing in white flag on productivity until next week. Don’t worry, though; I’ll be back with plenty of Retro Sketches (including the concluding drawings from my gruesome broken foot experience), Metro Sketches, and Lunch Lines. In the meantime, thanks as always to the followers and visitors here, and thanks to all of my fellow bloggers whom keep my WordPress reader as a constant stream of awesomeness!
Of course, posts without picture suck, so here are some of my pens:
Many buildings in Washington, DC are modular and patterned, which makes for great multi-day/multi-session sketching. Such was the case with this building, located in the West End neighborhood, which had both great composition and coloring. For this sketch, I stood across the street, sketching while leaning up against the entrance to the German Embassy, where I overheard diplomatic conversations in multiple languages on a daily basis, making this sketch all the more Washingtonian.
From the perspective of an urban sketcher riding commuter trains like Washington, DC Metro, smartphones are a wonderful thing. Not only do they render people to become still and poised life drawing models, but the mere holding of the device allows for great practice drawing hands, perhaps the most challenging anatomical features to draw.
So if you’ve been following the narrative of the last three Retro Sketches, you’ve been reading – and looking at – the story of my severely broken foot back in 2006 (fifth metatarsal, triple-fracture). Well, for this post, it gets worse. The wire-and-pins contraption assembled inside of my foot to hold the shattered bone together came painfully apart. On the way to the doctor, we stopped for lunch. At the doctor’s office, the doctor put the x-ray up to the light, and asked me what was wrong with the picture. It was painfully obvious (aside from the visible pin-shaped protrusion from foot itself), that the whole contraption had fallen apart inside of my foot. With a second round of immediate emergency surgery obviously necessary, the doctor asked me when the last time I ate was. This is when I muttered “oh shi…”, given our meaty lunch of only a half-hour earlier.
Long story short; I was rushed to the hospital, had to wait eight hours for the food to leave my system, plus an additional three hours for a surgery room to open up, all the while holding my throbbing foot up in the air and doped up on more painkillers than was probably legal. I’ll continue the story in the next Retro Sketch, and yeah, it only gets better!
More often than not, when sketching people on the Washington, DC Metro, I try to do the line work and coloring all in one sitting, which keeps with the spontaneous and honest nature of the subject. Sometimes, though, the subject’s coloring is too good and the time too short. In these instances, I take my markers, dab a few swatches off to the side of the page in general relation the color’s placement, and then finish the coloring later on.
Continuing with drawings based on my broken foot back in 2006, this drawing focused on using crutches. I figured that since I’m a pretty athletic guy, hobbling around on crutches for a few months would be pretty easy; boy was I wrong: those metallic and rubber contraptions, designed with the ergonomics of a folding metal chair, beat the living crap out of me!
Here’s a building in the West End neighborhood in Washington, DC. Like other buildings that I have been featuring lately, this was sketched and colored little by little over the course of several days during my lunch breaks. To do these kind of sketches, I would find a very specific spot to stand in (against the ledge, third cross bar on the handrail in, left foot on the sidewalk crack), and then I would sketch a little bit each day, usually no more than ten or twenty minutes at a time.
Sketching on the Washington, DC Metro usually has to be done fast, and when such is the case, something is bound to go wrong. In this case, it was the rendering on this lady’s neck, where, in the chase to record her very Washingtonian hair, facial expression, clothing and accessory ensemble, and color palette, I had inadvertently given this poor, yet obviously healthy woman, the neck of somebody perhaps a little heavier than she.
As I described in the previous Retro Sketch post, in 2006 I shattered a bone in my foot, resulting in emergency surgery, near-immobilized bed rest, enough painkillers to stock a pharmacy, and as seen here, crutches. When it comes to cycling and rock climbing, I’m gracefully nimble, but when it came to hobbling around on crutches, I was as graceful as a drunken tight rope walker on a windy day wearing a pair of big heavy snow boots.
Here’s a building that I sketched in 20 minute increments during the course of several lunch breaks. I figured out early that the whole building would not fit on page and that I screwed up the perspective, but sketching is not always about accuracy. I soon turned my focus to having fun obliterating the surface of the paper with lines and details. Sketches like this may not make for killer pieces, but they do make for great practice and great experimentation.