The name of this blog is Sketchbook Warrior, and while no heavy weaponry, explosives, or hand-to-hand combat is actually used in the service of this blog, the reality of making time to work in my sketchbooks is a real battle. In particular, it’s a battle for time and logistics. Between family, work, cycling, laundry, laundry, and laundry, I often find myself trying to create a 25th hour in the day just to work in my sketchbooks. Three years ago, I launched the opening salvos in this battle when, on my daily train commutes, I swapped reading the newspaper for picking up my sketchbook and sketching the people around me. Last year, I swapped surfing the web during lunch for going outside to sketch for a few minutes. While the train sketches became the “Metro Sketch” posts – daily exercises in life and figure drawing – the lunchtime sketches, a.k.a. “Lunchlines”, became multi-day studies of the local architecture here in Washington, DC as well as an intensive practices in location and urban sketching.
I’ll be posting a series of posts over the coming weeks showing the process of these sketches. The first is from a sketch of this house. I selected it for various features; the corner rotunda, the intricate door and balcony detailing, and what has turned out to be my favorite detail in local architecture: the roof tiles. The main goal of these sketches is not so much as to get everything right as it is simply to just get everything (and likewise, I really very limited time to do these each day). This particular sketch was done with a cheap gel pen; no pre-sketching with a pencil, and was finished with a collection of aging markers into my small 4″ x 6″ hardcover sketchbook.
Here’s a drawing I did during the “Great Recession” of 2008, when I – along with pretty much everybody else – was amongst the vast legions of the newly unemployed. These were trying times, and everybody in their best of intentions showed every bit of care and concern they could to others, and best as we could, we all did our best to hold our pride and constitutions together, challenging as it was.
BTW, you’ve probably noticed my sporadic frequency of posting sketches and interacting with all of the great blogs out here on WordPress. I’ve been pretty busy lately, all in good ways, but busy none the less. I’ll eventually get back on here more frequently.
A while back, I added a new sketchbook to my collection; a 3″ x 5″ Clairfontaine Graf-It 909. The smallest and cheapest sketchbook in the art supply store, intended for quick cheap, drawings, I dubbed it the “ugly sketchbook”. I keep it next to my computer to doodle in while saving large files, or for when I just need a quick analog break from all things digital. Pocket-sized, I also keep it on hand for trips to the café or pub. This sketchbook is all about “bad drawing”; no pre-pencil sketching, no tearing-out pages, and no apologies or excuses for whatever ended up in it. However, as a direct “head to page” sketchbook, it also serves as an incubator for drawings and ideas that may end up being refined and developed in my larger sketchbooks.
Here’s the first page, done with a scratchy ballpoint pen:
I drew the same truck I drew obsessively decades ago as a little child, and hadn’t drawn since:
Glassware, barware, bottles, etc…
I listen to Pandora a lot, primarily punk rock. Every now and then, a band’s image or song sparks a thought that needs to quickly be drawn. One day, the infamous and absolutely uninhibited GG Allin came on, and I quickly drew GG’s iconic tattoos onto a seemingly normal person.
I’m addicted to my iPhone, and it’s not good; zoned into my iPhone, I’ve almost missed my stops on the Metro, found myself going to bed and fumbling around with the iPhone before realizing that it was two in the morning, and more than once found myself tuning out family and friends to check and recheck and re-recheck Facebook, email, Facebook, cycling, Behance, Facebook, WordPress, and Facebook. I’ve come to accept my addiction, and to better understand my condition, I drew a picture about it in my 5″ x 8″ sketchbook. Below is the final drawing, as well as some shots (taken with my iPhone) of the drawing’s progress.