Metro Sketch

If you’ve ever ridden the Washington, DC, Metro, then you’re accustom to the unique interior colors of the train; a palette of burgundy, orange, yellow, and blue straight out of the 1970s. Though decades old nowadays, they still sometimes visually complement the colors of the clothing worn by some of the commuters. I sketched this individual on the Metro, noted down the colors, and then completed the sketch with my markers at a cafe immediately after debarking from the train.

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Retro Sketch

Back in 2009, doodling hipster bike messengers into my sketchbook (or even just hipsters styling themselves as bike messengers – can you really tell the difference?) No photo reference for these; just working it out of my cycling-saturated head. Did a loose freehand sketch, then developed the theme over the next two pages of a 4″ x 6″ sketchbook.

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Farm Sketch

After extensively sketching the urban architecture of Washington, DC, I figured I would take a shot at rural architecture while visiting a farm in suburban Maryland. I thought that this would be pretty easy, but I was rather mistaken; while I had developed a visual and aesthetic fluency in the architecture of historic urban neighborhood buildings, rural farming structures were something totally different, and were more challenging than I thought (I also had limited time to do these sketches.) Hopefully, I’ll get back to attempt these again some day.

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Metro Sketch

Full frontal/facial sketches are some of the most challenging sketches to attempt on the Metro; while I try to be discrete and respectful of the people I sketch, sketching people sitting directly across from me presents the greatest risk of being noticed. Generally, though, these people are either asleep or too fully focused on their devices to notice me. Of course, there’s always that other challenge; on-boarding passengers unknowingly blocking your view and pretty much ending the sketching session.

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Retro Sketch

This drawing was done around 2009. I was scrawling away in a cafe, and decided to draw a bicycle, which is one of my “when there’s nothing else to draw…” themes. Being that it was the summer, also known as “Tour de France time”, I decided to have some fun and draw one of the $10,000+ carbon fiber stealth time trial bikes as used by the pro peleton, though you’ll also see a dentist on the Sunday morning shop ride with a bike like this. And yes; my fellow hardcore cyclists will probably know from which actual bikes and gear I styled this bike after.

BTW, speaking of “Le Tour”, I’ve been busy watching the race (damn good thing I didn’t put down money on this year’s edition). The race concludes this Sunday in Paris, so I’ll be back to posting more sketches and drawings afterwards.

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Lunch Lines

There’s a Trader Joe’s supermarket near our office, and I often see this Gitane fixie locked to the bike rack outside. Far from Gitane’s heyday as one of the premier French brands, which included providing the bikes to French cycling legends Bernard Hinault and Laurent Fignon (the 1988 Systeme U team bikes are one of my all time favorites!), this old, battered, and very characteristic Gitane still always caught my eye. One day, out to pick up my supply of frozen lunches, ground coffee, and craft beer, I spotted the Gitane, and finally decided to sketch it.

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Retro Sketch

I don’t remember exactly which year I did this drawing, though it was definitely before a wise man at the art supply store told me that I should always date the pages in my sketchbooks. This drawing was most likely during the recession of 2008, when jobs became scarce, money became tight, and I was trying to deal with all of the frustrations at a cafe where the air conditioning was cranked up to freezing!

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Metro Sketch

When sketching people on a busy commuter train, some days you just get lucky; this gentleman, with perfectly-coiffed hair, simple demeanor, and conservative wardrobe (including those cool wrap-arond earmuffs), slept still and poised for the duration of my commute. Best of all, my line of sight to him was at no time blocked as the train took on additional passengers.

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More Cowbell!

Recently, my wife and I stole away for a relaxing weekend – sans children – to the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania, where we spent the time sleeping, sleeping, reading, sleeping, napping, and sleeping. We stayed at the lovely Swiss Woods Inn, just north of the very charming town of Lititz. If you’re looking for an incredible and relaxing bed and breakfast in the Lancaster area, look no further than Swiss Woods. The grounds are absolutely lovely, the amenities cozy and clean, the people warm and friendly, and for us hyper-busy Washingtonians, secluded and peaceful.

While I didn’t plan to do any sketching for the that weekend, I did tote along two small sketchbooks and some supplies, and I managed to do two quick sketches. Below was a 20 minute study of an authentic Swiss cowbell, part of a nice little collection of cowbells in our room (we cyclocrossers love cowbells!), and underneath that, and even faster two-minute sketch of an Amish horse and buggy, which was quite fun because how often does an urban sketcher get to sketch horses?

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