Lunch Lines: Get a Pencil!

Here’s a building that I was sketching in the historic Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, DC. I was sketching this the way I’d been doing all of my lunchtime sketches up to this point; straight from pen to paper; no pencils and no erasers, just skill and visual analyzation. Of course, Georgetown has some pretty complex structures, and this one got the better of me. After rendering the window on the left much larger than the one on the right, I had just gotten it too wrong to continue. Not a big loss; it’s only a four dollar sketchbook, and I wasn’t too excited about the building to begin with. Yet, it was a sign that I needed to up my “urban sketching” game, and start bringing in some quick pre-pencil sketching prior to laying down ink.

Lot’s of client and project work coming up in the next two weeks; see you all in February, and don’t forget to start following the 2015 pro cycling season, which begins at the end of January at the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia and the Tour de San Luis in Argentina.

LL

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Ugly Sketchbook

Earlier this week, I posted a somewhat refined “urban sketch” of a Vespa scooter. As I had been taking increasing note of all of the scooters on the sidewalks of Washington, DC, I decided to grab my “Ugly Sketchbook”, and spend some time during a lunchtime stroll letting my pen run loose and free as I studied what the details of a scooter really are, and what it would take to sketch one.

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Lunch Lines

Here’s another bike I drew during a lunchtime stroll here in Washington, DC. It was an unnamed fixie, though the owner nicely matched the matte black frame to blue bar tape and chain. However, the Weinmann wheelset probably made for a stout, yet heavy ride. Oh well; bike like this aren’t about speed; they’re about utility with a side of vanity.

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Jack Rose Saloon Sketch for Maga Design

In 2013, Maga Design Group contracted me to sketch the bar at the Jack Rose Saloon for their annual holiday party’s invitations and collateral. To sketch this illustrious Washington, DC pub, which houses perhaps the largest whisky collection in the world, I sought advice from the master of sketching bars and pubs, Pete Scully. Following Pete’s advice, I spent two nights sitting at the bar sketching everything in sight (and enjoying some excellent craft beers!). For the full story and process shots of the sketch, check out this gallery on my Behance.

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Lunch Lines

Last summer, food trucks became all of the rage in Washington, DC, especially in neighborhoods where lunch options were fewer in numbers. Though mobbed by long lines during the height of lunchtime, if you planned your lunch just after the peak hours, you had a clear view of the trucks, making them easier to sketch (though you never knew when they would drive away).

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Lunch Lines

I spent the past year sketching buildings and street details all over the West End neighborhood of Washington, DC, during my lunchtime strolls. While this skill – “urban sketching” – eventually became relatively well-practiced over time, I still had some days where I was still very much in the experimental stages. Such is the case below, where I did a quick 20-minute sketch with ink and markers of a scene based on a construction crane. Not as well-developed as the sketches that I did after this one, but the goal was simple; sketch enough of a capture of the scene that whenever I look at it, my memories of the moment fill in the missing details.

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Process: Office Building Sketch

Why do I choose to sketch certain buildings here in Washington, DC? Amongst several factors is whether the building can be sketched in small increments over several days, as I do these while out for quick strolls during my lunch breaks . This one particular building presented such an opportunity. Very modular, with a nice balance of symmetric and subtle asymmetric details, it was an easy building to draw to a certain identifiable point one day, and pick up from there the next day, as seen in the process shots below.

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Lunch Lines

Washington, DC has some beautifully stately buildings of remarkable grandeur and international renown. It also has some pretty ugly buildings tucked into the many neighborhoods in the city. Of course, ride by the White House or spot the Capital Dome on a daily basis, and you start to appreciate the unique character of the ugly buildings. This building in the West End/Foggy Bottom neighborhood is one such specimen. It’ll never make a postcard, and no tourist will ever gawk at it, but this white building with a stark red exhaust pipe running up the side more than deserves a spot in the sketchbook of at least one urban sketcher, and I enjoyed capturing it little by little each day during my lunchtime strolls.

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