Retro Sketch

This is from a sketchbook back in 1999. I compiled the early pages while working at the Fountain Pen Hospital in downtown NYC, in the shadows of the World Trade Center. In addition to general pen play (with expensive fountain pens) and experimenting with whatever could be found laying around the cash register, I did little illustrations based on the Wall Street stock brokers, power lawyers, and political guys whom worked in the area. The drawing on the page below is not based on any socio-political stance, just an random thought on how people with powerful jobs with the ability to affect the lives of others are, in the end, really just people going to work.

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Retro Sketch

Back in 1999, I was a young illustrator in NYC doing the routine of working retail during the day and freelancing at night. I’ve always loved artist materials, so I worked at art supply stores to pay the bills and score discounts on art supplies. Along the way, I fell into specializing in fountain pens, and eventually ended up at the Fountain Pen Hospital in downtown NYC (in the shadow of the World Trade Center). I spent my time not only selling pens and supplies to the likes of Bill Cosby and Mayor Rudy Guliani, but also filling up sketchbook pages with pricey pens and whatever I could scrounge up from behind the cash register. The owners of the store smoked cigarettes almost nonstop, which inspired this little drawing. Incidentally, one of my coworkers gave me a gift of a red Lamy Safari fine-point fountain pen to draw with – the same pen used for many of the sketches and drawings on this blog.

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Metro Sketch

Washington, DC can get very hot and humid during the summers, and sometimes you unfortunately end up on the one Metro car with either minimal or even non-existent air conditioning. When that happens, my fountain pen can get somewhat slippery to hold in the moistened environment. At least I don’t have to wear a tie on those days like the poor soul in this sketch!

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Retro Sketch

These are from a sketchbook back in 1999. In order to enable a bit of creative risk taking, I splattered colored ink all over the inside cover, setting an anti-perfectionist tone to the sketchbook. Everything on the first page of the sketchbook (the second page shown below), was done with a fountain pen loaded with sepia ink. I was working at art supply stores at the time, and I specialized in fountain pens, so naturally, they became my drawing tools. The sepia ink was inspired by original sketches done by Salvador Dali rendered in the very same ink, which I had seen at a gallery down in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

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Retro Sketch

Before I was carrying a small sketchbook and fountain pen on the Washington, DC Metro, I was carrying a slightly bigger sketchbook and a travel watercolor set on my hikes in upstate New York. Here are two of those sketches, both done in 2003. The first is a valley in Minnewaska State Park, near Gertrude’s Nose. The second is from Anthony’s Nose in Bear Mtn. State Park, looking south down the Hudson river towards Indian Point and New York City.

Sparse Trains vs. Blank Pages…

It’s bound to happen to a sketch artist; you get on your train and it’s empty. Or it’s packed. Or there may be a few people and they’re moving around. Or all you see are arms and hands and feet and legs. So what do you do if you’re sitting there with a sketchbook, a blank page, and a fountain pen?¬†You draw the empty train, or the packed train, or the fidgety people, or the arms and hands and legs and feet. Either way, whatever you end up with is better than getting off the train with the same blank page you got onto the train with in the first place.