BART People – Commute Sketches

“It’s the best practice for me and all urban sketchers: very quick sketches done on the way to work every morning and on the way home every evening.” – Lapin

I usually read on my way to and from work, but after I read the above quote from French illustrator, Lapin, in The Art of Urban Sketching, I decided to give sketching on BART a shot.

When using a photo, it’s easy to frame the composition of a drawing, because the photo has already done the job for you.  But when sketching live subjects, you have to imagine a picture frame, and you only draw the subjects that fall within that frame.  Artists often use a viewfinder to help them compose a plein air drawing or painting.  I haven’t used a viewfinder yet, so sometimes my drawings from live scenes aren’t quite right, as I drag in subjects that are outside of my imaginary frame.

Given my compositional challenges, I decided I should start by just sketching people’s faces.  After a few sketches, I included some more of the background, but I still find that part difficult.

I can hear my brother now, “You do what?  You sketch people on the train?”  At first, I was reluctant to draw on the train, because I was worried I might be caught in the act, particularly by the people I was drawing.  But in order to improve my sketching abilities (and heeding Tim Ferriss’ advice to do one thing every day that scares you), I took out my pocket Moleskine and Pigma Micron pen and sketched.

P.S. One of the Urban Sketchers blog correspondents, Lynne Chapman, who is a British illustrator of children’s books, passes time on the train by sketching.  If you are interested in trying, or in improving your technique, read her post, “How to Draw People: Sketching in Public Places.”  She offers excellent advice.

One response to “BART People – Commute Sketches

  1. Doug, I love your sketching and I don’t think you’re weird. It just reminds me that Bob and I will be seeing some of these faces in a couple of weeks on Bart when we visit all of you in your new home. Looking forward to it.

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