Flashback Friday: Grand Central

In honor of going out of town this weekend, via Grand Central, here is the first sketch I did inside the terminal! I was on my way back into the city from work in the Bronx, and I had an hour to spare before meeting my sister in the theatre district. I decided I could sketch for forty minutes and then take the S over. I still beat her to the restaurant by two minutes! I probably worked on this for about an hour in the end; I did some finishing touches after I left.

A Post-Valentine's Sketch from the Subway

Yesterday was another NJ transit commute for me, and at the stop before mine, right after I finished a sketch that didn't go especially well, I noticed this guy with a huge bunch of red, mylar heart balloons. I got a quick sketch down in about a minute before we got to my stop and finished the shading at Penn Station. It's entitled "Man Who Found Terrific Post-Valentine's Day Balloon Sale." Alternate titles include: "Man Who is a Week Late," "Man Who Only Buys Balloons On Sale," and an addition from my Mom, "Man Whose Original Offering was Rejected."

Flashback Friday: Hartford

In honor of spending a chunk of my week in Connecticut, here's Hartford in August! I went with my friend E (one of the friends I was staying wtih this week, in fact) to a sketch event in Bushnell Park. We found a bench with a great view and had a lovely time catching up and sketching!

This week in Connecticut

This week is sadly lacking in subway drawings, I was at a loss because I was in Connecticut with no subway! I was staying with my friends E and B in Hartford while I was working on painting the back wall of a theatre from painted black brick to look like it hadn't been painted (no....really.). They have a great apartment, and I started drawing this one evening after work. There was no one in the chair when I started drawing, and B was warned that if he sat in the chair while we all watched a movie he would likely become a part of the sketch. I continued to work on it for the next two nights as well, I forgot how much slower pencil is than watercolors! Worse, since I was using the world's sma

Ten Minute Portraits!

It happened! Today was the annual NYC Urban Sketchers Portrait event! And I survived! I was pretty happy with my sketches (worth the practice). There were 18 "official" sketchers, and we went through and everyone had a chance to be the model and sit still for ten minutes while the rest of the sketchers frantically tried to get their face on the paper (provided for us, so it all matches). Here's a photo of the final grid...everyone did a great job of working "bold;" we had been told that the sketches should be readable from 25 feet away so you can see them when they're in the grid. This was really playing to my skill set, giving me a specific amount of time and telling me how far the audience

Practice Makes....Better: Part 1

Luckily, when you are a scenic artist and tell your friends at work you're practicing ten minute portraits, they are pretty OK with you using them as subjects and don't think it's weird. Or if they do, they keep it to themselves, which is nice. I call this series "Guess who's on their phone"

Practice makes....better. Part 2

I wanted to practice more ten-minute portraits last night, but as my internet was out and I've taken most of my photos off of my computer, the only easily accessible portrait photos were from a friend's wedding in November (I was in the wedding party and have the full file of professional photos they had taken), so I did a handful of those! Mixed success, but I timed myself more carefully and definitely learned some things. One of those things is that 11 minutes seems like a much more achievable goal, somehow.

Subway Roundup

The rest of the week in subway drawings: This one I did half from my head...despite the subway car being pretty empty, a man stood directly in front of me (also oddly close to me, so his butt was in my face and I couldn't see around him. Almost drew his butt instead but I decided to power through this one instead. This unfinished one ended up being my favorite, someone stood between me and the subject so I couldn't finish but I liked what I had down when I had to stop.

Flashback Friday: New York Library

Cheating and backdating this post because I didn't have internet and couldn't post last night. Despite the frigid, face-numbing weather I'm departing from tradition and not sharing a warm-weather worshipping watercolor. This one was done in November in the NY Library, in my watercolor Moleskine. I was painting in half light and remember being very surprised when I saw it in full light that it was actually pretty OK.

New Toys, Continued

I did these, continuing trying out my new brush pen. Working without erasing continues to be a challenge but I thought it would be good practice for the portrait party (I've decided drawing in pencil takes too long so I'm going straight to ink. Yikes!). The two portraits are from photos, and the drill was drawn on a break at work (it was on the table in the breakroom. I still don't know why.)

On the Subway

I had a very productive morning on the subway! Missed my usual 10-20 minutes to draw at Penn Station because the subway had delays, but luckily I got my sketches in while on the train!

More portraits!

I did find scenics willing to pose! Or, at least who would let me draw them. The first took about 20-25 minutes, mostly because it took longer to draw (my model was moving). The second I did in about 11 minutes! Getting very close to my 10 minute time limit! The second I was also drawing looser and I think the effect was better. I need to remember to move quickly while drawing.

New Toys for a Happy Painter

A plus of joining the NYC Urban Sketchers group is that there is a lot of sharing information, including places to sketch, materials to use, etc. In the last couple of weeks I've picked up some good materials tips incuding brush pens and markers. I just got myself three Faber Castell Big Brush markers in black and two shades of gray; a friend at the group let me try hers out and I was sold. It's really more marker than brush, the tip isn't very flexible, but it does work well as a marker. Still fits a need I have in my kit, even if I think the marketing is a little misleading. I also got an actual brush pen (the brush has bristles, and ink flows out, rather than having a felt/marker tip) ano

Playing with Portraits

This upcoming Saturday the NYC Urban Sketching group is doing a portrait event, where we do ten minute portraits and each take a turn as the model. I used this as an excuse to buy myself some new toys, in the form of brush markers and pens. When I accidentally woke up at 6 and couldn't get to sleep again, I decided to look on facebook, pick a friend, and try out some of my new goods (with my trusty watercolors). The marker went well, but the sketchbook I used isn't that accepting of watercolor so that was rougher than it could have been. I did this one in 25 minutes and feel confident with a little practice I can shave that down! Hoping to do one or two sketches on lunch tomorrow (if I have

Subway Round-up

Here's a few photos I didn't have time to post separately, all from commutes from last Thursday to today.

My Morning as a Rebel

This weekend's New York Urban Sketchers event involved a trip to the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place. About a half an hour into our visit, we were approached by a Security Guard who told us we weren't allowed to sketch the building. The Luminaries (an art installation), the people, and the trees were all fair game, but we weren't allowed to sketch any "structure" for security reasons. The guard obviously found this ridiculous and it became a joke for the rest of the day. He also told us that technically people aren't allowed to take photos of the building either (though they don't stop anyone taking selfies or group photos with the structure in the background). Conveniently, I had started

Flashback Friday - The Theatre District

Flashing back to a few months ago, when I did this from a few photos of 44th Street, with mostly imagined lighting. I did this to donate to a silent auction for the Musical Theatre Factory, and was thinking of it because I have a few photos I'm hoping to work from this weekend (including some foggy shots of 7th Ave from this morning and one of Times Square in the blizzard that a friend took!) and I think this is the style I'm going to go for.

Subway People

Any day I have to commute through Penn Station always turns into a productive sketch day! In part because of the 35 minutes spent on the subway to and from, and in part because it's almost always a little before or a little after the peak travel time, which means the subway is just the right amount of crowded for me to sketch. Today, commuting to and from Secaucus was no different. I got a long sketch in on each subway trip, the first of two men, and the second is of a woman with really awesome eyebrows (I really didn't do them justice). She was also making expressions at her paper as she was reading, which was great.


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