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Yesterdays' pocket sketches of people on the DC metro

edited February 2013 in Drawing
imageI guess that these are life drawing for me and they make riding on the metro much more interesting than staring at an ipod. The first I did with a drawing pencil with a nice fat lead so I could use both the side and the point. The second is with a mechanical pencil. The more I do of these, I realize that for me, seeing the abstract shapes within the figure in relation to one another works far better than contour drawing. Thanks for looking!

CharleyBoycynthiagwilsonGarydencaltjsstudioania[Deleted User]mavis_swtedwardvalentinAmrit[Deleted User]KarenAarti_SharmaDennyCaymanKaustavmichalisdavelander


  • Those are great, Martin. What a great idea. I ride the DC metro several times a month from Washington National Airport (I will never call it anything different : ) ) to West Falls Church where I catch a bus to Dulles. This would be a great way to spend the time rather than being all paranoid and looking for suspicious people with backpacks that they leave behind to ruin our days. I guess I really have an overly not-so-healthy sense of paranoia due to my security training.
  • Martin, I love seeing your sketches. It's like a little slice of life, like a moment is magnified.
  • edited February 2013
    Thanks very much Garry and Sue! Sue, I think one of the greatest benefits for all of us who make art is that we have the rare opportunity to look at ordinary things/people and see something extra and worthwhile.

    Garry, we should get together one of these days when you fly into National (same here - my first picket line was in support of the Eastern Airlines strike and I will not forget PATCO) and have some extra time. I work downtown. Send me a PM if its ever convenient for you!

  • GaryGary -
    edited February 2013
    Super sketches Martin! I'm the one in the sketch on the left...hope you liked my pose!
    Garry put me up to it!!

    I use to ride the metro a bunch as I lived in Fairfax County for 16 years - outside of Reston. Left there to come to Florida in '98. I often had to go into DC but hated the traffic so waited until mid morning and took the metro when I could. Scheduled my meetings between mid-morning and mid-afternoon to avoid the rush - really don't like being jammed shoulder to shoulder during the morning and evening rush hours.
  • Martin,
    You such a cool dude. Every time you post, I get inspired, and note to self to try that when I get more time. Keep going. Your discoveries are truly something.
  • Gary - I knew that there was something special about him! Actually it was pretty interesting. He was a shaggy homeless guy who was just sprawled across a seat in front of me. We got to a station and a bunch of excited little kids got on the train on their way to a field trip. They were all around us and just treated him like anybody else. After I finished the sketch, I could see a little smile in his eyes every once in awhile as he was watching the kids, which was nice. He was a kid like that once.

    Cynthia, that means a lot to me - you put a lump in my throat!

  • I just adore these sketches! They are so wonderful in so many ways Martin :-c I'd spray a touch of varnish on them too to preserve them. What a keepsake this is!
  • Thanks, tj! I do hit them with a light touch of fixative. I draw with a soft lead and learned the hard way that you can ruin a drawing in a sketchbook just from the paper rubbing when you're working on the next one.

  • Darrel Tank (of five pencil fame) preaches and preaches to protect the paper! You just cited one of the many reasons why. But then again I think you can only do so much 'to protect the paper' given the environment in which your doing these drawings and that your travelling back and forth to work. :)
  • SusieQSusieQ -
    edited February 2013
    Martin, great drawing. i used to live in Arlington, then moved to Woodbridge, Va. At that time we had to drive to Alexandria to park aand ride the metro. I used to be a cub scout leader and we would take the kids on the metro to Washington to go to some of the museums. One little boy looked kinda funny and I asked him what was wrong and he said, boy, I thought I was never going to see a tree again. He had never been on the metro before. Anyway I can just imagine those kids you mention after my own experience. :) Last time I went back to DC I went to the Art museum with my son. He was taking art appreciation in school.
  • Really like these!!!
  • Martin I have drawings I did in high school that I just got from my mom's house and all I had used (or was allowed to use) was just plain old cheap aerosol hairspray. After all these years not one smudge!
  • Sounds good to me - Thanks!
  • Good stuff, Martin! I like them. I've never lived anyplace where I had to use a Metro or any rail type conveyance. In The South and now in the West, I have always had to drive, myself. I have several artist friends who were schooled in Chicago and another in NYC and they have told me that their rides on public transportation was anywhere from half an hour to an hour in one case. They carried a sketch book and a carpenters pencil and did as you are doing everyday. All three of these guys can draw a quick sketch and get a great likeness of anyone and all three became top illustrators, back when illustration was still the way of most magazines, movie posters and just about every kind of printed advertising done back then. Now they are all fine artists. One a member of the Cowboy Artists of America another is an emeritus member of the Cowboy Artists and a Member and winner of the Prix de West and the Best of Autry Museum Show. The third one is a Prix de West participant for 25 year, Member of The Artists of America and other art organizations. So what you are doing is excellent training and you are doing very well. Keep it up!
  • They're coming up fine for me. Very nice drawings.
  • Wonderful Martin! The pictures come up just fine. I'm curious about something. You have this wonderful knack for drawing just the right amount of detail to clearly capture your subject and their surroundings without over doing it......larger forms with just enough detail to let us know what your seeing. An example is the mother with the carriage and her expression - I could have picked any one of the drawing actually. I really admire this quality about your drawings. What I was wondering about is this a characteristic you've always just naturally had or is it a positive attribute that has developed from having to draw quicker given the relatively short time your subjects are sitting in front of you? Either way, it's just great! :-bd
  • Thanks, Gary and Ronna! Gary, its definitely from doing gesture sketches and the short time I have to do these. For example, the mother with the carriage got on two stops before I was going to get off, so there was no time for details. You never know when the person will get up or somebody else will block them, so you just go to it. If they do leave, then you do the best you can from your memory.
  • edited November 2016
    These are excellent, drawing from life while in motion, people on the go, artist on the go! Please keep it up, save the craft of that method, pass it on. When I was in college in Toronto, Canada ,1984, our drawing teachers encouraged us to go out and draw from life exactly like what you are doing, just as interesting and great as your end results here. Capturing the very real moment, in the moment, out in real life as it is today, on those occasions. Fantastic. In the city that I was in, trolly cars on the street, subway system with shops underground, annual agricultural fair that featured large variety of farm animals, some giving birth to young ones and all, chicks hatching before your very eyes, people everywhere made for quite a variety of positions and gestures and settings, large lake with a marina to match. Wonderful street scenes and architecture in the heart of downtown. And it's a lot of fun when you're with a friend doing same in their own style, images they chose to capture and see the sets of images together, works real well with a whole group no matter in size too! We had a riot sharing these with each other then and later back in the classroom setting, everyone sharing there. You may have fun publishing these! Capturing people and things in motion is an art in itself. Lost... I don't know? Congrats!
  • What size is your sketchbook?  Great sketches!
  • FlattyFlatty admin
    Hello Martin:-) love your sketches!! Good to see you on the forum too!! 
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