Subway sketches -Feb-Mar 2015
I started sketching regularly in the subway. I had done this before, but it took me almost a whole year to fill up a book. But starting in February I sketched pretty much everyday, often many times.

All the drawing are done on the spot and not redrawn or edited later. The books I use are 4" x 6" - convenient for carrying in any pocket. I use a simple ratchet/propelling type pencil with a fine lead, .5 - 7 mm. But the size and type of the pencil are not really so important. The kind of materials I use really depends mostly on how convenient it is to carry them around.

In this challenging environment the same seems true of "painting" with a pencil. If I erase, it usually the whole picture, if I think I have started out badly. But I think I should keep the bad ones as well. I have to resist this temptation!

Drawing people on the subway is very challenging. First of all the moving subway car jostles you around, starting and stopping sometimes quite suddenly. The pencil on paper can be very unsteady at times.

Secondly you only have a very short time - the subject may get up at any time and leave the train. At other times people might block your view, entering and exiting the train, getting in between you and the subject.

Thirdly the subject does not always know they are being drawn. If they become aware they are, they may become very uncomfortable. "Does that person think I am strange, or look funny?" and so on.

Many of the people in my sketches appear to be sleeping, and indeed many of them were! Mostly though the appearance of sleep is because they are intent on their phones, playing games or texting. I never noticed before how high the proportion of people engrossed in their computing devices!

I admire those rich, photo-realistic pencil drawings one sees so often nowadays, but I favor the quick impression - hopefully capturing the essential character of an individual with as few strokes as possible.
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