Rely on the line.

26 April, 2021.

We ate out a few days ago. Restaurants are reopening. More to the point, it’s warm enough that outside tables are available, and we can responsibly be in public spaces.

Sketch quickly. Capture the gesture. I can do this again.
Keep it simple. Rely on the line. I got this.

Natural State.

21 April, 2021.

One of the best places to study a variety of people “types” is at an outdoor farmer’s market. Visitors move at a leisurely pace, and their body language is relaxed and unposed. Perhaps they carry bags. Or lean over to squeeze fruit. Or chat with a companion.

People interact with each other at a market, and with their surroundings. The opportunity is perfect for studying ordinary moments and capturing people at their most natural and comfortable state.

The Value of Cropping

20 April, 2021.

I often find myself trying to include too much information in a drawing. A scene usually has a variety of potential focal points and it’s easy to fall prey to a desire to capture so many interesting things that it’s impossible to know what to even look at.

Case in point is this sketch. What initially caught my attention was the silhouette of the city in the background. My original idea was to use the foreground as a device to draw attention to the shapes of the builds behind.

But as I drew I began to realize that there were all these things in the middle ground, distractions from that space I was interested in. The drawing, as sometimes happens, took over.

When that happened, I began to question how important that silhouette of tall buildings was as a main subject. I decided to crop the sketch to see what would happen (top of page), and liked what I saw.

Better? An improvement? Maybe. But definitely a different character to the sketch, and definitely a change of focal point.


19 April, 2021

She stood behind a table, wrapped in loose, dark robes and a lavender head covering. Masked also, as were we all, she bent to her labor, packaging Baklava for purchase.

We’ve lived with the pandemic for over a year now. People are slowly emerging from their Covid cocoons and venturing out into public places. Vaccinations are making some social interaction possible, albeit from a safe distance, nose and mouth covered, and out-of-doors.

The only people I see are masked and I feel like I’m beginning to forget how to use my pen to characterize a nose, a mouth, a jawline.

Forgotten Exit

18 April, 2021.

I drove down to the City Market yesterday, the first time – I think – in over a year. Even masked and appropriately distanced, I yearned to be around people, in the thick of things, in search of visual stories.

Near the end of one aisle, I chanced upon one such visual story. Three young ladies, their style of dress suggesting to me they were from a Mennonite or Amish community, stood with their backs to me. Some common focal point to the left held their attention. Only a moment or two they stood, their body language communicating equal parts uncertainty and curiosity.

I’ve taken liberties with much of what I drew, relying upon the faulty memory of a moment’s impression before they were gone. The exit sign was intentionally moved to the right, not only a compositional decision but a narrative one as well: I’ve no idea what they were looking at, no idea what their story was, but I like to think it was interesting enough that they had forgotten about the exit, and leaving the market entirely.

Spring evening

8 April, 2021.

I love this time of year, when the days return to shirt sleeve weather, when evenings grow longer and it’s comfy hanging out on a lawn chair, enjoying a beer, some hot sauce and fried catfish and hush puppies slathered in soft butter.

Gnarly old man.

6 April, 2021.

Gnarly old man, a wizened and bent figure that stands beside a rocky hiking path. Nearby stones, remnants of a quarry long unused, peer from the growth of weeds and grass and Sassafrass volunteers, blindingly white flashes of limestone highlighted by a midday sun.