Tagged: transit drawings


The challenge is to grab what you can till the moment passes. There are times when I can feel the pose and see the angles clearly; where my focus isn’t too tight and my field of vision is such that the connections and relationships of major structural parts and key details are apparent. Then, a relaxed but progressive pace that doesn’t overwork nor overthink the draughtinging and makes use of at least a few tools so that broad areas are developed quickly and details have clarity. The emphasis is on efficiency and fluidity rather than speed.

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In the above drawings you can see several tools at work on different paper. Both papers have sufficient sizing so the ink stays moist long enough to be wiped or smeared or dabbed brining the finger into play and adding finger prints and a hazed or brushed look. With a broad brush nib, strips are done in one stroke passing the need of predawn outlines. A range of tones, even if it is only a couple, help distinguish separate elements making features pop and giving the lighting more character.

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I like to work in ink which once it sets up, prevents further smudging, has tonal strength, forces my hand to limit over drawing contours, and can have cool and warm hues to aid in distinguishing different elements, i.e. a scarf from a shirt, and holds the same edge not requiring constant sharpening.


coffee couple


Vintur ist icummin in, lowdly sing the thrush. It’s here for real. Maintaining a regular practice of catching scenes and studies in public, in coffee shops, eateries, and on public transit systems.

cap and hoop fur lined huddled over coffee & computer  life drawing hat head spots & stripes hood down Tin Tin flip  visor dude knit lids Daniel  braid & model  Whole Foods coffee cafe

Man, while I love the Southwest and south and central California, I have to live somewhere where snow is a winter feature. Even if it is wickedly cold as has been the case here in Chicago this year. One of the more brutal winter’s in the 15 years I’ve made my residence in the Midwest. I have a super warm and cosy apartment and I know how to dress for it even though I damn near lost my dick to frost bite one night while tromping for 20 blocks in 20 below zero weather. Last time I head out with boxers on. But the weather here has been beautiful and the feeling of living on the edge of climatic habitability gives one a sublime sense of the amazingly special place in this Universe we call home. Don’t know if y’all are getting a little bored with the usual drawing tools and predictable line quality, but I have been thinking about changing to bristle brushes or something a little bolder. Platinum Carbon ink in fountain pens, and Pitt Artist Pens in one of my favorite ledgerbooks to date.


studio breakdown

marathon page

Made it late and left early to the Palette & Chisel’s 12 hour life drawing marathon. Didn’t come away with anything stellar. Been consumed with buying, packing, and moving to new digs and will flatly state that my drawing has suffered. Looking forward to heading out on tour to hopefully knock off the rust.

Starbuck's @ north & wells El studies  Hartford from the Hilton  Lake Bunggee  bar nerd  Bill fishing Elephant capital @ Brown  Providence sculpture Amtrak snoozers The Butterfly Svengali Winkworth Freddie watching the boob tube    Wall of Barney G Laguardia commuter w/ braid pie shop typist O'Hare lunch O'Hare headed Westline crew turning it out at 13 Coins, Seattle Flinch Salt Lake City layover

Man, when I say “Slung” I wasn’t joking. What a crazy month. Bought a place and in the midst of painting, having electrical work done and moving into the new place, I had to work in New England & NYC, took a side trip to Philly, flew back to Chicago long enough to do laundry, paperwork and then get ready to jet to Washington and Montana for whirl wind tour of several cities and colleges. Still a bit too much running around and not enough time drawing what I witnessed. Have to return to NYC and hang out on the High Line, was a bit crowded but what a vantage point of Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen. Plus you could see Jersey as it starts to create the Palisades. Using the Pitts and fountain pens. Back in a Moleskine watercolor pad and also have a hefty and lovely ledger book going.

Sometimes, I get behind in posting to BND, especially during the Fall when I’m tripping about the country lecturing and demonstrating at various colleges, stores and events. You can follow me at:  doncolleysroadtrip.com. Cheers.

Pourin' over the forms

Shot out to the Big Apple where I took in a little action at Belmont race track. Pretty slim crowd. But enjoyed hanging with Rob & Barney-G. We dined on deli take out, whitefish salad out by the paddocks.

Following 3 drawings done in Chicago just before heading off to NYC & Portland, Oregon.

Calo Theatre  lunch in Andersonville neighborhood blackout View of Edgewater and downtown sky scrappers from my back porch during a neighborhood blackout.

Delta boarding gate

Heading out from O’Hare, did the above sweep of the boarding area. I seldom seem to settle into these air terminal transit drawings.

The Empire seen from Madison Park Liberty Tower and StatueFred in Penn Station the boys pouring over the forms and benches Toque down Michael reading Kim readingBill & Leslie's st. john bridge  Hipbone model telegram tower Rough Rider Monument police action

While I was drawing the statue of Theodore Roosevelt in front of the Portland Museum of Art, I heard a scuffle develop behind me and turned in time to see 3 men tumble to the pavement. A couple of cops had just taken down the man depicted above in light pans and racing striped jacket. Cops came flooding into the area and grabbed and cuffed another fellow from a nearby bench.

food carts Burnside bridge late night coffee

The above drawing is a clear example of why I invest a little more in some drawings. The multiple light sources was so compelling and challenging and made the drawing more specific to character, time of day, mood, and an effect some landscape architects might call “light pollution”.

nude w/ pole male w/ pole pncldm seated nude PNC

Life drawings from the Palette & Chisel 12 hour life drawing marathon.

3 days


Drawings done in Utrecht & Strathmore toned paper sketchbooks, Moleskine watercolor pad, with Pitt Artist Pens, Pelikan M215 & Visconti Rembrandt fountain pens using Platinum Carbon ink, and White China marker grease pencil.

Clybourne Station

I grew up in pretty suburbs and the bucolic residential neighborhoods of places like Phoenix. Arizona, Lakewood, Washington, Ridgewood, N.J., Monterey, California,Camp Springs, Md.,  Austin, Texas. And I do like trees and gardens and sweet bungalows and St. Augustine grass. But man, something about the grit , scale, and muscularity of large urban environments has always held magnetic appeal for me. There’s the dynamic, move over and make room way that cities evolve. Some subs just have a plow-it-under and drop-it- down- from-the-sky development, that plans from the outset to organize and control everything. The excitement of seeing a grand scheme have to yield to new needs while hanging on to previous requirements and cherished attributes, creates a scenario that realizes in concrete, steel, asphalt, glass, and landscapes the dynamic influx on new arrivals and migratory populations that are our life blood as a society.

The scene  above was drawn up on the loading platform at Ashland, Cortland, and Clybourne, while I waited for a Metra commuter train to  Rockford College, and the variety of architectural texture that is offered from the 360 degree view up on that platform is one big reason I live in a rust belt behemoth of a city.

wow bao two tuned in snooze and wait ride home

These were drawn in a Stillman & Birn watercolor spiral sketch pad with fountain pen filled with Platinum Carbon Ink, Pitt Artist Pens, and F-C water soluble graphite pencils.

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