a look at one artist's experience in NYC

Subway Sketches

One thing that I absolutely love doing is sketching on the subway in New York City.  Even though I haven’t been painting for the last 4 years, I have tried to sketch as much as I can while riding the subway.  I find myself looking for interesting people the moment I get on the train.  Most of the time it’s someone who has fallen asleep or is reading a book or magazine, or looking at their phone.  The subway poses it’s own set of challenges though.  The first being that I have to try and pick someone that I feel is going to be on the train for at least a few stops.  If the person gets up the drawing is pretty much done and it’s time to move on to someone else.  The next challenge is that the train isn’t exactly the smoothest way to travel.  As a result, my pen tends to bounce quite a bit and my line is much more random and unpredictable.  It’s something I actually like and I think it adds to the overall feel of the drawing.  It also makes me think strategically about when to draw certain parts of the drawing.  When I draw an area that I feel may need a little more detail I usually wait until the train is at a stop.  Add in other elements like people cutting in front of me and bumping my arm or sketchbook and you’d see that drawing on the train is as much of a mental challenge as it is an artistic one.

Here are a couple of examples that I recently did while riding the subway this past weekend.

Thanks for checking them out and please feel free to comment. – Dave



7 responses

  1. Love these, Dave. I think they really capture the way we all sometimes feel..

    July 9, 2011 at 10:01 pm

  2. marquis86

    hey there! i have started a new blog to showcase portraits that people draw on the train or subway. trainfaces.wordpress.com/ i was wondering if i could feature your work with a link to your website / flickr stream / twitter or whatever you want?

    September 10, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    • That would be great. Thanks for checking out my drawings.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:22 am

  3. marquis86

    thank you very much! would you like me to link to your blog or would you prefer a website, twitter account, etc?!

    September 11, 2011 at 3:25 am

    • To my blog would be fine.

      September 11, 2011 at 3:58 am

  4. marquis86

    thanks 🙂 your work is now on the blog. please feel free to tell people about train faces, follow the blog and of course, let me know if you create any more commuter portraits 🙂

    September 11, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  5. total


    November 10, 2011 at 4:41 pm

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