Subway Sketches: THE FAQ

With all the interest in the last few days I have been getting a lot of questions, so I figured I'd finally write this out. I've been meaning to for a while.

1. How long does a sketch take?
Usually between 20 and 25 minutes, depending on my destination, and theirs. I am guaranteed to keep a model between 125th and 59th as long as I'm on the A or D which is what I ride most often.

2. What do you sketch with?
I sketch in a Moleskine sketchbook, with a ballpoint pen, specifically I prefer the Write Bros. model stick pen from Papermate, (if you are curious about the minutia).

3. Do you ask the model's permission?
Nope. I have never once spoken to one of the people I've sketched.

4. Do they know you are sketching them?
I can say... no... for the most part. There have been one or two that I am pretty sure figured out what I was doing, ( I think this guy for instance knew, but he never told his GF), but the vast majority of people ignore me and just concentrate on their books, or ipods, or their own inner worlds. Only twice has anyone ever noticably reacted to me, once a girl simply turned her head and put her hand up, and another time a lady moved seats, but I hadn't been sketching her anyway! I was sketching the woman beside her.

5. Do you work on the sketches after you leave the train?
I sometimes make "sketch notes" about hair and clothes that so that I can finish that part later, but I try to keep the faces (or whatever body part) limited to my time on the train. Looking at the sketches, the more background you see, or detail on the clothing, the more time I had with the "model."

6. Why do you do it?
I started as a way to practice. All through school I heard "carry a sketchbook" but I never was able to keep up with that habit. When I moved to NYC and started working in theatre my own personal artwork slid into a state of disrepair and I wanted to start doing figure drawing again as a way to shore up those rusty skills. After some failed and aborted attampts at going to figure drawing groups I started doing this. Two years later I've done over 200 of these sketches and I couldn't be happier with the way my artistic life feels these days.

7. 200? Why don't I see that many here?
Well... not all them are worth posting. Sometimes I do get jostled, a bit, or screw up the likeness.

8. Do you have training?
Yes, I have a degree in illustration from the School of Visual Arts. (I also have a degree in tech theatre from Armstrong Atlantic State University in GA, and a Masters in scenic design from the University of Connecticut.)

9. Can I buy one?
Anything dated before Dec 1, 2006 is for sale. Some have already been sold in the gallery show that I did earlier this year, but most are still available. You can inquire about prices. Of course my personal favorites are available in the book.

10. Will you sketch me?
Well... maybe. I am not sure where I stand on commissioned portraits yet but with the right persuasion I may consider it.

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