Tag Archives: New York City


15 Jan

15 hare 1

15 hare 2

15 hare 3

Practice makes perfect. So I’ve been drawing and redrawing the little hare from the digital drawing I did yesterday. I’m doing these in Reeves pencils, B and 3B into my new little spotty sketchbook. It’s size A6 and my chum and fellow blogger, Melanie Ezra, brought it back from New York City for me. Here it is.

15 spottyIt’s cute. There’s a reason I’m doing all these practice sketches. There’ll be lots more to come over the next few days………

Speedy Sketches With Seconds To Spare.

8 Jan

Ink sketch on the New York subway.

I carry a little sketchbook with me at all times [even in the bath lol] and it’s good discipline to take it out and sketch whatever is in front of you, at random. It means that you can’t be too precious about what you’re drawing and also you have to capture the essence of the drawing very quickly because you don’t know when it’s going to change. I’ve visited New York City a few times and it’s a great place to draw, although I avoid the temptation to draw famous landmarks because it’s been done so many times before. I did this little sketch of the two lads on the New York subway very quickly. They were teenagers and full of energy so they kept moving about and I had to ‘get’ them in just a few lines. Faber Castell Pitt pen into an A6 spiral-bound Cotman watercolour sketchpad. I went through a phase of drawing into watercolour pads: I’d like to say it was for artistic reasons but to be honest, they were selling them very cheaply at the time in a local discount store.


Ink sketch in East Harlem.


Another time, I was visiting the New York International Print Fair with another artist and we were staying in a little hostel in East Harlem – very interesting place with lovely South American food. She was waiting for a take-away meal and I wandered outside. It was about 7pm and this elderly lady was taking her elderly dog for a walk along the street. Both of them were wearing knitted jumpers to keep out the October chill. I quickly drew them at different stages of their stroll, again in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen but this time into a rather nice A6 ‘postcard’ sketchbook that I bought at the Tate Modern gallery shop before I went to the USA. I filled it with drawings as a present for my husband instead of sending him commercial postcards.

Drawing A Postcard From America.

25 Nov

Ink drawing: Homeless man in Grand Central Station.

When I’ve visited New York City I’ve spend a lot of time hanging out and sketching at Grand Central Station. It’s a gorgeous building and there’s a vast crowd of people moving through it and lots of opportunities for sketching. There were always a lot of apparently homeless people there, getting their heads down in a corner for a sleep. It was awkward for them because railway police kept waking them up. This young man was asleep behind his hat. It seemed to work as I spent a long time sketching him and other people and the police didn’t seem to notice him.

The drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a Tate Gallery Postcard sketchpad, with very thick card pages robust enough to send through the post. I didn’t rip the pages out; I filled the book with drawings while I was there and wrote messages on the back of each postcard to my husband and gave the little book to him as a present when I got back to Blighty.

Japanese Barens [artgeeky stuff]

23 Oct

Ink drawing: A demonstration of Japanese woodblock printing.

When I visited the International Print Fair in New York City a couple of years ago, I went to a demonstration of Japanese woodblock printing by the artist Takiyi Hamanake [I hope I spelled that right]. It’s a different way of printing; instead of rollering oil-based ink onto the cut block, you brush glue onto your woodcut and brush water-based pigment over that, then lay a very fine paper on top and rub it very hard with a Japanese baren.  The result is delicate, very different to printing with the old, heavy-duty Victorian Columbian press at Swansea Print Workshop. Takiyi used a modern ball-bearing baren, a type I had never seen before. I have used a traditional bamboo baren with varying results but the ball-bearing one was amazingly quick and easy to use. I’m trying to track one down but I haven’t found a British supplier – yet!

This drawing is in Faber Castell Pitt drawing pen in my little Tate Gallery postcard sketchbook. I filled it during my New York visit as a present for my husband. It was scribbled very quickly and I’m afraid it’s not a very flattering portrait of the artist!

An Elder On The New York Subway

22 Oct

Ink drawing: An Elder on the New York Subway.

I went to the New York International Print Fair a couple of years ago and spent the best part of a week travelling around the city to loads of print exhibitions and events. A lot of the time I was on the subway and as I always carry a sketchbook with me it gave me a great opportunity to draw people. I was staying up in East Harlem and saw this elderly man on my way back to the hostel.

The train was packed and I only had a few minutes to sketch people as you never knew when they were going to get off. He was sitting very quietly, deep in thought and concentrating on his prayer beads. A very young man was sitting next to me, looking over my shoulder as I drew. I didn’t mind, he was no bother. When I finished he flashed me a big smile and said ‘Cool’ as he got off the train. Made my day 🙂


Trains, Planes and People Watching on the NJT

18 Oct

Ink drawing: people-watching on the NJT.

Trains are great places for drawing because you can settle down in relative comfort and people are generally static for a reasonable time often dozing or absorbed in books or conversation. These are two drawings I did on one of my USA visits, travelling regularly between New York City and Princeton on the New Jersey Transit [NJT]. The drawings are done with Faber Castell Pitt pens into an A6 Cotman sketchbook which is a nice easy size for carrying around and has good quality paper. I think the woman with the large earrings knew I was drawing her.


Ink drawing: Train Talk on the NJT.

The NJT was always very crowded, whatever time of day or night I travelled, possibly because it stopped at Newark airport, which is really cool and has a monorail to take you from the station to the terminals. I got really absorbed in drawing the chap standing up, the way his hand grasped the rail and also the baggage which made interesting shapes. The trains had these weird seats in pale caramel leathery material. They could be swivelled round to face the other way so groups of four people could sit together.


Man / Superman at The Met, NYC

10 Aug

Ink drawing: Man / Superman at The Met, NYC.


On one of my visits to New York City I spent a happy couple of days at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s a fantastic place and even after two days I hadn’t seen everything. I took my sketchbook, as ever, and did this ink drawing of a small group of children taking part in an educational project. One of the dads was lounging on the floor wearing a yarmulke with the Superman logo on it.

It reminded me of a couple of books I’d recently read. ‘Men of Tomorrow’ by Gerard Jones is a history of the development of the comic book and features the creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two skinny, poor Jewish lads with a talent for writing and drawing, who called on their poverty-stricken upbringing in the 1920’s to create a superhero. So Superman is Jewish.

Michael Chabon continued the theme in his novel ‘Kavalier and Klay’, about two poor Jewish – American boys who create a superhero based on the Jewish Golem. So there was a bit of serendipity when I saw this man relaxing. Sadly, in the real world, Siegel and Shuster were robbed of the copyright and this was only redressed when they were very elderly. By that time, poor Joe Shuster had been living in poverty for many years – he had gone blind which was particularly tragic for an artist. Stan Lee, amongst others, led a campaign to get them awarded some royalties as the Superman films were grossing millions.

I really enjoyed the Polynesian section in the museum and we saw Damien Hirst’s shark in a tank. It was rotting and bits were floating away from its body. Gross.





Guns, Castrati and my Best British Accent at the Met, NYC

28 Jul

Melvyn snoozing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC

Day two at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. We didn’t cover everything on Day one so we went back and by mid-afternoon we were both shattered. I sat on a bench and asked Melvyn to pose while I drew him. He promptly fell asleep but I carried on drawing. Then a large museum guard with a GUN noticed him and stormed over. So I put on my VERY BEST  British accent,

“Oh I’m SO sorry Officer, I asked my husband to sit for me while I drew him in my little sketchbook here and he dozed off. Silly old thing. IS it a problem?” [big cheesy smile].

He softened straight away.

“That’s OK Maaaaam, perhaps you could just raise him up a bit?” and off he went, smiling.

So I kicked Melvyn and warned him not to doss around in posh world-famous museums where the guards carry GUNS!

The Italian Renaissance painting in the background is a bonkers piece by Andrea Sacchi of Apollo crowning the noted Castrati, Marcantonio Pasqualini, with a very strange bit of bondage going on in the background.

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