Tag Archives: travel blog

Sketching My Way Round NYC #1…the disabled man in Grand Central.

7 Sep

Ink drawing: homeless disabled man in Grand Central Station.


I’ve been to New York City a few times and it’s a great place for drawing people. One of my favourite places is Grand Central Station. There’s a large Dining Concourse with a beautifully painted ceiling and little stalls around the edge selling all sorts of food – Middle Eastern, Jewish, Italian, Chinese, Indian, American…… and you buy what you want and sit in the middle to eat. It seems to be a great leveller; you’re as likely to sit next to a smartly turned-out executive in an expensive cashmere coat as a homeless person. I loved drawing there as people were really interested and friendly and came to chat.

I went back quite often and there seemed to be a lot of people who stayed there all day, possibly homeless and I drew some of them. They sometimes fell asleep and security officers would wake them up but rarely moved them on. I saw this man several times. He was very clean and tidy but was usually sleeping in his wheelchair and had one leg amputated and wore a very basic prosthetic; the other leg was heavily bandaged and he wore an orthopaedic shoe. I wondered what his story was but I was too shy to ask him. This drawing was done on Easter Sunday and although I’m not religious, I found it even more poignant to see someone in such a sad situation on that day.

I was very shocked at the amount and condition of street people I saw in NYC. I know we have problems here but it seemed to be on a much larger scale and of course, there’s no National Health Service in the USA. We should be grateful for what we have. The drawing is done with Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens into a small Cotman watercolour sketchbook.

Minus 15 and still drawing

24 Jul

Melvyn in Berlin in the snow

Minus fifteen in Berlin and I’m drawing in the snow. I carry my sketchbook and draw all over the place and it went with me to Germany in January 2010 which was one of the coldest winters in a generation with two feet of snow and temperatures dropping to minus 20ºC at night. I’ve never been so cold and I wore a balaclava, fake fur coat and fingerless gloves so that I could do my street drawing around the city. Berlin didn’t stop. There was no ‘wrong kind of snow on the tracks’ nonsense. Schools didn’t invoke ‘Elfin Safety’ and close for the day; we saw tiny little kindergarten children wrapped up warm in the playground, building tiny little igloos with their teachers.


My drawings of Melvyn are often from below because he’s so much taller. We had a break from the extreme temperatures when we went on the metro and I did this sketch while we were travelling, using Faber Castell Pitt drawing pens and a sanguine conté crayon. I think you can see his Viking ancestry in this drawing.


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