Here’s a sleepy fellow from the train home the other night. His was a commuter face from Central Casting: drawn, lined with anxiety, held in a perpetual furrowed frown. Veering between dozing off and staring intently out of the window.
Poor chap. Hopefully it was only superficial. He was probably just tired.
A quick one on the train home. I thought I’d try that Picasso thing of drawing with a single line (displayed nicely here). It’s no Picasso, but it was fun. And I liked the contrast of sticking in the fat orange bars of the handrails.
This chunky chap was trying valiantly to stay awake, but kept folding up like his strings had been cut. Good news for me and my iPad.
How nice to have a bit of time for once. This one was done on the train home last night, and he only got off a stop of two before I did.
So I had about 40 minutes to stare at this poor chap, who was sitting diagonally opposite me. Once he’d dispatched the disintegrating remains of his McDonalds meal, he pulled out some paperwork and got his head down: my cue to fire up Brushes and get to work myself.
He was archetypal, somehow. A rumpled, jowly commuter, slightly pale, with hashmarks of lines about the eyes that could have been from years of laughter or weariness – or both. Probably both, given the way life tends to go.
Still working on the 10.09pm from Waterloo, his dinner wolfed out of a glistening paper bag. (Would anyone his age have dreamed of cramming a takeaway into their faces on a train 40 years ago?)
He looked pretty tired, poor chap. But I’ve observed before on this blog that whatever I imagine about these people is probably wrong. And this man was especially hard to read.
His face could have belonged anywhere. It would be as easy to imagine him returning to a dark and empty flat, where his primary social contact was the cat next door, as it would to picture him greeted at the door of a smart modern home by a beaming wife, and making up for his long day with a big glass of Rioja.
Maybe he does the books for a dodgy antiques dealer, and is starting to think he’s going to have to blow the whistle. Or he has a desk somewhere in that green-windowed building at Vauxhall. Or he’s the UK’s leading authority on the early works of Spinoza, as well as a fan of Big Macs.
Other people: who knows, eh?
When he looked up from under his cap, this fellow looked a lot like Ridley Scott. Perhaps it was Ridley Scott, although I’m not sure why he’d be on the Dorking to Waterloo train.
The hat’s rubbish, a pretty lazy bit of drawing frankly. But the beard, using the same brush I used for those lads’ hair, worked quite well.
I don’t really think it was Ridley Scott.
This was one of those journeys where everyone I started to draw got up and got off the train almost instantly. Maybe they clocked what I was up to.
So in the final moments of the journey, I did this lightning sketch of the three eastern European lads standing by the door, all with number-one haircuts. Didn’t come out too badly, given it was all over in about two minutes. Glad I found the perfect brush for their haircuts.
(Just realised I labelled it as ‘Tube’ later on, but it wasn’t, it was on the train from Dorking into Waterloo. These details are important to you, I’m sure.)
I can’t tell you anything about this person, because this is a sketch I just rediscovered on my iPad, drawn in November last year, and about which I remember nothing at all.
Not sure why I didn’t post it at the time. I was obviously having a go at a different approach, and perhaps I didn’t think much of it at the time. But it’s got a sort of graphic quality that I quite like. Plus, I haven’t posted anything for ages, so it’s a useful stopgap.
Almost home to Dorking, I had a quick go at this middle-aged chap across the aisle. Hair is always so fascinating to draw: his was that very straight, sawn-off sort of hair that sits in sharp little lines like wires.
He moved as I drew, which you can see in the odd twist it’s given to his face in the drawing. But there you go. I choose to draw unsuspecting people on trains, I can hardly complain if they don’t pose perfectly for me.
Here’s the second of my experiments with (slightly) less linear drawings, from yesterday’s ride home.
The ability to overlay washes of colour in Brushes is one of the most powerful aspects of the app, I think. It’s a shame these sketches are always done too quickly to really make use of it. (Hockney is obviously the go-to guy on that.) But I got a bit of it going on here, and it’s come out okay.
There’s been a bit of a hiatus on these – I went to Bulgaria on a school skiing trip with my son, and he pretty much monopolised the iPad (Asphalt 6), so no chance to draw people on the plane, minibus, etc. Since then I’ve just been incredibly busy with work, and not doing much travelling. So not many brushes with any strangers.
Anyway, that changed yesterday, and I had a bit of an experiment (again) at getting away from straightforward line drawing.
This lady (yes, lady), with her near-spherical head, sat nice and still and I thought I’d try to get her with, literally, some broad brush strokes. It came out better than some previous experiments, anyway. There’s another one coming a bit later.