I was recently interviewed on Alex Mathers' excellent Ape On The Moon site recently about my sketches and where my favorite place is to sketch. This prompted me to make a new Flickrset called, appropriately enough, Sketches.

sketches in church 1

Most of the drawings that you see featured on this set are done while I was sitting around, doodling, or just working on some ideas for myself. Playing around. Observing. Exploring. Nothing devoted to any particular job. Sketches done for work is an entirely different thing. Even though some of the drawings might look similar in style, drawing for an employer has a direct reason for being: money. However, I try to instill that same sense of wonder and exploration while sketching for work. I'll probably scan some work sketches for another Flickrset in the near future.

In the meantime, take a gander at some drawings done while in church. I know, so horrible of me to do such a thing while in a house of God. But really, it's a lot of fun. And it's a no-brainer, too. Think about it: you've got a vast variety of subjects who are not going to move much for about 30 minutes. Even though it's the back of their heads, it's still a great exercise. And I find that I actually listen better when I do draw during the service, believe it or not. Like a mental stamp, I can look at a particular section of a drawing and know what was being said by the pastor. It's hard to explain, but I think you'd understand if you're an artist. Haven't you ever had the TV on while working on a painting? The following day, you might look at the right arm of your subject in the painting and realize to yourself, "hey, I was watching Laverne & Shirley when I painted that". I do it all the time. Not sure what you'd call this, but "memory stamping" sounds about right.

sketches in church 2

sketches in church 3

sketches in church 4

Anyway, here's a couple of other sketches from some of my sketchbooks throughout the years. Enjoy:

andrea sketch

sketches 1

sketches 5

sketches 7

post-it saxtons

sketches 3

sketchbook swooning 2

There are three approaches I take to sketching:

1. From observing what's around me.
2. From photographs, magazines, tv, etc.
3. Off the top of my head, freestyling.

All of it is part of who I am as an artist, looking at what I see around me and hopefully creating something different in the process. Plus, it's a lot of fun.


  1. Thanks for sharing, these are great. My favorites are the ones of Sax.

  2. Those are really awesome. I love your loose sketching style; my biggest hurdle in my art is trying for a more sketchy and cartoony look... I've been working for so long on strict photorealism that I'm completely incapable of drawing caricature or anything that isn't incredibly realistic. Trying to draw in a different style feels like I have to learn how to draw all over again. :-/

  3. I understand where you're coming from, freezemarked, as I come from that same background as well. I used to draw nothing but representational (realistic) work in high school & college, with the occasional cartoon here & there. But what happened with me was sometime during my career, I was working on an idea for a short film and I started to break down and stylize some characters, and I felt I made a breakthrough. It was wild.

    I wouldn't say it was like drawing all over again, but I would say it was like "unlearning" everything I had learned about drawing and art up to that point in my career. It was a major breakthrough for me.

  4. You're right about listening better when you draw: I've been reading a book on the history of knitting in New Zealand and at one point it says (about the fact that in the 1970s opinion makers decreed that public knitting was anti-social): "The reality is that plain knitting focuses the mind wonderfully. If we have to sit with idle hands we fidget and our minds wander. If the hands are kept occupied with stitching then the mind happily disciplines itself to listen attentively."

    Now if only we could spread that message to the rest of the world...

  5. Ward - you are seriously talented and inspiring - you make me want to get back into my sketchbook.
    I love that one of Andrea.

  6. Your drawing in church reminds me of doing my sketchbook assignments during graphic design history class. I was able to absorb everything I needed to – the instructor was a bit of a bore, unfortunately – which lead to great grades in that class. And, it helped me stayed awake, unlike most of my classmates. :)