Why you should draw on the bus: part 1

I joined art and commuting out of desperation. It was 2008 and I was pregnant, constantly exhausted. My workday and meal preparation left me with no energy to use during my empty evenings. Instead, I read a lot of fantasy, sci-fi, and how-to parenting books from under a warm afghan on the couch. 

That picture doesn't look too bad in hindsight, but at the time I really missed doing art. My commute (2 buses, 55 minutes each way) was my last resort. After I gave birth to my daughter and returned to work, I started bus-drawing again. At first, the little sketches seemed like the withered, poor relations of my paintings and illustrations, which flourished in the last months of my maternity leave. 

I've since learned there's a lot to gain from doing art in unlikely places. The bus is a great place to practice:

  • faces. (Be fearless!) 
  • hair and hair accessories
  • perspective (busses come with a vanishing point and LOTS of challenging poles, bars, and rows of heads to line up...)
  • figure drawing: people sitting, standing, sleeping, hanging off of a pole
  • hands holding things, like gloves, cell phones, briefcases, poles and bars
  • shoes and boots in every position
  • fabric of all kinds (I've been drawing a lot of Goretex and fake fur ruffs lately)
  • Swift landscape and cityscape studies
It's also a great place to
  • learn to be loose and fast while you draw (all those bumps!)
  • conceptualize the next project and work on its composition
  • make marketing and promotion plans