Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I like to draw bicycles

I am sort of obsessed with bicycles. I love to ride bicycles. I enjoy reading about bicycles. But I am particularly obsessed with drawing bicycles.

Bikes are hard to draw, for reals. I host an annual 'Cute Girls on Bicycles' (this year we had a dude!) at Dr Sketchy's Anti-Art School in San Francisco. The bikey folk show up along with the regulars, and about halfway through the event the arteests are usually complaining about the bikes. We tend to have the muscle memory to draw the figure but drawing bikes can be a much more difficult mix of angles and geometry. I love it, well I love it when my drawings look good.

I thought it would be nice to post my bike drawings from over the years. I think it was five or so years ago that I started bike commuting and quickly became obsessed with these beautiful and elegant machines. They all have such personality and lovely lines. The drawings in this post go back to 2009, I'll start with the most recent.

  NISHIKI MARKET BIKE

This is from last week's trip to Japan, I feel like after the initial study I nailed most of the angles. It gets easier every time.

J'aime
This Monaco feels like a mid 80s frame. I drew this while at my friend Diane Olivier's art workshop in the south of France this summer. We usually stop by a vide granier (village yard sale) to see what goodies there are to draw. Usually there are fun French bicycles including Peugeots and heavy old lugged frames with cool panniers, but this year I only found this one. I sold this to my friend Catherine Mackey.

05.17.11 Sarah Murder
Hello Sarah Murder! I did this drawing at Dr Sketchy's in May. We had 4 models posing with bicycles. Sarah did an epic two minute track stand for the warmup gestures. This is not it, that drawing consists of mostly scribble and panic. Two minutes is not enough time to render a figure and bike.

Populaire poster
The Box Dog Pelican went into the sketchbook as soon as I got it home in February, because I am a woman obsessed. This drawing was featured in the SF Randonneurs' Populaire poster. Thanks Ely of Ruth Works SF for putting out the call for art, and for designing the poster. Sidenote, Ely and I share an interest in sewing and we had a fun time sewing bags together recently. I sold this color original as well.

Pelican #1
See? Obsessed.

04.23.10 Rivendell
And this is what happened when the Rivendell Sam Hillborne came home in 2010.

07.06.09 Italy bikes and Pietra Santo 06.24.09 France Lezignan market day
2009 travel sketchbooks, France and Italy.

I'm starting to see people and objects as shapes when I draw them. I think this is a good thing, it means the part of my brain that thinks it knows what something looks like is turning off a bit and the real 'seeing' is happening. It feels like my hand just knows what shape to draw. It's cool.

My interests in bicycles are changing as well. First I was really into lugs, then I wanted a faster distance (Rando) bike, and I am beginning to get interested in fixed geared or single speed bicycles. The more I read about the simple elegance and fun of fixed geared bicycles, the more I want to ride them.

I have to admit that I'm also slightly influenced by Velouria of Lovely Bicycle. I figure that if she can ride that unbelievable Mercian, I can do it too. :)

Sort of off topic, but I'm reading the Steve Jobs biography and I'm at the part of the book where he and Jony Ives designed the first iMac and Jony added a handle, which was a manufacturing nightmare, but Steve approved it right away. It wasn't a portable computer necessarily, the handle was there to invite people to touch the machine, because at the time most people were scared to touch computers. It added a sense of play. I think that's beautiful.
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