May 2013

Here are some more drawings for this month.

April 2013 Sketches

Here is a sketch of a funny looking dog that was on the streetcar and a woman on her phone:

August 2012 Sketches

Here’s something a bit different.  I met this guy named Jessie on the street and he was looking for donations for his charity.  The charity gives you post cards and asks you to draw on them.  Then they take your drawings and send them to the Philippines so that people the organization comes into contact with can check them out.

Here is the URL:

I decided to draw a scene in the subway on the card immediately after I was given it.
Here it is:


July 2012 Sketches

Holy!  I can’t believe that I did only three sketches this month!  I am sure that I’ve misplaced a sketchbook somewhere.

I have been carrying my sketch pad in the pouch of my briefcase but it is just not as discreet as my jacket pocket that I was using before.  Now I have to dig through everything  to find my book and pen.

I have seen many things worthy of pen and ink on my subway adventures this past month and now looking back it is really too bad I didn’t have the clothes to quick draw from.

One day I noticed someone passed out with pants that where completely wet.  Since it was such a hot day I reasoned that it was sweat.  After watching him for a while he started flopping out of his seat slightly.

I wondered what to do.  My stop was coming up.  I looked around and others kind of looked at the guy and then back at me.  I guess I had to do something, I didn’t want to have him lying there flopping to the floor (It was one hot day!) heat exposure can leave you with considerable brain damage among other things.

I walked over to him and said “Hey!”  I asked “Hey, are you alright!?”

No response.

Then I shouted “Hello!?”

No response.

Was I going to have to press the yellow strip (an emergency button on the train that would initiate the breaks and summon help)?  Was this incident Yellow strip worthy?  Once someone pushed the yellow strip on the train I was on to let the driver know the door was out of commission and he got a harsh talking to from the driver.

“Ah!” I said.  A TTC guy was on the car.  I walked up to him and said “Hey man, I think that guy over there is pretty messed up.”

He said he would deal with it and I got off the train because at that point we were at my stop.  While I walked up to the streetcar I heard an announcement that they stopped the train one stop ahead of mine and sent an emergency crew.  I hope the guy’s ok.


June 2012 Sketches

This month it really started to get hot and so my usual practice of keeping my sketchbook in my jacket was impeded.  Without the book in my upper pocket it’s a lot more challenging to handle “quick draw” situations.

This month I joined a local meet-up group that sketches around the city .  It has been fun hanging out with all of the members and they have helped me realize that there is a lot to draw around the city!  In the gallery the first sketch you’ll see is a of the statue of Edward the 7th in Queen’s park I did with them.

Rod from the group also suggested that I check out a site because the artist frequently does sketches of people on public transit:

As well as joining this group, I joined a word press meet up group and am happy with all I have learned there and the people I’ve met.

The last sketch in the subway drawings this month revolves around the funny situation of me drawing someone drawing others.  I think she was drawing the person sitting next to me and then when she realized that I was drawing her it was a really weird.  It was a bit like in back to the future where Marty McFly couldn’t get too close to himself or he’d risk the space time continuum exploding or something.  It was weird. Before I could talk I realized it was my stop and I had to go and she had this shocked expression on her face sort of, an expression of understanding and also a curiosity as to how to proceeded socially.

Rob Dales
Sketches on Rails

May 2012 sketches

Many people may be looking for casual opportunities to draw away from the rigidness of the classical art studio; I’ve found drawing on the subway can provide just that.

With the art world seeming to get more and more serious I wonder if something as freewheeling as this is what people are searching for now.

What is most interesting about drawing on the TTC is the range in characteristics you will find in ‘models’.  In one train ride you will see a wide range, from the characteristics of Japanese people, to Canadian people of Russian descent and just about everywhere in between.

The subway and transit system has been frequently connected to artistic activity.  There are many art movements of the 1990’s that revolved around it.  From Keith Haring to Wild Style- I wonder what it is that continually draws artists to this place.  Perhaps it is just a subject like another, but I think there is a deep meaning found in it as it holds a reflection of the community that shares it.  I hope I am bringing that out in the drawings.  There is an art show going on right now at Steam Whistle breweries involving the TTC as well that was pretty cool:

When I draw first I scan the subway car and try to see if anyone has any of what I perceive as the physical traits of highly sensitive people.  I have learned from experience to avoid drawing them as they will most likely be jittery.  Although this is like guesswork sometimes, it usually works out for the better and I avoid those that would be most likely to give me the Shrek angry face!

Although sometimes even when I find someone who I think I can draw, they get really fidgety when I start and the drawing is lost almost before it began.

The subway may hold the potential of containing the world’s most beautiful faces; I just hope I can increase my skill so that if I come across one of them I can capture its essence!

One issue is that when I think I have found someone who may qualify as having one of the world’s most beautiful faces I give myself an added pressure to get it in time and that makes the drawing extremely difficult to pull off!  The pressure!

There is so much that goes into these sketches as they are literally done in minutes if not seconds.

So far this month only one person locked eyes with me.  It is so freaky when that happens!  Ugh!

Do you have any TTC stories to share this month?

Rob Dales
Sketches on Rails

Apr 2012

Mar 2012

Feb 2012

Jan 2012