During most of the 1980s I lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I lived what feels like a slow-paced, leisurely, dreamy existence from today's vantage point, although I know I went through plenty of turmoil. For many of those years I didn't even have a day job, as I pulled in numbers of modestly paying freelance jobs such as the game illustrations I've been showing here. I didn't have computers or the Internet to distract me, and I didn't even watch that much TV.
What I did, anywhere I could, was make sketches. In the spring and summer I could do this out on the sidewalk, anywhere I could park myself and my folding seat. I lived in a neighborhood full of interesting old architecture, so there were plenty of things to draw. This back alley, near Sacramento Street, was a couple of blocks away from my residence. I would draw the scene on site in black and brown inks with a Rapidograph pen. Then I would take it home and color it in with watercolor.
When I moved to the Washington area I was not able to do street sketching, at least not the way I did it in Cambridge. There are plenty of places in my town to draw, but if I sat out there I would be run over by a car or even told by residents or police to move on. Sketching venues are restricted to public places like Starbucks coffee houses, parking lots, or parks. And who has the time to sketch and watercolor anyway? I have to check my Facebook page, the online music chatroom, and my Yahoo mail, and do my blog.
Cambridge back alley sketch is ink and watercolor on sketchbook page, 4" x 6", July 25, 1984.