Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Market Buskers

2/13/18 Pike Place Market
With plans to meet friends for lunch, I arrived at the Pike Place Market a little early so I could sketch. As it has been the past few days, the morning started out bright and sunny but cold.

While the Market can be intolerably crowded on a warm summer day, it’s laid back and almost quiet in February. In one of the busiest spots, where the fishmongers entertain tourists by tossing salmon to each other, two white-bearded guys performed an eclectic mix of tunes from blues to the theme song to the Mary Tyler Moore Show. When a band’s instruments include ukulele, kazoo and washtub bass, you know the music is going to be interesting! The red bird attached to the can attracts viewers’ attention to their busking funds.

It was getting close to the time I was meeting my friends, so I walked in the direction of The Pink Door. Nearby in Post Alley, a young man sang and played guitar to some tourists who dined outside a cafe, despite temperatures in the 30s. I sketched faster and faster before my fingers went numb while this musician shed his coat after a few songs. Some people are made of heartier material than I am, I guess. After two sketches, I was ready for the warm restaurant. 

Editorial comment: Readers of this blog know that one of my favorite sketch subjects is buskers. Wherever I travel and especially here at home in the summer, I seek out events where I’m likely to encounter musicians entertaining people on the street. To me, they add color, life and character to any urban space. Many people must agree with me, because they all snap photos of these buskers (stepping right in front of me to do so and blocking my view, I might add). And yet after they’ve taken a photo and enjoyed the music, most walk off and don’t contribute to the bucket. My personal policy is that if I sketch a busker, I always give them money afterwards. Even if I haven’t sketched them, if I’ve stopped to enjoy the music, I give them money. It’s a fair exchange either way.


  1. I do the same. Their music adds energy to the scene as well as my sketches. It's a fair trade.

  2. Great sketches of the buskers. I never see any around here, but do encounter them once in a while in the city in Penn Station and on subway platforms. Mostly I'm in a hurry and don't have time to stop and sketch them. lol


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