Monday, November 2, 2020

Mid-Street, Big Scene, Small Beta


10/29/20 Maple Leaf neighborhood

The sky was overcast; the air damp. Walking in the middle of the street where the view is better, I spotted downtown Seattle looming grayish-blue on the horizon. Halfway through this sketch, I got a phone call that I had been waiting for. The call took longer than I expected (at least five minutes), but I remained in the street, not wanting to lose my perspective. The conversation done, I finished the sketch – and not a single car had come by the whole time. This is one of many reasons I love living in Maple Leaf.

Big and little Betas: My favorite in any size.

Technical note: This sketch and the one of the urban couch a few days ago were both made in my pocket-size Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook. Less than half the size of my usual 5½-by-8½-inch Beta, it doesn’t give me nearly the real estate I’ve grown most comfortable with. A major upside, though, of a small page is that I can finish a color sketch with a composition of this complexity in about 15 minutes. The same sketch filling a larger-size Beta page might have taken 30 to 40 minutes (I probably would have had to step aside for a car or two if I’d used the larger book). I can’t do much detail, but maybe that’s just as well, especially in the fall and winter when it could start raining at any minute. The second major benefit is that it is an ideal daily-carry size on my fitness walks.


  1. Love the pop of color as you go down the street!!! I don't think I would be able to stand in the street here without having to move well before I finished the sketch. Sometimes I really prefer the safety of the inside of my car. lol Love the size of the small S&B book...perfect to carry almost anywhere.

    1. Not too many streets are this quiet, but I take advantage of them whenever I can! ;-)


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