Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Pike Place Market People


10/17/21 Pike Place Market

Sunday was the international Urban Sketchers 24-hour event, USk Sketch Together, with sketchers around the globe taking part with live videos and images from their respective sketch outings. USk Seattle chose iconic Pike Place Market for our event. The forecast all week was for rain that day, but once again, the weather gods were with us: Not a drop!

Before the pandemic, I used to happily sketch people on buses and light rail trains whenever I had somewhere to go. Throughout the wet-weather months, I had taken for granted being able to draw people in coffee shops. The thing I missed most during the worst of the pandemic was sketching people in public. For Sunday’s outing, I decided it was time to get back on public transportation. As a personal celebration during the Sketch Together event, I dedicated the outing to sketching nothing but people. In fact, I used the “observational cartooning” technique I learned from Taylor Dow in his workshop a couple of weeks ago to help tell the story of people at the Market: drawings made from life combined with written commentary.

On the level below the Market Commons, I could look up at a corner of the pedestrian area with one of the best waterfront views (above). It turned out to be a popular corner to take selfies and other photos. I started there but realized quickly that my view was limited.

Next I got up on the upper level myself so that I could see and sketch more people, especially their various photo stances – both taking and posing. Many were selfies, but others were couples and families who asked a passing stranger to snap a photo for them. When I wasn’t sketching, I timed a few: On average, I have about six seconds to capture a selfie. If someone else is taking the photo, I have a bit longer. The typical pose for couples is for one to put an arm around the other. When couples take a selfie together, they snap one, then usually one person is more interested than the other in the result and often needs a retake. I had as much fun people-observing as people-sketching.

It feels good to sketch people again!

To see what the rest of the world sketched that day, search the hashtag #usksketchtogether.

Many snoozers on the light rail train, a.m.
and p.m.

I seem to be the only one awake
on this train. It was my first public
transportation ride in 19 months.

USk Seattle knows how to Sketch Together!


  1. You had a big turnout. Love all the people poses and your text to go with them. Are selfie sticks still a big thing? I haven't seen one in a long time, but I haven't really been too many places. The whole world was sketching on Sunday and I didn't get to do one sketch. We had a family wedding and since we hadn't seen most of the people in several years talking and visiting was the priority.

    1. Sorry that you couldn't join in on the Sketch Together, but you usually make up for it on all the other days! ;-)

  2. Love your tiny people. Seems you had a lot of fun. One thing I "lost" during the pandemic was my bus pass. I'm realizing that I've lost a lot of my sketching infrastructure. All my museum memberships have lapsed as well.

    1. I was trepidation about getting back on public transportation, but if I choose the time carefully, the trains are pretty empty, so I'm happy to get back on. I haven't renewed my museum memberships yet, though, and I sorely miss visiting. :-( I will likely wait until I get my booster before I go back inside.


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