Friday, June 14, 2024

North Fremont


6/9/24 North Fremont

When most people think of Fremont, the troll, Lenin, and the monument to JP and Gertrude probably come to mind. That’s what I think of, anyway, and that southern end of Fremont is the only part I’ve spent any time sketching. On Fremont’s northern edge, though, where the neighborhood butts up against Phinney Ridge, it’s a little less “Center of the Universe-y” and more working class or maybe just more neighborhood-y.

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, we decided to meet at Uneeda Burger, which is housed in a building that must have been a garage at some point. The sunny deck in front was an ideal spot to devour messy, drippy burgers (both animal- and plant-based and taller than they were wide) on a lovely Sunday.

Arriving a little early to make time to sketch (and finished after lunch and a fun visit to the Fremont Sunday Market), I captured a few other buildings visible from the intersection of North 44th and Fremont Avenue North. The oldest was probably the Fremont Abbey Arts Center, a 1914 brick building that was originally St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Process notes: Like my old apartment building, none of these buildings struck me as particularly sketchworthy. The lighting wasn’t great on any of them, and let’s face it, I’m generally not a fan of sketching buildings just for the sake of sketching buildings (unless I’m in Amsterdam, Coimbra or Kyoto, of course). I’ve noticed, though, an interesting change in my attitude about architecture since I began making on-location comics. Because each sketch tends to be no more than thumbnail size to fit several on a comic-style spread, it’s much easier and faster to draw any building, even if it doesn’t interest me much. I look at each as simply a part of the larger story – in this case, an intersection in north Fremont – and it has become much more enjoyable to sketch these sometimes ho-hum structures. I don’t worry about getting angles or perspective right; I just choose a building’s corner and simplify it enough to fit into 2 or 3 inches. And I end up liking these small sketches much more than building portraits that I might fuss over for much longer. That’s a huge, unexpected benefit of embracing comics!


  1. I think the thumbnail versions of these buildings are perfect for this type of page...and it eliminates having to add a lot of details. Nice job on these!

  2. They look great, not like you abbreviated them at all. The framing, the in a box, must be part of it. Must be a lesson in that. ;-)

  3. I agree 100% that on location comics sketching is way different than the regular USk approach. And yes - because the images are usually smaller, they get done much faster - and it’s simply a part of a bigger story. And it’s mo’ fun, at least for me. - Roy


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