Sunday Sketch – The Mortality of Cars

I love sketching people, but very often people are in cars and I hate sketching cars. But, cars are a big part of the landscape so I sketch cars. Cars all seem to be screaming for attention with designs which for the most part, reminds me of flashy athletic footwear. The only time I really enjoy sketching cars is when they are damaged or totaled.  A car wreck in a rural setting can be picturesque like this rusty hulk up north near International Falls:


A disabled or wrecked automobile in a city, however  is a disturbing symbol of urban decay or worse a terrible tragedy. Disabled and moribund cars are removed very quickly here in the Twin Cities. When I sketched the aftermath of a collision between a tanker truck and a car on Warner Road in Saint Paul, I knew I had less than a half hour to complete the sketch before  the police wrote their report and a tow truck arrived to cart the wreckage away after sweeping up the road confetti:


Here’s a quick sketch I did while biking along Summit Avenue. Sheet metal is a lot like fabric in the way it can describe the forms underneath and the action that caused it to crumple:


Sometimes there is drama and even humor when the shaken motorists emerge from the wreckage:


Occasionally,  a wrecked car will assume an unusual position after a mishap. I  enjoyed the challenge of quickly sketching this upside down car, as helpless as a turtle before the wrecker arrived to tow it away:


A car on its side is a rare opportunity to sketch the underside of a car:


Nothing beats sketching in a junkyard. Lots of great shapes to draw. I did this sketch on a bike trip to the U Pull R Parts junkyard in Rosemount.


This is one of Andy’s sketches. See more junkyard sketches here.


Sometimes I find great wrecks to sketch behind automobile repair shops. This wrecked car reminded me of the carcasses of a wild beasts I’ve seen on televised nature shows,  torn apart by scavenging hyenas and vultures:


Sketching wrecked cars is a lot of fun. I also refer to my car wreck sketches when I draw a post-automobile-era drawing like this scene from my illustrated story Bicyclopolis – nothing says post-apocalyptic better than the rusting, skeletal  remains of automobiles:


There are some prints and paintings of Bicycloplis and other bike-themed artwork of mine at the Lowertown Bike Shop in Saint Paul.

Ken Avidor

About Ken Avidor

Ken Avidor is an illustrator, cartoonist and occasional courtroom sketch artist. Ken Avidor is an active urban sketcher and maintains a daily, illustrated journal. Ken is married to urban cartographer and talented sketch artist Roberta Avidor in the Union Depot in Lowertown, Saint Paul. Follow Ken and Roberta's sketching/bicycling adventures on their travel blog.