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. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.

2 Responses to Sunday Sketch – The Mortality of Cars

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke May 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm #

    Your car wreck sketch documentation reminds me a lot of early crash journalism, like this excellent series on one of my favorite blogs, called “Twilight of the Dreamboats”:

    • Ken Avidor
      Ken Avidor May 11, 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Awesome photos.

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