Sunday Sketch – Transit Sketching

I have been thinking a lot recently about transit sketching and how the new Green Line LRT will change my transit sketching habits. I like sketching people, but finding people to sketch in the Twin Cities is often a problem. Streets can be devoid of life as if a neutron bomb went off. There are people on the street, but hidden from view in vehicles. If you want to sketch people in the Twin Cities, I suggest taking your sketchbook on a bus.

I usually ride the bus in Winter. In the warm months I ride a bike or put my bike on the racks of buses for long trips. The #94 bus between the Twin Cities is just about the right time to sketch figures (the #94 route has changed since I did these sketches). Passengers are mostly in their own world and staring straight ahead, perfect models. Most of the time passengers don’t know I am sketching. I am always trying to keep up with the latest style of clothing. This passenger’s hat was fun to sketch:


My wife Roberta Avidor did this nice study of winter garb on the #21 (a really long ride between Uptown and Lowertown).


People on buses are mostly absorbed in their electronic gadgets:


Buses are good places to study the different ways people hold their phones:


Lots of passengers are just bored:


Sometimes passengers can be entertaining. This passenger was complaining about having to go to anger management classes:


The bus is also a great place to learn what’s new in the zeitgeist. A passenger on the #2 bus sitting behind me was relating a paranoid fantasy featuring Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.  To be featured in a paranoid raving is an achievement of a sort:


I don’t sketch a lot on buses because reading and sketching on a rocking, lurching bus gives me motion sickness. The ride on the Blue Line’s LRV’s is smooth but often too short a trip for me to do more than a quick sketch. The Green Line is smooth and just long enough from the Union Depot station where I live to Minneapolis to do a good sketch. I am expecting to do lots more transit sketching. This is my first Green Line sketch:


Fellow Twin City Urban Sketcher and friend Lisa Marie Greenly did this awesome Green Line sketch last week:

9_ 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.

One Response to Sunday Sketch – Transit Sketching

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke June 22, 2014 at 10:46 am #

    These are so great. These stories and sketches really capture the dynamic banality of the bus. The two at the end look like the future!

Note on Comments welcomes opinions from many perspectives. Please refrain from attacking or disparaging others in your comments. sees debate as a learning opportunity. Please share your perspective in a respectful manner. View our full comment policy to learn more.

Thanks for commenting on!