How to Commute Sketch like a ninja / by erwin lian


The Secret Manuel to Ninja Sketching in the commute. 

The Secret Manuel to Ninja Sketching in the commute. 

Step 1 :
Find a good spot to draw
 If you can find a seat, perfect . Otherwise. look for somewhere you can lean against to secure that support. A hardbound sketchbook is crucial and  Its imperative to bring a small sketchbook.  Simple logic. Something huge = attention grabber. If you want attention and want to be invisible, this may not be  for you.  Really. 

Step 2:
Since your hand and the train are often moving in opposing directions, it is wise to gauge the speed of the vehicle before you push ink around. When the vehicle stops, it is the most stable. When it accelerates, its not wise to lay in intricate lines . When its at optimum speed, its stable again. Finally, if it stops abruptly, be ready to stop. In short, gain a sense of the tempo and movement. 

Step 3
Be invisible:
Its really easy. Don't lock eyes with anyone no matter how cute he/she is, Don't smile or try to wink at them ,  avoiding wearing something loud and try to blend in as normal person, sitting still,  pretending to take note.  Always keep a 45 degree tilt and look at sketchbook, with occasional peek at your subjects.  If he/she is really cute, alone, and you did a fantastic job ? Consider parting that precious piece of drawing for his/ her number. Remember to assess risk versus reward. This is all well within the code of ethic in my ninja book. You go !

Step 4:
Overlap and fore shorting:
To draw fast, you need to be economic with your strokes, Its absolutely imperative to master foreshortening . Take mental note of overlapped shapes with that magical "T" . Allocate sufficient white spaces to secure foreground/backgrounds shapes.  You don't have to draw with pen, pencil works great as well. Pen is just another one of those ego boaster for people who can draw.  No kidding  !! STOP IT, Mouthbreathers who brag about your ink drawings. 

Step 5: 
Chose easier subjects if you can't deal with that kid who has ADHD. Life is stressful enough and a ninja don't get promoted for catching Flash on the subway . Consider the following subject if you are just picking up Ninjatsu :
1) Sleepers- duh
2) Phone drones -double duh
3) Reader s-Triple duh
4) Back View. ( i know what you're thinking but hey its a start)

Step 6:
A montage is a great way to get into the flow of just drawing. Once you gather more confidence and speed, you can sketch an entire row of commuters without breaking a sweat.

Step 7
If someone notice ? You can either stop or ask for permission. Obviously, its riskier if you ask for permission. However, you will be surprised by how many nice people there are on the commute.  At any given rate, if they get real mad at you for drawing their cute husband or wife ? Be prepared to give them that piece of drawing, and bounce.  Really, its not worth fighting for Art. The last time I saw someone fighting over who use  some ABC pen first versus who drew triangle before there is even squares ? I almost cut myself.  

This is it. Its that simple/ Have fun sketching on your commute :) 

PS: if you are a transit company and wish that I can teach my Ninjastu to your customers ? Holler !  POOF*