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 [above].
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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.