Sketching Philadelphia, 30th Street Station 

Ever since I moved to the States I had wanted to stop by 30th St. Station in Philadelphia. Yesterday we met there for our Sketching Philadelphia group.    

Life Size Tonka


Maybe it’s the childhood memories, but for some reason I’ve always wanted to sketch diggers, bulldozers and construction machinery and never had had the chance. This one was parked by JFK Boulevard and 17th, had 15 minutes to sketch it. 

Lost my sketchbook…

I always carry multiple sketchbooks in my bag… different sizes, different paper, different subjects. Well, today when I looked for the book I use to sketch people during my lunch break I found out I had lost it! My bag won’t close hermetically and apparently lost in on the train. Tomorrow I’ll go to the lost & found office, maybe someone found it and handed it to the conductor. 

I was kind of frustrated, but got out another sketchbook, just to not lose the habit of sketching Philadelphians in Center City. To my surprise, I ended up with one of my favorite sketches in a long time! Who would’ve thought! 

This was done with a Lamy Safari EF, Noodler’s Bulletproof Black, Pentel Pocket pen brush and watercolors with a flat brush I never use. 



Today at lunch there was this crew trimming the trees in front of Comcast Center. It was cold but managed to withstand the wind. Can’t imagine how this guy up there deals with the cold. Here apparently people think that because it’s March they can get away with shorts, sandals and skirts… It was snowing two days ago!

Quick Philadelphia 

Fast sketch of a guy waiting to cross JFK Boulevard. Traffic lights here change  about every 30 seconds, so I had to hurry! Of course, he had already left when I started to color, but it’s a good practice at my lunch break. 

People in Motion 

A couple weeks ago I started taking a Craftsy class called People in Motion, with Marc Taro Holmes. Marc is a wonderful teacher and a fantastic artist. I recommend the class to everyone. 

This is my first attempt at putting in practice what I remember from his class. It’s a captive subject, as Marc calls them, a commuter in the train. I think I missed a step, but it was fun and fast anyway. 

Sadness Brings Change

Right now I’m on a plane back to Puerto Rico for my mom’s funeral. She was very ill, and even as sad as it is, I know she was suffering a lot. The last time I saw her was a month and a half ago. I was able to sit down for a while and sketch her. When she saw it she said: “Oh, I look pretty! If your dad sees this he’s gonna fall in love again.” I’ll never forget this moment, as I captured her fainting smile while she was falling asleep. Mom, I’ll love you forever. 

These last three days have been the saddest ever. One of my best friends ever also passed away two days ago. We’d known each other for thirty years… Basketball pals, neighbors, college classmates, colleagues, co-workers, golf enthusiasts, sketching buddies. His watercolor sketches were very inspiring, with bold shapes and saturated colors, with a pigment loaded brush. He changed my attitude towards sketching, as I’m not afraid to make mistakes. He used to say “It’s just a piece of paper. Who cares if you mess up? This isn’t neurosurgery!”

And he was right. From now on, he’ll always be present whenever I’m sketching and painting, as I’ll try to honor him by being even looser, bolder and fearless than ever. I know he would’ve enjoyed this process. ¡Hasta siempre Rafi!