Sketching “Five Wounds”

These sketches were all created for the alumni magazine of San Jose State University. And what a fabulous assignment it was: how often does a client hand you a story, tell you to enjoy the process, and walk away?

I spent 3 days wandering  the predominantly Portuguese neighborhood of  called “Five Wounds” ( after a church by that name) in San Jose, sitting at street corners and on abandoned railway lines, sketching.

This is the first sketch I made. It’s the intersection of East Santa Clara and 28th street, where Five Wounds Church stands and is the epicenter of this neighborhood.

I made a couple of sketches of the abandoned railway line that runs through the neighborhood before I made this one for the cover of the magazine. Weeds, peeling paint, sagging electric lines. I love sketching them. They have so much texture. And character.

A closeup of the facade of “Five Wounds Church”

This decrepit theater had beautiful colored lettering on its side. I looked it up: it was built in 1949 but is now abandoned. A photographer who was walking around the neighborhood came over and chatted with me as I sketched. He wondered why it couldn’t be revived to show foreign films. I thought that was be a great idea. Are you listening, Cinequest, San Jose?

Another study while sitting on the tracks:And some images of the pieces in the magazine:



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About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
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12 Responses to Sketching “Five Wounds”

  1. Melissa says:

    These are wonderful! Love your style, esp. the spatter and flow. And what a coup to illustrate this piece so beautifully. It does sound like a dream assignment.

  2. That’s wonderful! You are, as always, an amazingly talented artist.

  3. sreelu says:

    beautiful Suhita, what an assignment to work on

  4. the GyPsY says:

    truly delightful.. I love this work!

  5. Rebecca Stahr says:

    These sketches are absolutely gorgeous. I love the looseness of your style. So much energy.

  6. Beautiful sketches and lovely blog.

  7. benjamin says:

    Im new to your blog but ill return you can count on that really nice work

  8. Claire says:

    Very, very nice. I hope my mom (an alumni) can find a copy of the magazine.

  9. I went to Five Wounds School, and was baptized, confirmed, and married in the church. Your sketches remind me of just how beautiful, and historic, Five Wounds and its surroundings are. You’ve made the Portuguese community proud, I’m sure.

  10. Lakshmi Anantharaman Ramaswami says:

    gorgeous stuff! love the fluidity, grace and energy!

  11. Andrew Wood says:

    Love, love, love your work – especially that Mexico Theatre sketch. Gorgeous!

    • Thank you, Andrew. I want to go back and find out more about that theater- so sad to see a gorgeous theater like that all boarded up- and just blocks from downtown San Jose. There is a really ambitious plan for the renovation of that neighborhood. I wonder if it will happen…

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