When you sketch a place – a view, a street, a monument – you get to know it so well. The light, the textures, the colors, all the stuff you would miss if you weren’t looking so deeply. So it’s a bittersweet feeling when it no longer exists: I am glad I got to sketch it and know it before it was gone, but it’s gone forever…
Few things are disappearing as quickly as neon signs. It used to be that every proud business owner would put up as flashy a sign as they could. Glowing neon, flashing arrows illuminated by bulbs, all with beautiful typography…Todays backlit vinyl signs do a poor job of matching up to those gorgeous signs.
Elite Cleaners in Willow Glen, San Jose. They move away to a new location very soon. And the sign? They’re not taking it with them. I tried digging up how old the sign was and got a vague “from the 50s” reply. I loved the serpentine arrow that wraps down the sign.
This sketch is of a sign by Felafel’s Drive-In, a popular felafel joint with a classic American drive-in sign. The good news? This place is thriving and they’re not going anywhere soon. I sketched this sign on what was possibly our ONLY really rainy day this year ( Northern California has it’s WORST drought ever this year.)
To see more vintage sign sketches, check out this set on flickr.