Day 33 at Home: The Recycling Truck Made Me Think…

Garbage and Recycling day. As I see our truck pull up for our bin, I remember I have wanted to sketch it as it grabs our recycling bin.

Luckily there is always some sketchbook by me ( I have lots around the house, in various bags, in differing states of in-progress). Would a truck like this be easier to draw when it was parked? Or from a photo? Yes, but I really like drawing this way, as things happen.

So this happened. Not much of a sketch, I know but it made me think of so many things.

I drew the pencil version above while the truck stopped, grabbed my bin, lifted it up, emptied it, brought it back down and moved on. Then the color version happened within the next minute.

We all have so many teachers. What we learn from them, in person, in their books in their writings, or just in talking to them slowly builds up what we know and how we see. 
A little bit of the big shape of it is semi-blind contoured, but I also did something I read of in a book by the incredible Jack Laws. Jack was talking about drawing birds from life. I’m paraphrasing here, but he says that when you have very little time to observe, just observe deeply and speak things aloud to yourself, comparing what you are seeing to things you know. So I spoke to myself, things like “front wheel below cab, the back two wheels atleast a car-length away” and “back of truck is shaped kinda like a giant recycling bin on it’s side” …you get the drift.

Immediately after the truck was gone I combined my mental notes and notes on paper to add color and finish the drawing. When painting any vehicle I remember something Tom Hoffman said: the darkest part of a vehicle is the shadow under it.

There are things I can do to draw a better recycling truck next week. And they aren’t all drawing related.
– I can make sure I have my supplies at my desk (I happened to have them all today, so I did well on that).
– I can study this sort of big-6 wheeled truck from photos. Not because I want to be able to draw it from memory, but because understanding even a bit of it’s big structure will help me get quicker and see better. It will also free up my observing time to observe more subtle and salient details of this particular truck.
– I can look at the work of artists I know who draw vehicles well, the sort of “research” I can spend hours doing 🙂

That was the highlight of Day 33 at home for me. If you don’t have their books already, anything by Jack Muir Laws is fantastic, including his new book.
And Tom Hoffman’s book is a must-read for any visual artist.


About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in Close to home, Everyday Sketches, people, san jose, Silicon Valley and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Day 33 at Home: The Recycling Truck Made Me Think…

  1. I just love your sketches, no matter what they may depict ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tom hoffmann says:

    Thanks, Suhita
    Your sketches are delightful. I’ve been enjoying the very quick painting you made in Bernal Heights of adjacent streets that run in different directions, one uphill and one down. Such courage!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s