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April 21, 2016

When I get to thinking that I’m developing a drawing/sketching style, I stop and look at the work I’ve done over the course of just a couple of weeks. There is quite a variety, both in subjects and in the way I’ve drawn and rendered them. Some artists might be concerned about that, thinking “but I’m not developing a style!” At this point in my life, I find I’m more interested in how I can produce this image at this hour on this day. The variety is part of the fun, and it almost seems as if the diversity of my past work is telling me “this is who you are. Don’t fight it. Just let it flow.”

live bait

Live Bait, 5×7

“Live Bait’ could be an illustration for a story about the Texas Gulf Coast. The scene is a bait shop on an inlet near Aransas Pass, Texas. I’ve simplified the view considerably, eliminating other boats, a shoreline across the water, and a multitude of flotsam that’s normally found lying around and hanging in places like this.

house in pennsylvania1 650high

Pennsylvania House, 7×5

“Pennsylvania House” is an entirely different style: clean and simple, but much more loosely drawn and less precise than the boat scene above. The story here might be a family history surrounding life in this old Victorian house.

virginias onthebay at700

The Docks at Virginia’s, 5×7

The structure itself is Virginia’s On The Bay, a seafood restaurant that is one of our favorites in Port Aransas, Texas. Dinner on a weekend often calls for waiting in the foyer or out on the patio. A friend told me this didn’t look like Virginia’s, because it didn’t show the steps and patio at the entrance, which is by the palm trees shown in this drawing. In this case, I wanted to indicate the architecture of the structure as well as the fact that there is a marina next door to the restaurant. The drawing, while still loosely done, is a bit more precise, and reflects a bit of my architectural rendering background.


mt vernon1 at650

Mount Vernon Victorian, 7×5

The houses in Mount Vernon, Ohio have always fascinated me. especially up from the square along High Street and Gambier Street. This one never fails to capture my attention, with its covered balcony and corbels above the front porch. Although I did do a rough pencil layout first, I kept the ink line work very loose and suggestive. A relative saw this sketch on Facebook and immediately saw a haunted house.


When I was an art major in college, I wanted to be an illustrator. Bernie Fuchs was one of my idols. Somewhere deep in my psyche or memory or artist’s soul, I have apparently never given up the desire to portray things in an interesting manner.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 22, 2016 1:59 am

    Wonderful sketches Ralph, love the boat and the Docks at Virginia especially.

  2. Kathryn permalink
    April 28, 2016 1:00 pm

    Hi Ralph,
    Thanks for sharing more wonderful sketches. I, too, have asked the question about developing a “style” and having a very cohesive body of work. So I will tell you the same thing my artist daughter told me: “All your work, illustration, or fine art, bears your inimitable style.” This is so true of your work, Ralph…I think your words “Don’t fight it. Just let it flow.” should probably be framed and put on the wall of many art studios. Style should be an unconscious result of sincere striving to get at the essential nature of the subject, and/or express your feelings about a subject.
    By the way, Robert Lafond is posting again…back from France!

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