November 30th, 2019

A House with a Story to Tell

ARTIST: Andrew Banks, United States

ARTIST STATEMENT: This urban sketch was drawn from my car while parked on the side of the road in the Uptown neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. I enjoy exploring my surrounding neighborhoods for interesting scenes and architecture to sketch. I usually gravitate towards sketching larger, more well-known buildings and scenes, however on this particular day I wanted to focus on a more common, and typical scene for this area of town.

I was recently inspired to pare down my travel sketch kit so all I had with me was a ballpoint pen and this 3”x5” Epsilon Series sketchbook. A limited sketch kit allows me to focus more on the subject rather than spending tons of time deciding which combination of media to use.

This particular house and scene stood out to me because of the way the tree branches appear to hang over the house and serve as a framing device and compositional element on this sketchbook spread. The house was well taken care of, however it was also evidently older. It seemed like it had a story to tell. I not only wanted this sketch to focus on the house, but also to give a peak into its context; a tree lined street full of other vernacular architecture. The dark green color of the house provided a nice opportunity to incorporate darker values which contrasted with the bright sky and bare trees in the background. The ballpoint pen is a versatile medium, which allows for a range of values depending on the level of pressure you draw with and works perfectly on the smooth Epsilon paper.

I am a member of the Urban Sketchers Chicago Chapter. Minutes after posting this sketch to our Facebook group, a friend and fellow sketcher within the group saw my sketch and messaged me because he recognized the house and confirmed its exact address. The house happened to be owned by his family members. It turns out he had incredible childhood memories at the house and it brought him joy to see it in my sketch.

The house and my friend had many stories to tell. I am glad it caught my eye and that I decided to sketch it.

MEDIA: Ballpoint pen
SURFACE: Epsilon Series – Heavyweight – 150gsm – White – Smooth Surface

ABOUT THE ARTIST: Andrew Banks is a Chicago based artist, illustrator and owner of Andrew Banks Illustration. Andrew has a Master of Architecture degree and works primarily in watercolor, ink and graphite. He specializes in illustrating architectural subjects and makes use of a variety of techniques from stippling and cross-hatching in ink to precise wash rendering and glazing methods in watercolor. He has created commercial art and illustrations for a client base including businesses, realtors, universities, and non-profit organizations. Other clients include individuals seeking to commission original art such as home portraits or purchasing one of his Chicago themed prints. When Andrew isn’t drawing or painting in his studio, he enjoys sketching the city on location in his sketchbooks, riding his bike along Lake Michigan and spending time with his wife, son and chocolate lab.


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