I confess: I don’t do a lot of bus-sketching these days, but this guy made such an impression on me, I just couldn’t resist!

3 days after the actual bus ride, I finally got to it and did a quick capture from memory.

I think there’s something to be learned from the evolution of this sketch. Here is the drawing I started with:

mammoth on the bus switching mediums 1
Sketch before writing the description

Enter the written word…

I uploaded it to my sketch blog, and then added the following description:

This guy was so interesting, I just had to sketch him – even though it took me 3 days to get to it. He was a huge guy, eyes buried deep under a massive elephant-like forehead and bushy black eyebrows. Swaying heavily, he kept complaining about a strong smell of cognac. I think his idea was that if he complained loudly enough about the smell, people wouldn’t suspect it was actually coming from him.

Suddenly, I realized the mammoth forehead thing – which to me was one of the guy’s main features – was almost entirely missing in my sketch!

So, I made this quick change:

Sketch after writing the description
Sketch after writing the description

I hope you’ll agree that the forehead makes a real difference here – it really helps define this particular concept. Exaggerated of course, but as I’ve already written elsewhere – with captures, it’s more important to be interesting then objectively accurate.

Switching mediums

So, why am I posting this?

Because I think it’s interesting that something I completely missed in one medium (drawing) came out strongly in a different medium (writing).

Of course, the opposite would have worked too (i.e. sharpening a written description with a quick sketch).

The bottom line: switching mediums is a great way of shedding new light on your subject, and escaping some of your medium-specific habits.

Tweet tweet!

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For your next work, try switching to a different medium at some point. You can use drawing, writing, sculpting, music, whatever. It doesn’t have to be something you’re very good at; it’s not about getting awesome results. It’s about experimenting with a different point of view.

If I’m right, you’ll feel the different medium is giving you fresh perspective.

Hey – if you try it, I’d love to hear about how it turned out…

Write a comment and tell me about your experience; or, if you have your own blog, you could even post about it and share the link.

OR use the Facebook group, Chat CreativityWise


Join the Conversation


  1. Excellent advice!

    I just did it for a novel I’m working on.

    I was confused about the motivations and true purpose of two of the main forces in conflict within my novel. I took a blank page for each of of these two forces and I drawed. My drawing showed me what I wasn’t capable of finding through writing. It was fantastic!

    Thanks! 🙂

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