Industrial Scenes in Minneapolis

Today I spent a fun afternoon with Urban Sketchers Twin Cities sketching at Squirrel Haus Arts. ( This art space is near several industrial areas in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis. Out its back door, you can look and see trains and a variety of old industrial buildings. Here are a couple photo examples I took a few weeks ago:

I first warmed up with a fude pen, just trying to capture a nearby parked train…

I had hoped to do a whole scene, but decided to just let the sketch go and opt for something with more buildings of interest. I set up behind a red building on the corner and found a little shade. I liked the scene in front of me– a hopper car and street corner (with a fire hydrant) two buildings layered behind the train, and in the foreground, traffic cones and a sign. Much more visual information. I used my fude pen with Noodlers Lexington gray ink to block in a sketch…

I chose just part of the tan building and liked all pipes and contraptions to the right of it, on the roof of the white building. Unfortunately, I don’t know what all these buildings were called or their purposes, but they were super-fun to sketch. And yes, that is green moss, or some type of vegetation growing on the roof of the white building.

As I sketched, I observed and listened to the sounds of the city around me— the “ding ding ding” of the warning sounds of the light rail line coming through, the sounds of the signal arms coming down, the woofers and speakers blaring music in some cars that drove by, the roar of jet airplanes overhead.

My finished sketch tried to capture some of the grit of this scene– but I wasn’t able to quite achieve the scraped white walls of the building behind the train car. But I had a fun time anyway!

Later, as I was talking to people, I decided to do a quick sketch of the railroad signal arm and lights. I kept it black and white with a hint of red for the lights…

We had a great time sketching! The weather was perfect, the sketch subjects were endless, and it was fun to step out and sketch things I don’t normally sketch. If you need to relax, are bored, or need to get a fresh perspective, go out and try sketching!

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