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All illustration images © John Shelley, not to be used without permission scribblatosis(at)gmail(dot)com

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April Tokyo Train Sketches Part 2

Here are some more sketches made earlier this month on Tokyo trains.

On this trip in particular I drew a lot of train passengers. Daughter and I were staying in familiar territory near Tama Plaza on the long Den-en-toshi line, which snakes from Chuo Rinkan in Yamato through the northern suburbs of Yokohama to the great hub of Shibuya, from whence it evolves into the Hanzomon line and continues eastwards through the middle of Tokyo. It takes around half an hour to travel on the express from Tama Plaza to Shibuya, but with the popularity of the suburbs beyond the Tamagawa river it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get a seat, especially on the express even outside rush hours. It was often only when I caught the slower trains that I could sit and sketch.

Whenever I could find a seat though I would quickly pull out my sketchbook and pen and secretively sketch away, hoping not to attract attention, which is actually quite easy in Tokyo because many people shut themselves off into their own worlds on trains, ignoring all around them, playing games on their smartphones, reading, sleeping (or feining sleep).

When will you get off? I don’t know! You might change your position, or another passenger might suddenly block my view by standing in front. Quickly, rapidly I draw, secretly like a Ninja artist, seizing the fleeting moment. This kind of sketching exercise is full of excitement!!

And I wonder, we are all on our own private journey’s brought together in this metal shell rushing through the city. We are all en-route, I pry into your lives with my pen, what insights can you offer? What are you thinking? Where are you going? Where have you been? 

Dear train passenger models, muses of public transport system! I thank you! This is my stop, I must be off! Farewell!

#sketchbook #tokyo #trainsketches

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