Painting and Sketching Edmonds Classic Car Show

My First Classic Car Show!

I’ve never been to car shows, after all, they are sleek, metal, muscle looking vehicles that I really never cared much for in life. I’m a driver but it’s just a medium to get me from place to place. However, I can also see how some people could be enthusiasts for cars just like I am for stationery. Therefore, as an urban sketcher, I thought it would be interesting to join Seattle’s Urban Sketcher’s September outing to Edmonds to capture the Classic Car show!


And of course, it rained that morning.

Nevertheless, I still wanted to go, because it’s been a while since I’ve participated in an urban sketchers outing, and I’m starting to think my watercolor arms are rusty and falling off! I ended up being overly ambitious and taking WAY too make art supplies than I need—a sketch pad, a sketchbook, watercolor, thermos (for coffee), small stool, and my new iPad air (for some digital sketching).

The best thing about an Urban Sketchers’ meetup is that it gets me out of the house and explore new neighborhoods. It’s only a short 25-minute drive from my house up north, and I gave Eleanor (@herbcoil on Instagram) a lift as well. The streets were blocked off for the event and were already bustling with the crowd as we arrived. I soon realized that this isn’t a typical car show where all the fancy cars are similarly shaped. This car show has cars from ALL decades and has such variety in its shapes and sizes. They are cars that you would see in cartoons or old black and white movies. I LOVED it.



The old-timers/owners of the cars were all perched underneath shopfront awnings, smugly admiring their cars. Eleanor and I threaded through the crowd to find a good perspective to sketch the cars. Starbucks proved trustworthy with their outdoor seating, and I got a seasonal salted caramel mocha to match the weather…fall-like and a bit drizzly.

I warmed up with a pencil first, then immediately plunged into the color without any thoughts or planned process for my paintings. It’s been SO long, I think I might’ve forgotten how to paint! I guess that’s one way to throw myself back into the urban sketching flow.


As expected, my perspective was wonky and the background and foreground don’t quite merge together, but that’s okay. The cool thing about sketching is that there’s no right or wrong way for a painting to look. Satisfied that I’ve got my watercolor painting done, I packed everything up and started walking around to look at more cars—it’s also time to take my iPad and Procreate for a spin!

Urban Sketching with Procreate

Working with digital art has an advantage…you can erase flaws and adjust as you go! I also love that I can zoom in and work on details of my drawing, instead of worrying about my pen or brush not being small enough. I saw some cool Volkswagen cars and this particular one caught my eyes.


I start first with “6B Pencil” with the initial sketch layer. Then added more decisive lines using “Studio pen” under “inks.” Finally, I added a pop of color (a cop-out because the whole car is white!) This sketch took me a total of 20 minutes—holding the iPad and sketching while standing near the car.

Feeling confident, I moved on to do another quick sketch—this one took me 25 minutes. Then I began to feel the tow of holding an iPad air while carrying a lot of other baggage on me. My arms are SORE at the end of this sketch. I had been sketching/painting for 3 hours in chilly air after all. I surmised that my muscles must have been tense this whole time. Also, I’ve not gotten used to holding the iPad air with one hand for an extended period of time.


After taking a quick break to relax and warm up my body with a hot bowl of Thai curry, I finally gave myself a reprieve by finding a nice bench to sit on while sketching. This cool aerial/bullet-like looking car had caught my eye at the beginning of the show, and the contrast with the modern signage of Starbucks has been calling out for a sketch of its own.



Experimenting with more mediums/brushes on Procreate!

Calling it a day there just before it started POURING! Seattle fall weather is creeping on us for sure. Do you have any recommendations for a newbie iPad sketcher like me? Let me know your favorite Procreate brush and accessories that you like for digital art in the comments!

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