How I painted a rocket-schoolbus

I made this original sketch in my Moleskine, on the drive back from Washington, DC. That’s where my in-laws live with Adam and Daniel and their son Avi.

Whenever you have a laptop open, Avi will wander over and say, “Bus?” He wants to watch the “wheels on the bus” video, and will watch the video over and over and over. Avi will also sometimes catch a glimpse of a bus outside or out the window, and will point at it and declare: “Bus!”


After some more sketches (all of which can be seen here), I made this drawing in colored pencil:

Bus color sketch 2

A bus rocketing into the sky can’t exist in isolation, of course, that would be silly; so I decided to have the house Avi lives in in the painting as well, so I drew the house the next time we were there.


When we got home, I simplified this drawing to this shape:


Finally, I started painting the canvas.



Now that the house was there, I started roughing in the sky:



I was happy with the bus at this point, so I returned my attention to the sky and to the rocket exhaust.


At this stage, all that was left was to finish the exhaust and add the kitchen window to the house.


Having survived a 4-hour drive, the painting is now in DC in the house, drying in the basement.

Bonus: Here’s a neat slideshow of the painting, from start to finish.


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