Pastel Pencil Illustration of Sleeping Passenger On Board United Airlines Flight Leaving Managua for USA

Illustration of sleeping passenger on United Airlines flight from Nicaragua to Houston, Texas

I have safely left Nicaragua — a country now in full-blown revolution mode — thankfully in one piece.

Washington Dulles bound

As I await my flight from Houston, Texas back home to Washington, DC, I feel so happy to have brought my sketchbook and pastel pencils along my travels.

Not only was the entirety of my Managua stay (and all my plans while there) ruined by the inundating waves of political upheaval, but I’m a nervous traveler in general and so having the ability to draw while on board my flight was a delightful distraction.

Pastel pencil illustration of sleeping passenger

During my outbound Managua flight, I was kind of a nervous wreck from this having happened right before boarding.

Then once in flight, we began to experience major turbulence along the way, which made my anxiety much, much worse.

Then I looked up and saw this man slumbering deeply as the plane shifted abruptly to the left and then to the right by winds. I envied his peaceful state. No matter how aggressively the plane’s flight was impacted by turbulence, this man never once awakened.

I don’t know what prompted me to bust out my sketchbook to draw the sleeping man;  I just felt incredibly compelled to do so.

Perhaps I had hoped that, in recording his soft peace by way of illustration, I may benefit vicariously from his profound sense of calmness.

I quickly grabbed my Stabilo CarbOthello Pastel Pencils and went to work, using a limited palette of blues to help visually emphasize the man’s silence, his slumber, and dreamy state.

Drawing people from life is challenging for me.

Because folks tend move around and then I lose my place or drawing groove.

Also because I feel uncomfortable to constantly stare up at someone while I’m drawing them from life — and they don’t know that I’m drawing them so when they see me staring at them over and over, I fear they might think I’m some kind of crazed stalker 🙂

Despite said challenges, I find I enjoy drawing people from life.

And the fact that this man was sleeping so profoundly without movement made drawing him that much more pleasurable.


Until next time,

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson




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