Off-Ramp host John Rabe and contributors share thoughts on arts, culture, and life in L.A.

Everybody photographed Shuttle Endeavour; Mike Sheehan sketched it

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As far as I knew on Sunday, when Shuttle Endeavour arrived at the California Science Center, there was only one person who went to see the parade that started at LAX who did not take a photo of it, my husband Julian. He told me he was just going to "remember it." Whatever that means.

But for the rest of us...

Gary Leonard was shooting photos.

Pretty much every Inglewood resident was snapping photos.


Even I was taking photos, like this horrible selfpic.

We now have confirmation that there was at least one other person who did not feel compelled to photograph the historic moment. Mike Sheehan drew Endeavour and the people who loved it.

After he e-mailed me his sketches, which you can see in the slideshow above, I asked him to tell me about himself and his work.

I graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Ca. Went on to Walt Disney Imagineering and worked on the Animation Attraction for California Adventure. Since then I have worked in a variety of design fields from toys, including toy design director for the Disney Stores, to fashion accessories and all sorts of different products for everyone from Jack in the Box to Mattel.

I’ve kept sketchbooks for years to keep my skills up, to work out ideas for various projects and paintings and to just get ideas. But it’s my personal books that I really enjoy. I love the interpretive aspect of sketching. You have to make decisions as to composition, what to leave in or to edit out. It’s a direct impression of the experience/place. I always say it's like data entry for my brain. I remember everything about the experience when I sketch it. I don’t get the same feeling from a camera. It probably doesn’t help that I’m a lousy photographer. 

And I meet so many people when I’m out and about. The Endeavour was a great example of that.  Lots of people coming over to ask questions take pictures and so forth. It’s a great way to hear other people’s stories. 

Here’s the page I use to dump everything from sketches to doodles.Here’s a set of reference sketches I do at a jazz place for a series of paintings of the musicians. And here’s a painting site I’m putting up.

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your gift with us!


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