Like much of the rest of the world, these days I’m practicing social distancing. Trying to be creative while cooped up indoors is not exactly new (or even that hard for me). The hours spent at my drafting table usually speed by before I’m even aware that time has passed. However, since I prefer to focus on drawing and cartooning people, I’ve had to get a bit more imaginative with finding my subjects. And, while interactions between people are more likely to be made up in my mind at this point, the art of social distancing, as you’ll see below, still has provided much inspiration!

The art of social distancing…

Involves lots of people watching from our 4th floor apartment window.

People watching from a safe distance on the Upper West Side during the coronavirus pandemic
People watching on the Upper West Side during the coronavirus pandemic

Of course, at that considerable distance, it’s hard to see facial expressions and clothing details. That actually makes cartooning a bit easier since I’m not distracted as much by what my eye is seeing.

The art of social distancing sketches in my Moleskin notebook

As you can see, the sketches above were done in my Moleskine sketch book. The paper is not watercolor paper per se, so I’ve been sticking to doing the coloring with my watercolor pencils and water brush pen.

Cartoon people sketches in process

And, voila! Here’s a snapshot of social distancing in action on the Upper West Side on St. Patrick’s day!

The art of social distancing - cartoon people sketches done while in self-quarantine

P.S. In case you’re wondering if social distancing is worth doing, here’s a very clever video that illustrates why you should do it.


  1. Helen Reich says:

    These look great. Joana! I keep thinking of Love in the Time of Cholera. This is Art in the Time of Coronavirus. Milwaukee County now has the dreaded “community spread.” I’m debating whether to go to the gym tomorrow. There are usually very few people there when I go, and I can sanitize equipment with wipes and wash my hands and stuff, but STILL…..we can’t sanitize everything, like the floor, for instance…..and I’m in the over 60 age group.

    • Joana says:

      Hi Helen,

      Ooh, so sorry to hear about this latest Milwaukee development! I think when the tests are actually ramped up (weren’t they supposed to be already?) they’ll discover many more instances of community spread. The South Koreans seem to be doing something right. Or, at least it seems so. They’ve tested more than anyone else (I think) and seem to have a relatively low number of cases and relatively few deaths. I also read that the first vaccine trials are already underway in Seattle. That’s promising news. May the good news continue!!!

      Can you exercise at home or outside? I love my Boho Beautiful yoga and high intensity workouts. I do the workouts in the living room in front of the TV (the workouts are on Youtube.) Not only do I stay healthy, but I’m sure I entertain the neighbors every night, too. 😉

      Stay safe, dearie. Sending lots of love!

Leave a Reply