To every other Express reader, the photo of a woman in sunglasses and a bikini was just an ad for H&M. But to Brody Rose, it was inspiration.
The 35-year-old grabbed a pen and started sketching lines that gradually turned into a roller coaster looping around the model’s shoulders, arms, waist and hips. He dubbed his creation, “The Curves,” and when he showed it to friends, they begged him to start a blog.
It’s been nearly a year since Rose launched Coasterdoodler.com, which has grown into a collection of 135 images of amusement park rides superimposed on the pages of this paper. A little man throwing his arms in the air has chugged up and down hills drawn on the faces of celebrities, across landscapes and even inside a pingpong ball. He serves as both Rose’s signature and stand-in, and a sign of how much fun the project is.
“I’m a graphic designer,” Rose explains. “But I hadn’t gotten to do anything so spontaneously creative, like I did as a kid. I wanted to get away from the computer. No clients. No rules.”
As for the subject matter, you might be able to guess that Rose is a card-carrying member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts. (When Express ran a story on the club in June, Rose marked the occasion with a piece titled “The Coaster Doodler’s Destiny!”) It’s been a life-long obsession: Growing up in Alexandria, Rose used to like to sit at the front of Metro trains and pretend he was about to start a vertical ascent.
Luckily for his art, however, his regular 40-minute Metro ride these days from U Street to his Rockville office is pretty smooth. It gives him plenty of time to scope out the day’s issue on the way to work and then to devote the return trip to the doodle. “You read all of the articles about people having problems with delayed trains. But as long as I have a pen, I’m fine,” says Rose, who usually packs an arsenal of several Sharpies, a highlighter and his trusty Pilot G2. All Express needs to supply is a page that draws his attention. Bet you that today, it’s this one.
Brody Rose shows us how he draws his coasters, step by step: