Wednesday, April 21, 2021

SATURDAY:  The 50's is Alive and Well

The 50's is Alive and Well 

... and 

Very Sketchable     ​

Rock and Roll, sock hops, poodle skirts, big muscle cars, and hula hoops.  Throughout the decade, the world continued its recovery from World War II.  The 1950s were a decade marked by the post-World War II boom, the dawn of the Cold War and the Civil Rights movement in the United States.  

It was a well documented decade that left us with images that seem both distant and very close in time's rearview mirror.  Wonderful source material for the creative artist.

Your goal this morning is to 

AM - How it all looked.

PM - The things we did.  





There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Weekly Theme: "Close-up: Features of the Head and Face "

Eye of Surrealist Time by Salvadore Dali


Calling all you would be medical illustrators (and abstractionists too!) and devotees of drawing the head and face. Drawing a portrait as a whole is a challenge, so why not build our skills by drawing the parts instead? This week's theme, suggested by Marianne Milzoff, is devoted to the study of the eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, ears and the general shapes and planes of the head and face.

Eye by Elaine Marks

Draw one feature or all of them.  Get into intense detail or render simplified shapes and colors. Be realistic or dabble at surrealism like Dali did with "The Eye of Time". Capture expressions. Feeling more adventurous? Draw what's inside the head: the cerebrum, pituitary gland, skull, or whatever strikes your fancy. Please label your work as NUS (Not an Urban sketch) when posting on social media.

Subway Eyes by Jin Kim
Eye by Kim Tortalani

Nose by Jerome Shafer

For more inspiration, here are a few videos that may help:
Cheap Joe's 2 Minute Art Tips - The Active vs The Passive
In this 2 Minute Art Tip, Julie talks about face rendering and shows how there is an active side and a passive side of the face.

A Beginner’s Guide to Drawing Facial Features
Excerpted from Lee Hammond’s All New Big Book of Drawing, this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to recreate every aspect of the face: the eyes, nose, cheeks, and mouth.

How to Draw Hyper Realistic Eyes | Step by Step by RapidFireArt
Follow simple, detailed steps to draw a realistic eye in pencil.

How to Draw Ears – Anatomy and Structure by Stan Prokopenko

Drawing Portraits: Faces and Figures by Giovanni Civardi 
See pages 18-25 for drawing the eye, ear, nose, and mouth

Eyes by Shawne Cooper

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

SATURDAY: The Combo Sketch

As a kid growing up in Brooklyn, my imagination roamed far and wide.  Images of the Wild West and cool Science Fiction fantasies filled my mind.   It was true for all the kids I knew.  The two sketching ideas suggested for our Saturday event connected with those childhood daydreams and filled my mind with powerful images that have lasted a lifetime.   

Maybe we were daydreaming about the same things?


WILD HORSES:  Suggested by Dina Schlesinger

While native horses once lived in North America (they died out over 10,000 years ago), the horses seen today are descendants of the domesticated beasts reintroduced to the continent by Spanish explorers in the 16th and 17th centuries. During the hundreds of years of breeding, trading and warring that followed, many domesticated horses were lost, abandoned or let loose, going on to form wild herds throughout the land, most notably out West. Without any natural predators, the herds swelled in size.

Dina hit on this idea when she reconnected with a childhood friend who wrote:

"I grew up in NYC and like many girls became interested in horses and wanted one.  My mother, reluctant to say no said i could have a horse but I’d have to keep it in my bedroom which was small.  I went to the library and found out the measurements of a standard horse and measured my bedroom and it would just fit, but the problem was the elevator.  It was much too small so I had to decide that I couldn’t get a horse."

The Best Places to See Wild Horses in North America:  This site has many links to other sites
Wild Horses:  This site has many pictures of wild horses.


THE 2040 SKETCH:  Suggested by Michael Skelly

We've taken virtual urban sketches around the world, in our own region, and back in time. This Saturday we'll visit 2040: a positive and uplifting green future. Science fiction writer William Gibson said the "Future is already here. It's just unevenly distributed." Michael will show us trends, examples, plans, and prototypes that are already here to give us inspiration for our time travel sketches and postcards from our future selves.

Suggested Sketch:  Explore our local urban scenes with people: favorite gathering spots, cafes, museums, galleries, shops and markets in 2040.  Sketch urban landscapes and vistas: architecture, parks, and waterfronts in 2040.

The future is not so far away. Take our real world locations and add what we think will be there in 2040, what has changed, and what will be gone in a few years? Ask yourself how people get there? What do they wear? What are they doing? , and how does it all look and feel? We are doing a potential green positive future NOT negative futures, dystopias, or post-collapse.



Pick one topic for the morning and explore the other topic in the afternoon.  
Both topics have rich potential.


There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

SATURDAY: Sketch Machu Picchu


Hosted by Alan Wernecke

Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca citadel built on a mountain ridge in southern Peru.  It was established at 8,000 feet above sea level and surrounded by tropical rainforest. Unknown for centuries to outsiders, the fabled city was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham and introduced to the rest of the world through the pages of the National Geographic magazine. Today it remains the most familiar ikon of Inca civilization. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.

Morning Sketch:  We will explore the ruins of Machu Picchu, its surrounding landscapes and some of the sacred sites within the city.

Afternoon Sketch:  We will sketch ancient Inca artifacts - metalwork, ceramics and textiles. The Incas created some of the finest works in pre-Colombian America, producing items in gold, silver, copper, bronze, platinum and precious stones.



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Weekly Theme: Creepy Gargoyles


Gargoyle Sketch by Jeffrey Levine

The word "Gargoyle" originates from the old French word "Gargouille" meaning "throat" but which also describes the gurgling sound of water as it is coming down the downspout.  In architecture, and specifically in Gothic architecture, a gargoyle is a grotesquely carved figure of a human or animal with an open mouth projecting from the gutter of a building.  It is designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between.


Gargoyles, by definition have a specific, functional purpose—they contain a downspout.  No downspout = no gargoyle.  A grotesque, on the other hand, is a decorative architectural feature carved from stone, frequently depicting a monster or animal of some sort.  Like the dragons jutting out from the 28th floor of the Woolworth Building, they’re an example of skeuomorphism—an ornamental object derived from something that once had functional use.

Who among us as children wasn't slightly intimidated by gargoyles?  They were often scary and creepy. Could they come alive and get us (as in the 1972 "Gargoyles" movie about a colony of living and breathing gargoyles)?  Fast forward a few years and we have come a to appreciate their architectural beauty and form.  They are worthy candidates for our art making.  This week's theme, suggested by Jennifer Ransom, is to draw a gargoyle (or grotesque) of your choice.  It can be from a photo (not urban sketching) or done on location.  If you are looking for some gargoyle sightings in New York City, check City College, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, or St Patrick's Cathedral. So let's look up, get a little grotesque and have some fun.

Consult these sites for some history and inspiration:
The Art of Gargoyles - CBS Sunday Morning

Exploring the Fantastic History of Gargoyles in Gothic Architecture

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Señor Taco

 Certain places somehow get my attention like Señor Taco in Holbrook. I haven't eaten here but seeing the number of people going in to pick up orders while I sketched, I may have to try it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Fire Island View

Since it was nice over the weekend I headed over to the beach. I decided it would be too windy at the ocean so I went to Captree State Park which is across on the other side of the bay. It was even windy there so I sat in my mobile studio to sketch this view of the Fire Island Lighthouse.

SATURDAY: Sketch Cappadocia


I’ve heard of Cappadocia, but if pressed I’d probably have guessed wrong about what country it’s in.  I might have even gotten the continent wrong.  It’s one of those places.  If you’ve been there you probably have hundreds of incredible memories.  I’m not one of those people.  So when Cecelia and Shawne suggested Cappadocia as a virtual sketch event it sounded like a good idea, but I really didn't know.

Wow.  Cecilia sent some photos and my eyes were opened.  It’s an incredibly beautiful place and also an incredibly ancient one.  Homer wrote the story of the Iliad about the war of the Greeks against the Trojans.  It took place in prehistory about 500 miles from Cappadocia.  We’re not even sure Homer existed and many people doubted that Troy even existed, until archeologists discovered the ruins, … and more.  That ancient city - Troy was built on top of an even older city, and that one rested on top of another city even older.  In total, Homer’s city of Troy sat on top of the ruins of 9 older cities that had been destroyed or abandoned.  Modern people have lived in this area for as long as there have been modern people.

Cappadocia is a part of central Turkey. Eruptions of several volcanoes (e.g. Erciyes Dag, Hasan Dag) covered the area with tuff (soft volcanic rock). Erosion dug valleys and created an uncountable number of different shaped rock formations. The tuff's ability to store water made the valleys much more fertile than the higher surroundings.

The first people to arrive dug caves into the soft stone. In time they developed the ability to dig cities into the underground with tunnels of several kilometers. A sophisticated pipe- and tunnel-system carried fresh air and water, and enabled the people to hide from enemies for long periods.

In the 5th century hermits started to settle in the valleys and to paint their caves. In the next centuries more and more hermits and monks arrived and a rich cave-architecture with colorful wall paintings developed. 

AM vs. PM
We will be spending our morning, sketching Cappadocia.  In the afternoon our focus will shift to the architecture and domes of Turkey  (The Ortaköy Mosque and Hagia Sophia )

Cecilia, once again has created a special website for our adventure.  
It includes remarkable photos and excellent links for you to explore.  You can start planning your sketching adventure now:



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome


Wednesday, March 24, 2021


There is no scheduled NYC Urban Sketching event planned for this weekend - March 27, 2021.

Our next planned event will be the following Saturday when we will have a sketching adventure in Cappadocia.  You'll love the stunning visuals.   

See you then, and keep sketching!

Sunday, March 21, 2021


Review: Sennelier USKbook GREEN Cover (300gsm 100% cotton paper) | Parka  Blogs 

Have you ever used an accordion sketchbook?  It is fun!  Start on one end and move along using one element to carry you picture through to the next section of the book.  You will wind up with a wonderful panorama of your city, backyard or apartment.  They are particularly good for doing expansive city scapes.    Try getting over to Roosevelt Island for a great view of the east side of Manhattan or to the Jersey City waterfront for a view of lower Manhattan across the Hudson River. 

Suhita Shirodkar recently used one to capture the spring landscape near her home  in California:

Ive used it a number of times.  Once as a wedding gift where I recorded various scenes of the wedding weekend using an element on part of the page to carry through to the next part of the "story".  

And,  following one of our themes, drawing hands and feet during lockdown. 


The books are readily available through  any art supple outlet: here is one  rom Hanemuhle at Blick that is only 2"x2"

BUT they are extremely easy to make by folding a piece of paper back and forth.  You can join strips of paper and even add a cardboard cover.  Little effort for a big payoff. 

Here are some How To sites:

            Here's a little project, an accordion book full of little sketches while on walks in the neighborhood.

           Fill the pages with your sketches. Accordion books make for great displays! Then stand them up and view all the pages at once!

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

SATURDAY: Sketch the Beauty and the Sorrow of Burma


Lately it seems there is a news story every day about the troubles in Myanmar.  We see and read stories about the military brutalizing the citizens of this beautiful country.  Myanmar?  What happened to Burma?  Are they the same country?  And what about their leader - Aung San Suu Kyi,  the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate?  After spending 15 years under house arrest, wasn’t she elected President?  What happened?

Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar, bordered by Bangladesh and India to its northwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast, and the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest.  The ancient Indians referred to it as the “Golden Land”.   Looking at photographs of the stunning beauty it’s easy to see why.  

Back in 1989 the official English name was changed by the country's government from the "Union of Burma" to the "Union of Myanmar", and still later to the "Republic of the Union of Myanmar". Since then, those name changes have been the subject of endless controversies.

Win Naing has prepared fascinating sketching tour of his homeland, focusing on three cities:

Win’s birthplace.  Mandalay is the second largest city in Myanmar. It was the Royal capital in the 19th century.  Google Streetview has not fully mapped the city but important keywords to search include:
  • Mandalay palace
  • U bein Bridge
  • Kuthodaw Pagoda
  • Mandalay Hill
  • Maha Myat Muni Pagoda
  • Zaygyo Market Mandalay
  • Mingun
  • Sagaing Hills
  • Sagaing Bridge
  • Ayeyarwaddy / Irrawaddy River

Old Bagan
There are literally thousands and thousands of pagoda all over the city.  “Bagan is an ancient city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Mandalay Region of Myanmar. From the 9th to 13th centuries, the city was the capital of the Pagan Kingdom, the first kingdom that unified the regions that would later constitute Myanmar.”  Here are some clickable links you can use:

Yangon (aka Rangoon)
Largest city in Burma was the capital until 2006 when the military junta purpose built the administrative capital city of Naypyidaw. Rangoon has the largest number of colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia.
  • Shwedagon Pagoda
  • Strand Road Yangon
  • Karaweik at Kandawgyi Lake
  • Sule Pagoda
  • Yangon High Court
  • Mahabandula Garden
  • Yangon City Hall (interesting architecture)
  • Yangon Railway Station (interesting architecture)
  • Streets in Yangon

What is happening now?
There are lots of scenes you can sketch showing the protests in the streets after the military coup on 1 February 2021.



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome


Tuesday, March 9, 2021

SATURDAY: Put Her on a Pedestal

NYC is filled with statues honoring men.  However, when you try to find statues of women there are almost none.  There are a few allegorical images and a few that are fictional characters, but at the beginning of the pandemic there were only five statues that honored real women.  They are:   Joan of Arc, Golda Meir, Gertrude Stein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harriet Tubman.  

Then, very quietly this past summer, in the middle of the Covid crisis a new statue was unveiled in Central Park honoring Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton together on a single pedestal.  Nice, but really only a small addition.  This is something we, as artists can address.  

Select a woman you'd like to be honored by a statue in NYC.   Find images and consider where you would like your proposed statue to be located.  
Your finished piece will show the woman you selected as a finished statue - shown in the public location of your choice.
  • For the Morning:  Select an historical figure, a woman who once lived but is no longer alive.
  • For the Afternoon:   Select a living woman to honor with a statue.

To inspire you take a virtual walking tour created by the Central Park Conservancy that highlights five of the existing statues:



You need to register to participate.  
The virtual sketching event will be this Saturday and starts at 10 AM ET
Registration closes on Friday at noon ET.
On Friday afternoon if you registered you will receive the login info you’ll need to participate. 

There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Weekly Theme: "Channel Your Inner Child" (The Sketcher Way)

Sketch by Kathy O. Dowden

Thank you to Marianne Milzoff for suggesting this theme.

We have yet to draw and paint children.  Challenges of doing so include rendering accurate body proportion, movement and relative absence of lines that are indigenous to youth.  This week's theme asks you to find a picture of yourself as a child and sketch it.  Have some fun revisiting yourself from years ago.  Not up for drawing yourself?  No problem, borrow the image of another child in your life. Or, be abstract, create the energy of a child as you see it, activity, color, surroundings, symbols, etc.

Sketch by Emily Schmidt

"Notice that when you draw kids, facial features are very soft so go easy on the line work" is a tip suggested by Gaby Companario from the book "The Urban Sketchers Art Pack, A Guide Book and Sketch Pad for Drawing on Location Around the World," written by Stephanie Bower, Gabriel Campanario and Veronica Lawlor.

Please share your work on and remember to label your work as NUS (not an urban sketch), unless, of course, you are sketching from direct observation.

Sketch by Suzanne Cleary

For some ideas and inspiration:
Inner Child Drawings
Inner child drawings are a profound way to access aspects of your psyche that you may not normally pay attention to.

Childhood Captured in Art
This user gallery focuses on artwork that contains children and the essence of childhood. Childhood is a magical experience that we have all had the blessing to enjoy and art does a wonderful job of portraying its memories. Everyone can relate to childhood innocents and this gallery can help recount or narrate those joyous and not so joyous memories. Capturing childhood in a picture is very important in art, and this gallery helps show how youthfulness is seen in art.

Children in Art | National Galleries of Scotland
This feature looks at some of the images in the collection that focus on children. The representation of children in western art has varied greatly over the centuries. From traditional portraiture and imagined scenes of play, to images of loss and hardship, see how at how artists have portrayed children and the notion of childhood at different periods of time.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Grand Central Terminal Expo is UP!!


Come one! Come All! Come to see The work of the NYC Urban Sketchers mounted in an explosion in Grand Central Terminal.   The pictures are exhibited on the temporary walls constructed in the main hall and some hallways.   The exhibit will be up until the walls come down in the late spring/early summer.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

SATURDAY: The Paris - NYC Sketch Event


USk Paris and NYC are partnering 
to bring you an Urban Sketchers Treasure Hunt

Thanks to our hosts Frederique Fleisch (Paris) and Lois Bender (NYC) for planning and designing this event

*  PLEASE NOTE:  You will need to register for the morning and the afternoon parts separately

Let’s Be Tourists Again!
Have Breakfast in New York (10 AM) and Les Aperos (Aperitifs) in Paris (4pm)

We're trading cities for a day as we visit the many  “Statues of Liberty!” 

The Statue of Liberty officially celebrated her 125th birthday on October 28, 2011. The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States over one hundred years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty’s meaning has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as this international friendship.

Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion, to commemorate the centennial of the American
Declaration of Independence.  Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address structural issues associated with designing such a colossal copper sculpture. Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower), was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue’s copper skin to move independently yet stand upright.

Old pictures and the history of the construction of Lady Liberty

For the New York City Team
There are six different copies of the Statue of Liberty in Paris.  You are invited to sketch some or all of them.  Give your sketches a Parisian context.

 Sketch the statue by the river Seine with the Eiffel Tower in the background:
Statue de la Liberté sur l’Ile aux Cygnes: Metro stop at rer c, station Champs de Mars :

•  Or, sketch the statue of liberty at the Jardin du Luxembourg!   
Statue liberté au Jardin du Luxembourg: Metro stop at rer Luxembourg:

  Here are all the places where you can find the statue of liberty in Paris:  
Swan Island, The Luxembourg Garden, at the Musée d'Orsay at the Museum of Arts and Crafts (2 statues), Place Michel Debre,

•  Sketch the hidden statue
La sculpture Centaure by Cesar cache une mini sculpture de la statue de la liberté:  Metro stop Saint Sulpice :


The ParisianTeam 
 The Parisians will be sketching NYC’s Statues of Liberty 



There are no fees. All drawing skill levels are welcome