a look at one artist's experience in NYC

Archive for July, 2011

Going to Life Drawing Once Again

Well, it didn’t take long if you read my last post.  Last night I decided to do something I haven’t done in a really long time.  I went to a life drawing session.  A place here in Brooklyn, called The Brooklyn Arts Gym, has life drawing 3 times a week for just $10 for a 3 hour session.   It’s the first time I’ve drawn the figure in that type of setting for nearly 7 years.  Pretty pathetic to think that- especially when I live in New York City.  The class only had 5 other people in it but the space was very open and the model was great.  Figure drawing has always been  something that I’ve enjoyed and by the sketches on my blog, it’s pretty apparent that I’m still pulled in that direction.  When I went to art school I took any class that had something to do with the figure.  Life drawing, life painting, life sculpture and anatomy were all classes that had my total attention and dedication.  My wife is still amazed at the fact that I went 2 years without ever missing one of those classes.  So to think that it’s been so long since I’ve drawn the nude model is almost inexcusable.  And even though I felt incredibly rusty last night it was great just to try my hand at it once again.  It’s amazing how I could see what I wanted to draw but my hand almost seemed delayed in it’s response.  I’m sure plenty of people who have tried to draw the figure know exactly what I’m talking about.   I know though with time and patience I’ll get back to that place where your hand seems to move effortlessly around the page and each mark has a purpose.  For now though I’ll be satisfied with just putting the pencil to the paper.

It’s one more step in the right direction.

Here are a couple of the sketches from last night.  The one is a continuous line drawing and the other a portrait.

Comments are always welcome.

Thanks, Dave


Sketching on the Subway to Times Square

Today was hopefully my last day working around Times Square.  If you live in New York it’s pretty much the last place you want to find yourself.  With that said, I went up there a little early again and grabbed a quick cup of coffee at Starbucks.  On the way  I tried to do a sketch of a guy reading the paper on the subway.  This one was really tough because the F train soon was packed and it was difficult to see him due to all the people in the way.  I somehow managed to sneak enough peaks to get what you see here.  On the way home I started to draw another guy across from me but he pretty much got up and left the moment I started to draw.  The train was almost empty of other “models” so I thought I’d try my hand at doing something I used to do when I was in art school.  I tried building a figure from memory by starting with the underlying skull structure.  It then took a slight course of it’s own.  I think I’ll try a few more of these.  It was a lot of fun and brought back quite a few memories from my days in life drawing.  I think it also made me realize I could use a little  refresher in anatomy.

Remember, comments are welcome.





The  sketch of the skull underlay definitely makes me think of figure drawing and has given me the urge to look up a few local figure drawing groups.  Stay tuned…more to come

It’s 102 Degrees in NYC- Time to Stay Inside and Sketch

New York City hit 104 degrees yesterday and today isn’t much better unless you consider a 2 degree difference refreshing.  My wife and I knew that our window unit air conditioners weren’t going to cut it so we grabbed our laptops along with my sketchbook and our daughter Emma and headed to the Tea Lounge.  We obviously weren’t the only ones with that idea.  When we got there we couldn’t even find a place to sit because  the place was entirely packed.  We didn’t care.  It was about 78 degrees inside and felt like we’d just walked into a meat locker.  As Emma polished off a red velvet cupcake and my wife caught up on some work on her computer, I pulled out my sketchbook and started to sketch the woman reading on the couch in front of me.

It was quite challenging since it was such low light and it was difficult to make out key features.  It’s funny, but I think I’ve become spoiled with the lighting on the subway and having a model only a few feet from me.  Anyway, I gave it my best shot and, best of all, stayed cool while doing it.

Comments are welcome.– Dave

A Cup of Coffee and a Sketch at Times Square

I spent the day up around Times Square on 45th Street doing a job and figured I’d get there a little early and take along my sketchbook.  On the way there I was able to do a quick sketch of a young woman that was sitting across from me on the F train listening to her ipod.  The sketch only had a brief work time though since she got off after only a few stops.  Too bad.  I was feeling pretty good about my start.

When I finally got to Times Square (around 8am) I grabbed a cup of coffee and sat at one of the tables that are throughout the closed off section of Broadway.  A guy sat down a few feet from me and I thought I’d try sketching him.  Like almost all the people I’ve been drawing lately on the subway, he too fell asleep.  It was really tough to focus on this drawing as cars and buses were racing directly behind me on 7th Avenue.  At one point about 5 firetrucks even rushed past with their sirens blaring as people darted to get out of the way.  I must say, it’s been a really long time since I tried drawing a cityscape like this and I definitely struggled.  Unfortunately I had to be at work at 9am so I wasn’t able to complete this drawing to my liking, but I thought I was able to get a good sense of the environment.

On the way home I sketched this guy that, of course, was passed out on the F train.  I mean really out.  His mouth was even open and he barely moved a muscle for about 6 stops before getting off at 4th Avenue in Brooklyn.

Overall I’m pleased with all three sketches and I can’t wait to try another cityscape.  Maybe next time though I’ll pick a location that doesn’t happen to be the busiest, most congested spot in all of New York City.


Comments are welcome.

A Quick Sketch and Big Hair

Another ride on the F train prompted a quick sketch of the woman sitting across from me.  I think it’s pretty obvious what inspired me to take out my sketchbook this time.   It’s too bad she got off the train a few stops before mine because I was really enjoying this drawing and felt I was starting to get into the flow of it.

It’s always a roll of the dice when you pick a model that happens to be on the New York City subway.


Comments are welcome.


Addicted to the ipad

It’s rare that my son Sebastian sits still long enough where I can actually attempt to draw him.  Teenagers usually aren’t real interested in staying in one place.  However, he recently purchased an ipad for his 13th birthday (yes, he saved enough money) and it seems to be the thing that will keep him occupied and frozen in time.  Well, that and reading- but he usually does that in his room.

So this was my attempt to draw him sitting on our couch

completely mesmerized by his new toy. I think I captured the look he always has on his face when he’s in his ipad coma.  I really could’ve used about 20 more minutes to develop the drawing further but I figure the 30 he gave me was about 20 more than what he thought he was going to do.

Now how do I get my 6 year old to sit still?

All comments or suggestions are welcome.

Asleep on the Subway

I think I may have to title my series of subway sketches “Exhausted in New York” because it seems like everyone I ever draw on there is asleep.  Part of it is done intentionally because it’s obviously much easier to draw someone when they’re not moving and not aware that you’re sketching them.   Then there’s the other part that is just because New Yorkers are exhausted and the subway is a great place to catch up on some Z’s.  On the way into Manhattan I sketched a guy  who was completely passed out.  He  was wearing a baseball cap and was barely holding onto his backpack.  Surprisingly, I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on the drawing since he miraculously woke up and left after just a few stops.  I guess it’s that innate ability you develop as a New Yorker.

Heading back home though I sat across from a dad who was with his 4 kids and wife.  I lucked out and was able to sketch him for at least 6 to 7 stops on the F train because I got off before him and in that time he barely moved a muscle.  Sitting with his head propped against the handle of his suitcase and holding his groceries, you could tell that it had been one long day for this exhausted dad.  I can definitely relate.

Overall I felt pretty good while doing both sketches and really moved throughout the drawings with a little more ease.  I guess I’m starting to get my “drawing legs” back under me.

Thanks for checking them out,


Please feel free to leave a comment or suggestion.

Asleep on the F train

Exhausted dad

Sketching and a Chai Latte

My wife introduced me to  chai lattes a few years ago and I’m man enough to admit that they’re delicious.   With that said, I once again couldn’t resist one when I went to the Red Horse Cafe in Park Slope, Brooklyn.   It’s a great little coffee shop that always seems to have a wide range of creative people sitting around writing, sketching, or blogging while taking care of  their caffeine addiction.  I figured I’d sit down for a bit and try sketching some of the people inside.  Here is my attempt before I had to throw in the towel and head home.  Not before I finished my latte of course.

Elvis on the Subway

I was doing a job around Times Square  yesterday and again had to take the subway.  It was way too crowded to draw going there so I couldn’t pull out the sketchbook.  However, on the way home I sat across from this guy who looked like he just came from an Elvis lookalike contest.  He had his collar up and hair to match.  The only thing he was missing were some sequins and a jumpsuit.  Unfortunately I didn’t have much time because I had to transfer from the A train to the F but I felt pretty good with what I got.

Thanks for checking it out.

Comments are welcome.


Quick Subway Sketch

This was just a quick sketch of a guy that was on the subway today.  I had to work fast because my stop at 15th St./Prospect Park  was only 3 stops away.  Not to mention a bunch of people kept cutting in front of me as I was trying to draw.  All part of the fun when drawing on the NYC subway.










Please feel free to leave a comment.