Sunday, January 27, 2019

Weekday Sketchers Art Deco Treasure Hunt at 

Rockefeller Center

In an area that was once a  district of speakeasies and brothels, John D. Rockefeller Jr. took  advantage of a depressed real estate market in the 1920's and built the largest privately owned business and entertainment center of the pre-war period. Completed in 1940, the project employed thousands of engineers, laborers and artists throughout the Great Depression. 

Influenced by the tastes and trends of the 1930's,  Rockefeller Center is now a veritable storehouse of Art Deco murals, sculptures, mosaics and bas relief carvings signifying man's development in sprit, science and industry.  Many of the works have become icons of NYC: Prometheus above the skating rink, the sculptures along the promenades, and Atlas holding the world on his shoulders, to name a few.

But there are hundreds of other works both inside and outside the building that run from 48th to 51st Streets and from 5th to 6th Avenues.  The lobbies of the numerous buildings will provide plenty of sketching opportunities. Weather permitting we might even be able to do some work on the plazas. 

We will meet in the lobby of 636 5th Ave, behind the Atlas Statue.  We can sketch the murals in the lobby and the waiting area above the lobby,  and then move on to other locations. Or,  feel free to wander the complex and sketch at your leisure then meet us for lunch. We will break for lunch at 12:30 and meet in the food hall  on the lower level where we will have views of the skating rink. Bring something with you or purchase it from the many vendors in the food hall.

Please note: stools may or may not be permitted and be prepared to work with dry materials.  

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Atlas 636 5th Ave

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                       Note: We will meet in the lobby of the building behind the Atlas Statue. 

TRANSPORTATION: Almost all subway lines come into the area. Please check a map for your best option. 

Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  Looking for us?  Text or call Raylie at 201-978-6387. Please note that phone reception might be difficult underground. If you are coming later and can't find us, meet us for lunch. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

SATURDAY: Sketch Chelsea Market

People, produce, products and an indoor waterfall 
all in a building with great architectural elements. 
the converted Nabisco Factory 
on 9th Avenue and 15th Streets.

This Saturday we will be in the hallowed halls of the ex -National Biscuit Company factory complex where (drumroll please) ... the Oreo cookie was invented and first produced.  Tell me that thinking about it doesn't send chills down your spine!

There's a little of everything at the Chelsea Market.  Lots of people, interesting stores in a sketchable space. 


When:    We will meet at 11 AM at the Chelsea Market

Where:   Meet inside the 9th Avenue entrance - 75 9th Avenue NY 10011 at 15th Street

How:      By subway, take A, C, E, L Line to 14th Street Station,  or any subway to 14th St and then the cross town bus towards 9th Avenue.

Lunch:    12:30  - Bring your own or stop at any of the numerous interesting eating places in the market

Afternoon:     1:30 PM Back sketching in the Market.

Show and Tell:   3 PM - Meet at the entrance.  S&T will be at a location to be determined where we will share drawings, good stories and a snack, beer or wine if you're so inclined.

-  Bring a portable stool if you have one. It adds to your comfort and increases your sketching possibilities.

If you can’t find us
call or text Mark at 973-809-9128
There are no fees.   All drawing skill levels are welcome

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

for the
2019 Urban Sketcher Symposium in Amsterdam
July 24 - 27, 2019

Here are three strategies you can use to register for the symposium this summer in Amsterdam.  Each strategy accomplishes something different.

I suspect the 2019 symposium will sell out.  This strong possibility should guide your strategy.  Specifically, don't wait to register. Be there ready at the opening bell. The registration starts at exactly the same time all over the world.  With the time zone difference that translates into a 9 AM registration for New York City on February 2, 2019.  

  1. Symposium Pass - The Full Package:  The Symposium Pass includes access to the opening & closing receptions, Workshops, Demos, Skit Sketch presentations and Sketchwalks.  The Symposium Pass will give you full access including 3 workshops with a great lineup of international instructors.

You should plan to be at your computer before 9 AM and ready to register the moment it turns 9.  Before that day you should look over all the workshops and decide which you want to attend. Participants will select all 3 workshops choices and one demo during Registration.

Have a backup choice - and a backup to your backup.  Be ready to switch to your second or even your third choice if the workshops you want are full.  Test the registration link beforehand. If you’ve never used Eventbrite there is some preregistration you can do before the doors open on Saturday morning.

Sign up for an Eventbrite account in advance. It’s free. This also the location to sign up.

How long do I have to process my Registration and Workshops Selection?
The time limit on Eventbrite for Pass purchase and workshops selection is within 10mins. The average time to complete this is 3mins, according to statistics. To expedite the process, we recommend that you have all your information entered with your Eventbrite user account, including personal and payment information.
a) Have your credit card ready. 

  1. General Access:  This is a more leisurely pass.  There are no workshops included, although you have the option to pay to attend * lectures.  The general market will be available to you (and also to people with a Full Pass) the vendor tables are a great way to get hard to find art materials and a chance to speak with knowledgeable experts.  You are invited to participate in the daily sketchwalks.
    1. * Lecture Series are paid events. Tickets are available when Presenters Lineup is announced in May 2019
    2. The General Pass is more limited but will provide more sketching and socializing time.
    3. New Yorkers need to sign up for a General Pass at 9 AM ET on Saturday February 2nd.

If you’ve never used Eventbrite there is some preregistration you can do before the doors open on Saturday morning. Sign up for an Eventbrite account. It’s free.

  1. Just Come:   Don’t sign up for anything and just be there.  The area around the Zuiderkirk (the site of the Amsterdam Symposium) will be filled with artists from all over the world.  You’ll see people walking the streets with sketchbooks in hand. You’ll see fellow artists on stools all over town sketching the sites. Everyone is friendly and easy to meet. The third strategy is to just come and be there.  Participate in the Sketchwalks each day which are open to the public. At past Symposiums there has always been a large group of artists who aren’t signed up but are just there. To do this you don’t need to register at all. Just make sure you’re in Amsterdam during the Symposium this summer.

  1. Organizing:  The NYC USk Group will be keeping a list of everyone who is planning to attend the Symposium.  We’ll be able to coordinate more easily which means things like being able to share a ride to the airport, maybe sharing a hotel or an Airbnb with a friend.  We will provide a way for people to share when they’re leaving, and returning, where they’ll be staying and what airlines they’re using to get there and back.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Sixth Annual Portrait Party - 2019


The Sixth Annual Portrait Party - 2019

New York City Urban Sketcher's VI Annual Portrait Party will be held on
the afternoon of  Saturday, February 2nd
in the Cafeteria of the High School of Art and Design

There is no event like it.  
It's not really Urban Sketching
although it’s a lot of fun
and depends on your drawing skills.
It's a challenge that will tax your creativity, and push your limits.

The Portrait Party is the sketching equivalent of running a marathon,  - it's exhilarating - it's exhausting. It is hours of non-stop sketching.  Each portrait takes 10 minutes and there is practically no break in the action.
However - this event is very structured and has specific instructions
so please read if you're thinking of attending:
1.  Your COMMITMENT:   Registered Participants commit to staying for the entire time - you can’t leave early.  Your work is needed to create the GRID.

a).  Plan to arrive at 12:00 Noon at the High School of Art and Design 245 E 56th St.  We will be in the cafeteria. We will be organizing and doing warm ups.

b).  The actual event will start at 1 PM promptly.  You can’t participate if you arrive late. NYC subways have been less than dependable.  Plan accordingly.
2.  DETAILS:  Each Registered Participant will be supplied with Portrait Party paper.  High quality 9 x 12 140 pound watercolor paper - one sheet for each portrait.  The paper is yours to keep. You cannot use your own paper. We will ask for a voluntary contribution of $10 to help defray the costs.

a).   Each participant needs to bring their own pens, markers watercolor etc.
3.  The GRID:  When we're done we will be displaying the finished work in a grid (see picture above) so your work needs to be visible at a distance.  That means you need to work BOLD.  You cannot work in pencil.  Bring markers, dark pens, watercolor - BOLD!  Your work must be readable at twenty feet.  Using only pencil is not acceptable.
a).  TIMING:  Each portrait must be completed in ten minutes - use a medium that allows you to cover the paper quickly
b).  We'll be sketching round-robin style, so you'll get a chance to sketch everyone in your group and everyone will get a chance to sketch you.  This is the reason you can not come late or leave early.

c).  We will not be
4.  CONFIRMATION:  You will get a confirmation email once you are successfully registered.

There are a limited number of registered participants we can accommodate.  Send me an email if you want to participate . (   Your email must include the following information:

1 -  Are these rules acceptable (If, yes, ... continue)

2.  What is your full name?

3.  What is your email address

4.  What's a good phone number where you can reached?

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Weekday Sketchers in the Subways: Part II

The NYC subways are an incredible depository of original art work by know and emerging artists.  A few weeks ago we followed the Q line along the new 2ND Avenue stations.  This week we will be travels to various stations to sketch the works of Lichetenstein, Wegman and Otterness, among others. Time and logistics will determine how many stops we can make.

We will mee at the Times Square station, which is a veritable art museum under the streets of NYC.  We will meet under the Roy Lichetenstein Mural.  We can then look for some of the other installations before starting to work.  Please read this article about many other installations at that station. And, here is a video about the Lichenstein  piece://

The group can decide to continue to work only in this station or to move on. 
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Lichtenstein Mural on Mezzanine of the N, Q, R, S, W, 1, 2, 3

William Wegman: Our next stop will be the new installation by Willian Wegman at the 23rd Street Station on theM and F line.  Here is an article about the installation:  

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Tom Otterness: If time and circumstance allow we will then go to the 14th Street 8th Avenue station to see the Tom Otterness creatures.  Here is an article about the installation "Life Underground".

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A tour of the art installations could be endless.  Just to entice you to travel the subways to seek them out, here is an article about some lesser know installations.




PLEASE NOTE: this is going to be a challenging sketch crawl.  We will be underground and not have access to food concessions. Drawing in some locations will be tight because we will be on the train platforms. Please be prepared for this. Bring a stool, water and food.  There will be bathrooms at some stations and you have the option of going out and coming back as you wish, of course with an additional fare. 


Please RSVP directly to Raylie Dunkel at  If you RSVP we will know to look for you.  Looking for us? You can try texting/calling Raylie at 201-978-6387 but service underground is limited.  Note that we will be at the Times Square station for at least two hours and then move on to the next two stops for about one hour each. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Weekend: No Sketch Event

I'm joining my wife and daughter at the Uptown Women's Day March on Saturday.  It might be a sketchable event, but in my experience, when you're in the middle of things, it's hard to draw what's going on. 

We'll see.  I'd invite you all to join us, but experience (again) has shown it's nearly impossible to meet people in dense marching crowds.  Please post your weekend sketches

Note #1:  I'll be teaching for next couple of month so all our sketch events will happen on Saturdays for awhile.

Note #2: :  More info coming soon regarding the Portrait Party. You need to sign up and be confirmed to participate.  There are still some spots left.  (Date 2/2/19 - Afternoon)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekday Sketchers at Transit Museum

Sometimes things are so good you have to do them twice.  Once again this week Urban Sketchers will visit the Transit Museum downtown Brooklyn. Come join us to travel back through time as we visit and sketch the variations of the subway cars and turnstiles as well as the equipment and technology that makes the system run.  How many of these models do you remember?

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                         99 SCHERMERHORN STREET BROOKLYN 

ADMISSION:  There is an admission charge of $10 per person however it is free on Wednesday for Seniors. 

TRANSPORTATION:  2, 3, 4 TO Borough Hall
                                      R to Court Street
                                       A, C, G to Hoyt Schermerhorn Street 
                                      A, C, F, R to Jay Street/Metro Tech Station

Bring a stool and dry materials. We will break for lunch at City Point Center where we can sketch the passing scene for a while.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

SATURDAY - Sketch the Transit Museum

Saturday January 12, 2019 - 
The New York Transit Museum 

Like Stepping into a NYC Time Machine

 If  you're a native New Yorker this could be like stepping into a time machine.  For everyone else it will be like being on a movie set.  This is a NYC Hidden Gem.  The entrance to the museum  (see photo) looks like any normal subway entrance.

The Museum Entrance Looks Just Like a Subway

 The Transit Museum is housed in a historic 1936 IND subway station in  Downtown Brooklyn.  You can find the entrance at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn  Street. The subway entrance stairs lead down to the mezzanine and platform.

The Subway that Time Forgot

Where:  The Transit Museum is located at 99 Schermerhorn Street, at the corner of Boerum Place and Schermerhorn  Street.  Meet at the token booth near the bottom of the stairs

When:  Saturday at  11 AM.  Running late?  Don't worry - come anyway, we'll be there. 

         Admission:  Adults $10 /
                              Children 2 – 17 years of age $5 /
                              Senior Citizens (62+): $5

Lunch:   At 12:30  at Tio Pio at the corner of Court and State Streets

Afternoon1:30  - Back to the Museum for more sketching

Show and Tell3:00 at the Brazen Head,  228 Atlantic Avenue between Court and Boerum Place, where we will share drawings, good stories and a snack, beer or wine if you're so inclined.

-     The museum prefers we work in pencil. Ink and liquids are not permitted in the exhibition areas.
-     Bring a portable stool if you have one - it gives you more sketching options.

DIRECTIONS (see map):
By Subway:
     2,3,4, to Borough Hall Station
     R to Court Street Station 
     A, C, G to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Street Station
     A, C, F, R to Jay Street/MetroTech Station

By Car:
From Manhattan: take the Brooklyn Bridge, proceed straight on to Adams
Street. Adams will become Boerum Place. Go two blocks to Schermerhorn Street. For
more detailed directions and for directions from other boroughs, Long Island or
New Jersey please call 1-718-694-1873

Click to Enlarge

Can't find us?  
Call or Text Mark - 973-809-9128

There are no fees or attendance taken. All drawing skill levels are welcome