Wednesday, April 29, 2020

The CHALLENGE: Draw 10 Hands.


In addition to weekly virtual sketch events and our Theme - (Tea Party is this weeks theme) we’re also going to be featuring a Challenge.  A Challenge is meant to help us improve our art skills.  There is no time limit and you’re welcome to post your work anytime you like.

Inspired by Mel Barranco’s beautiful drawings of his own hands, our Challenge is to draw 10 hands.  Feel free to draw from life, use a mirror or take a photo.  Your hand can be open, closed, holding something or doing something.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Weekly Theme: Let's Have a Tea Party

You won’t have to leave the comfort of your own home – you can still enjoy a relaxing cup of tea and a piece of cake or fancy sandwich while you do some sketching. Try a new flavor of tea, or even make your own special treats to accompany your tea. Get in the spirit and dress for the occasion (Hats, Downtown Abbey attire optional. Have fun with the topic - a Mad Hatter Tea Party, a tea ceremony, anything goes.

Be as creative as you like in sketching any subject relating to the theme. Some suggestions below are real time Urban Sketching (US) using objects around your house, and some are Not Urban Sketching (NUS), using reference materials. 

Sketch by Aaron Liebowitz, NYC 

1. Have High Tea at the Russian Tea Room or choose your own favorite spot and draw a scene, decorations, plate of food, etc.
2. What else to sketch: 

3. Draw what you're having with your tea:

  • finger sandwiches
  • scones
  • cake,  cookies 
  • muffins
  • sweet treats 

4. Draw the recipe for your favorite cookie, cake or special tea time treat.

5. Draw with tea

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Registration for the V-Portrait Party


Please read all the instructions and answer all the questions. 
Don't forget to hit the SUBMIT button.

Click here to register:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

SATURDAY: Virtual Sketch Event

This coming Saturday New York City Urban Sketchers is going to take 
a big step in our virtual sketch events.  


1)  The event will take place on Saturday, April 25th.  The start time is 10 AM ET

2)   We will be having a Virtual Portrait Party. 

2)  We will be using Zoom Videoconferencing.  You will need to try Zoom before the event to become comfortable with the technology.  We will not be able to help you once the event starts.

   a)  Send an email to if you need coaching.

   b)  There is a helpful tutorial on YouTube: 
How To Use Zoom STEP BY STEP For Beginners!
   c)  Zoom is a wonderful tool for Social Distancing.  It is a safe way to visit with friends and family

   d)  YES!  You will be able to see and speak with the other sketchers as the event is happening!

3)  You will need to preregister for this event.  The registration details will be posted on Wednesday morning.  You will need to respond.  Registration details will be posted to our Facebook Group, our blog and will be sent as an email to everyone on our list.

4)  If you preregister you will receive an email invitation on Friday with the information you’ll need to sign in for our Zoom Video event.

5)  The morning session will be from 10 AM until noon.  There will be a one hour lunch break. and then we’ll be back sketching from 1 PM until 3 PM.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Weekly Theme:  Earth Day

The Word From Above

This Wednesday is Earth Day.  If things were normal we would be meeting outdoors to capture our world in a park setting.  However, since we are all under lock down, let's get creative and still celebrate the planet for our immediate perspective or from high above the earth. 

Since many of us live in high rise buildings, let's use the height to create drawings of our world from above the street level, celebrating this week's theme of "The World from Above".

Using reference materials to spark imagination, you can start as low to the ground or as high above the world as you like, but keeping the theme of the top down or "bird's eye" view. Some suggestions below are real time Urban Sketching (US) by looking out your windows,  and some will be Not Urban Sketching (NUS), using reference materials. 

Starting Low:  

Woman Reflection In Puddle At Europe Square In Batumi Stock Photo ...View from 11th floor - Picture of Hotel 50 Bowery NYC, New York ...The Greenwich Village Building With a Starring Role in Hitchcock's ...
  • Look  down into a puddle. What do you see? Reflections of buildings, trees, bubbles on the surface?  
  • Look  out your window or balcony.  Can you capture the top down perspective of the streets, yards, and building tops in your neighborhood? 
  • Getting a bit higher, can you get to a roof top or upper floor in your building? How has the landscape changed? Can you use two or three point perspective. 

Going High: 
Une vue aƩrienne sur la ville de New York 83748937 - Decomurale inc.

  • Research titles "The Earth From Above" or "The World From Above".  There are books, videos, films and Youtube segments on the subject.  How does this view change your perspective?
  • Look  at George Steinmetz's web site (, a photographer and environmentalist who went up in a  motorized kite to take pictures of the earth's deserts, forests, cities and rivers to create stories and documentaries about the our world and how we affect it.  Watch his videos and view his pictures.  Can you capture the colors, atmoshperic haze and shapes you see. 
  • Look at pictures from space: the Hubble Telescope photographs or the The Big Blue Marble,  What can you gain from this lofty perspective? 
Earth From Above Interview with Photographer Activist Yann Arthus ...Watch "OVERVIEW" Doc About Astronauts' Life-Altering Experience Of ...Life from Above | PBS

Look at other artists work in capturing the landscape from a high point of view.  Are they working realistically? Have they abstracted the view? Have they used the view to create something completely different? 
Piet Mondrian | Art Auction ResultsGreen Fields Painting by Nancy MerkleRipley Street Ridge by Wayne Thiebaud at San Francisco Museum of ...
Aerial view of earth abstract painting Mosaic 6. $65.00, via Etsy ...

Enjoy your week drawing and painting wether big and bold or small and tight, it will be fun seeing all the images on our Facebook Page. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

The Next Big Step

We are planning to take a big step soon in our Virtual Sketch Events.    
We’re going to use videoconferencing.  Using videoconferencing means you can see everyone on the call and they will be able to see you.  It comes a little closer sketching together in person and has many fun benefits.  It's also more complicated, so we want to make sure everyone will be able to join us.

We’ll be using Zoom Videoconferencing.  You will need to register first, which is easy. Go to their webpage:  
Signing up is free and will allow you to also create your own videoconferences with your family and friends. If you haven’t tried it yet it is the perfect technology for social distancing.

You need a computer with a camera, or you can use an iPad or other type of tablet, or you can even  user your smart phone (although this is the least attractive solution since the screen is so small.)  We're not going to be using videoconferencing for this coming weekend's virtual event, so you have time to try out the technology.

Our suggestion is that you try out Zoom Videoconferencing by having a meeting with a friend or a family member.  You can learn together.

There are loads of YouTube tutorials to teach you how to use Zoom, including this one:

ZOOM TUTORIAL 2020 | How To Use Zoom STEP BY STEP For Beginners!

*  If you're familiar with Zoom and willing to coach others send an email directly to

Monday, April 13, 2020


Chintana sang-urai has been sketching with NYC Urban Sketchers for the last six years.  Toy, as her friends call her, lives in Philadelphia where she works as an Emergency Room doctor. 

She shared with us that last week her nephew Nick died from Corvid-19.  He was 51 and a healthy jogger who worked as a tech writer for AP.  Nick was actually much more than just a jogger, he was an avid runner who participated in 87 marathons on seven continents.

Toy has asked that we adopt running and jogging as our theme for the week in remembrance of Nick. There is something glorious and freeing about running.  It's a release just thinking about it.  You are welcome to use any source material to explore our theme

  •  Please add the tagline NUS (to explain this is Not an Urban Sketch)  
  • Also add #nycurbansketchers if you want your artwork to be visible on Instagram.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Trip to Albany and the Golden Factory Tour Postponed

Dear NYC Urban Sketchers Community,

We very much regret to announce that the trip to Albany and the Golden Paint Factory from June 7 through June 10 has been postponed due to the uncertainty surrounding the progression of the coronavirus. Of utmost importance is everyone's health and well being. We will make plans to reschedule the trip when the virus has abated and the climate is more stable. And when that happens ... we will thoroughly savor our trip and enjoy ourselves.

So.. stay turned, stay well and keep sketching!

Thank you so much,
Marianne, Cathy and the Urban Sketchers Travel Committee

Monday, April 6, 2020


Weekly Theme

Instead of a Weekday, Weekend and Westchester Sketching group events while we are all under lockdown, NYC USK will be holding a Weekend Virtual Event hosted my Mark Liebowitz and a Weekly Theme alternated between Raylie Dunkel and Cathy Gutterman.  Watch this space for the prompts on Monday mornings.

Spring Has Sprung in NYC
Cherry Blossoms on Roosevelt Island

If we were in our normal world we would have been out someplace in the city sketching the cherry blossoms which are in full bloom right now.  Given that we can't do it as a group on site, we can still do it as a virtual group (as we are learning to do so much else virtually these days).  

The theme this week is Cherry Blossoms: up close, at a distance, in the background or as the foreground focus:.any way you want them, as often as you want them, in as many places as you can manage.

 Here are some resources to use in finding sites with cherry blossoms:  

  • The attached article has 10 places in NYC to view cherry blossoms.   While most are closed right now you can Google the name of the garden or location and see pictures of those places. Just hit "images" and you will have many options to choose from. 

  • Or look up one of the other cities famous for cherry blossoms (Tokyo, Washington DC, etc)  and do the same

  • Famous site not of interest? Take a walk around your neighborhood, nearby park or garden.  You should be able to spot the trees easily in the landscape devoid of leaves this time of year.

  • Cut some branches and set them on your holiday table and sketch the event as you celebrate this seasons events. 

Complete your sketches and post them to the Facebook Page.  Use as many different media as you can, use different color papers, try adding figures, try a perspective you ordinarily wouldn't attempt.  You have a whole week to do it.   By the end of the week it should be awash with pink and white blossoms.  

Let me take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy Holiday, whatever you are celebrating.  Make it joyous, fun and delicious.  We are all in this together.  The time of isolation will pass, we will be safe and we will all be together again on the streets and in the parks sketching to our hearts content. 


Friday, April 3, 2020

SUNDAY: Our 3rd V-Sketch Event

You are invited to
New York City Urban Sketchers 
Third Virtual Sketch Event

To participate go to the NYC Urban Sketchers Facebook Group Page 

The event will start at promptly at 10 AM (ET).  We will be sketching together for two hours for the morning session, followed by a one hour lunch.  Sketching resumes again at 1 PM.  The event will conclude at 3 PM.

All the information you will need will be announced and posted to our Facebook Group page in the morning.

It will be helpful to be familiar with Google Maps - Street View, one of the tools you may use.

There is a tutorial posted here: