Monday, June 6, 2016

Feedback from You!

The New York Figure Drawing Group AKA The Summer Sketch Group, has been going strong for years before social media, but with the advent of social media, we've really been able to reach a lot of people in New York and around the world! Draw-mania!, our monthly draw-a-thon and variety show has become a vacation destination for artists from around the world (Brazil, Canada, Australia, Austria,Germany and France, to name a few).

One thing that makes us unique from other figure drawing groups is that we are willing to offer different kinds of events based on member suggestions. This year, based on member suggestions, we've added a long-pose class and brought back basic drawing classes with instruction, as well as workshops and special events.

What would you like to get from this group? I've set up a poll on our Meetup site to get some general feedback, and if you have a minute, please use it to let me know what you think! And if you'd like to email me with more specific questions or suggestions, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Old Man Mad About Drawing (Hokusai)

I'm fond of paraphrasing this (badly) but it's about time I stop mangling the master's words and let him speak for himself. If you've asked how long it takes to get good at drawing, here's the simple answer.


“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things.

When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. 

But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. 

At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. 

When I am 80 you will see real progress. 

At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. 

At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. 

At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. 

To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.”
Hokusai Katsushika

Got 5 minutes? Treat yourself to this delightful little documentary:

Monday, March 7, 2016

What's New for 2016

Been a while since I updated the blog! I actually have a bunch of half-finished articles I think you'll find really useful, but it's been so busy, I haven't had a chance, and I'm kind of a stickler about making them the best articles I can. But I'm making a point of catching up! Stay tuned for more fun articles to come.

We have a couple of new, fun offerings for 2016:

Single Pose Class We're now presenting a 2 hour long, single pose class. It's a great opportunity to really hunker down and develop your visual acuity and get a very detailed, finished drawing. One nude model in a single pose for two hours (with a break every 20 minutes). We're currently doing it twice a month on Thursdays.

Classes WITH Instruction If you'd like a little formal instruction (or a lot), these classes are great. We have a nude model, and each class begins with some very basic exercises, and tips to help you capture the figure on paper and maybe see a little differently. These classes are usually pretty small, so you can get plenty of individual attention.

Special Events We're planning them now for the warmer weather! I hate to give too many specifics before they're finalized, but most likely you can expect more art sails aboard the Schooner Pioneer, Some unusual art workshops, and some social gatherings. And we;ll continue to list third-party events around town that may be of interest to our meetup members, even the ones that we don't organize.

Old Favorites We're still doing Sunday afternoon sketching featuring a nude model in an academic figure sketching class with both short and long poses, and our ever-popular draw-a-thon Draw-mania! that combines a variety show with a drawing event.

To find out all about these events join our Meetup group
It's free to join and will keep you updated with all our fun events.

Is there some kind of art event that you'd like to see us offering? Let us know! If it's possibly of interest to our membership we'd like to know!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Video from our first Art Sail of 2015

Our next Draw-mania! Art Sail will be July 26th. 2015, and you can find out more about it here:

But if you'd like to see a little live-action feedback first, have a look at our video:

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Draw-mania! Sail 1 Sunday, June 28th.

 We had our first sail of 2015 (we plan to have several more this year). The weather was threatening -- in fact, when I arrived at the boat, it was misty and drizzly and looked like it wanted to pour. I had serious doubts, but we were already here and the boat was ready to sail. Due to the weather, we had a smaller than usual crowd, but everyone was excited to get out on the water.
The Schooner Pioneer is a big, old fashioned sailing vessel built 130 years ago to haul sand for an iron foundry, and not much has changed on the boat since it's working days. We motored away from the port, and then the crew enlisted some volunteers to help haul up the sails. And then the sun came out! The weather quickly and inexplicably became bright and clear, for the most part. The models posed around the deck, and the artists had to decide whether to draw the unique Manhattan skyline, the boat in operation, the models or all of it. Tough decisions artists have to make.
Below are a few highlights from the event. We'll be sailing again on Sunday, July 26th.--come join us!
You can find out more at

Monday, June 22, 2015

Draw-mania! sail Sunday, June 28th! 1-3pm.

Remember last year's Draw-mania! on the Water sail? The one on a 129 year old cast iron schooner that featured three art models and has a sell-out crowd of 40 artists on it? We sailed all around the tip of Manhattan? Well, We're doing it AGAIN!! Sunday, June 28th 2015, 1-3pm aboard the Schooner Pioneer. It's gonna be a blast!
This event brought to you in conjunction with The South Street Seaport Museum and Th Art Student's League.

(can't make it? don't fret, we'll be doing it several more times this summer. Keep an eye on our Meetup site).


Sunday, June 14, 2015

We're Back At Sea! (Well, the Hudson River)..

Last August, we took the action onto the water-- three models and 45 artists, all on a 100+ year old schooner that went out around the tip of Manhattan for two hours. It was so popular, it sold out in 3 days!

You know we had to do it again! You can read all about it below, but if you just want the dates:
June 21 (Sunday, 1-3pm.)
July 26 (Sunday, 1-3pm.)
August 16 or 23 (Sunday, 1-3pm.)
September, weather permitting..
(Dates are subject to change, based on weather or other factors)
Ticket information will be posted Monday (Price ranging $35-$45)
For more info:

It was so popular last year, we had to do it again!  Draw-mania! takes to the waters with a 2-hour art sail aboard the Schooner Pioneer! Join us for a fun and relaxing sail around the tip of Manhattan on one of the most scenic and historic boats afloat, with three inspiring figure models on deck!! How much fun will that be?
Bring your own art materials and refreshments of your choice, and expect to have a great time!

Made possible with the cooperation of Draw-Mania! and The Art Students League of New York.
South Street Seaport Museum's Schooner PIONEER and Draw-Mania!, the long-running downtown draw-a-thon and variety show, will be offering artists, art students, and others, the opportunity to sketch during a two-hour Pioneer sail.

Attractions Include:
Three live art models, the harbor, shoreline, other boats, Pioneer, and the crew as they sail PIONEER.
You will be provided with extra water, paper towels, a place to keep work till ashore, and once ashore, fixative for those who wish to use it.
Please bring your own materials, bearing in mind that there will be no space for easels.

See the sights of New York Harbor from the decks of the historic 130-year-old schooner PIONEER. The vessel, first launched in 1885, was built as an iron-hulled sloop to carry cargo along the Delaware River and was even featured in the pilot of Boardwalk Empire. Bring a picnic lunch, afternoon snack or favorite beverage as you enjoy sketching and your sail!

Special Draw-mania! price: $45 ($35 for Seaport Museum members)

Schooner Pioneer, (c) Jeff Sauber

All sales are final. There are no refunds or exchanges for tickets once purchased.

We will sail in shine only at sail time. If rain occurs during the sail, but the captain deems the waters safe, or that it is a passing storm, the sail will continue. In case of continuous rain, the captain will return to dock. If the sail runs for less than an hour, passengers may reschedule for a rain date art sail. If the sail runs for more than an hour, no exchanges will be offered. In the event there is weather that is determined by the Captain to be unsafe, the sail will be canceled. Purchaser is then entitled to re-schedule at another time or credit towards another sail that can be purchased in the future. All weather related decisions are made as close to the time of sail as possible. If the sail is canceled, all online ticket buyers will be notified via email at the email address they provided when they purchased tickets.
Venue Details:
Pier 16
New York NY 10038

www. Home of the 1885 Schooner PIONEER, Tall Ships America's Sail Training Program of the Year!