Hey, John! I've been following you for quite some time and consider myself a fan of your art and your thoughts. Your posts helped me improve both technically and mentally as I'm still an aspiring illustrator! I'll travel to US in May and I'd like to ask you for some advice on cool places or events in NYC for drawing! I want to spend my (short) trip improving my skills and registering good memories on this travel sketchbook! The sketch on location post already helped a lot! :) Thanks a lot!
Oh man. OK, so I had just wrapped up some work, and was feeling completely smoked, and I was thinking that I need to go to Trader Joe’s because there’s this huge blizzard blowing through here on Tuesday and I’m out of eggs and maybe running low on rice and…
…then I got this question!
It still completely blows me away that as many people read this blog as they do, and that people actually get something from it. That’s seriously the best feeling in the world. Screw getting client work, or gallery shows or whatever— the best part of making art is helping other people make badass art.
I am still a NYC newbie, relatively, but here are some my favorite drawing locations:
- The MET. It’s super relaxing for some reason, I dunno. Drawing in any of the various sculpture wings while blasting hip hop, drawing all the tourists out front, and then swinging by that Shake Shack on 86th. That’s my happy place man.
- Columbus Park. It’s the park in Chinatown where all the old Chinese go to play Chinese chess and sing out of tune at the tops of their lungs. I’ve sat and watched a dude who binged on too many kung fu movies come out into the middle of the park and just go for it, swinging his arms wildly, kicking his feet like there was a roach in his shoe, and no one cared. My favorite thing is to get an iced coffee and two sponge cakes from Kam Hing aka the Sponge Cake Closet on Baxter and then draw in the park.
- The South St. Seaport is super touristy—BUT it’s a really great location to draw on (see above sketch). It’s almost right where the two rivers converge, and you can see out over the bay for miles.
- Grand Central Terminal is beautiful and has lots of people running around trying to catch trains, bumping into tourists gawking at the amazing ceiling, and National Guard troops with M9s on drop-legs.
- Come this May, I want to head up and and draw some games at Rucker Park because it’s awesome and I love basketball.
Some organized drawing sessions might include the Society of Illustrators themed figure drawing nights on Tues. and Thurs., Sunday drawing days at Frick Collection (FREE), and Bathaus DrinkNDraws in Bushwick.
OR you could HOLLER at your favorite illustrators (cough cough) and meet up for drawing sometime! I’ve met up with a bunch of people that I met on tumblr through this blog, and they’ve all been super cool.
Pretty much wherever you go though, there’s always an opportunity for interesting drawing. Remember, it’s not about what you see, it’s how you see it!
As far as museums and stuff goes, I like this site: iheartnymuseums.com. It organizes everything by FREE DAY, which I am all about.
Definitely go to the Met, Natural History Museum, and Brooklyn Museum, because they’re pay-what-you-want (aka one dollar holler).
Some illustration-y specific places to hit might be: The Society of Illustrators, MoCCA (inside SOI), the Illustration House (an auction group that has an amazing collection of illustration work), and the Drawing Center. Also, the Neue Galerie and Frick Collection.
I am forgetting a billion places, because New York is the city of a billion places. It is also the city of “Aw man, that was yesterday? I missed it!”
Hope this helps!