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Best Sketching Classes In New York City

Frick Collection
Frick Collection Entrance Sign (credit: Evan Bindelglass / CBSNewYork)

Lines, shading and form - that's all it takes to sketch something, right? Maybe not. If you're learning how to draw -- whether it's a bowl of fruit or a model standing in front of you -- it takes determination and skill to create the perfect picture. That's why taking a class and getting an education in just how to use your pencil can be useful. Here are the top five sketching classes in New York City.

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The Frick Collection
1 E. 70 St.
New York, NY 10021
(212) 288-0700

The Frick is known for its vast collection of European masterworks, the mansion they're housed in and the oil baron who started it all. What some visitors might not realize, however, is its dedication to the creation of art, right in the museum's light-filled Garden Court. On select Sunday evenings, you can catch an instructor, steal a seat in a quiet corner or near the fountain, and put pencil to paper. Wednesday sketching is also available. Materials are provided and sketch nights are included with admission to the museum.

National Academy School
5 E. 89th St.
New York, NY 10128
(212) 996-1908

The National Academy has been around since 1825, providing a space for artists and architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Cindy Sherman to learn and express themselves through their work. There's no more esteemed place for you to get your start in the art of the pencil. The school offers a number of classes, including beginner drawing classes, figure drawing and life drawing classes. Take a single class, usually around $275, or take a series of classes for further instruction. Classes are offered at a variety of times and days.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10028
(212) 535-7710

Why pay for formal classes in a classroom setting when you can pay your dollar in suggested admission, then gain inspiration as you wander through the halls of the world's greatest museum? Drop-in drawing sessions are available at the Met every other Friday night. Visitors of all ages are welcome, materials are provided and an instructor is available at all sessions. Each drop-in class takes place in a different area of the museum so you can take advantage of every sketch night without ever drawing the same thing twice.

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The Art Students League of New York
215 W. 57th St.
New York, NY 10019
(212) 247-4510

Whether you've been an artist for a long time or have never created a drawing before, the Art Students League has a class for you. Both beginner and advanced classes are available on everything from painting and drawing to printmaking and sculpting. Register at any time during the semester for full- or part-time classes. Prices range in cost from $90 to $230 and class times vary throughout the week. Live models are often available for sketch classes.

The Society of Illustrators
128 E. 63rd St.
New York, NY 10065
(212) 838-2560

Another institution dedicated to artists, this one focuses specifically on illustrators. Various exhibits, lectures and special events are open to the public but members get special benefits. Sketch nights are especially well attended by budding artists, where they can not only practice drawing the live model in front of them, but also enjoy live music and even small bites and cocktails. Tuesday night sketching with live music occasionally features nude models and Thursday night sketching with a buffet is themed and often features special guests and illustrators.

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Jennifer is a writer, reader, crafter, traveler and New Yorker. She works in midtown New York City for non-profit organizations. Her degrees are in communication studies and art history.You can contact Jennifer at @egyptologist. Her work can be found at

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