Sunday, February 5, 2017

Happy Year of the Rooster

Last Saturday the NYC Urban Sketchers celebrated the Lunar New Year by sketching in Chinatown. A Firecracker Festival and Cultural Festival was taking place and it was super crowded. It was also very cold, so I dressed in layers, had toe warmers in my boots and hand warmers that I didn't use. (There was no way to get them to stay in my fingerless gloves.) I brought along my stool to sit on but with the crowds except for the very first sketch, it stayed in my backpack.

I started with a sketch of some of the buildings along Forsyth and Grand Streets by the park. I found a spot to sit and was comfortable sketching. Some of the Chinese sketchers later asked me how I knew Chinese writing. I told them I had no idea what the letters spelled. lol I just copied the shapes.

We could hear that the festival was starting in the park, so we came up with a location to meet in a few hours and split up. There was no way we could possibly stay together. Here are a few photos I took. 

A baby in traditional Chinese clothing.

Stuffed roosters for sale.

The Chinese dragon danced up and down the street by some of the restaurants.

I wanted to do a sketch of the table where they were selling poppers, big long tubes that would explode into paper confetti. This is what the spot looked like. What I was sketching was beyond most of these people.

 I would have a glimpse of the table for a few seconds and then a hundred people would walk through in my view. lol That and being knocked into repeatedly didn't make sketching easy. But I got my sketch done.

The last sketch I did before we went to lunch was of a store on the corner selling all kinds of trinkets for the celebration. I tucked myself between a big street garbage can and a phone booth to sketch. At least people weren't knocking into me for this sketch.

When we finally stopped for lunch all the restaurants were so crowded we couldn't find a Chinese restaurant that could accommodate 15 people. 


  1. Your adventure in Chinatown sounds very similar to ours in Seattle -- so crowded, but colorful and festive! You captured the feeling in your sketches!

    - Tina

    1. Thanks, Tina. It was a little like sketching at the woman's march, but I did find a few spots to stand still.

  2. what wonderful sketches and photos. happy year of the Rooster!

    1. Thanks, Carol. Do you miss the NY insanity for events like this?

  3. How fantastic! Your sketches and photos are wonderful.

  4. I can't believe how dedicated you all are - sketching in the cold with all those people bumping into you - WOW. You got some great sketches too which probably makes the day worth while. Super work Joan!

  5. I kept trying to press myself into a space where I couldn't get bumped, but those were limited. Thanks!