Sketching Classes in NYC with School and Program Information

Feb 25, 2019

NYC Schools with Sketching Classes

Students who are interested in drawing and sketching can find courses at three New York City schools that offer formal degree programs in fine and studio arts. Information about the three schools' programs can be found below, along with a table of institutional statistics and a list of other educational options for drawing and sketch artists.

  • The Pratt Institute opened its doors to students in 1887 as a trade school with the motto 'Be true to your work and your work will be true to you.' Located in Brooklyn, only four miles from downtown Manhattan, Pratt offers instruction in drawing through its undergraduate and graduate programs in art.
  • Located in downtown Manhattan, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) was founded in the 1940s to develop the next generation of apparel industry leaders. A part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, FIT offers undergraduate and graduate programs in illustration.
  • Lehman College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, is located in the Bronx, about ten miles from downtown Manhattan. In addition to offering bachelor's degree programs in art, the school is deeply involved with the surrounding community, providing free gallery shows and performing arts offerings.

Comparison of Schools

Drawing and sketch artists can use the following table to compare important school information, such as undergraduate tuition rates and acceptance figures. This table also includes percentages for the number of first-time students receiving financial aid, as well as graduation and retention statistics.

Pratt Institute Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) Lehman College (CUNY)
School Type 4-year; private not-for-profit 4-year; public 4-year; public
Total Enrollment (2017) 5,035* 8,846* 14,130*
Campus Setting Large city Large city Large city
Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2017-2018) $50,038* $5,483 in-state; $14,863 out-of-state* $7,010 in-state; $14,400 out-of-state*
% of First-Year Students Receiving Any Form of Aid (2016-2017) 84%* 73%* 88%*
Undergraduate Acceptance Rate (2017) 57%* 47%* 35%*
Undergraduate Retention Rate (Fall 2016 to Fall 2017) 88% full-time* 89% full-time;
44% part-time*
83% full-time;
61% part-time*
Undergraduate Graduation Rate (For Students Who Began in Fall 2011) 66% (4% transfer out)* 77% (12% transfer out)* 46% (21% transfer out)*

Source: *NCES College Navigator

Pratt Institute

The drawing program at Pratt includes both traditional and computer-based drawing. Students applying to the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program must submit a portfolio.

Associate of Occupational Studies in Illustration

The Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) program prepares students to enter the arts profession upon graduation. In the illustration program, students take classes in the studio arts, such as drawing, illustration, typography, and printmaking, as well as courses in interactive media and digital media. A final course focuses on professional portfolio development, employment possibilities, and career development.

Associate of Applied Science in Painting/Drawing

The Associate of Applied Science (AAS) program in painting and drawing at Pratt provides students with the skills they need to directly enter the field. However, it's primarily designed as a transfer program, through which students can to apply to enter Pratt's Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program as juniors. Drawing and other art courses cover figure and general drawing, digital media, cultural themes in art, color, and printmaking. The 66-credit degree program also requires liberal arts classes.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Arts - Drawing Emphasis

The Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) program at Pratt begins with classes in critical studies, liberal arts, and basic studio courses. Students then take classes in advanced drawing, such as illustration and symbolic imagery, life study drawing, and drawing installation, along with seminars in relevant fine arts topics. Open electives allow students to minor in a second discipline. Seniors produce a public thesis exhibition, assemble a portfolio, and write an artist's statement.

Master of Fine Arts in Fine Arts - Painting/Drawing Emphasis

The MFA program with an emphasis in drawing/painting requires 60 credits to complete, including a thesis statement and exhibition. This is a 2-year program that combines studio experience with liberal arts courses, seminars, and critiques. The curriculum is designed to strengthen skills and provide opportunities for students to develop relationships with other artists. MFA candidates design their programs of study with faculty advisors.

Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY)

General education requirements for both the AAS and BFA programs at FIT include classes in communication, math, and science. The Illustration Department requires a portfolio for admission; applicants to the MFA program must have a bachelor's degree.

Associate of Applied Science in Illustration

The associate's program in illustration at FIT requires completion of 63 credits and includes courses in illustration techniques, 2D design, visual interpretation and digital photography. The AAS program can prepare students for illustration work upon graduation; students may also enter FIT's BFA program in illustration.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration

The BFA curriculum requires 15 credits of general education courses, including foreign language and American history. Major classes include visual storytelling, computer animation, book illustration and traditional painting. Portfolio development courses place students with a mentor who helps them organize their work and develop secondary specializations.

Master of Fine Arts in Illustration

The MFA program at FIT is a 3-year program, with coursework covering digital illustration, drawing, narrative art, studio management, and the integration of digital and traditional media. Students also develop, create, and exhibit a visual thesis. Additional classes cover business management and self-promotion.

Lehman College (CUNY)

General education courses are required for both bachelor's degree programs at Lehman College. For students interested in computer drawing options, there is a major in computer graphics and imaging, offered jointly through the Art Department and the Math and Computer Science Department. Lehman also offers an MFA program, though not with a specialization in drawing.

Bachelor of Arts in Art - Studio Art Specialization

Major coursework for the Bachelor of Arts (BA) program requires a 15-credit foundation in drawing, 2-D and 3-D design, digital imaging, and art history. Students also take six additional credits in art history, 12 credits in a specialization, such as drawing, and nine credits in studio work. Studio coursework may be done at any level, but specialization courses must take place at the 200-300 level.

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art

Requirements include those for the BA program, as well as a practicum in the visual arts and a BFA thesis. Students also take 15 credits in their area of specialization, which includes drawing or painting.

Other School Options

In Manhattan, both New York University and Columbia University offer undergraduate and graduate programs in the visual or studio arts. In Queens, St. John's University offers a BFA program in fine arts.

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