ALLI Residency Part One

[The views expressed on this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Art League.]

Hey there! Since this is my first one of these, I figure I should introduce myself. I’m Sam, a local artist/illustrator/cartoonist/it’s-complicated who hails from Smithtown. I’m spending the next year as a Resident Artist member at the Art League of Long Island, taking classes to do some stuff I wouldn’t regularly be doing, to inform my current work process, and to have some fun.

Here’s something I wrote about myself for this program:
“I like to blur the lines between cartooning, illustration, and the fine arts — I put drawings on merchandise and books, but also draw with paint onto surfaces like giant canvas, skateboard decks and drumheads. Sketchbook drawing from real life is also a huge part of my practice and is the kind of work I definitely share the most. Although very different from my illustrative work, both kinds inform each other and are important.”

So far, I’m taking Classical Figure Sculpture with Kiril Tzotchev, and Fearless Watercolor with Jan Guarino. Unfortunately due to a sprained ankle last week, I’ve only got two classes with Kiril so far and one with Jan, but I’ll still share what I’ve got so far.

My first attempt at drawing this figure without supervision.
The teacher’s drawing, reminding me of idealized figure proportion ratios that long left my brain after art school.
My second attempt at drawing this figure, paying attention to proportions and angles, and strongly fighting back the urge to make the figure more dynamic.

So my first class was sculpture, but started with drawing. Anyone who knows my art well knows that I spent many years studying the figure, but it’s been 6 years or so since I’ve drawn classically. I tend to just have fun and try to make illustrative, dynamic work while figure drawing (you can see some examples here), so having to draw as real-to-life as I can is painful haha. It’ll be worth it!

A lot of my understanding of the figure comes intuitively from just life drawing, so my hope for this class is to learn more about human anatomy in a more three-dimensional way, and also to have fun building something physically.


I’ve only had one class with Jan so far, but it was nice! The whole crew in this class was super friendly and had a little family vibe going on, which I super appreciate, even if I tend to just hide in a corner quietly in most places. Jan did her best to squish an introductory course into just one night for me and the one other new student, but luckily both of us had at least some experience with watercolors prior.

Even with that experience, I was pretty fearful (get it) when starting out, since I haven’t used watercolor in tubes since college, and I haven’t done anything full color in awhile. Jan encouraged me to just give it a good try, and I managed to paint these cute peppers below.

That’s it for classes so far, but another part of this residency is 6 hours of volunteer work for the Art League monthly, which I did this month with helping out at Art in the Park and designing the flyer for a talk us Residents are doing in August. I wouldn’t call myself a graphic designer, but I do design graphics for my own work and I used to design flyers as a Whole Foods store artist. I felt a bit rusty, but I still can do it looks like haha.

One more thing! Arts on Terry in Patchogue was this weekend, and I did a live painting! All 4 resident artists (plus our coordinator, Andrea) were there doing their own thing. We got a group picture, which I will edit in here once I get my hands on it. Otherwise, enjoy some pics of my painting!

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