Art Info

Grand Central Atelier

Events - Drawing Competition

Figure Drawing Competition

July 2 - 6, 2016

Applications due March 15th, 2016.
Finalists will compete for 40 hours over 5 days to draw a figure from life.

The GCA and the advent of this competition are made possible with the generous support of the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.

  • About

    Drawing skills are the bedrock of good painting, and the foundation on which form and color can most truthfully be expressed. It is incumbent on the artist to routinely sharpen and develop these skills from life. The intent of this competition is to bring greater prestige and honor to those artists who have devoted time and energy to honing these abilities. It will be a pure test of drawing skills.

    The draftsman who executes the most beautiful drawing will be awarded the Grand Prize accompanied by the title, Apelles. The second place prize includes the title, Protogenes. The third place prize does not yet have a title. The winning draftsmen will hold these titles until the next competition.

    Eligibility: The competition is open to all artists. Students and professionals, young and old, are encouraged to apply.

    Summary: Finalists will compete for five days to draw a figure from life with the model posing 8 hours each day for a total pose of 40 hours. The competition room will be open daily for public viewing from 1 - 2pm on the lunch break. On Friday evening, we will host an awards ceremony and reception, also open to the public.

    Materials: The GCA will provide easels and tabourets. Finalists are asked to bring their own drawing materials: drawing board, white paper (required), graphite, charcoal or carbon pencils. Tones and graphite/charcoal washes are not allowed. Scale is 18 x 24.

    Awards: $10,000, $3,000 and $2,000 for first, second and third place respectively.

    Judges: Each year the GCA invites celebrated artists working in the classical tradition and professionals dealing in classical art to serve on our panel of judges.

  • Criteria for Judging

    The judging will take place in two rounds:

    The first round of judging is based on a point system (1-5) with the following criteria:
    1. correct proportion based on the model
    2. correct or natural gesture again based on the model
    3. correct understanding of anatomy
    4. the modeling of a consistent finish
    5. correct observation of the light effect

    The second round of judging is based on artistic strength:
    Those 4 or 5 drawings exhibiting the greatest strength in these areas will move to a final round wherein the judges will decide the winners based on what they consider to be the greatest overall success considering artistic strength.

  • Apply

    How to Apply: (Applications will be accepted by email only)

    Apply by Friday, March 15th.


    1. Click here to complete application form.

    2. On the form you will be asked to upload 5 digital images. Three of the images must be figure drawings. Please title each image file as follows: title_size_year. *Do not* put your name in the file name or on the image. The applications are judged anonymously.

    We respectfully ask that you not submit work created from the use of photographs. Our goal is to assemble the ten best competitors who work from life, who will bring that skill to the context.

    3. You can pay the $35 application fee online or pay by check. Note: There is a $75 fee for finalists.

    To pay by check, make payable to Grand Central Atelier and mail to:
    GCA, 46-06 11th Street, Long Island City, NY 11101.

    All events will take place at the GCA Studio at 46-06 11th Street, Long Island City, NY. Please note that finalists are responsible for all expenses related to travel and lodging.

    The Figure Drawing Competition is made possible with the generous support of the Morris and Alma Schapiro Fund.

  • Public Events Schedule

    Coming Soon.

  • The Story of Apelles and Protogenes

    Apelles and Protogenes were renowned painters of Ancient Greece during the time of Alexander the Great (4th century BC). They were rivals and also advocates of each other's work. Stories tell of their daily precise practice of outlining, and the laborious fine finish they brought to their work, whether drawings or paintings.

    Their rivalry tested who could draw the finest, steadiest line and has famously been recorded in an anecdote in Pliny's Natural History.

    Apelles travelled to Protogenes' home in Rhodes to make the acquaintance of this painter he had heard so much about. Arriving at Protogenes' studio, he encountered an old woman who told him that Protogenes was out and asked for his name so she could report who had enquired after him.

    Observing in the studio a panel Protogenes had prepared for a painting, Apelles walked over to the easel, and taking up a brush told the servant to tell Protogenes "this came from me," and drew in colour an extremely fine line across the panel.

    When Protogenes returned, and the old woman explained what had taken place, he examined the line and pronounced that only Apelles could have done so perfect of work; Protogenes then dipped a brush into another colour and drew a still finer line above the first one, and asked his servant to show this to the visitor should he return.

    When Apelles returned, and was shown Protogenes' response, ashamed that he might be bettered, he drew in a third colour an even finer line between the first two, leaving no room for another display of craftsmanship.

    On seeing this, Protogenes admitted defeat, and went out to seek Apelles and meet him face-to-face.

    (Retold by Guillaume Apollinaire)