Brooklyn’s Shoestring Studio offers unique classes for local artists

If you’re an artist who needs more space to master your skills, here in New York City, you’ll find a home inside Brooklyn’s Shoestring Studio.

The membership-based workspace, offers a unique environment for illustrators, painters, draftsmen and other artists from around the city. Not only will you find community, but you’ll also find other like-minded people and resources to inspire you and your work. They also offer classes and other programs within their space, with a goal to provide affordable and accessible workspace for artists in the community.

“We prioritize experience-based, hands-on learning and give our students a great deal of independence to choose their own projects—mastering the basics is important but we’re also big proponents of experimentation,” said Shoestring Studio’s Jennifer Carolin.

Open five days a week (Wednesday through Sunday), Shoestring Studio offers regular courses like two, weekly figure drawing lessons and a monthly critique night and Brooklyn Draw Jam.

“We also ramp up quickly: within your first session, expect to cover the fundamentals and start to master the techniques by doing,” said Carolin. “Last but not least, we often supply many materials that other studios don’t, so that you can get working right away.”

They offer an extensive schedule of classes ranging from portrait painting in oil to Dutch Still Life Painting. There’s something here for every artist to enjoy. With Shoestring Studio’s classes, artists can get take an in-depth approach to learning and mastering a new skill to add to their already cultivated list of skills, in no time.

All classes are taught under the instruction of professional working artists, and non-members are always welcome to either enroll in classes or join in on the figure drawing sessions. The studio is run by a group of artists who have many years of combined experience studying and working in the art industry. On top of that, they all have a deep passion for their work as well as teaching others.

“These classes are for students who want to gain a lifelong appreciation of the process, to speak the secret language of line and form and color, and then visit a museum with this wealth of knowledge,” Carolin said.

Shoestring Studio offers a variety of classes, workshops and programs (Photo: Dayvid LeMmon).

Most courses run over a period of three or four sessions on select dates and times. The Shoestring Studio figure drawing course seems to be the most popular, probably because it is offered as an introductory level course, where many of the others are not offered at the introductory level. You’ll also find pretty rare course offerings such as Erotic Art Theory and Egg Tempera, that you will not find at many other places around the city.


Carolin believes, for the student, art is no different than learning a new sport or a new instrument, which helps the business in their passion and drive to teach others.

“Studio art is the practice of mastering a set of skills, like any other sport or activity,” she said. “It requires instruction, guidance and practice, practice, practice. Shoestring instructors are well aware of this, and committed to encouraging growth and development through knowledge and practice.”

Upon taking a Shoestring Studio course, students can expect to really get involved with the work and learning. They also have every material and resource they need right at their fingertips.

“We prioritize experience-based, hands-on learning and give our students a great deal of independence to choose their own projects—mastering the basics is important but we’re also big proponents of experimentation and multi-media work,” Carolin said.

If you have a teenager interested in art, there are also teen classes available at Shoestring Studio. For those who are not as comfortable in a class environment, private lessons are available.

Carolin said no matter the age or skill level, there is something for everyone to gain as long as students and artists approach the work with confidence in the studio.

“These classes are for students who want to learn the what and the why and the how,” she said. “They are for students who are interested in pushing themselves to acquire new skills, students who are not afraid to try and fail and try again.”

If you want to pass on the whole class thing, Shoestring Studio often hosts events like “Drink-n-Draw” where you can try your hand at drawing professional figure models from a range of backgrounds, then top it all off with a potluck, which is tradition around the studio.

For those who would rather appreciate the art, their unique exhibits are sure to impress. Most recently, their “Linear Thinking” exhibit focused on the work of four artists and each one’s “interpretation of line as both a literal and metaphorical concept” according to Carolin.

The schedules are always rotating and being updated at Shoestring Studios, so you do not want to miss out on the chance to have fun, learn, and improve on your art skills.