Every Person in New York

Artist Jason Polan has been drawing people in New York for over six years and is currently at 30,000 drawings total. He’s on a mission to draw every person in New York—capturing folks in the subway, at a museum, on the street corner, dining in restaurants, and more. Many of these drawings are now in his new book, Every Person in New York.


With some introductory words from Kristen Wiig (and a fabulous portrait), this book is as full as a phone book and as invigorating as a walk down a bustling New York street.


Reading through Every Person in New York is also like going on a scavenger hunt. Look, there’s Miranda July over there in the corner.

Actually, you might have even been drawn by Jason and included in the book! He says the chances are even higher if you:

1. Have an interesting haircut
2. Are a little kid who is doing something while wandering down the street with their mom
3. Are playing an accordion
4. Are particularly tall
5. Were in the television show “The West Wing”
6. Look like a nice person


Jason tries to be authentic in his sketches by only drawing the person while he can see them and in the current state they’re in. That’s why you might notice that some of the portraits have an extra arm or leg—the subjects of the sketches moved while he was drawing them.


So give it a look. You might even see yourself looking back.

Irene Kim Shepherd

Irene Kim Shepherd

Assoc. Manager of Visual Content at Chronicle Books, photographer, and overall aesthete. See more of her work at
Irene Kim Shepherd


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